If Your Name Sucks, So Will Your Profits

If Your Name Sucks, So Will Your Profits

What you name your business is very important. Not to argue with Shakespeare, but the name you choose, unlike that of a rose, will indeed determine if it smells sweet or not.

Naming any business can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be insanely complicated. There are companies out there that will build such fear and hype, then charge thousands or literally tens of thousands of dollars to help you select a name. But it shouldn’t cost you any money at all and it shouldn’t keep you up at night

Follow these simple guidelines when selecting the name of your new company, and relax.
1. Brand-storm it. Like brainstorming, start jotting down names that you like. Do not judge them, just write them down. Let them flow. I would recommend coming up with at least 30-40 in this stage.

2. Make sure it’s available. Then, start removing names from your list by seeing if they are even available. You can do this in two ways:
a. Domain search. You’re going to want to have a name for your company that you can brand on your website as well. Go to www.godaddy.com and on the home page you can search to see if an acceptable URL is available. Just make sure that any variant you choose is available as a “.com” (NOT .org, .net, .TV, etc.). Also, if you cant find a suitable domain name, nix that business name altogether.
b. Web search. Type in the name you are considering and see if any websites come up. You would definitely not want to select a name that some other company is already using, regardless of their domain name.

3. Keep it simple. The name should be simple so avoid naming your company after something only industry insiders would know or appreciate. Resist the urge to name your business after the Greek god of productivity or war.

4. Make it representative. I named my company “Innermetrix” to represent the fact that we provided hard metrics that measured inner strengths and talents. The best names stand for what you believe in, and have real meaning for what you do or who you help.

5. Make it catchy. Avoid using cliché’s or hyperbole in naming your business. Peak, Apex, Pinnacle and Summit are descriptive, imply great success and height, but they’re also insanely worn out and over used. On the other hand, don’t go so far in the other direction that you end up with “Johnson Consulting” necessarily. Part of effective branding involves separating yourself from the crowd and standing out. Yahoo or Google selected great names as far as standing apart and being catchy, while not making them complicated at the same time.

6. Make it corporate. Many consultants opt to name their consulting firm after themselves. While probably the norm for legal PLLCs, calling your business “John Smith Consulting” implies you are the business…and only you. Follow the old adage of “playing big until you are” and shoot for a name that represents a legal entity, not a human being. I know, Macy’s Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg and many other very successful companies were named after their founders, but you aren’t entering the business field a hundred years ago.

7. Don’t restrict geography. Sometimes new consultants tie their brand to a specific city or region (e.g., New York Management Inc. or Southeastern Consulting). Unless you plan to only do business in the same geographic area, don’t. As an independent business consultant you will quickly find that you have no geographic boarders, which is one of the great aspects of this industry.

Take your time and choose wisely as the last thing you want to do is change your name down the road, after building all that brand recognition, goodwill and reputation.

How did you choose your business name?

About Jay Niblick

Jay Niblick is principal and co-founder of Innermetrix and best selling author of What's Your Genius and The Profitable Consultant. Learn more about Jay Niblick here and connect via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.