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What's in a Name??

What’s in a Business Name?

Over the recent balmy holiday weather (cough) my attention was drawn to names, in particular, the names of boats, as I was by the sea. There is one in Crosshaven in Ireland called CurranSea or to be exact €urran$ea. There’s another one called Sea Sharpe and you can only assume that the owners are Mr Curran and Mr Sharpe, both with a great sense of humour. We passed one out on the harbour yesterday calling himself Aquaholic while hauling in copious numbers of mackerel. Mackeroholic more like.

So what should you call your business? Well it obviously depends on your business type or your customer profile .I often refer to Image: we have images in our mind’s eye of what the business and customers look like, their demographic and especially, geographic location. If you are setting up a business or, thinking of growing an existing one, it is worth looking at a google map of your present location. Peruse that for a while and consider where your customers are. More importantly, where do you think you are? Slowly enlarge the map until you are in The United States, Canada and then the World. Your image of your business changes.

Your business name will reflect your ambition, and because a business is initially all in your mind, the name will often define your direction, and ultimately your success.

So if you call yourself Land’s End Seafoods or something like that, your mind is in that location. You will then find yourself limiting your potential customers to that location.

However if you call yourself Atlantic Seafoods you have changed the image in your mind to a much larger market, and more importantly the perception in the minds of your customers. Nothing against Land’s End, by the way, it’s a wild and beautiful place!

Most businesses end up being the names or initials of the owners, which is a bit predictable. I did it myself, yes O.B. (sigh). Do draw up a list of 30 names, reduced to 10, reduced to 5 etc. Ask people, in particular your prospective customers what they prefer. It can be quite confusing. I was impressed to see a guy in Clonakilty (a small town in Ireland) has called his business Universal Tyres. Now that’s thinking big! Mars even?

The most entertaining ones must be hairdressers. Silk Cutz and Curl up and Dye are classics. Then you have the far out ones such as these ones in London: British Hairways, Crops and Bobbers and The Grateful Head. Closer to home we have Karizma and Hair Heaven. Talking Heads is a favourite of mine.

Whatever you do, do try to be original and don’t copy someone else. You may have to live with it for years!

Owen O’Brien

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