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The Top 5 Types of Business Names

A great business name is sticky and flexible. Whether you hear it in a crowded room or say it yourself, it resonates and remains. So what are the naming strategies behind some of the greatest companies of all time? Apple was able to make people believe that the high-tech world of personal computing was friendly and inviting by choosing a common, every day name. Samsonite created an image of strength and durability that only Samson himself could uphold. BlackBerry used our sense of touch by associating the phone and its small keyboard buttons to the drupelets that form the blackberry fruit.

There are a variety of different strategies that entrepreneurs use to create a memorable and unique name for a new business. Some strategies are more successful than others, yet they all seem to co-exist, making it important to review each type to get a feel for what is available. The dynamics behind choosing a business name are easy, but the final selection is one of the most important decisions you will make as a business owner. Your company name is the doorway to your product or service. It must be nothing short of spectacular.

With that goal in mind, here are the top 5 most common business name types, with a few pros and cons of each. If you are in the process of considering a name for your new business or thinking of renaming your current business, you can refer to this as a guide to help you navigate the world of exceptional, extraordinary and mind-blowing business names.

No. 1: The Real Word Business Name

We all recognize certain names in the English language because they have become household names. They refer to products or services we use everyday. Quaker, Shell and Twitter are familiar to us because they are real words, yet they have been given arbitrary meanings on account of being associated with very successful businesses. Sometimes new companies looking to capitalize on the familiarity of a word will choose to use a name that already exists as part of a new business name. These names are best described as Real Word business names.

Amazon, Yelp and Adobe are more examples of highly successful businesses that began by employing simple, recognizable names that grew into multi-million dollar companies. In fact, most people today would probably tell you that “Amazon” is an online retailer before telling you that it is a female warrior or river. On the downside, real words are next to impossible to obtain the.com URL for and notoriously difficult to protect. Real word business names, while easy and convenient, are not necessarily recommended solutions, despite the powerful potential for recognition.

No. 2: The Descriptive Business Name

There is no doubt that when consumers hear the name “Super Cuts” they envision that there is some cutting going on, and more than likely, it’s super. A Descriptive business name is one that essentially describes a product or service by identifying some ingredient, quality or characteristic of that product. While naming strategies that employ descriptors are easy to understand and informative, they are hardly unique, and far too common. At best, descriptive names are boring, lack appeal and in most cases, are not worthy of trademark protection.

Yet, there are a few benefits to using a descriptive name to identify your business. For one, there is no ambiguity in “All Bran Cereal.” And from a marketing perspective, sometimes it’s not so bad to be direct. At their worst, descriptive names can cause consumers to associate the business with a lack of creativity and innovation. And unless you have an unusually large budget and the ability to quickly rise above the competition, a descriptive name is a tough bet.

No. 3: The Compound Word Business Name

Here is where it starts to get interesting. Many businesses have been very successful employing a combination of two common (or uncommon) words to make one new name and concept. Compound Word business names tend to be interesting and unique, particularly if new meanings can be created through the combination of words that are not typically used together.

Compound word business names are generally easy for consumers to remember because of their uniqueness and memorability – think SalesForce and FireFox. In some respects, the right combination can also incite strong curiosity, which is always a good thing for business. With compound business names, the possibilities are endless as there is virtually no end to the number of winning combinations that can be created. It is tough to find any drawback to using a really good compound word for a business name, but if there is one, its length.

Compound words have the tendency to carry more characters than other styles of business names. It may be tough, but resist using any compound name that exceeds ten characters. Keep it short and sweet and you can’t lose.

No. 4: The Associated Word Business Name

Sometimes, business names resonate because they blend two or more words together, making it fun to think of two unrelated objects as one. “NetScape” is basically a blend of “net” and the word “landscape,” which denotes an Internet landscape, making for a perfect business name for an Internet web browser. Associated Word business names include all kinds of unique names that are simply blends of other words, words with prefixes or suffixes affixed, even misspellings of other common words.

Associated words can be highly successful business names. Cisco (from San Francisco), Wikipedia (from encyclopedia) and Google (from “googol”) certainly did not have difficulty gaining credibility. These business names have strong underlying meanings and provide a much better back-story than other types of names. Associated words make great business names and can be quite successful if chosen carefully. However, getting it “right” can be tricky, and it’s easy to sound contrived or unnatural if you are not careful.

No. 5: The Brandable or Generic Business Name

When it comes to trademarking and ease of use, nothing comes close to the Brandable or Generic Business name. Brandable names are among the easiest business names to protect and one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure uniqueness for the product or service you are offering. The biggest advantage to choosing a brandable name lies in its brandability. As consumers use and enjoy your product, your name develops a definition that describes what your company offers.

Startups and even established businesses forever look for ways to build brand awareness. The right brandable name will successfully launch any branding campaign. Consumers recall your business name and along with it, your product. For every company, across all industries, this is a huge advantage, as it prevents external “noise” created by the associations people make with Descriptive and Associated style names. It’s surprising how many people have a negative opinion of a particular business name simply because it evokes negative feelings that stemmed from a past circumstance. A unique or “nonsense” name prevents this and gives your company an edge over the descriptive competition.

Your business has a lot to gain, or lose, in your choice of name. Your business name is the gateway to your products and services and by default, your livelihood. When you are unsure where to begin, review these strategies and make an informed decision on a name that will resonate with your customers and excite curiosity. After all, you only have one business name, get it right and get peace of mind that comes from knowing you have made the right choice in a high performing, exceptional name that consumers will continually be drawn to.

9 Signs It Might Be Time To Sell Your Business

Most business owners ignore these… until it’s too late.

If you are like most business owners, you’ve occasionally found yourself wondering what your life would be like without the stress and hassles inherent to business ownership.

Perhaps you are facing personal challenges, such as divorce, a death in the family,or other issues that need your full attention.

Maybe you have health concerns that prevent you from engaging in your business as fully as you would like.

Or, it could just be that you are ready to try something new, go back to school, buy a home in the islands, or devote more time to a hobby or interest that you’ve had on the back burner for far too long.

Whatever reason you have for contemplating the sale of your successful business,you must understand that selling a business is a process for which you can fully prepare.

The first place to start in those preparations is to recognize some of the warning signs that let you know it is time to plan your exit.

  • Life changes are causing you to lose focus. It’s difficult enough to run a successful business without the added stress of unforeseen life events. Situations such as divorce, illness of a family member, or the need to care for elderly parents can upset any work/life balance you think you have achieved. If you feel overwhelmed and depleted trying to focus on both the business and family matters, you might seriously consider selling.

  • You have a hard time getting up in the morning and going to your workplace. Everyone in business experiences episodic burnout. However, if you have a regular pattern of looking for any excuse not to go to the office, it might be time to sell. Forcing yourself on a daily basis to engage with your business can have a negative impact on your financial, physical, and mental well-being. Your attitude can wind up costing you lots of money, time, and effort.

  • You spend a lot more time thinking about retirement than you do about your company. There’s no shame in doing this. Many of us look forward to a life without work. However, spending inordinate amounts of time watching the travel channels on television and visiting trip planning websites might point to your deep-down desire to get on with the rest of your life.

  • Your kids don’t want, or are incapable of running, your business. Even if your children or other family members have worked with you in the business for years, this doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to take it over when you leave. As badly as you may want the company to stay in the family, you can’t make assumptions. Junior may love working with customers at your pool company during the summer, but he might very well have bigger plans for his life. Even more painful to contemplate is the fact that your chosen successors might not be capable of running the business, even if they want to do so.

  • Everything has grown stale and you’ve run out of ideas to keep things moving. Years ago, when you started the business, creative thoughts spewed out of your brain with the speed and intensity of a high pressure hose. You had tons of ideas about how to differentiate your business and make your brand unforgettable. These days though, you feel stuck and the idea well is bone dry. Without improvements and innovations, your company’s growth will stagnate. If you can’t re-ignite the idea machine, it could very well mean that it is time to sell.

  • You need to pour tons of money into updating your business. If you are in a highly competitive niche that is continuously evolving, you might find that you’ve fallen behind and need to do an extensive (and expensive makeover) in order to stay profitable. Even if you are currently making a nice income, it might not be in your best interest to spend money to stay in business, especially if you aren’t having fun with it anymore.

  • You get an offer you’d be foolish to refuse. This happens more than you might think, even during a down economy. Someone out there has his or her eye on your business and they like what they see. Out of the blue, they make you an offer that is considerably more than current valuation. In most of these situations, it would be crazy not to sell.

  • Interest rates are lower than ever before. I am writing this article in 2014, a time when interest rates are historically low. There has never been a better time to leverage other peoples’ money. For investors, it makes sense to borrow like crazy and snatch up any and every appreciable asset they can, especially companies which, if managed properly, will generate nice returns.

  • You have an opportunity to participate in another venture. Most business owners, even those who are only marginally successful, are constantly approached by purveyors of new “business opportunities.” These can range from hyped-up multi-level marketing positions to Ponzi schemes to legitimate investment opportunities. I am sure you’ve probably been approached by more than your fair share of people pitching these kinds of things. However, once in a while a really good opportunity manages to come your way. Maybe it’s a chance to partner with another successful entrepreneur in your local area or it’s a start-up with amazing potential. When you find something like this and your gut feeling is that you want to be in on the action, then it might be time to sell your existing business and try something new.

It is never too soon to plan for the eventual sale of your business, especially if any of these warning signals sounds familiar to you.

As the starting point for planning your exit, seek out real business experts who, unlike the majority of business brokers, have actually bought and sold businesses.

Such experts will help you gain an understanding of the business selling cycle from A-Z and learn methods to avoid common pitfalls associated with the process.

I believe that the greatest legacy you can leave to your family is a company that you have converted into a money-creating machine, protected by design against erosive elements such as taxes and inflation that threaten to consume your wealth.

Consulting with experts enables you to do just that by showing you exactly how to design a custom plan that lets you to sell your business, get cash flow for life and pay no taxes.

Imagine how much peace of mind you would gain by incorporating this kind of proven business exit plan into your business- before you need it.

Successful business transitions don’t come about by accident. They are the result of painstaking planning under the guidance of seasoned business professionals who know how to get the job accomplished with outcomes more favorable both to sellers and buyers.

Savvy business owners realize that the complexities of selling a business are many and that it makes sense to partner with people who have been in the trenches.

Understanding The Importance Of Business Management Consulting Services

Businesses will oftentimes benefit from obtaining business management consulting services. These services are especially advantageous to those businesses that are new to the industry. From marketing strategy development to client management to brand marketing, the services are large in number and can be obtained from a wide range of business management consulting firms.

When partnering with such a firm, it is important to obtain services from one that has much experience. A business does not want to partner with a company that has not helped other businesses succeed. To make sure a firm has prior experience, it can be valuable to ask for references, including previous clients who have obtained the firm’s services.

Some business management consulting firms specialize in helping business start-ups. The services they provide tend to include assistance with start-up budgets as well as the development of extensive business management plans. After a business is up and running, the assistance from the firm may be ceased, or if a business prefers, it can continue to obtain services. The length of time that a business partners with a management firm is always determined by the business, never the firm.

If a business is having difficulty with its marketing strategies, it can be of the utmost assistance to obtain services from a business management consulting firm. The firm can help devise marketing techniques that will prove to be effective, with the techniques being based on the industry that the business is operating in as well as the business’s target market. These strategies will not only help to attract new customers but also to retain them.

For businesses that are creating a brand, business management consulting services will also be beneficial. The consulting firm can help a business choose a proper name, create an eye-catching logo, develop a slogan and much more. If a business already has an established brand, the firm can help to improve it. In many instances, obtaining services to help with brand development can be one of the most effective investments the businesses ever make.

Another way that a consulting firm can be of assistance is for businesses that distribute printed marketing materials. They can help develop effective magazines, fliers or whatever type of printed material a business wants to distribute. For companies that offer services and products through the Internet, it is very important for services to be obtained from such a firm. In doing so, the companies can rest assured their content will be displayed in an effective manner, helping to expand their offerings to a global audience.

For those businesses that are into sales, a business management consulting firm can help to generate leads. Many times, the services obtained from the firm prove to be one of the single most effective factors behind a successful sales business. The firm can show a business not only how to find leads but also how to close the deals. Much of the time, they will introduce a business to lead generation techniques that it had not initially thought of.