Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:10

What's In A Name . . . Everything!

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A little over a decade ago I had an opportunity to work for a unique little start-up that provided technology to hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry. The company was ahead of its time; however, one of the things that stood out was its name. It would often elicit puzzled reactions and seemed to violate some if not all of the business naming conventions. For starters the name was difficult to spell. Though creative, the name had a hidden meaning that only the founders seemed to know. Lastly, the name was hard to pronounce. However, I would guess that none of that really matters when you go on to sell your company for $41 million. The following are some of my tips for naming your company for business success.

Determine a Goal for the Name

I have seen some business owners choose names for their companies that had little or no connection to what the company was all about. For this reason you will want to determine the purpose behind the name as it will often set the expectation for potential customers. Try and imagine the name of your company as the life-long label that it is and the bigger role it plays in the development of your brand.

  • Does the name describe who you are and give the reader a good idea of what you do? Trip Advisor helps travelers plan the perfect trip.
  • Is it easy to spell and pronounce? The names Nike, IKEA, and Coach come to mind.
  • Does the name inspire you to take action? The brilliance of YouTube is that it encourages you to broadcast yourself.
  • Does the name trigger an emotion or spell out a clear benefit? Netflix offers the convenience of your favorite movies all from your laptop.
  • Is the name sticky or catchy? Some names that come to mind include SoundHound, Groupon, and PayPal.

What’s Your Story?

I love a good story and never miss an opportunity to listen in on one. My story begins after realizing I’d had enough of corporate life. In getting my company off of the ground I would wake at the crack of dawn, fire up the coffee pot and spend a few hours working on my dreams before heading into the office. After three months of early mornings, it seemed only right that I name my company after the place and time where coffee and business converged, and thus The Entrepreneur Café, LLC was born. I don’t think that my company’s name follows all of the rules either but there is an exception to these rules. If the name you are considering has deep personal meaning as it relates to your business then by all means you should go with it.

A recent search turned up countless organizations with the name Tsunami in the title. When looking to name your company try avoiding names that incorporate national disasters. Be sure to weed out other questionable names that may leave readers with a negative connotation. Avoid names that might be seen as divisive in nature. Stay away from names that have a connection with individuals whose character has come under question? Lastly, try not to overused names or terms that have a connection with a particular region or period as it’s easy for the name to lose its uniqueness. Whether or not you have a well established business name it’s important to remember that these same naming rules can be applied if you are looking to launch a new product or introduce a new service.

Cavanaugh L. Gray

Cavanaugh L. Gray ( is the Director of Business Development for The Entrepreneur Café, L.L.C (877) 511-4820.  For more information on what makes a great start-up or to read a chapter from his new book The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives: 25 Tales to Help Entrepreneurs Start, Grow, and Succeed in Small Business log on to  For more information on how to start, grow and succeed in small business, ‘Like’ on Facebook, ‘Follow’ on Twitter @TheECafe or ‘Connect’ on LinkedIn.