Choosing a Business Name

Let’s go shopping at the “Wort & Must Co.”?  Can you imagine what you might find in this store?  If you are a beer or wine making enthusiast you might know that “wort” is the big pot of fermenting liquid in the initial stage of beer making and “must” is that infusion of fermenting wine.  This is a very strong name for a local business.  It does take a level of understanding to appreciate the significance but once you know, you never forget.  Wort & Must Co. is an evocative name.  More about that in a minute.  Unfortunately when the initial owners sold, the new owner renamed the business Winecrafters.  I always remember the original name but never remember the new name, I have to look it up every time I write or talk about it.  Winecrafters is very much like Wine Makers and Winekitz but there is little distinction.  The name is much closer to a generic name.

Harry Beckwith, author of "What Clients Love."

In my previous posts on business names I’ve discussed mistakes business owners make.  Today’s post looks at what I consider to be great advice on business names from Harry Beckwith.  In his book “What Clients Love: a Filed Guide to Growing Your Business” Beckwith groups business names into six categories.  He says with rare exception only two of the categories work.  The first category is the descriptive name.  This is a name that describes what your company does, such as Quick Print.  Beckwith says these are ordinary and hard to remember.  The second category is an acronym. Names like ADT imply nothing and are forgotten quickly.  The third category is the neologism.  These are words that are made up, usually from exiting prefixes and suffixes.  Names like Sentra and Acura are neologisms.  Beckwith says these names often sound contrived.  Category four is the geographic name.  Here Beckwith says these may work especially if there is an solid connection with the place.  One example he uses in the book is Boston Consulting.  He says the name works because the city is associated with Harvard and other colleges.  However, these too are forgettable.

Category five is the personal name.  These names work well for many services.  This is especially true for law, accounting and executive search firms.  Some caution should be exercised if someone with a similar name has a bad reputation.  There is also a concern with very common names like Smith.  You must also be cautious that the name not be too long.  Partners with three syllable last names end up with a business name that is just too long.  Beckwith says you should have four syllables maximum.  The sixth category is the evocative name.  These names resonate emotionally, they evoke feelings.  These names are the easiest to remember.  They are not ideal for traditional professional firms such as lawyers but for other businesses these are the best choice.  Try to choose an evocative name for your business.