Jewish World Review March 2, 2001 / 7 Adar, 5761
Small Business Advisor by Paul Tulenko
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- HERE'S a question that comes up in one form or another at just about every meeting with a future small business owner: "What should I name my new business?"
It was International Business Machines, not Thomas J. Watson & Company. It was National Cash Register, not John H. Patterson Enterprises. It was the Bell Telephone Systems, not Alexander Bell & Associates. It was Kentucky Fried Chicken, not Harland Sander's Restaurant. It was the Ford Motor Company, not the Henry Ford Company.
Do you get the connection? These famous company names, and many hundreds of others, are descriptive. They clearly and concisely tell the viewer exactly what the company sold. There was no guessing game like names in today's high-tech logo world. Sometimes the inventor or entrepreneur's name was in the title, sometimes not; but what the company could do for the prospective user was always there.
To illustrate this lack of relationship, I challenge you to perform an experiment. The next time you drive down the street, pay attention to the signs, banners and other means of identifying businesses or stores you see. Pretend you are new in town and see if you can guess what goes on inside, based only on what you see outside. You'll find some businesses you would never in a million years guess what products or services they provide. You can have the same fun with the business pages of a phone book. For example, what goes on at Jimmie's, or CGS Industries Inc. or The Outlet Store (all made up for this exercise)? Would you in a million years figure Jimmie's is a company renting candy and soda machines to local businesses? Would you figure CGS Industries Inc. makes ice cream for supermarkets under the market's name? Would you guess The Outlet Store is a dealer in comic books and other collectibles? Of course not.
If you want to be successful, not cute and out-of-business, your business needs to create a distinctive, clear and consistent image in the mind of potential customers. Neither your name, nor your initials nor some four-color fancy logo meets the test of a clear and consistent image.
Prove it to yourself. Look at a name from the prospective customer's point of view. Ask yourself, "When they sees my name or logo, what does the prospective customer think I'm selling?" and I'll guarantee you that the answer is not, "Wow! Look at that fancy logo; lets go in and buy what they're selling!"
A business image is created in the customer's mind in two ways: by what function you offer, such as women's clothing, hardware, greeting cards, gift shop and other descriptive qualities, and by what psychological attributes they suggest, such as quality, low-cost, complete, modern and other "feelings."
This is why you see such names on the marquees such as Mary's Fine Fashions or Jack's Complete Home Hardware or Billy's Speedy Plumbing Service. All of these names convey images of function and feeling.
BEWARE OF HIGH-TECH
So, decide what kind of image you want to create in your prospect's mind. When you've got that firmly in mind, ask yourself the next question, "How can I transfer this image to my prospect in such a manner that they will instantly know what it is I can do for them?"
Choosing a name is one part of this transfer. By using the senses of
sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste, you can structure the
physical parts of your business such as vehicles, lobby decorations,
indoor signs, displays and other similar items to transfer your new
image into profit for
Paul Tulenko is the coordinator of the Small Business Development Center in Albuquerque, N.M. Comment by clicking here.
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