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What’s In A Name?

If you ask several different people who are already in business how they decided upon the name for their business, each one will have a reason as to why and how they chose that name and you will get several different answers. Everyone has a story behind how they chose their own business name. Even if the business is named after their birth name, there's a reason why that was done.

When you open a business, in a sense, you are causing a new birth to begin. This new birth was created from an idea alone by you or your associates. It will have its own bank account, its own federal identification number, its own credit accounts, its own income and its own bills. On paper, it’s another individual! Just as if you were choosing a name for your own unborn child, you need to spend a considerable amount of time on deciding what you will name your own company.
One of the first and probably the most obvious reasons that you need to establish a great name is because it’s your initial identification to your customers. No one would want to do business with someone if they didn't at least have a company name. This makes you look like an amateur and can paint a picture that you may be someone who is very unprofessional and perhaps even unreliable. Even if you call your company "Kevin's Lawn Service," a company name has been established and you are indeed a company. People will therefore feel more comfortable doing business with you.
Secondly, a business name normally is an indication as to the product or service you offer. "Debbie's Daycare," "Just Shoes," "Handy-Man Fix It Company," "Neighborhood Laundry," "Melissa's Gift Boutique," and "Number 1 Pizza" are all examples of simple business names that immediately tell the customer what product you offer.
The type of business you have should be somewhere in your name. For example, my company, Motivation-In-Motion, Inc is my training and consulting firm. From the name, you can tell that my company provides some form of motivational product. If you are starting up a marketing company, a name that emphasizes that you are in marketing may be smart. For example, if your first name is Paul and your wife’s name is Debbie you may want to name your company P & D Marketing or if your last name is Smith you may want to name your company Smith Marketing Group.

The examples above are to get your juices flowing and give you some ideas, most people, however, will choose the simple approach when naming their business. They use their name, their spouse's name, their children's names or a combination of these names when naming a business. The national hamburger-restaurant chain "Wendy's" was named after the owner's daughter.

Research has proven that these "cutesy" names are not the best names to use for a business. Many experts claim that it makes the business look too much like a small "mom-and-pop" operation. However, this depends on the business. If you are selling something that demands this mood or theme to appeal to your market, it's best to use this approach.

Names like, "It Makes Sense Cleaning Solutions," "Direct Dry Cleaners," "Magic Carpet Cleaners," "Two Dude’s Dog Walking Service," "The Candy House," "Collectables and Treasures," and "Strike It Right Bowling Lanes" are all good examples of catchy names. These types of names relate to a specific product or service and also serve as a type of slogan for your business. This is a big help when marketing.

When you name a child, you may not decide upon a definite name until after they are born. You do this because a name is sometimes associated with a type of personality. When you name a business you may need to wait until you have a product or service to sell and then decide upon a business name before going into the business itself because your business name should give some clue as to what product or service you are selling. A business named "Cary’s Collections" normally wouldn't sell car parts and a business named "Cut and Dry" would not sell knitting supplies.

To generate ideas - begin looking at business signs everywhere you go. Notice which ones catch your eye and stick in your mind. Try and figure out "why" they stuck in your mind. Naturally, the business "Pizza Hut" sticks in your mind because it is nationally known. These don't count! Look around and notice the smaller businesses. Take your time. Within a few days you should be able to come up with a few potential business names.

Then, when you finally find a few names you really like, try reciting them to other people and get their opinion. It won't be long until your business will have the proper name that will carry it through its life!

To Your Success!

Pam Lawhorne

© 2006 Pam Lawhorne. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author: Pam Lawhorne is the President and CEO of Motivation-In-Motion, Inc a training and consulting firm geared towards insuring the success of new entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is a business strategist and marketing consultant with over a decade of experience in small business development, sales, marketing and management.

She empowers individuals with the skills that are necessary to successfully launch, expand or increase sales for their business.

For more information on starting your own business please order her new book “From Minimum Wage To Getting Paid! - How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur With No Money, Education Or No Experience!” Portions of information in this column came from her book. Visit her online at

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