Few things are as important in business as the manner in which your business is perceived. That’s why we strongly believe in an effective business identity. A business identity consists of not only a good name, logo, business cards and letterhead, but also includes things like how you market your services and how you deal with your clients.
Below we’ve gathered some information and resources that allow you to build an effective business identity.
1. The Business Name
The business name is important. Large companies spends thousands, if not millions of dollars on creating effective and memorable business names. Two well know examples are “Verizon” (which used to be GTE) and “Altria” (which used to be the Phillip Morris tobacco company).
Choosing a Name
It sounds trivial, but what you name your business can have a big impact on how your company is perceived by customers. In fact, many entrepreneurs will obsess for hours on what to name their company.
It’s a very important decision. Think about it, if you were a customer deciding between “Bob’s Computer Consulting” or “CompFast Solutions Corporation”. Who would you want to do business with? Would you want to have your DVD player repaired by a company called “VCR World Inc.”?
What if you wanted to do business with a supplier and your choices were between “Bloomberg Data Solutions Inc.” or “Mike’s Computer Service”? The name matters.
Things to Consider
Choosing a business name can be fun! Follow the steps below and you’ll be on your way to a great sounding business name:
Make sure the name is easy to understand and remember: Because you want your business name to be passed along easily by word-of-mouth, make sure it is easy to understand and repeat. Those with unusual names know this can present a challenge but can also provide for a memorable business name, once people have it in their minds. Also, shorter names are usually more memorable and less likely to be sources of confusion.
Choose a name that can survive the growth of your company: As in the example above, if you start out as a VCR repair company and eventually broaden out to repair DVD players, sell DVD’s or offer upgrades; then the name VCR World Inc. won’t do you any good. Choose a name that is broad enough to give your business growing room and narrow enough to retain the power to communicate its focus. Also, make sure the name will outlast current fads or trends. What will happen to “Jan’s Radical Clothing Design” in 5-10 years? It’s likely that radical will either have changed meanings or will sound
Make it unique: As a business owner, you’ll be required to file legal forms indicating your business intent and the fictitious name you’ve chosen. Your name must also be unique, since two businesses in the same geographic area cannot legally operate under the same name. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of three or four alternate business names when you go to file locally or incorporate your business.
Test it:Try it out with potential customers, friends, neighbors or whomever. Say it outloud, act like you have to answer the phone saying “Thanks for calling COMPANYNAME”. Does it sound right? Does it make sense? Does it convey what you do or want to impress upon people?
Business Naming Resources
2. The Logo
Along with a great sounding name for your business, an effective logo can do wonders for the impression your company makes and serve as a pivotal point in your marketing efforts. Some businesses are known only by their logos, think of the McDonald’s “Golden Arches” or the Nike “Swoosh”.
Don’t make the mistake so many first-time entrepreneurs make by having either no logo at all or a cheesy, home-made logo. Do it right from the start and impress your competition and especially your potential customers.
3. The Trademark