Naming Tips – Number 30 in a Series

As promised, I’m setting down criteria for naming companies and brands in a sub-series within the Naming Tips Series.

This time I’m displaying the criteria for naming small businesses as proposed by Bill Gallagher, writing for Guerrilla Marketing.

Here are his “Seven Secrets to Great Business Names”.

1. Make sure the name tells what you do
2. Make your name expandable (timeless)
3. Avoid name trends
4. Make it an easy name (to pronounce, to spell, to remember)
5. Make it clear (see 1.)
6. Make it define or pre-empt you market niche
7. Make it easy to find in directories (if appropriate)

Now remember Mr. Gallagher is writing for small businesses that are looking to minimize their marketing expenses and still get a good ROI for their dollar.

Because of that, I can excuse his first and his sixth criteria.

Generally, I would look beyond a name that describes what you do or defines your market niche. Not only is that limiting, it really makes it difficult to differentiate your business if you confine yourself to business/niche descriptors. You’ll run into conflicts and names that sound very much like the one you select. Customers won’t make the subtle distinctions. And as we all know, confused prospects won’t become customers.

But I will make an exception for small businesses with limited markets, both geographic and functional markets. If your targets are small enough (and will only be those markets in the future) you can probably get away with it.

I would, however, be more comfortable replacing number 1) with “Make sure the name conveys your business personality”, and number 6) with “Make it reflect the major differentiator for your business”.

Now I have criteria that will enable my company to grow larger and prosper without having a restrictive or banal name.

The other criteria I can embrace without reservation.

Martin Jelsema

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