What’s in a business name?
More than you may think.
Here’s another post where we share our histories for common benefit.
Today we’re talking business names.
The object of this game is to learn how and why we named our businesses.
And whether these names have done all they should.
I’ll go first, then hand over to you.
Foundation & Empire
I got nicknamed Feisty for being inordinately enthusiastic about everything.
As I tired of 9 to 5 in Corporate Land, I fantasised about running my own show with my own rules.
One such rule was to call my business whatever the hell I wanted.
So it was with great pleasure that I registered The Feisty Empire on 8 July 1999.
I had no fears it had already been taken.
Nor that anyone would steal it.
In choosing my name, I embraced Feisty to symbolically kill off the Paul who was so miserable doing human resources work in automotive factories.
I added Empire to:
- Honour my classical education.
- Have little, inside, sole-trader jokes with myself.
- Give me a name I could grow into.
These puerile, self-indulgent motivations offered nothing to prospective clients.
Nor did my first logo:
Oh dear …
Exposed to the chill winds of commerce, I quickly discovered my name and logo were … unhelpful.
Adam kindly sorted out my logo and added the brilliant Fighting Words tagline. Now my brand actually meant something to someone other than me. And so I pressed on.
The frisson I thought I’d feel at crusty accountants writing huge cheques to a firm with a funny name didn’t eventuate.
There were no huge cheques.
Instead, there were tiny jobs which took years to grow into loyal clients.
In setting up shop, I never realised I was swapping one boss for dozens. Nor that these bosses had more power and were more demanding than any I’d ever encountered.
They were, of course, my clients.
Having asked trusted advisors about my business name, I now realise many people find it ludicrous, aggressive, unprofessional or all three.
I strongly suspect this has cost me a great deal of revenue.
Yet, after 11 years of incessant promotion, I feel my brand and I have too much history to part ways.
I’ve tinkered with ‘normal’ names, but never with enthusiasm.
And each time that one-in-a-hundred client says, ‘I LOVE your business name!’ I think I am on the right track after all.
My services are very special, and so are my clients. So why not my name?
I could argue that anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t deserve me.
But I’ve learnt the (very) hard way to discard such a dangerous, costly view.
So, I guess I’m succeeding despite my name. Earning repeat business from my skills and ethics.
Would I do it again? I don’t think so: not knowing what I do now.
Then again, if I knew then what I know now about business, I’d still be rotting and fretting in my old day job (if it still existed).
How about YOU?
- What’s in your business name?
- How did you choose it?
- How has it helped?
- How has it hindered?
- Would you choose it again?
It’s time to play … Tune That Name!
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire