Starting A Business Abroad: What’s In A Name?

Posted on 21. Dec, 2009 by Emmanuelle Archer in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Expat Life
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Among the many, many things over which you can lose sleep as a new business owner, your company name looms large.

Needless to say, you want to find the best possible name, but you cannot spend months mulling over it either: you have a company to register, a web site to create, and business cards to get printed. So you need to make a decision, and the sooner the better.

Logo sketches

What’s a non marketing expert to do?

As a small business owner, you cannot afford to hire a brand specialist like a Fortune 500 company would. I know it’s a bit daunting to come up with a name on your own, but don’t worry too much.

Unless you’re selling a product (in which case we’re really talking about your brand more than just your company name), the name you choose is not etched in stone. You can always change it after a few months if you don’t love it.

If you’re freelancing, consulting or selling other professional services, you could even start your business under your own name, then rename your company once you find a name you like.

    How do you come up with a name?

    All the usual creative thinking techniques apply:

    • Brainstorming, alone or in a group
    • Mind maps
    • Free word association

    As a starting point, you can use a keyword that encapsulates what your business is about, the type of results/benefits you bring your clients, or a word that you are particularly fond of and that represents who you are.

    You can even take a look at your competitors’ names – however, remember that you want a distinctive name, not one that will get you lumped together with the other guys. For instance, there would have been no point in naming my expat support company “Expat something or other” or “Global this and that” – there are already too many names like that on the market, and it’s getting difficult to tell them apart.

    Once you have a shortlist of possible names, it’s time to proceed by elimination. In the next post, I will give you tips to help you decide on the best name for your business.

    Business card template

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    Emmanuelle

    Images by Mike Rohde (top) and WebGrrL (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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