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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.
Creating great company names is just the beginning of what we do at Brandings. We want to see your business succeed well after your launch. It takes targeted strategic planning to position your startup for success. Just check out some of the recent brand names created by the Brandings Brand Development Team which have been planned for success:
But behind every great brand name is a great strategy. Many small business owners think that strategic planning is just for blue-chip companies; they couldn’t be more wrong. When starting a business, entrepreneurs often get so wrapped up in the functional details of their business that they fail to develop a strategic plan for their enterprise.
The central elements of strategic planning that large firms employ are essentially the same for small business. The real difference is the level of organizational complexity and the resources employed. For start-up owners there is good news and bad news.
First the good news … your new venture is likely to be markedly less complex than a multi-national conglomerate. So your strategic plan is going to be much easier to develop and execute.
Now for the bad news … in a large company there are teams of professionals involved in the strategic planning process. Big firms often have extensive staff assistance, professional support and financial resources. With most small businesses, it’s likely just you.
When thinking about strategic planning we advise small business professionals to take a page from the big players. It’s important to consider foundational factors and the application for your new business. You should be able to answer these:
What makes my organization great and what factors influence the competitive dynamic of my marketplace?
Why is it that having great high-quality products and competitive prices no longer guarantees competitive advantage? What does my firm need to do to gain and maintain a sustainable advantage?
How did once dominant firms fall from their lofty positions of industry dominance? How can my start-up avoid this path?
What are the characteristics of high-performance organizations -- irrespective of industry -- that enable them to consistently outperform others in their market? How can I apply these principles to my start-up?
What are the warning signals of strategic decline and performance, and can these declines be predicted and avoided?
For a startup to launch, grow and thrive it is essential that you identify the external environmental shifts that necessitate internal organization modification. Think about what is happening in your business environment and how your firm succeeds in this environment.
Key elements include environmental scanning and fully understanding the impact of external forces on your small business and the implications for your core firm competencies. Competitive advantage for your start-up (the value created by your firm that exceeds your cost of creating it relative to competitors) is not sufficient for long term success.
Our strategic planning consultants suggest you work to build a sustainable competitive advantage for your startup. The key elements of long-term sustainable advantage for your start-up are rooted in capabilities that are:
The more rare, unique and socially complex your start-up capabilities -- the more sustainable your competitive advantage.
If you would like a step-by-step business plan action plan for developing a business plan for your new venture, check-out this recent article. Strategic Planning for Small Business.