Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

February 3, 2017

How To Avoid The #1 Mistake People Make Naming Their Business

How to avoid the money drain of rebranding. 

Think Big. Nope even bigger than that. When clients come to me to re-name their business 90% of the time it’s because they didn’t think big. They had limiting beliefs and it shows in their name. They were blinded by their fear of failure and just wanted to get their red pin on the map, that didn’t allow for the ability to go anywhere they want to on the map. Before you choose a final name check in with your mindset.  Change your mindset from “start-up” to “industry leader.” Naming is more than getting a great name. You are declaring something into being. Make sure your declaration is free of fear and Buddha clear.

Names that are tied to a geographic location keep you pinned down.

Many re-name client of mine have tied their name to a specific location. They had success, their confidence has been bolstered and only now they can see they can franchise it and grow their market share exponentially.  But not with a name like “Spackenkill High School Corner Store.” That’s a made up name using my actual high school. We had a store we all called the corner store. I have no idea what its actual name was, but it’s nickname “The Corner Store” did inspire me to name the Stouffer’s Corner Bistro microwave meals. You can see how tying it in with a location can give you an IN with the initial market but if you want to expand you’re out of luck.

Names that follow a trend limit your growth over time.

What’s cool today is passé tomorrow. Would you put the word fat into any of products for a food company? How about Phat in a hip hop brand? Slang words are a big temptation for people launching their first business. You might be thinking I’d never name my business or product a slang word. But an industry buzzword is nothing more than professional slang. If everyone is saying it now, then it’s going to get old and soon. It will eventually be a name that dates you in the past. If you have a dated name, don’t despair. There are ways to modernize it. You can run campaigns that breathe new life into it. If you’re naming your business or a new product let’s set you up for success.  Let’s think bigger than just being hip now, think bigger than being cutting edge this year, think about having a deep meaning that lasts forever.

Names that act as product descriptions keep you boxed in.

Another example of thinking too small is being uber descriptive and leaving out the aspirations. What if you made the best red rubber balls in the world and you named your company the Rubber Baller Bouncer. Then you discover that the material in the balls can also make the world’s best Olympic gym flooring, or create a lasting protective lining in MRI machines. You are in a new market and the playful descriptor name isn’t going to cut it. Rebranding takes huge money and effort and almost always costs you market share.  Yes, you could name the MRI machine coating a different company name but that also costs you more money and you lose the benefit of growing your established business. You essentially start from scratch. No fair. No fun. Let’s go back and say you make the world’s best red rubber ball and you name it toward its aspirations, essence, benefits, or poetic meanings. You name it Alast (I named a polymer Alast, it’s in everything including medical equipment) Phoenix, Everbound, or Sprinq. These names are expandable. They can mean rubber balls, or springy gym floors, or MRI machine lining. The point is that your business will grow in ways you don’t yet see. If you doubt it just look at your life. Were there any curve balls? You probably found a great many surprises along the way. I’m willing to bet that you grew in new directions out of every surprise life threw you. You’re an innovator it’s your nature. So how can you possibly think you can see the future of your company. Name big. Name for expanse. Expand is what you do.

Today’s Wingspan

I will name my life/my business/my product/my day as big as I want it to be.