The first point of reference for any business is the name. A person can determine several things just from the name of the business. It is a way of setting the pace for what your target clientele should expect. In short, a name gives potential clients and investors an idea of what your business is all about, its values, and its potential to thrive.
With all these facts in mind, the name is a critical part of the business that sets precedence for your position in the industry chain. If you discover that your business name does nothing for its potential and image, you can change it. However, it is important to note that the process is tedious and might cost you. It helps to select the appropriate name right from the inception of the idea, to eliminate the possibility of these costs and time.
Here are the top mistakes that are common when naming a new business, and the steps you can take to avoid them:
1. Neglecting the importance of a trademark search
While this seems like something that gets hardly missed, many entrepreneurs fail to do a trademark search. They only come to realize later that they have spent a lot of money on advertising a name that is used by another company. This is promoting a business that does not belong to you at no cost. It is important to note that even if the other businesses have not officially registered a trademark, they still own the rights to the name on the virtue of using it first. The simplest way to know if your potential name is in use is by starting off with a Google search. This helps to form grounds for your trademark search. If nothing comes up, you can move on to going for a professional trademark search.
2. It is too complicated
If it is too hard to spell or pronounce, it is going to be too hard to remember. When choosing a name for your business, make sure it doesn’t seem like a mouthful. Each letter should get heard as it is, and should also be easily spelled out. An important tip is to make sure the name of the business will not need to get spelled out every time you introduce someone to it.
3. Choosing a name based on the availability of a domain
Presently, consumers and other notable platforms are accustomed to using domains other than ‘.com.’ you don’t need to tailor your business name around the specifications of various domains. The basis of your choice should be gaining recognition and aligning with your industry.
4. What about Branding and timing?
The business name is as good as the image that gets created around it. This is because the way your customers visualize your business name creates a reputation for the business. From inception, business owners have between six to twelve months to manage the general perception of the business. Remember, a business name can get changed. If you feel that its current name does not bring out the full potential of the business, you can change it while it is still early.
5. Having an overly descriptive name
Keep away from a name that is too descriptive. The repercussions of this include having to rebrand in the future. This will likely incur avoidable expenses and cost your company a lot of time. With the confusion that comes about after rebranding, you have to start from the beginning regarding advertising, promotions, and putting your business out there. Loss of time results in loss of money, and potentially clients as well.
6. What do you do?
When your target consumers hear the name of your business, what is the first thing that comes to their minds? Creativity is necessary while naming your business; just ensure that you don’t go overboard with the creativity. People are meant to recognize what your business does just by hearing the name.
7. Having a name that is too generic
There is a fine line between dropping a hint of what your company is involved in, and having a completely generic name. Take the case of ‘123 General Services,’ potential clients might be confused as to what these general services are, and if they are relevant to them. This is a slightly complicated part of naming your business. You need to be vague enough to spark some interest in your clients while still getting to the heart of what your business does, without having an overly descriptive name. Finding a balance is key.
8. Lack of research
Brand recognition is one of the most important assets of a business. Having a name that closely resembles another business in the same industry is ruining your chances of gaining recognition. When selecting a name, go for a balance of strategic and creative. Your primary aim should be setting yourself apart from other companies.
9. Having a ‘smart name’
A smart name looks cool and sounds good when vocalized by people who can pronounce it. Having a business name that you need to spell out to your clients and investors is a bad move. It confuses and can also give your target demographic a hard time finding your business.
10. It is too long for your social media platforms
Another critical aspect of creating a business is the digital marketing strategy. You need to integrate your business name, and other characters, to create a unique social handle. Your consumers should be able to find you with ease on any social media platform by typing the same handle. Aim to make your handle less than 15 characters.
11. You Haven't Tested Your Name
As with any other brand or product, your business name needs to get tested. If you have a few ideas, you can test them with the target audience to see if it delivers what you intended. You can do this using surveys and questionnaires. This will greatly help to avoid confusion.
12. Following a trend
The thing with trends is that they last for a short period. When picking out a business name, make sure your name can maintain relevance for years on end. As much as the catchy phrases seem appealing and trendy, they are likely to fall victim to stereotypes.
13. Going for a playful name
You might get tempted to play around with words to give it rhyme, or keep your clients guessing. While this seems like a good idea to many people, the reality is that it is a terrible move. Taking this approach means that your business will only be relevant for a short time, The rest of the time, your consumers will be struggling to remember your business’ name.
14. Overthinking your business name
Once you give your business its name, your staff needs to step up and give value to it. Your over-thought business name will not automatically add value to the company. It only sets precedence, then is backed up by the employees you have at your workplace. Avoid making the name do all the work for you. Motivate your staff and encourage them to work hard always. Remember, the name only serves as a tactical expression.
15. What are the name’s associations?
When choosing a name, ask yourself whether anyone else has that name. Also, ask yourself what message the name is sending across. Think ahead and project on what is needed for your company’s name to gain industry recognition.
16. It is not about you
The aim of giving your business an identity is to help your clients relate to it. You don’t need to define your role in the company using your business name. Aim to tell your clients what you will do for them through it. This helps to set you apart from other players in the industry.
17. Discard geographic references
Using your geographical location to come up with a name tends to limit your appeal to a larger demographic. Make sure you stay away from these geographical references, as these types of names are harder and even more costly to change.
18. Getting everyone involved
Getting everyone involved in the business-making process can seem like a good idea at first. However, having a myriad of people giving you ideas and tips can be very frustrating. Identify some key decision makers who have your company’s interest at heart. They will not make the final decision for you, but will only help to narrow down the choices.
Do you have any tips you would like to share with us? Tell us what you think about the do’s and don’ts of naming a business, and don’t forget to share this article with the entrepreneurs in your circle.