Chapter 7) Choosing the Right Company Name

Chapter 7) Choosing the Right Company Name

Photo by Toby Law

Bringing Hobbes to Life Tips

1. Pick a name that relates to your product or service. You want to make sure the customer can easily identify what you are selling.

2. Names can be changed over time. The original name of Yahoo was Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.

Picking a name for your company can be really easy or insanely difficult. For those of you who are old enough to remember the Yellow Pages, company names that started with the letter A were often picked first when someone was looking up the need for a service like a plumber. Many people would just pick the first name they saw and as a result “AA Affordable Plumbing” was coming to your house to fix your leaky sink.

There are lots of different opinions on picking a company name. Some will say you should create a brand new name such as what Google did while others suggest picking a name that has symbolic meaning such as Nike. Other scenarios including how Starbucks got their name was from a character in the book Moby Dick. As it turns out, the author Herman Melville picked the name from the Starbuck family who resided in Nantucket, MA (and a quick aside, my college roommate Bill Starbuck was a descendant from that original Nantucket family and still has a family home there). Bill himself has a website he created 20 years ago just out of college called http://nantucketer.com which sells items related to the island of Nantucket. His business name directly supports what he is selling where companies like Google, Nike and Starbucks all had to build their brand before you knew what they were all about- even though it’s hard to imagine not knowing what they do nowadays.

Photo by Kal Visuals

Most likely you don’t have the marketing dollars to build your brand so make it relevant to what you are selling or personal to you to make it more meaningful. For Matthew, he picked his name, Summerfield’s Toys, after his favorite stuffed animal, Summerfield, which was originally named from the street his grandmother lives on. With Michael, his business was selling nature photography and we tossed around a few names before picking touch of nature photography by michael fiore. He wanted all lowercase for the way it was printed on any documents. In the case of my family’s former business, Fiore Brothers, the simplest idea is to just name it after you.

My great grandfather and his brothers family business selling fuel oil and coal in Staten Island NY, picture circa 1952

There are two other things to consider, uniqueness and is it available across all social platforms. For uniqueness, find out if the name is already taken. For example, picking the name Tony’s Pizza, will be one of hundreds around the country and difficult to differentiate your pizza from someone else named Tony. The other recommendation is to google your proposed name on all of the major search engines as well as the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You want to make sure nobody has your name already.

My next post will cover how to create a logo that matches your company, product or service and your personality. If you have a story to share or question, post in the comments section or email me at [email protected]

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