How important is a good business name?
Whats in a business name? It is the most important thing when you build and grow a business, right? Wrong, the name is not important, what you do and how you do it is important.
Of course a good strong name does not hurt if you pitch your idea for Venture Capital or perhaps crowdfunding, but I have experienced during my career many cases a brainstorming session with clients starts with finding the right name.
Just use a simple, amusing code-name
“Barking Dog”, “Mooing Cow” and the ever popular “Hot Cola” are just a few of the code-names I have started or working on with friends and colleagues.
None of these things launched with this name of course. Whether it was a public idea, a specific project for a customer or a personal project, the name itself came to during development as the project evolved. This also prevented “sticking” to the name and the original idea, it allowed for a transition
It is natural to want to find the name first, and then go from there, but in reality many ideas fizzle out for one reason or another. Perhaps the idea becomes too complex to be viable for a business, the idea already developed by someone else or the market is simply not big enough.
Are you not happy now that you spent time finding the -perfect- name for a project that never went anywhere? At least you have the name, right?
Perhaps its just me and my family
I come from a family where both my mom and my dad had or are running their own companies. I guess being self-employed kind of runs in my blood. Although I have had a couple of jobs in the past, most of my professional career I have been self-employed in Denmark, Spain and now in USA.
I thought my parents were boring in regards to picking a name for their businesses. I remember thinking my dad spent surprisingly little time and effort in naming his company. I ended up spending a lot of time and I thought my ideas were good, and that it was important to have a good company name, because that was important when you were a kid.
I was wrong. I can see that now, my dad knew that the importance was in building the company and the name was less relevant. Perhaps he intended to change the name later on, maybe not. He never changed the name.
In the end his company name was “Firma Bent Koudal”. Thats the Danish name, the best translation to English would be “Company of Bent Koudal”. My dads full name is Bent Koudal so you can see why I thought that name was horribly uninspired.
I was wrong of course
Not only was I wrong, but there was an additional benefit that I did not realise until years later. The branding value. My dad always produced quality work, it was important to him that everything that went out of his workshop was of high quality.
That gave my dad a good name and that allowed him to run his business for many years, all by the help of his name. He built his brand around him and his name and company became intertwined. He never once did any advertising all business came by word-of-mouth and he ran his business successfully for decades.
My mom was no better. When it was her turn to start up her own business, she went straight to “Firma Betty Koudal”. She uses a different name now though, but her name is still in the company name. Maybe she remembers me giggling and decided to change the name.
I was no better, and kept my name in the company title as well through almost 10 years. In that time, I got all my work through word of mouth referrals, and spend very little time doing any marketing.
A new company in a new place and a new time
With my new company I do things a little differently. My new company was named with the unintentional help of my wife. I had to have a unique name to register my company under, and I spent less than a few minutes on choosing the name. “Larsik” is a Russian nickname version of my name. Very original, right? 🙂
3 helpful tools for startup company names or domain names
This is a short list with cool online name generators. Some of these actually check if the company/product name you like has available domain names.
Easy to use, this online tool helps discovering new names for your company a lot easier. From their About page:
Naminum is a company, startup and website name generator designed to make your namestorming sessions smoother.
I have used BustAName for a long time. Its very easy to use. You can enter different names in groups, choose which TLD to look for, .com, .net. etc.. You can even get a list of synonyms to get even more results.
The different combinations are tested and the domain names you see are available to buy right now.
These tools are a great help when you are looking for a new company or product name.
These days things have changed, particularly if you work in the technology sector. You need a clever name, right?
You do need a good name or catch-phrase to help branding you or your company.
If you have a good product, story or idea you can get exposure to thousands of people through Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or whatever social media is relevant now when you read this.
Constantly improving your business online and working with Search Engine Optimisation and social media can be complex and time consuming, but it is worth the effort for reaching your target audience.
So, a good name does not hurt, but your mentality towards your business, your work and your clients is what matters.