Naming Your Business: Lessons Learned the Hard Way


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If you’re launching a new venture, there’s already enough pressure.
The reality is that most businesses end as failures, and early decisions are extremely critical. While it’s tempting to downplay the importance of coming up with a business name, the fact is that the first impression made on customers and suppliers has a massive bearing on the success of your enterprise.

Ideally, a business name needs to be short and memorable – but it also needs to stand the test of time, while not limiting future expansion opportunities.

Business Names 101
Today’s infographic comes from The Business Backer and it provides points to consider when naming a new business.

Importantly, famous examples of mistakes made by well-known companies are also provided for reference.

Of course, this is just a set of guidelines, and rules can certainly be broken under the right circumstances.

However, it’s important to at least keep these guidelines in consideration, otherwise you may end up with a brand that means something quite atrocious in a foreign language!

Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Here are some naming fails orchestrated by major companies, and how they got fixed:

Originally named Quantum Computer Services back in 1985, the name was far too long and confusing. It was eventually simplified to America Online in 1989, and finally AOL later on.

The first name used for what is now the centerpiece of the Jeff Bezos Empire was actually Cadabra. However, it turned out that over the phone most people heard “Cadaver”, and so it was eventually tossed.

Sony was originally named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, which translates to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. It turned out to be quite a tongue-twister, so the company came up with a much simpler name.

Hertz, the car rental company, was originally named “DrivUrSelf”, which wasn’t easy to spell for anyone.

Yahoo! used to be known as “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, which is long, hard to remember, and too different from other web portal or search engine names. Fortunately, Jerry Yang and David Filo changed the name of the company and also bought the domain name in 1995.

Naming Your Business: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

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