Choosing a company name should take more thought than signing for a package

posted by Lauren Rauseo on: 02/01/10 in category: just good business | tags: ,

If I were just starting out my business (you may be thinking that I haven’t been around for decades, and, if we’re being technical, I really only began focusing on my business for about as long as I’ve had the three containers of Yoplait yogurt currently in my fridge, but still, it seems like a long time), I think I would choose a different name.

It’s not that I don’t love my initials (rather, my former, pre-married initials); everyone who knows me would tell you I love them. And please, if you run into me, feel free to call me LBK and I’ll answer with a smile. It’s just that I’m beginning to realize that although these three letters hold much significance to me, and perhaps to all the people on my family and friends calling plan, they really don’t mean a whole lot to anyone else.

This epiphany has recently come to my attention as my client base expands to include a number of initial- or acronym-based businesses, all of which require me to stop and carefully consider the letters before typing an email or sending a proposal. And if I can’t remember the first letter in each word of your business name (and I’m being paid), then maybe your customers are having a hard time, too.

You may be wondering what kind of right I have telling you how to choose your company name, when I’ve clearly not put as much thought into my own. But you see, my business was named long before I even had my own computer, let alone business cards with my name on them. I’ve been signing off as “LBK Designs” since I was able to write as much at the bottom of my childish doodles or on the back of a program I created for a school assembly. “LBK Designs” is as much a part of me as the chicken pox scar on my left cheek, or my signature attribute: the fact that I’m under five feet tall. So you see, when I made the decision to be a freelance graphic designer, I never really had a choice.

That being said, if you have no compelling reason to use a less than fabulous name for your business, keep reading…

Things to consider when choosing a company name

What does your company do? ABC & Associates could be a law firm, a dentist’s office, a contractor, a therapist, a pet groomer… Don’t make your customers guess what you do. Think about including your service in the name of your business.

However, when including your main service, don’t be too specific. What happens when ABC Pet Groomer decides to offer pet-sitting services as well? Suddenly, the name of the company is too limiting. Consider the growth of your company down the road.

What is your unique selling point? What makes ABC Pet Support (see how that allows room for growth?) different from XYZ Pet Support? If you’re not sure what makes you special, ask your clients why they give you repeat business. Maybe it’s your personalized service. Or your ability to take jobs at the last minute. Maybe it’s the way you send hard copy invoices splashed with The Gap’s grass scent (is that still out there?). Whatever it is, figure out a way to incorporate it into your brand.

Be reasonable. “Personal Service, Last-Minute, Grass-Scented Pet Support” is not going to fit nicely in a logo, and people will never remember your website. Boil it down to a few words, filled with meaning and your message.

So there are my two cents on the topic. I may not have followed my own advice this time, but I’m seriously chewing over a new business endeavor: Grass Roots Pet Services. I’m not totally sure the full variety of services we offer just yet, but I do know the basis of our business is to connect with the people and pets who are our clients. And, of course, all our products come with a complimentary outdoor-scented, pet-safe perfume.

About the Author

Lauren Rauseo is your one-stop shop for print design, websites, HTML email, and more. When she's not busy working on client projects, Lauren enjoys running, doing yoga, drinking a soy white mocha, and having a dance party in the living room with her kids. Shake it off, people, just shake it off.

One Comment

  1. All good advice here. You are lucky that you started your business a while ago. These days virtually every combination of 3-initial names is taken and anything longer than 3 initials is corporate suicide.

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