What’s in a small business name? Everything!
And here’s why: Ever been searching for a business online and can’t find it? You know for sure they have a website, but every word you think should pull it up on Google doesn’t result in what you’re hoping to find?
I know the feeling…
I recently attended a baby shower where I ate the BEST cupcakes I’d ever had in my ENTIRE 30-something years on earth. When I asked the hostess where the cupcakes came from she said the company name as she took another bite.
I barely heard her, but I took away the words “holy” and “cupcake.” And I knew they were a local based company. I started to ask again, but I thought to myself, “No worries, self. King Google will have the answer… He always does.”
The moment I arrived home I went straight to my computer and Googled the words “holy cupcake Indianapolis.”
Nothing came up.
So I Googled “wholly cupcakes Indianapolis.”
Forty-five minutes and the final bite into the cupcake I
stole gifted myself from the party, I STILL had not found the business.
I wanted those cupcakes for
myself my son’s upcoming birthday party.
I never did find that business, and after searching for almost an hour I was too irritated to care anymore, but the whole thing got my small business marketing wheels spinning.
WHY DON’T BUSINESSES NAME THEMSELVES WHAT THEY ARE?
WHY DON’T BUSINESSES USE WHAT THEY DO IN THEIR BUSINESS NAMES?!
Folks, business names are important.
They’re more than important…
They’re critical to your small business’ growth and success because your customers rely on it to find you and buy your products. This cupcake conundrum bothered me so much; I decided to give you my secret sauce of 5 must have tips For naming a small business.
As a small business coach for moms, I’ve coached a bazillion Mompreneurs through naming their small businesses.Typically, they want to start with names that are “catchy” to them, but mean little to anyone else or to the nature of their business.
So item number 1 on our small business-naming menu is:
#1. Your business name should clearly explain what you do or sell
I won’t tell you the real name of the cupcake place mentioned in the example because I believe names shouldn’t be shared to protect the innocent.
But I WILL tell you it DID NOT have the word “cupcake” in it – at all. It also did not include the word bakery (which is what the business is), nor did it include ANY reference to food.
My coveted cupcake business was named after the owner!
This leads me to point number two:
#2. Be as specific as possible to include your niche in your business name
If you’re a cupcake bakery, say so.
If you’re custom jewelry boutique, select a final business name that says it all.
I once worked with a client who made the most beautiful one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets and earrings, but her business name didn’t include the words “custom,” “hand-made,” “boutique,” or anything that would be emotional for her ideal customer to connect and separate her from the competition.
Although she included the word “jewelry” in the business name, it was just too general for shoppers looking for unique pieces, so she was missing valuable sales opportunities when people searched online for custom jewelry.
And another point about searching for businesses online…
#3. Avoid using locations in your business name, unless you absolutely have to do so
Here’s an example:
Let’s say the name of your business is Ohio Landscaping Service LLC and you move to Denver?
Beside the fact you’ll need to change your mower to a snow blower, you’ve lost all the website traffic, common knowledge and public relations you’ve built up with the name “Ohio Landscaping Service” over the years.
So instead of just moving to your new town and marketing the business with your existing web site and marketing materials, you’ve got to create ALL NEW materials.
And trust me, that will have a not-so-great impact on your bottom line, and leave you feeling cold.
That was a joke…
Ah, never mind!
Speaking of bottom lines, great business names work to create an emotional connection for a small business to its clients, which means more sales and income, so:
#4. Pick a name that your customers can connect with emotionally
To do this easily, just start with your “why.”
Look at your vision/mission statement and really think hard about your ideal client and your unique sales position.
What sets you apart? Why should customers choose you over your competitor?
Jot down those words that evoke a feeling in you and use those to help you create an emotional business name for your customers.
When I named my company Mompreneur Ink, I selected that name because I was an entrepreneur who had suddenly become a mom, and my children became my number one priority.
I needed my business to support us and I also wanted to leave a legacy for my family, so I researched the words that meant the most to me: “mom” and “entrepreneur.”
I knew these words would provide an emotional connection to my ideal client, and I knew immediately it was a good fit for the type of people I wanted to work with.
I chose “Ink” because I’m a professional journalist and I originally intended to just offer resources to mom business owners via a blog. Hence the word Ink instead of Inc., but as my business grew, I ended up needing them both.
Now I own both versions in my state and I’ve trademarked them as well.
Since we’re talking about Ink versus Inc., here’s my final point on naming a business:
#5. Consider the structure of your business when selecting a name
I’ve seen many family businesses have to rebrand themselves when adding a new partner or changing their corporate structure because they didn’t think long term at the start.
For example, if the family business is called Harrison & Son’s Landscaping LLC and then a daughter comes along, they’d have to completely change the name based on redistributing shares and ownership to accommodate her.
Again, an ouchy to the branding bottom line, but your printer will love you!
A bonus point for you to wrap up this business naming main course:
Research, research, RESEARCH!
Once you’ve developed what you think is the winning name for your business, spend some time on your local secretary of state’s web site to see if anyone else in your locale has the name or something to similar.
Next, a visit to King Google is a must.
Google the name you’ve selected. This will yield a worldwide result of all the business (and websites) named what you’ve chosen and anything similar.
Proceed carefully based on what you find.
The moral of the story is to keep your customer top of mind when naming your business. Think long and hard about which methods they will use to find you (word-of-mouth, social media, internet searches) and let that be at the forefront of the name you ultimately select for your business.
Don’t believe me?
Just ask Amy…
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