What’s in a name? Why your start-up’s name is more important than you think…

When starting up a new business, the name may take a backseat at first as you find investors, refine a product, and research your target demographic. However, a standout name can make all of these tasks more effective. Furthermore, if you plan to sell your business down the road you need a name that will be transferable to another owner. A business’s name is integral to its value as a brand. Always keep the end goal of selling your business in mind as you launch a start-up, and avoid the most common naming pitfalls.


Image Source: Pixabay

Why Names Matter

So just how big of a deal is your new business name? Basically, your chances of getting your business off the ground and then selling it depend on a good one. The name is your brand, encapsulated in a single word or phrase. A bad name will automatically make customers dismiss your business, even if you have a worthwhile product. From a practical standpoint, the name will drive your business’s chances of being discovered online, through Google searches and social media channels. If you choose the wrong name, you could be left in online obscurity which will make it difficult to find customers and buyers.

Pitfall #1: Choosing a name that’s too generic

A good name will set you apart from the competition and be something memorable. If you’re starting an online sporting goods store, “The Ball Shop” is probably not going to make you stand out. Try to find a name that’s more specific to your niche, that’s not too long, and that isn’t overly similar to your competitors.

Pitfall #2: Choosing a name that’s too obscure

It’s possible to go too far in the other direction and choose a name that’s overly obscure in a bid to avoid being bland and generic. If you choose a name that’s hard to remember, pronounce, or spell, you’ll make it too hard for customers to connect with your brand. When the time comes to sell your business, investors won’t be interested in a name that lacks mass-market appeal.


Image Source: Pixabay

Pitfall #3: Using your personal name

If you’re a freelancer, it might make sense to use your personal name as your business title. This makes you recognizable to clients and puts a personality behind the brand, after all. However, the downside of this is that again, it makes it more difficult to sell a small business to someone else if it bears your name.

Pitfall #4: Choosing an unavailable domain name

Start-up entrepreneurs now not only have to think about clients and investors when choosing a name, they also have to think about online marketing. It’s unwise to launch a start-up without an accompanying website. As you choose your business name, make sure that the domain is available.

The Bottom Line

There are numerous factors to think about as you choose a name to work towards your ultimate goals. You’ll need to think about the big picture of starting up a business, from beginning to the eventual end game. Does your name appeal to new customers? Will it be easy to find online? Is there a matching domain name available? Finally, will it create a brand that’s easy to sell? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, you may just have a winner.

Denise Hall talking “How to Shut Down a Start-up” with renegade Collective magazine

Denise Hall talking “How to Shut Down a Start-up” with renegade Collective magazine

Had a great e-chat with Ann Molloy of the EDITION 17 of the magazine Renegade Collective, part of the collective hub.com a little while back.

What resulted was a most informative inclusion in the current edition of the magazine (the one with George Clooney on the front!), talking about “How to Shut Down a Business“.

It being the discussion piece by an Exit Strategist who knows what to do (namely me), complementary to the fabulous story “Exit Left”, about Nikki Durkin upon announcing the closure of her start-up 90dresses.

Her blog post went viral.
It seems we all want to know: how does it feel with the worst happens?

Key points covered are:

  1. eliminate debt
  2. set a D-Day
  3. care for your crew
  4. tell your customers
  5. sell business assets (including website, contact me to do so…)
  6. tax and legal matters
  7. save, save, save
  8. shut social media (or may be able to sell the parts with the website, see above)
  9. look after yourself

If you find yourself in this position, don’t despair.
I can help if you do not want to do so on your own. Contact me 

when a gathering of influential women leaders get together…

the entrepreneurial mother



“Setting the tone for the Summit, President Barack Obama penned a blog for the Huffington Post in which he wrote, “Family leave, childcare, flexibility and a decent wage aren’t frills. They’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses–they should be the bottom line.” Read on

Most entrepreneurial mothers have become just so because a job environment could not address their needs/wants over:

  • length of time, quality of hours, etc (family leave)
  • cost and availability of childcare
  • working hours to do what needs to be done plus the need to do stuff on the fly (flexibility)
  • earning good money for the effort put in (decent wage)

How well these are executed (in a business context) is debatable but nonetheless the impetus to give a business a red hot go is usually driven through wanting to address these quality of parenting and lifestyle issues.


“you can only get so far on gut feelings and optimism”


OK, so you’ve got the idea. The next best breakthrough thing. Good for you. Now what?
Many spend a whole heap of time building the thing for show and tell purposes, in the hope of it being a roaring success. Wrong!
Instead, spend the time, energy and money on creating the market first, doing the business stuff first, in order to know what to spend your time, energy and money on.

Where are you up to?

“It is one of our saddest economic statistics: More than half small businesses fail within a few years of startup. Unlike the cheery pictures presented in advertising or the success stories showcased on Shark Tank, a significant percentage of fledgling enterprises sputter and eventually die. Only 1 in 43 has any employees after 10 years. These startups don’t create much economic value. The vast majority don’t even earn as much for their founders as those people could have earned working for someone else. Dreams die, jobs are lost, and communities lose their vitality.

It does not have to be this way. In fact, if we want a robust economy with job growth, we must do something about it. I think that the solution is deceptively simple: entrepreneurs should stop thinking so much about the idea behind the business and focus instead on how to lead it.”

Against the Odds: Startups that Make It By Derek Lidow for ChangeThis.com


What Is It With The Word “Just”?

Based on a Networking Event last night and another this morning, why is that many Women Business Owners think so small? What is it with the word “just”?

“Just thought I’d start ______ and see how it goes.”
“Just trying ________ for the moment, you never know”
“Just me running ________ at present and hope to one day make it bigger”

Yes, they’ve all heard of “Start With The End In Mind” but quite honestly, does it really apply to them? Yet? But how?

Here’s the thing… do what Seth Godin suggests and DO it anyway, “Start the Journey Before you see the End”.

The Sellability Score report enables you to do “just” that. Think of it as a Business Plan in Reverse.



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