We thought we had a great name and logo for our company. But we made three simple–and costly–mistakes.

When I started my business, my husband and I decided to name our company after something that resembled our clientele: exotic, bold, and beautiful. That’s why–among other sentimental reasons–we decided to name it The Orchid Boutique. Looking back, this was probably a mistake. We’ve had a harder climb when it comes to branding because the name is not immediately associated with our product–luxury swimwear and accessories for women. I’m reminded of this every time someone asks me if we sell flowers.

Here’s what I’ve learned about naming your business:

You have two options: Name it something relevant or something extremely catchy
Most smart entrepreneurs go with the straightforward option and name the business something relevant to their industry or goal. Charity:water is a great example. It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. Often times, this will give you the easiest and more fireproof way to brand your business: Just utter its name.

Often times, however, companies with bigger budgets will make up a cool-sounding nonword that’s extremely catchy. Squidoo and Piperlime are examples of that. I personally like this option better. It’s more of an uphill climb to brand your company, but worth it when you get there.

Follow the KISS rule: Keep it short and simple
I cannot even begin to describe the issues we’ve had by having such a long name (and hence URL) attached to our company. It’s hard to pronounce, and it’s hard to remember. Don’t make the same mistake. Stay short, stay simple, stay close to your idea. Ten letters or fewer is ideal. You want people to be able to retain the name and concept after just a glance.

Choose a font that can be easily translated into a big, eye-catching sign
Assuming the risk of being generic or boring with your logo, you may want to think closely about the repercussions of choosing a font that may be hard to incorporate into a big LED sign–a sign that one day will be at the forefront of your expanding locations. Our original logo had a cursive and thin font, and we had great difficulty finding a sign company that wouldn’t butcher the aesthetic feel of it. We finally decided it would be in our best interest to change the font to one that could be reproduced more easily, lending itself to LED lighting (or any other type of lit sign) in the future.

If you are–like most of us–a typical business owner with no outside funding, most potential consumers won’t know about your company until they’ve had exposure to it. You want them to know what you’re about as soon as they read your name. Take it from someone who learned the hard way.


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