to Avoid a Business Naming Disaster
by Marcia Yudkin, Head
Stork, Named At Last
An entrepreneur of my acquaintance, in a rush to get his new
company up and running, launched his new online publishing
venture with a press release and great industry fanfare.
Not three days later, he received the kind of letter business
owners dread: a cease-and-desist request from the lawyer
for a company that said the name of the new venture infringed
on their trademark. Ouch!
My colleague held emergency brainstorming
sessions with his cronies, registered a new domain, announced
the name change, only to receive a barrage of criticism from
British and Australian colleagues that for them, the new name
had negative and even somewhat obscene connotations. He
changed the company name and corresponding URL again.
Your Product, Company or
online course clues you
in on what to consider (and
why) when changing an
identity. Course is
available on demand, 24/7.
The moral of the story: Names matter.
In your inventor’s zeal for getting the technical stuff
right, don’t leave a blank for the company name and then
pick one at the last minute. Take the time to choose a
business name that has these characteristics:
Suggests the content or subject area of
Makes a positive impression on your target
Can be easily spelled and pronounced
If the company will mainly do business
online, corresponds to an available domain
Is legally available for use
Tips for Brainstorming Names
Simply follow these steps:
1. Find 8-10 company names that you
like – not necessarily in your own industry.
2. Analyze the type or formation of
these names. For instance:
Google, Yahoo – short, sounds humorous
Dr. Pepper, Green Giant – based on a
Done Yesterday, Call Caren! – describes a
result or says what to do
Speedy Muffler, One Stop Frame Shop –
states the competitive advantage
A Quiet Touch, Tranquility Day Spa –
emphasizes a feeling
Queen of Clean, A Hire Authority – catchy,
uses a meaningful rhyme or pun
Riviera Diamonds, Niagara Well Services –
evocative geographical reference
3. Use the patterns of the names you
like to think up new names that fit your line of work, target
audience, competitive strengths and personal preferences.
Always brainstorm dozens of possibilities, not just a few.
4. Run your candidates through the
criteria listed above. Get feedback from trusted
friends, clients and colleagues. Select your top choice
from those remaining.
Checking the Availability of Company Names
The surest way to avoid getting a
cease-and-desist letter is to hire an attorney to do a
trademark search. Refer also to these free online
resources for business name availability in various
Name your venture well!
Stuck on thinking up or choosing your new
company or product name? Get help generating a snappy
business name or powerful product name.
Copyright 2006 Marcia Yudkin. No
reprinting or republishing without written permission.
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