(This article is the second installment of a 3-part guide, “Failure Proof Plan To Name Your Business”)
One of the main mistakes entrepreneurs make when coming up with a name for their businesses is that they fall in love with the first name they come up with, because they get overly attached to it. Doing that is like marrying the first person you fall in love with, which doesn’t always work!
I invite you to get it right the first time by being patient until you find a name that satisfies our 2 Stage Naming Formula.
STAGE 1: INTERNAL CLARITY
Achieving internal clarity starts off with your brand’s vision. Where is the future of your business? Don’t limit your business by giving it a name that’s based on what’s going on right now. Imagine what would’ve happened if Amazon had named themselves “The Online Bookstore.” Sure, this business started out selling books but clearly had goals to service more people.
Ask yourself the same questions that you would when choosing a partner that you would marry. What is that compelling future? Do you want to have babies? (More on that later). Where do you see your brand in five years? Where do you see your brand in ten years? This is important because when you choose that name for your business it will help you grow into it.
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “What if this business really took off?”
Speaking of vision and mission statements, do you know the difference? Take this fun quiz to find out.
Stand Out Factors
I see a lot of entrepreneurs redoing what one of their competitors have done. Think about how you can go out into the market and be different. In the early stages of working with my clients, I help them become the first, the best or the only in their market. Most importantly, I coach them and help them answer this question: Why would your customers care? Branding is about how you stand out and how you are different. Branding is the emotional IQ of your business so make sure your brand name is differentiated.
One of my favorite examples of this is my fellow Canadian, Louise Green. In 2008, she founded Body Exchange, a fitness program dedicated to the plus-size community and has since coached over a thousand women.
Alignment – Looking at your brand architecture
What if your business name had babies? What would you name your product and your services? I go more in depth into the topic of brand architecture here. To summarize: your products and services are created directly as a result of your brand. To help you consider your brand’s architecture early on, create a manifesto. A great example of this is one of my clients, One More Woman. Check out their full manifesto here.
As you can see, One More Woman helps women create million dollar businesses. The name of their services, Money Mastery and Money Talks are aligned with the mission statement and manifesto of their business.
Apple is another perfect example of this; the consistency in the names of their products – like the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad – demonstrate how brand architecture had been considered early on.
STAGE 2 – CUSTOMER LIKEABILITY
Try this: Once you come up with a name for your business, tell a few of your friends about it and call them up a few days later. Here’s the test: will they remember it? Try it! A likeable brand name starts with being memorable.
When Alexandra Jamieson hired me to rebrand her #1 hit podcast on iTunes, we came up with “Her Rules Radio.” This name has a reoccurring “R” sound which exudes the playful nature of her brand and makes it memorable. It also passes the two tests below.
One of the ways I see people making mistakes while exploring business names is with creative spelling in order to get the url (i.e., website address). This can actually work against you. Imagine telling your friends the name of your business for the first time. As soon as you tell them about it, instead of proceeding to tell them what inspired you to start it, you educate them:
“Yeah, it’s called Flickr, without the ‘e’… f – l – i -c – k – r?”
Do you want to forever spell out the name of your business? You do not! So try this: When you’ve come up with a memorable business name, put it through the “spell test.” That is, tell someone the name of your business and get them to spell it out for you.
Did they spell the name the way you want it to be spelled? This is important because when people type your business name into Google, you want them to actually be led to your website rather than another brand’s.
Imagine the conversation Alexandra Jamieson has when she shares the details of her podcast. Her Rules Radio! Instead of spelling it, people will want to know, “How did you come up with the name?!”
Say It Test
You’ll probably need a different group of friends to conduct this test so bear with me! Try this: If you write your business name on a piece of paper, do people consistently pronounce it the same way? And is that the way it is supposed to be pronounced?
Apparently, the greek yogurt Fage does not sound like ‘page’. But more like, FA-Hey. Many people I know eat this stuff every week and most have been saying the name wrong this whole time!
Bonus! Should you name your business after yourself?
I’ve worked with many business coaches to answer this question. If you are an author, a speaker, a coach or expert then it’s okay to name your business after yourself because as your business evolves and your brand has babies, you will remain constant.
For one of my clients, Dr. John Izzo, naming his business after himself was a good decision. Since his business revolves around his expertise as a corporate advisor, author and public speaker, he can create products and services (“babies”) without ever changing his name.
Another great example is Marie Forleo, host of her own hit web series, Marie TV. Marie Forleo is also a life coach, motivational speaker and author. Aside from her web series, she also created B-School and The Copy Cure for aspiring entrepreneurs.
After you achieved internal clarity and brainstormed for names that has customer likability (Stage 1 and 2), it’s time to take that name through the competitive landscape. In part three of the Failure Proof Plan To Name Your Business, I will take you through the final stage in creating a stellar business name.
When you’re ready, schedule a free consultation with me.
Want to know more about naming your business, branding your business, re-branding your business, branding a startup, creating a tagline, creating a manifesto, creating a vision statement, creating a logo, or anything else about getting your company where you want it to be? Please contact us today!