Naming your business

When I embarked on the journey of conceptualizing Business Solutions Etc, the challenge wasn’t just about business plans or service offerings—it was naming my venture. I found myself grappling with questions: Do I choose a name that explicitly states the service I provide? Do I go for something intriguing that piques my curiosity? Or should it be more personal, like my own name? The vast world of Google offered varied opinions, but I sought something more definitive.

In my quest, I revisited an old classic—Claude C. Hopkins’s “Scientific Advertising.” If Hopkins doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve undoubtedly been influenced by his game-changing marketing concepts. Known as a copywriting legend, Hopkins introduced ideas like sampling, risk-free trials, and money-back guarantees. Despite being penned almost a century ago, his teachings remain profoundly relevant today.

From his insights, here are a few name classifications worth noting:

Narrative Names – Names that encapsulate a story or message. Think “Cream of Wheat” or “Dutch Cleanser.” These names are not just identifiers; they double as advertisements. They communicate the essence of a product or service and can be legally safeguarded.

Coined Names – These names, like Kodak or Lux, are initially void of meaning. Only through sustained advertising do they gain significance. However, without such backing, they remain ambiguous and don’t contribute to marketing efforts.

Ingredient-Based Names – As the name suggests, they highlight key components. Examples include “Syrup of Figs” or “Palmolive Soap.” However, since they focus on common ingredients, they’re less distinctive.

Personally, I have a soft spot for coined names. Their uniqueness and flair appeal to my creative side. Yet, Hopkins cautioned against them, viewing them as frivolous. He believed they could unintentionally trivialize a business, making it challenging for it to be perceived seriously.

The ideal, then, might be an original name that narrates a tale, acts as its own advertisement, and can be defended from rivals. Easier said than done, given the vast number of businesses and the scramble for distinct names.

Reflecting on it, had I been armed with these insights earlier, perhaps I would’ve opted for a more narrative name—like “Business Support At Your Service” (a bit on-the-nose, but illustrative). That said, “Business Solutions Etc” has grown on me and it resonates.

If you started with a coined or ingredient-based name and are contemplating a shift, but find your top choices already occupied, Hopkins has a suggestion: Use your own name. It signifies pride in your creation and often stands out more than a fabricated term.

I’m curious about your naming journey. Did it echo mine? How did you land on your business’s name? Share your thoughts below; let’s learn from each other!

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