Archive for the ‘Naming Your Business’ Category

Dear Danielle: I’m Stuck On a Business Name

Dear Danielle:

I have just made the decision to start my own Administrative Consultant business. I’ve been researching lots of sites for helpful info. I’ve started a business plan. I’ve researched software and equipment upgrades I need to make. Right now, I’m really stuck on finding a name for my business. Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing but I can’t seem to come up with something catchy. Any tips? MG

Naming a business is an important decision, so I’m glad you’re taking the time to think it through. You’re not making a big deal out of it at all–it IS a big deal. Good for you. 🙂

There are a few things to think about in naming your business.

First, you do want something unique. You want to differentiate your business and stand out from the crowd. And you definitely don’t want to be confused with any other existing business in our industry.

Which bring us to the second point–steer clear from infringing on the rights of another Administrative Consultant’s existing business name use. That will get you into hot water with your colleagues–not a great way to introduce yourself to the community (and trust me, you will need them).

There are no geographical boundaries in our industry due to the nature of our business model and how we deliver our service. We all operate in the same online marketplace so it doesn’t matter if Superlative Administrative Consulting is in another state. If you use that person’s existing business name or something derivative of it, she’s not gonna be very happy with you, and may seek legal recourse. That could be very costly to you, and she’ll probably tell all her buddies in the industry about your infringement while she’s at it.

So once you start to come up with some names, due your due diligence: make several Internet searches, look through all the various industry directories, and double check with folks in your professional communities.

In naming your business, it really requires you to go back a few steps and think about your target market. You need get clear about what you do, who you do it for and what results you achieve for them. Formalizing that thought process is going to help you establish your branding.

Once you know those things, you then have a better idea of who your business name is really for. What do most of their websites look like? Are they a serious or fun-loving group? Do they sell products or services? Are they in an industry or a skilled/degreed profession? Are they going to appreciate cleverness or inventiveness, or is traditional formality going to better appeal to their sensibilities? What kind of name will inspire their trust and confidence in your business? What brand aspects can your name convey to them?

These are the kinds of questions that should come to mind once you decide who your business is speaking to, and will help you decide what sort of business name will best suit their tastes while conveying your brand position.

Dear Danielle: My Business Name Was Rejected, Now What?

Dear Danielle:

I had a very hard time coming up with a business name and eventually decided on something with “on Demand” in it and was happy about it. But I got a letter of rejection when I went to register it. Apparently, it’s too general. Back to square one; now what do I do?

Obviously, naming your business is a personal process (as long as it doesn’t infringe on the existing name of a colleague, which is anyone who is in the administrative support business), but have you thought ahead to what the phrase “on demand” (as well as its variation “instant assistance”) will portray to clients?

“On demand” connotes the idea that I could just call you up and you’d be sitting there ready to take my administrative order on a transactional (instead of collaborative) basis, work on it immediately as soon as we got off the phone, and have it completed by the end of the day.

If you plan on becoming successful and working for more than one client, that is one expectation you will quickly not be able to meet. When you plan your business, it’s important to look at the big picture and plan for the long-term. There has to be room for intentional systems and processes and growth in how you operate.

Think about what your business will look like as if you were already successful. Envision the number of clients you would have.

How is that going to affect your production, work processes and work flows?

How will the “on demand” expectations that you’ve created affect your work, morale and client satisfaction?

If all your clients called on the same day and each had a project they wanted completed “on demand,” what would your work day look like? Would you be frazzled and stressed? Does it seem likely that you’d be forced to put in extra hours? How would you choose who of your clients gets to be let down when you find that it’s just impossible to treat everyone’s on-demand request equally? How happy are you going to be living life and running business like that?

Doing this, you can easily see that “on demand” services are just not realistic, and trying to meet that kind of expectation will burn you out fast and only disappoint clients. It’s set up to fail and it’s not smart business operation.

Plus, there’s a level of desperation inherent in those words. It says that the service isn’t valuable enough to stand-alone on its own merits; that you can only “sell” it to clients if you make unrealistic promises of “on demand” service. It panders to transaction-minded clients, rather than collaborative-minded ones who are seeking long-term relationships–and the former are typically the cheap-minded ones as well. 😉

Providing administrative support as a business isn’t about operating like an employee who is solely devoted to the one employer and where they are intended to instantly attend to that employer’s demands. The value of Administrative Consulting is the fact that it offers an alternative for businesspeople who don’t have the time, space or workload for in-house staff–the keyword being alternative.

It’s an alternative to, not the same thing as, employees. As a business there are inherently and legally going to be differences in how you work with clients, and you necessarily will not be available to them in the same way an employee would.

If they need someone at their beck-and-call, they need to hire an employee. That’s just the law. And as an independent business owner and independent professional, you will never be able to sustain that level of turnaround once you have more than one or two clients, and will only end up disappointing everyone in the process, including yourself.