If you have been running your business for a while, from time to time you may get fed up with it. You may find yourself disengaging and even wishing that you were doing something else. Perhaps the answer is to act like a startup.
Do you remember when you first started your business? Scary, wasn’t it? Sheer adrenaline propelled you forward. You put in long hours and kept hammering away until you had a successful enterprise on your hands.
Business and indeed human nature does not work in straight lines. Success comes and goes. Sometimes everything is ‘up’ and sometimes everything is ‘down’. If you find yourself in the doldrums, what would happen if you worked like a startup does, for the month ahead?
For a start, you have to find your passion for your enterprise once again. You would put in longer working hours. You may find yourself wanting to talk to everyone about your business. You would generate new ideas and ways of looking at challenges.
The trouble with having a successful business is that you can stop taking risks. The business owner can find themselves buried in bureaucracy and paperwork. The fun of it all can drain away. Perhaps this is why so many entrepreneurs sell their businesses once they have reached a certain size, only to start all over again.
One idea is to schedule a creative thinking session for your team or hire a business creative thinking speaker in order to help you and your colleagues to think outside of the box.
If you are a startup, or established organisation looking to launch a new enterprise, the big question is: “What should we call our new business?”
Is this driving you around the bend?
You can either use a logical approach and beat the problem to death using research, analysis and comparison. Or you can let your creative mind loose on the challenge.
Here are some different approaches to choosing a brand name:
* The founders’ name. For example, Abercrombie & Fitch (David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch); Adidas (founded by Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler); Bacardi (Don Facundo Bacardí Massó ); Dell Technologies (Michael Dell;) Disney (Walt Disney); Ford (Henry Ford); and John Lewis (department store).
* Invent a new word which sounds interesting. For example, Google, Kleenex, Oreo. A unique word is easier to trademark.
* Use Greek and / or Latin words i.e. Agilent Technologies.
* The ‘What it says on the tin‘ approach. British Gas; BP (British Petroleum); General Motors.
* Use initials (acronym), i.e. IBM (International Business Machines), ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries); FSB (The Federation of Small Businesses).
* Use a town, county or place name. However, bear in mind that countries and locations can get somewhat sniffy about this, even years afterwards. An example being the country Iceland and the company Iceland Frozen Foods.
* Use a fruit, animal, colour or astronomical name – the challenge of course being that most of them have already been taken. An example being one of my favourite hotels: The Pig.
* Combine two elements taken from the above into something original. This is where the magic comes in.
Here are some brand name considerations:
Brand name originality
Does the brand name stand out from the crowd? Are people likely to talk about it?
Brand name sound
How does the name sound? Ask family, friends and colleagues to pronounce your shortlist of brand names. Ask for their feedback.
Is the brand name easy to spell?
Some brand names are notoriously difficult to spell. This is a particular challenge when a customer is searching for their website.
Is the brand name memorable?
Some names are really catchy and memorable, aren’t they? Sadly, others are dull and boring. Always get some feedback – as other people will react differently to your brand name ideas.
Will the brand name work on the world stage?
There are many famous stories of brand names which, unfortunately, translate into something rude or offensive in another language. It doesn’t matter if you think that you will never trade abroad. In five years’ time, you may wish to. When you come to sell your business, the buyer may have global ambitions: why create a problem in this area? Don’t take a risk – always check.
Check domain names against your brand name ideas
The next step is to check website domain names. Ideally, you will want to be able to buy the best know TLDs (Top Level Domain, i.e. the last section of an internet domain name ) including .com and .biz in order to protect your brand. Many more TLDs are now available than used to be the case, including .global and .pro …which means that you have more choice. Therefore, if .com is taken by a non competitor in a different country, you could consider using a different TLD.
Can you trademark your brand name?
If you are creative and have invented and entirely new word or phrase: the answer is probably. (If you are in doubt, I work with an IP specialist who can find out for you).
It helps if you are a creative by nature
I have helped to name many enterprises, including The Marketing Compass. I had been thinking about this for months. One Christmas, I pulled a Christmas cracker with our eldest son, Ben and out popped a compass. How about joining ‘marketing’ and ‘compass’ together, I thought, as the brand is all about marketing strategy and direction. Here is the result: www.marketingcompass.co.uk …which you’re welcome to join, if you want to ask some questions about branding.
If you need some help – ask me.
See other blog entries by Nigel Temple on branding:
During my career, I have launched many businesses and I have advised thousands of startups. Many people have a desire to begin their own business. In addition, established businesses launch new companies all the time. There is something Darwinian about the whole process: a veritable horde of enterprises are launched each year. Few of them survive to see their 3rd birthday. Clearly, the daunting statistics don’t put people off. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. You will learn a great deal.
2. You will sharpen your creative thinking skills.
3. You will learn about marketing (a transferable skill), no matter how much you already know about this subject.
4. As the Hindu proverb says: “Patience is the only strength you will ever need.” Successful entrepreneurs know a great deal about patience.
5. You will improve your delegation skills. (You can’t do it all, can you?)
6. You will discover that money flows out of a startup like water from a fireman’s hose.
7. If you’re looking for excitement, believe me, launching a startup is an exciting experience.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot:
8. If it all works out you can become fabulously rich, beyond the dreams of avarice.
Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
Join the marketing conversation within The Marketing Compass community. (A great place for startups).
Talk to Nigel 1-2-1 about your startup / your marketing for £97 +VAT: www.navigatorplus.co.uk