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Our experts share insights on naming, branding and starting a new venture.
Trap: Picking a Name That's Not Your #1 Choice.
If you select a name that was your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (or yikes) 6th or lower choice, you are sacrificing something. Keep in mind that your name is the keystone of your start-up. Don't sacrifice the success of your business on a second-tier company name.
Tip: Don't Be Different, Be Outstanding.
Any company can choose a name that's different. Your goal should be to select an uber-cool company name that stands head-and-shoulders above your competitors.
Trap: Don't Use Hyphens or Dashes in Your Domain Name.
If you use a domain name with a hyphen or a dash you're telling the world you couldn't obtain the non-hyphen domain name. Hyphens and dashes look unprofessional and will compromise your online status. They’re also incredibly difficult to communicate and you’re quite likely to be sending people to the wrong site, hopefully not your completion. Hyphens only stand as an obstacle between your customers and website!
Tip: Harmonize Your Company Name With Your Strategic Objectives.
Many start-ups fail to align their name with the key strategic objectives of their firms. A great name communicates a core message in a flash of a second.
Check back regularly for new start-up tips and traps to be avoided.
Finding a high-quality name for your business may just be one of the most important aspects in developing your company. In this article our naming experts share their insights on how you can get a name as good as your business.
The old adage that "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression" is a rock-solid truth when it comes to starting a new business and that goes for your company name as well. Rightly or wrongly -- potential customers will make an initial judgment about your company in a split-second and often what is the first thing your potential customers know about your business, your business name.
You may have outstanding product selection, exceptional customer service or a clear technological advantage ... but potential customers may never know about these qualities. They have likely already formed an initial impression of your business based on your business name and company logo alone. Let your company name get your foot in the door and let your product pull that door open.
"What is it that my business will do better than my competitors?"
This requires that you have a good understanding of your own capabilities and an understanding of your key competitors. Below you'll find a series of questions you'll want to ask of your own business, and from your answers you may be able to derive a good business name:
The more areas of advantage that you have over your competitors -- the greater the chance of initial start-up triumph. But, beyond just a competitive advantage, there is a great potential to find the best name for your business in your answers. Why not tout your competitive advantage right in your business name?
Looking long term and continued success, you'll want to consider how "sustainable" the advantage is. For example, a trademark or a patent is an exclusive right granted to you and is highly sustainable. On the other hand, if you provide superior customer service, your competitors could raise their service levels and diminish your advantage.
You'll also want to take an honest look at what your competitor does better than your start-up. You'll want to work on these areas or relative weakness before you start your business.
Finally, if you can't think of reasons why a customer should come to you over a competitor, you should give lots of thought to the viability of the concept.
Many of these questions you should be able to address just by looking at your Business Plan, but that will be addressed in another article.
Take a moment and think of all the places your company name and logo will "touch" a potential customer ... your business cards, website, stationery, e-mail, advertising, signage, brochures, media and so much more.
The individual point of contact between your firm and a potential customer is what we call a "touchpoint." Each touchpoint is an opportunity for you to make a powerful and compelling message about your company.
The right impression could make the difference between the success and failure of your start-up. Also potential customers see your company name, domain name and logo first ...
You need every advantage when you launch a new business. Start with a good company name, domain and logo that communicates the right message to all your stakeholders at every touchpoint -- whether it's a mug, website, uniform, van or signage.
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