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Ogechi Igbokwe: Rules For Creating a Great Business Name

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Every entrepreneur will go through the process of choosing a business name. It is one of the first and most important things an entrepreneur does; if not the first and most important. Depending on the type of industry your business is in, this will be a quick and simple process. For instance, an attorney setting up law firm will most likely use their names. Same goes for an accountant. In other cases, a restaurant owner will use their family name (painless huh!). Outside of these industries, you will most likely have to make up a name. This is where things get tricky. Trying to get a good business name is like trying to create a password as a new user on a website and you’re given specific instructions like; No LESS than 6 characters, No MORE than 13 characters, At least a number, At least one symbol, At least one letter should be in caps. Phew! They wonder why people forget their password.

A good name could play a huge role in your businesses success or failure. Great business names are powerful and become legacies. Your aim is to get a business name that you as the owner will not only love, but one your customers will love. You don’t want to have to change your business name periodically (or ever). That would mean filling out and filing the necessary paperwork in the area you reside and or intend to do business in, changing your domain name as well as your social media handle across the board and rebranding under the new name (as if branding is not already hard enough). Did I forget to include changes to stationeries? Let’s just say it gets expensive. You need to get this right from the jump.

The Rules:
Simple
Ever heard of the acronym Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)? (No be me talk am o). The simpler your business name is, the more likely it is people will remember it. Apple, Ebay, Konga, Okadabooks easily fulfill this rule. Caveat: Simple doesn’t necessarily mean short. One definition of simple is, easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.” This means a business name could be long yet simple. i.e boostblogtraffic. Shipyourenemiesglitter. Yeah those are real business names. I call them straight to the point because they are descriptive names which work quite well. They already tells you what services they provide.

Memorable
There are a ton of businesses out there solving various problems using various business names. It is important that you separate yourself from the pack. A memorable business name is one that evokes a feeling enough for the consumer to remember it long after you’ve left their presence. Something about your business name should stick (click) with people. I remember running a business name I had chosen by a friend. He immediately told me the name was not right. Even before he said so, I knew this. You see, I used to be a teller and we had drawers with a combination; combos as we fondly called it. If you missed your combo even by a fraction, you wouldn’t hear the click. The click that told you your combination was right. I was looking for that click in a business name.

My Experience:
I used this recipe above and a little more to create my own business name OneSavvyDollar. The process took me all of 6 months. Yes honey! 6 months. At some point, it was highly frustrating especially when I thought I found one, only to realize it was not available. You have to make sure the name is available so you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights (this is another post entirely). So don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not able to whip up a business name like you whip your weave hair back and forth.

Additional Rules I Followed:
Cool and Hip:
You might say this is the same as memorable but that is not entirely true. A business name could be memorable but not stylish i.e shipyourenemiesglitter. I don’t know why but I wanted a business name that was cool and hip in order words, stylish call it swag if you will. Actually, I do know why. The alternative is a boring name! People already consider personal finance “boring” or “uninteresting”. I wanted to separate myself (and business) Also, business has changed A LOT from what it used to be especially with the popularity of social media. People are busy with a million and one things and your business name is the first thing they see, before meeting you. I thought of a business name as a news /post headline. The motto: Be interesting (or dying trying). Caveat: I also had to be careful. Cool and hip is a term associated with young people. While it had to be cool and hip enough for the young folks, it also had to appeal to the older folks. My test run confirms the older people love it!

Descriptive:
This may not apply to all businesses but it certainly did apply for me. For instance; OneSavvyDollar versus Apple (Haha! Yes oh, I no dey look face. I’m putting my name right beside theirs ☺). The moment you see OneSavvyDollar, you may not know exactly what it is, but you know it has something to do with money or finances. It reduces the amount of time I will spend explaining what my services are about. Granted, we all know what Apple is now. Can you imagine them when they first came out? I’m sure they spent a lot to explain what services they provide.

Be interesting. Get creative and don’t forget to test your business names with your customers. Just like other people use your name more than you do, they are the ones who will use it the most. How did you come up with your business name? Do you like your business name? How long did it take you to come up with one?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang

Ogechi is the founder of OneSavvyDollar.com OneSavvyDollar exists to make your personal financial life dramatically simpler, more convenient, less intimidating, more fun and fashionable by teaching personal finance in a fun, engaging and empowering way. On her blog, she writes about entrepreneurship, career, education and interesting money news. Connect with her on facebook: @onesavvydollar or Instagram: @onesavvydollar

21 Comments

  1. Kelechi

    May 11, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Nice one, will keep your advice in mind

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 12, 2015 at 1:10 am

      Excellent! I hope it is helpful when you do decide to create your business name.

  2. Chiedu

    May 11, 2015 at 11:13 am

    This is apt. Thank you for this beautiful piece.
    The moment you see OneSavvyDollar, you may not know exactly what it is, but you know it has something to do with money or FINANCES. It reduces the amount of time I will spend explaining what my services are about. Granted, we all know what Apple is now. Can you imagine them when they first came out? I’m sure they spent a lot to explain what services they provide.

  3. Chiedu

    May 11, 2015 at 11:33 am

    This is a beautiful and insightful piece.

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 11, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

  4. Fols

    May 11, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Yes o…and the name must be appropriate. Naija ppl like to give strange names to businesses. Either the name is “spiritual”, or the names of the family must be inside (leaving us with some nasty combos eg KaydamAde Ltd> 🙂 . Others are downright weird. Imagine a “serious” security outfit named “Luck Guards”! Please, how does that inspire confidence in your promise to secure life and property? “Everything na luck?!” SMH

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Hahaha Fols, you just cracked me UP! Luck Guards for a security outfit? Hmmmm, maybe ‘Lock Guards ‘ would have worked. That way, security comes to mind quickly.

    • Fols

      May 11, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Hmmm my sister, it is kukuma a real company o; those around Lekki axis may have noticed it. What of the names of some schools these days? Why a particular secondary school (name withheld) should be named after a popular brand of diapers beats me.

  5. Gistyinka Blog

    May 11, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Very interesting and informative post..

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 12, 2015 at 1:11 am

      Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  6. oshioke

    May 11, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Nice piece Oge. Good to see you’re now on bellanaija.

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 12, 2015 at 1:08 am

      Yeah. I’am here. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  7. Fols

    May 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Hmmm my sister, it is kukuma a real company o; those around Lekki axis may have noticed it. What of the names of some schools these days? Why a particular secondary school (name withheld) should be named after a popular brand of diapers beats me.

  8. miss Pynk

    May 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I have see a school name ASS-FOOD international school. So uhm yeah all things are possible.

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 12, 2015 at 1:08 am

      But why would a business do that to itself and why would anyone patronize them?

  9. sass

    May 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Really great article, wish I could show some of my clients the article. I have had the strangest names requested. I had one ask for Ezi-Bul agro allied services limited and the object of the company was oil and gas. I was flabberwhelmed and overgasted.

    • Ogechi Igbokwe

      May 12, 2015 at 1:07 am

      Haha! Please send them to me to help them with a name. I do charge a ”small fee’ though 🙂

  10. Yvette Unoarumhi

    May 13, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    This is a very interesting write up Ogechi… and very catchy. We hope to read more oh… lol @whip weave hair back and forth…I thought it was my hair oh.

  11. sim

    May 16, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Dearie d school u mentioned began almost 30yrs ago. By then the diapers wasn’t popular. My colleague was one of the school’s initial students in the proprietress’ home many years ago. The name is just a coincidence

  12. Pamela

    May 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I have seen ‘Pinky and the Brain’ Nursery and Primary School here in Abuja. ?

    • OneSavvyDollar

      May 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I just fell off my chair laughing! It’s cute. It really is. Besides, that’s one of my favorite cartoons. So on this one, I’m a little biased.

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