Launching 5

Name your business

This sounds a lot easier than it is.  This is a BIG decision, and you should give yourself lots of time to brainstorm and research.  Grab your notebook, and jot down every name that comes to you – the good and the bad.  You never know – you may hate it today, but you may love it tomorrow.

Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Choose a business name that resonates with you, but ALSO one that will resonate with your potential clients.  A name that makes sense to you but means nothing to brides and grooms may not be helpful.
  • Google is your friend.  You’ll want to ensure that the name you fall in love with isn’t already taken in your market, or a nearby market.  Eventually, you’ll have to do a name search at a corporate registry to determine if that business name is available to use, but you can save yourself time and money by doing your own basic research first.
  • Stay away from cliches.  Seriously, I’m begging you.  I can assure you, these names have been used to death in this industry.
  • Make it memorable.  If your business wedding business name is hard to remember, you’re just making it harder for yourself when it comes time to market your business.
  • Keep it short and sweet.  Remember, you’ll likely use your business name in your website address and email address.  People are not super thrilled when they have to type hello@ohmygoshthisbusinessnameisverylongandcomplicated.com to contact you. I promise.
  • Consider the name from all angles.  What emotion does it evoke?  Does it have more than one meaning? Some words evoke not-so-positive feelings.  For example – the word Affair.  Though it means “party or event” on one hand… on the other hand, it can also make people think about cheating partners. Not exactly what you want your potential couples to have in the back of their mind.
  • Think twice before using your own name.  In some cases, this works really well – but first and foremost, check and make sure that your domain is available (IMO you should purchase your name domain (firstnamelastname.com) regardless).  The other thing to consider is there may come a time when your business expands.  For instance, if you are a wedding planner and one day add other planners, it can become an issue.  If you’re called Suzy Q Weddings and build a brand around you and your name, clients are going to want to work with Suzy Q, not Donna J.  Additionally, it can be much harder to sell a business that has been branded with your personal name.
  • Don’t ask for a million opinions.  Seriously, I mean it.  YES, it’s important to get feedback, but I would recommend you don’t put this to a committee.  Ask a few trusted friends or other business owners.  Take their concerns into consideration, but ultimately, you’re the one who is going to have to live with your decision every. single. day.
  • Don’t be afraid to change it.  If you choose the wrong name, change it sooner than later.  Don’t force yourself to keep it just because it’ll be a pain to fix it.
  • Use a dictionary and a thesaurus.  When I was looking for a name for my first wedding planning company, after discarding close to 75 names, I ended up finding the perfect one by randomly opening my dictionary.  I kid you not!  It was perfect, and I knew it the second I saw it.
  • Visualize your brand.  Your business is more than just a name – in Part 2 we’re going to talk about building your brand – but it’s important that you keep this in mind.  Your business name needs to fit with your brand identity and positioning within your market.

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