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25 ideas for great brands
Looking for fresh consulting business names? Whether you’re giving a name to your upstart business or looking for ideas for consulting business names to rebrand your existing practice, it can help to review best practices. When it comes to choosing a consulting business name, you need to do more than thinking about just the words that appear on paper.
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- Identify your niche, mission statement and business direction. Before you dive into naming your consulting business, make sure you have a solid sense of your business, your market, your pricing, your goals and your direction.
- Look for a name that is easily understood. Good, clear names work better than invented terms, unless you have the brand power to help people understand.
- Avoid narrowing your business to a geography. If you need to move, expand or sell your business, a geographic name could become a liability. “Duluth Business Consulting” may be confusing if you move even a few cities away.
- Likewise, opt for a name that gives you some wiggle room. Some names can date your business – remember all the dotcoms? Others may limit future offerings. I used to hire a company named “Copytime” to do all my photocopies. I was shocked later when I discovered they could also do offset and digital printing, stationery, packaging and custom mailouts. It’s no surprise that they rebranded and grew the business when they came up with a name that showed they did more than print copies.
- Consider whether the name can deliver unexpected benefits. Early on with my business, I chose the name Abakai Management Company as an umbrella name for my other businesses. At the time, Yellowpages directories and online directories usually listed companies in alphabetical order. Since only AAA could come before “Abakai” and most professional consulting firms shied away from putting AAA in their names, I got tons of leads because I was first in directories under Marketing. “Abakai Management Company” sounded like it had been around for a while, compared to a lot of the dotcom names of the time. I eventually rebranded years later, but that name worked for a long time.
Likewise, you often see other companies listed in directories using similar tactics, such as A1 or AAA. This tactic is increasingly less important, but worth thinking about if you do work in a relevant field.
- Think about whether other people will join your firm or whether you’ll sell it. “Robin Smith Consulting” might work now, but what if you add a business partner or a few employees? Will you still be comfortable having your name on everything? If you go to sell your company, what brand equity will be lost when you leave, especially considering so much brand equity in smaller consultancies is tied up with the owner in the first place.
- Take a look at the international portability of your name. If you’re planning to do business with people from other countries or cultures, find out how the name translates. The Chevy Nova worked in the US, but it meant “no go” to Spanish-speaking customers.
- Stay away from puns, unless you’re a coffee shop. Witty names like Hazbeans and Higher Grounds might work for some, but a professional consulting firm needs a professional name. Find another way to stand out.
- Figure out whether you want to stand out or blend in. This will help you figure out if you want to go with something more memorable and out there – such as Menopause Chicks – or something more familiar – such as Acubalance Wellness Centre.
- Make it memorable. Choose something easy to remember, but stay away of anything so quirky that people remember it by “that place with the weird name”.
- Check to see if you can get social media handles. While marketing trends come and go, you don’t really want to find out that all variations on your name have already been taken on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels, if you really hoped to use them.
- Make sure the domain name is available – and make it a good one. If you can only get chosennamewithlongwordsstuffedbehindit.com or chosennamefromunexpecteddomain.ly, you may want to keep looking.
- Check to see whether the name has already been trademarked. Take a look at the US Patent and Trademark Office and the trademark office in the countries where you will do business. While a trademark need not be registered to be enforceable – prior use goes a long way – a quick review of what’s already trademarked can save you from future hassle.
- Find out if anyone else already uses the name. Avoid choosing a name that is already in use. It can lead to mix-ups and brand confusion. And another company’s prior use of the name may be enough to establish a trademark, so you’d just be shaping up to get into legal trouble later. Choose something that stands out.
- Ensure the name is available where you plan to do business. In most places, you need to register a business name, although there are some allowances for using your own name. Find out whether you can register the name with your state, province or country.
- Choose something easy to spell. You and your employees will soon tire of spelling your name over and over. And you want people to be able to get your name right in emails and social media. So choose something easy to spell.
- Find a name with a positive connotation. Give clients a shot of optimism with your business name. There’s a reason “Mr. Clean” shows up on shelves, not “Mr. Messy Kitchen and Bathroom”. Include information about what your business does. Marketing, business strategy, accounting, sales – those are all broad terms that avoid the limits of things such as “social media” or “Year 2000 Planning”.
- Choose something short. You’re going to have to fit your business name on business cards, emails, ads, stationery and more. Find a short name.
- Take a look at the portfolios of naming companies. These will give you some tips for what’s trending and perhaps what works.
- Consider the future of your business. If you want to eventually sell your business or have employees, you may not want to name the business after yourself. Do you want your name on things other people will be doing? Do you feel comfortable marketing under your own name now?
- Check the initials, domain name and anything else that makes sense. Property Management Systems sounds good till you have to start abbreviating it. “Rogers Exchange and Hedge Management” might sound good till you write it as “rogersexchange.com”. I know a very successful independent publishing company that recently rebranded when the owner found that it contained an anatomical description.
- Test the business name. Consider running some cost per click ads to test market ads using your chosen name or domain name. (Be sure to offer legitimate ads, given advertising laws.) Look at click-through rates. What works? What doesn’t?
- Run your business name (and the domain name) through trusted people and even prospective customers. Do you have to explain the meaning? Can they understand it without having you spell it out? Do they like it? Can they see recommending your business to others?
- Consider talking to an intellectual property lawyer about ways to protect your business name and other intellectual property.
- Set up a Google alert to monitor the web for references to your business name. You’ll know if anyone starts using it.
Above all else, choose a name you like. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your business name.
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Category: Business ideas