What’s in a Business name?

Business names, they’re straight forward aren’t they?
You’ve agonised over the name and finally you register it and it’s yours.
But did you choose an easy to remember name, is it relevant to your customers?
Large corporations change their names and look every 4 years or so keep the marketing feel fresh.

Over the past 15 years I’ve met many new businesses who proudly say their business name however sometimes the name has no indication at all about what their business is or does.
Why should I bother to “guess what you do?”
Why are you making it hard for your customers to remember you?
That’s fine if you are in a creative type of business however the business is not about you- it’s about your customers and clients.
Your customers are bombarded all day long with marketing messages from businesses around them. It’s on most of the trucks and vans you drive by, it’s in all the newspapers and magazines, it’s on TV, it’s on the radio, it’s on the street signage. If you live it the city it’s almost everywhere you look.
Is your customer really going to have the time to guess what your business does?
How long do you think they will bother working it out?
If your business deals with conservative customers, the customer looks at the business name for a clue of “are you who you say you are?” If the business name has no relevance to the customer, they will not trust you.
For example, “Mary’s Magic Money” is not a good name if you are a financial advisor- too girly for a start and the name does not give you confidence that they can handle your money.
Another frequent error I’ve seen is businesses with a specific location name. A great local example of that here on the Northern Beaches is Green Street Smash Repairs.

Yes, they used to be on Green Street but had to relocate to Chard Road in Brookvale and now the name has no relevance at all.
It seems to be a car thing as Mosman Smash Repairs is now in Brookvale too (sorry guys I  know you’re friends of mine but just had to point it out).

Some people try to come up with really witty names, sadly most of them only mean something to the business owner and if you have to keep explaining why you’ve named your business  a certain name I suggest you start thinking of one more relevant for your customers to remember easily.
Never try to name a business by yourself, no matter how much you love the name!
You must ask other people what they think and get some honest feedback! ( Sometimes friends and family find it hard to give feedback so ask an acquaintance or two).
Before I started any of my businesses, I always had some honest girlfriends give me feedback to run names past them. Remember, if your customers don’t feel connected to the name your battle to be remembered by your customers increases tenfold. Why make it hard for them?
A great example of a great, memorable business name is “I Hate my PC“. You know exactly what he does – fixes computers, it is memorable and you think of this phrase often when you need a repair person. Needless to say, David the owner has a dry sense of humour which comes through on his website as well.
Unless you have a large marketing budget to brand your “hard to remember” business name, why not just make it easier on yourself and your customers who will love you for making their lives easier when they want to recall your business name to refer you to someone.
This is a great chart about naming your business…
where does yours fit in?



3 responses to “What’s in a Business name?”

  1. Thanks for the kind words Sue.

    The business name has generated some interesting responses over the years.

    Not long after starting it, and after driving around in a appropriately sign-written car, I’d walk into stores and have people recognize the log on my shirt or jacket.

    Often they’d say something like “Great name, I see those cares everywhere”…but there was only the one car.

    It was a good lesson for me on the power of branding, a good name and a great logo.

    Fortunately I’d paid to have a logo designed by a professional. I gave him a strong brief about the colors, design and tone of the logo. The result speaks for itself though it does need a refresh now I think.

    My favorite response is from the new customer who shouts the business name down at the phone at me and laughs about it.

    For me that is a bull’s eye.

    Every now and then I do get a response along the lines of “why do you have the word ‘hate’ in your business name?”.

    My response is “because it is a joke and most people get that” (not rudely of course).

    I must say I do see where they are coming from but have not yet come up with anything better that conveys the same message with the same degree of memorability.

    Everything we do in business comes with baggage from hereto unmet clients. Don’t sweat it. There’s always someone who’ll complain about whatever you do 🙂

    • IW says:

      Interesting that people question the word “hate” as I know many small business people are constantly told they can only portray positive feelings and nothing negative at all.
      In your case it shows who has a sense of humour and who does not-sometimes I wish we were all that lucky to know whether our customers have humour, especially at a stressful time like when something breaks down.
      However because you break the “rules” your business name is memorable. There are so many new busniesses who do not give any thought about their customers when naming their business and only think about how they like it themselves. Especially when it has the business owners name it in- ARGHHH!

  2. “logo” not “log” 🙂