with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
Struggling to find a name for your new business? You’re not the only one. Many major companies spend tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay someone else to come up with a name for their new business or product. Your business name essentially becomes a brand - something that is recognizable and infused with meaning over time.
Tips for Naming Your New Business
1. Don’t go overboard with cutesy or “original” spellings. Be as straightforward as you can with a name. With my first company, Cybergrrl Inc., I chose to spell cybergirl (easy to spell) as “cybergrrl” and spent years having to spell it out to people and losing valuable traffic to a porn site, cybergirl.com. Also see #5.
2. If you use your own name, be prepared to build your personal brand. A company named after the owner is only as valuable and meaningful as that person’s reputation. If you don’t already have a strong reputation in the market, you will need to go the extra mile to promote yourself as an expert in your field in addition to promoting your company’s products and/or services.
3. You can invent a word, but have a method to your madness. I hate to say it, but pharmaceutical companies and their drug names are a good place to look to see how naming takes place. They combine words we know to make new words, hoping that our impressionable brains will subliminally recognize the words and feel like their new product name is somehow familiar. For example: Advair - probably a combination of Advantage or Advance and Air - for relief from asthma. OK, to me, it is a little creepy, but it does give you a sense of the process of inventing a new word for a brand name. Check out the Web site of a company that does this for lots of bucks like the Brand Institute.
4. Include an obvious word. If you are a marketing company, why not use “marketing” somewhere in your company name? Sometimes, we try way too hard to be clever and end up being way too vague. Of course, if you do a lot of things or plan to do a lot of things, use a broader term such as “Productions” or “Agency.”
5. Reserve various domain name spellings. If there are several ways your company name could be spelled or misspelled, reserve those domain names and have them all point to your main Web site. You can get multiple domain names for as little as $10 per name and have them point for anywhere between $15-25 per name. Invest - you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches in the future.
6. Reserve as many domain suffixes as you can. While “.com” is still the absolute best domain name suffix and “.net” and “.org” not too far behind, look into the new ones such as “.biz” and “.info.” Reserve as many as you can without breaking the bank. Look at this as an investment in your brand and your brand’s online presence.
What other questions do you have about starting a business? Make sure you post them here in comments so we can address them and share our experiences and advice.
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