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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What's In A Business Name

While it is fun and exciting to brainstorm with a few friends or business partners about what to name your new business, is it really that important what you name it?

A business name is like a bathroom at a gas station. If the bathroom is clean, no one cares. They aren't spending money for bathrooms, they are spending money on convenience items and gas. People just expect the bathrooms to be clean. But, if the bathroom is on the dirty side, then people are dramatically less likely to return in the future because they refuse to tolerate the mess.

If a business name is acceptable, then people really don't care what it's named. A law firm should be two to three names like Crane, Pool & Schmidt. It sounds like a law firm you want representing you. A construction company can use names or describing factors such as John Laing Homes or Quality Design Homes. There are unwritten social guidelines that have to be followed. For example, you shouldn't have a doctor's office named Totally Extreme Urology Clinic, but Extreme Pizza works.

I recently came across an event that had a name I wasn't quite sure about. The White Privilege Conference to me sounded like a Neo Nazi conference filled with a bunch of southern red necks wearing bed sheets as hoods. Finally I determined it is quite the opposite, but at a first glance it turns off the potential customer.
No one cares if your name fits the unwritten laws of business naming just like no one really cares that your bathroom is clean, but if your business name is outside the norm, you'd better have a really good marketing strategy to brand yourself and convince customers it's okay to shop for pet supplies at the Vicious Animal, or be prepared to lose business. Your customers will be more concerned about the quality of product and service they receive than who to make the check out to.