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According to David Burd, president of The Naming Company in East Stroudsburg, Pa., it’s common for new entrepreneurs to try to convey too much in their business names. “A name is not an ad campaign,” he says. “It allows you to write checks and do business. It’s not the end-all, be-all of marketing.”

Instead, he says, your name should be memorable, simple and easy to pronounce. Start-ups should avoid long names such as Genevieve’s Fishing and Tackle Supplies, which are difficult in some media, he adds. “On the radio, she’d be saying, ‘that’s Genevieve, spelled, g-e-n-e-v-i-e-v-e-no apostrophe-s hyphen fishing hyphen tackle dot-com, let me repeat, that’s…’ “

When conjuring up a name for a new company or product, Mr. Burd and his team consider four types: descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary and fanciful. A descriptive name says just what it is (Beaded Jewelry Inc.). A suggestive name applies a quality or attribute of your product (say, Indonesian Jewelry, if all your beads were from Indonesia). An arbitrary name has no connection to what you are selling, along the lines of, say, Apple Computer Inc. A fanciful name is a made-up word: Xerox Corp., or Accenture Ltd.

He suggests this simple exercise for devising a distinctive name. Start with the name of your favorite plant, your childhood pet, your street or other name. “It doesn’t matter,” he says, “as long as it distinguishes her from other beaded-jewelry makers.” Then use that word to modify your line of business. You might end up with “Marigold Beaded Jewelry,” “Lisa’s Beads” or “Spring Street Bead Designs.”

Are you contemplating an online business? Cutesy spelling can work for packaged products, he says, but are murder as an Internet domain name. No one can remember how to spell it to find the Web site.

Original source: http://www.startupjournal.com/columnists/startupqa/20050228-qa.html

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Originally posted by Dane Carlson on December 30, 2013 in Say What?.

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