If you are just starting your business, or if you have just developed a new product or service for an existing business, one of the first questions you need to answer is, “What should I name it?” And while you may feel pressure to make this decision quickly, I caution you to not make it lightly. What kind of things should you take into consideration when choosing a name?
(1) Don’t Use Your Own Name
Well, first of all, use a name other than your own name. I often see service business professionals opening up shop and simply using their name, and the title of the service they offer. For example: Joe Smith, Accountant. I made this mistake myself, early on in my business, operating as Debbie LaChusa, Marketing Consultant.
Why don’t I recommend this?
Because your name means absolutely nothing to your prospects. Often you only have a split second to get a prospect’s attention. Make the most of that split second by having a name that communicates something of value about your business. Or a name that tells your prospects what your business is all about, or represents a benefit you offer, or how you deliver your service differently or better than your competitors.
(2) Create A Meaningful Name for Your Business
When I was operating without a business name, I remember calling prospects and clients, and having the receptionist ask, “Debbie with what company?” I realized relatively soon that if I wanted to be taken seriously, and I wanted to be quickly understood, I needed a company name. I was trying to build a business after all, and I wanted people to recognize who I was and what I offered.
So I started using the name, DLC Marketing and I incorporated to make it official. Now I at least had a real business name, and when I contacted prospects they took me seriously. It was amazing the difference it made in the number and caliber of clients I was able to land. All of a sudden, I was a company, not an individual. Mind you, nothing else had changed. My services were still the same. I still worked out of my home. I still did not have a staff (although I had to hire partners to help out with all of the work!). But suddenly I came across differently when calling on prospects.
But even then I thought, DLC Marketing, Inc. still isn’t a great name. What does it tell people about what I do? It tells them I do marketing, and certainly I, or my web site copy, could explain my services and how I was unique. But what if they
never got past the still somewhat nondescript name?
(3) Choose A Name That Communicates An Idea
So I started thinking about how I could name my business differently to communicate my unique selling proposition more clearly. And that is when I came up with the name 10stepmarketing. To avoid having to re-incorporate, and because 10stepmarketing is a service I am offering that is closely related to the marketing consulting services
I offer through DLC Marketing, Inc. I have chosen not to re-name my business, but to rather just market using the 10stepmarketing name.
The initial response has been amazing. Suddenly people instantly want to know more about what I do. They ask questions and they want an explanation. That never happened with the other names I was using.
You see, the name 10stepmarketing communicates an idea. Something the other names did not do. So the prospects I encounter that resonate with the idea it represents immediately want to know more. Is 10stepmarketing a great name? I don’t know. But I do know it is strategically focused on the services I deliver, and I am almost embarrassed to say that my previous business names were not (I am a marketing consultant after all. I should know better!). And I can’t argue with the response I have received thus far.
So if you have a new business, product or service to name, think about what you want that name to communicate to your prospects. What do you do or offer that is unique or different? How could you describe your product or service with a word or phrase that will make your prospects want to know more? Can you come up with a name, or make up a name, that is intriguing or benefit-oriented?
Spend some time brainstorming different names and then test them on your prospects, or business associates who are familiar with what you offer to make sure your final choice resonates and represents you uniquely and powerfully.
(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa