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Choosing the Right Business Name

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Business Strategy

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When you first start out in business, the name you choose for your company usually is not all that hard to determine. It’s easy, in fact, to launch your business simply using your own name. What happens, though, when your business expands? Many times operating under …


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When you first start out in business, the name you choose for your company usually is not all that hard to determine. It’s easy, in fact, to launch your business simply using your own name. What happens, though, when your business expands? Many times operating under your own name is not the best choice for targeting certain markets.

Your own good name
There is nothing wrong with starting out using your own name. It’s a good idea, in fact, because it helps build name recognition and familiarity with you. Plus it’s easy to expand your company by adding new associates and revising the practice name to include ‘and Associates’ in it.

As time goes on, however, and your business continues to grow and serve new markets, there are some disadvantages (and advantages, of course) to maintaining your name as the business name. Some examples of this include:

Disadvantages:

  • Your name does not reflect the focus of your business
  • Your name may not be as attractive to corporate markets
  • Your name makes it hard to divest yourself or adjust the extent of your role within the company

Advantages:

  • Your name is recognizable and well known
  • Your name is a source of pride to you
  • Your name is simple, straightforward, and easy to use

In most cases, as your company grows and changes the business name should grow and change as well. This is not as easy as it sounds, however, as we will discuss in the next section.

Selecting the right name for your expanded business

When the time comes to select a different name for your company, there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. Whatever name you choose, it will become your brand and your image so it’s important to think carefully about the brand and image you want to project.

Is it unique? – Coming up with a unique name can be very hard. You not only have to be aware of trademarks and other business names, but you also have to ensure the name you select accurately portrays your brand and image. For instance, a name like ‘Successful Accounting’ certainly portrays a distinct image, but is it unique enough to stand out in the market place? On the other hand, a made-up name like is certainly unique but does not do much to support a specific brand or image.

Is it too specific? – The business name must be specific enough to portray your brand, but not so specific that potential customers see it and automatically assume you can’t provide them with the services they need. For instance, if you include your local town in your name or they fact you work with small businesses, corporate clients might not consider you for their needs. Going too corporate, though, might cause smaller clients to view your company as not appropriate for their needs.

Is it easy to find? – Your web site is integral to your business and naturally you have done your best to optimize it for search engines. When you change your business name, though, you need to revisit the SEO of the site in terms of the new name. Choose a name that is too obscure and people will have a difficult time finding you on the web.

Tips and practical advice
There are many different ways to go about choosing a new name for your business, ranging from brainstorming with your associates to hiring professional consultants to make suggestions. Between these two ends of the spectrum there are any number of other processes you might choose to pursue.

Whatever approach you choose, remember that choosing a name is not something you can do overnight, or even in a week or two. It requires time, careful thought, and thorough consideration. It’s much like making a pot of coffee; you put all the ingredients together and start the brewing process, but it takes some time for everything to percolate and turn into a finished pot of coffee.

Choosing the right business name for your company may seem like a lot of work, but in the end it can be well worth the effort. So what do you think? Is it time to think about revising your business name?
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How to find the time to think and plan

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Business Strategy

[WisP level=”not_logged_in”]Many businesses are seasonal and so some months are busier than others. During the quieter periods, rather than panicking and desperately trying to drum up business when customers are not buying, you can use this time to focus on thinking and planning for development of your business. …


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Many businesses are seasonal and so some months are busier than others. During the quieter periods, rather than panicking and desperately trying to drum up business when customers are not buying, you can use this time to focus on thinking and planning for development of your business.

Pay attention to how you proceed with this process

The book The E-Myth Revisited points out a common mistake made by business owners during planning activities. That is, they tend to work in their business rather than work on their business.

You can avoid this mistake, starting with setting aside a half day or even a full day to focus on review and planning. Go back over the past three to six months and answer these questions:

     

  • What has worked well and should continue?
  • What has not worked well and should be eliminated?
  • What are my business goals?

This last question is particularly important, because goals inevitably change over time. One of the best ways to evaluate your goals and related business activities is to use Brian Tracy’s concept of Zero Based Thinking.

For every goal and activity, ask yourself the following:

Knowing what I now know, would I get into this business, job, or situation again?If you answer yes, continue doing what you’re doing and look for ways to make improvements. However, if you answer no, get out of what you’re doing as quickly as possible and start over again with a clean slate.

Critical decisions to make

As you work through the evaluative process, it is critical to make certain decisions along the way. These include setting financial targets; determining what you need to continue doing; determining what you need to stop doing; and identify whom you need to connect with in order to reach your goals.

Regardless of where you are in your business development, I highly recommend obtaining The E-Myth Revisited as a valuable business resource.[/WisP]

What to put in your business plan

May 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Business Strategy

[WisP level=”not_logged_in”] Checklist for headings for your business plan:

Before you start writing your business plan, think about your audience. If you are writing your business plan for your own use, then make sure you include information that’s relevant for you. If you are preparing it for someone else to look at, e.g. your bank manager, find out exactly …


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[WisP level=”Business_Cookery_Resources”]
Checklist for headings for your business plan:

Before you start writing your business plan, think about your audience. If you are writing your business plan for your own use, then make sure you include information that’s relevant for you. If you are preparing it for someone else to look at, e.g. your bank manager, find out exactly what they will need to see in the plan. Some banks offer information and business templates so that you put the right information together for them.

Your business plan is a document showing details of how you are going to develop your coaching practice, the timescales involved, whether you will be working with anyone else, e.g. associates or freelancers, and how you will look after your finances.

Your plan should include:

  • An executive summary – this is an overview of the business you want to start and a summary of the key points covered in your plan. Remember that if you are looking for investment or a loan that the person reading your business plan may make a decision based on the executive summary alone.
  • A short description of your business – who you are, the services and products you will be providing and who will buy them.
  • Sales and Marketing strategy – why you think people will want and pay for your services and products, how you plan to let people know about your services and what you are going to do to promote yourself.
  • Personnel – your credentials and those of the people you plan to work with. Remember to include details of any associates or freelancers you will be working with (if you plan to do this).
  • Operations – how you are going to run your practice. This does not have to be lengthy, just include details of any processes and systems you will be using.
  • Financial forecasts – income and outgoings month by month for the first year, then forecasts for annual turnover and profit.

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