What’s in a name? Your business name serves as a key branding tool for your business, and is one of the most important decisions a new business owner can make. But so many things can go wrong.
Here are a few of the biggest mistakes that you want to avoid when choosing a business name –
If your business name is difficult to spell you risk losing customers. It will make you harder to find online or in the Yellow Pages, and you risk losing business to whomever owns the business that your customer actual ends up spelling. It can also raise occasions where correction is required, which can be awkward and leave a negative feel to a customer-business encounter. Anyone with a hard to spell last name will get where I am coming from.
Although you may think that “Lol Cats” is a good business name, that makes you look cool and trendy, in a few years (or even weeks at the current life expectancy of most meme’s) you could look daggy and outdated. A great example of this is eHarmony, who took a cue from internet buzz words such as ‘eMail’ and ran with it. Although eHarmony still manages to do quite well in their field, it is despite their outdated name. My personal favourite example of terrible trendy-naming is the notorious iSnack 2.0, Kraft’s evolution of Vegemite. The name bombed, its Apple and internet references failed to impress the kids and the name was soon changed to a more descriptive – Cheesymite.
It is essential that your business name appeals to your target audience, after all it’s them that you want to impress.
I cannot stress this enough – is the name already taken? Determine whether you want to business to be a global, national or local and then check in the desired field whether or not the name is taken. There are too many “A Cut Above” and “Cutting Edge” Hair salons in the world already, and you will not have any shot at gaining any significant market share with a common name, especially if it’s already trademarked. Think outside the box !!
Nicknames and Connotations
You wouldn’t name your child a name that has obvious teasing potential, so give your business the same courtesy. Think long and hard about what nicknames can be derived from the company name – because often nicknames are used more often than the official title – “Maccas” anyone?
Check the acronym too – Kreative Kitchen Kings may seem like a catchy use of alliteration, but you may find that people will be reluctant to buy shares further down the line.
Similarly with connotations – be careful that there are no negative connotations behind the name – especially when you look look at purchasing a domain name. A great example is the company – Pen Island. It is a good business name – but penisland.com raises more than a few eyebrows.
To read part two of big Business Name Blunders – and believe me they get worse – click here.