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Frequent Mistake #3 While Naming a New Company or New Product

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Frequent Mistake #3 While Naming a New Company or New Product

by Marcia Yudkin

"Your business name must be bold." Look around the Internet, and you’ll often find this advice. Your business name must grab people’s attention. Sometimes this is a valid guideline, especially if you are in the entertainment or fashion industries. It also helps to a certain extent in the technology world, for cool new gadgets. A bold name may certainly make things easier when it comes to seeking publicity.

Too often, however, I see this rule lead business owners to strain for an unusual name, just for the sake of attention. And the very unusualness of the name then becomes a serious liability.

More ordinary names can sometimes work out much better than far-fetched ones. Here are two examples of this phenomenon.

When consultant Susan Friedmann of Lake Placid, New York went out on her own, she christened her new company Diadem Communications. "Diadem means crown - a fitting name for what I felt was a crowning achievement," she recalls.

Unfortunately, however, the name meant nothing to potential customers. Most were unfamiliar with the word diadem and did not ask what it meant. Many didn't know how to pronounce it. More importantly, it did not clue them in on Susan's specialty – helping companies get results from exhibiting at trade shows.

"Going by name alone, no one would be able to determine the least bit of information about me, my company or the services we offer," she says.

Susan's new company name, The Trade Show Coach, communicates her expertise instantly. "I knew I needed a name that said what I did without people having to try and work it out." No longer does she need to explain her business focus after introducing herself and her company. And that’s a huge plus.

Graphic designer/web designer Eileen Parzek also decided she had made a mistake by getting too creative in her business name. For years, she went by the company name SOHO It Goes. Her tag line: Helping Small Businesses Make a Big Impression.

"Since I live in New York State, people assumed I meant SoHo, the neighborhood in New York City rather than Small Office/Home Office," she explains. "In addition, because I had to explain the name to everyone I met, that was an extra hurdle to being remembered."

She now does business under the name Business Design Studio. "Even though it's boring, I've gotten really good feedback so far on the new name. People understand it the first time they hear or see it," Eileen says. "And now when I leave a voice mail message or introduce myself, people 'get it.' What a joy!"

Before you reach deep for a highly original, offbeat name, consider whether something more straightforward can better help you reach your business goals. Why give yourself an obstacle to overcome rather than an asset? Why go for surprise rather than sense? Why insist that the name must be dear to you rather than clear for your potential customers? Sometimes, a name that is simple, plain and readily understandable is best.

Marcia Yudkin is Head Stork of Named At Last, a company that brainstorms catchy business names, product names and tag lines according to the client's criteria. For a systematic process of coming up with a snappy and appropriate new name or tag line, download a free copy of "19 Steps to the Perfect Company Name, Product Name or Tag Line" at www.namedatlast.com/19steps.htm .


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