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Name the thing you do

A clever, descriptive name can make all the difference in your findability and success

“It’s in the name,” he said to me as we began to talk about his company and how to increase his visibility online. “Nobody knows what we do, what it means and they can’t spell it.” 

This was a pretty extreme example. The company’s name (I won’t share it here to protect the innocent), came during the time when everyone was seeking to be clever or create a play on words. For a moment, I wanted to name my business “Toast.” 

Now, business owners realize that there is more to naming than demonstrating how clever you are.

Unless you have a major marketing budget that would allow you to create a change in how people see a word — think Xerox, Kleenex, Apple….and more.

As a mere mortal in the area of budgets, you’d be wise to name your business or product something that tells people what you do – and in the best cases who you do it for. The few words or characters in a name have an incredible amount of power.


Names matter

Recently, I listened to a podcast from Freakonomics about naming. If you haven’t, you should.

In it, the host and panel discussed the effect of naming on your likelihood of success, wealth, and even health.

Of course, this was about naming people, but the same concepts apply.

Consider names for people for a moment and then apply what you think about your business when considering a name.

When you hear the name “Candy” for example – what comes to mind (sorry all of you need Candy out there)? Did you picture an executive in your mind – or an exotic dancer?

How about Fred? Hunter, Stone, or Josh?

Now – turn to your business name and do the same exercise. What instantly comes to mind when you envision your name?

It’s even been an issue in my own business, AOU Creative. Let’s face it, not much comes to mind when you think of this name – and I’ve heard that from coaches, clients, and my team.

When I chose it, the name meant Art of You — and creative simply spoke to how I like to live my life. It’s been 12 years, so it might be hard to change it (we will talk about rebranding another time). 

If I had to do it again would I choose this name? Maybe. But not because it is the easiest to remember or the easiest to know what I do for customers. 


How to choose your business name

Here are the top 3 things to consider when naming:

  1. Many of the directories that you will want to get in for SEO and findability list businesses alphabetically. Though “AAA” is taken and might not work for you – if you are considering a name that is high up in the alphabet, you might think of this fact.

  2. Consider what you do. You might want to add the words “tech” or “food” or “photography” into your name. It doesn’t have to be literal, but it does have to make sense. Think “Findable” or “Your Marketing Team” for my type of business. 

  3. If you really just have to be cute – make it a compound name. Maybe “Toast Marketing” rather than simply “Toast.” 

But the most important thing to remember is that you are creating a name that will stay with you for years. A few words that will attract the attention of your human customers and search engines alike.

Choose wisely.

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