Don’t Make These 8 Mistakes When Naming Your Company

Ten to one you’ve seen some really terrible company names like Phartronics Engineering. When starting your own business, it’s important to take into consideration how it will sound, how it will look and whether or not it opens the door for a joke or two.

Entrepreneur magazine outlined eight great tips for avoiding unfortunate company names and choosing the right one for your business.

Mistake #1: Design by Committee

Getting everyone’s input and opinion might seem like a good thing, but the more information you have, the less likely you are to settle on one idea. Entrepreneur says that a lot of small business owners involve their family and friends in the process and risk alienating the ones whose ideas aren’t chosen. Others choose by consensus—often resulting in a bland name. Instead, try to only involve the key decision-makers (the fewer the better) who are acting in the best interest of the business.

Mistake #2: Mashing Together Two Words

We’ve all seen them. Names like QualiServe and TranquiSpa combine an adjective and noun to create a nonsensical, made-up name that, let’s be honest, isn’t great. Each word on its own is alright—tranquil and spa, for example—but together, they aren’t an appetizing mixture. They’re not creative and they sound forced. You’d be better off creating something completely new.

Mistake #3: Using Plain Words

Companies like General Motors and General Electric are only good because they were the first of their kind. Unless you have a wildly novel idea, you’ll want something more creative and flashy. (And chances are, if you have a wildly novel idea, you won’t want anything bland anyway!) Take the time to come up with something creative that reflects your business.

Mistake #4: Using a Map to Name Your Company

A lot of companies use their location to help create a company name. Though this might seem like a good idea at first, it could actually hinder your business as it grows. Ever heard of Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining? We hadn’t, either—at least, not by that name. To avoid limiting the company’s growth, its name was changed to 3M, and it’s now known for its innovation.

Mistake #5: Turning Your Business Name into a Cliche

It’s okay to use metaphors in your business name, but try to avoid overused words like “peak” and “summit.” Instead, Entrepreneur recommends using words that describe your business in a creative way. They give the example of a data storage company called Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security.

Mistake #6: Choosing an Obscure Name

In Mistake #3, we recommended avoiding plain words. But you also don’t want anything too confusing. Business names that are obscure, difficult to spell or pronounce, or complex won’t resonate with customers. Make sure your company name is memorable, but also easy to understand.

Mistake #7: Creating an Awkwardly Constructed Name

Saying “kwality” instead of “quality” is nonsensical. Resist the urge to replace a Q with a K, or an F with a Ph. They’re only more confusing for customers and make it more difficult for them to find you online.

Mistake #8: Refusing to Change a Bad Name

It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong, and it’s okay to change an ineffective company name to something better. A bad name won’t just go away and your business’ problems won’t just disappear. You might have to put in the work to make a change so that your business can flourish.

The bottom line is: Put some serious thought into your business name. You want something unique and memorable that reflects your business goals and conveys your message. Start brainstorming—you might have a stroke of genius.

5 Ways To Connect Better With Your Employees

When running a business, there are many factors to consider to be successful. While you need a solid business plan, and an on-point product that is appealing to customers, arguably the most important factor in running a successful business is the people on your team. A happy team leads to a happily run business, and the statistics prove it. A study by Gallup showed that companies with the most engaged teams are the most productive and profitable. Another study by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that 74 percent of survey respondents stated that their relationship with their supervisor was in the top five most important factors influencing their engagement at work. As a supervisor of a team, it is in the best interest of your company, your employees’ happiness, and likely your own to develop a good rapport between you and your team.

Here are five ways to better connect with your employees:

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SSActivewear psychology of pricing

Unlock the Psychology of Pricing

Why do so many prices end in .99 cents? Why does it seem like most businesses that offer levels offer 3 options? As a business owner, you know that these pricing trends are no accident. They are a marketing strategy that uses the psychology of pricing to help entice people to buy.

What is the psychology of pricing? According to Wikipedia, it is “a pricing and marketing strategy based on the theory that certain prices have a psychological impact.” In simple terms, this means it’s a pricing strategy that encourages the customer’s brain to think they are getting a deal or a great price. 

Examples of Psychological Pricing

Left-Digit Effect

Let’s use .99 cents as an example. Doesn’t it seem silly to price something at $5.99 instead of $6? What are you really gaining with a one-cent difference? We can tell you that one-cent difference has nothing to do with increasing margins and everything to do with the customer’s perception of the product. 

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5 Reasons Vacation is a Must for You and Your Employees

In the United States, we often labor under the notion that time is money. Sometimes it feels as though the American way is all work and no play, and the statistics back it up. 

To start, the U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee its workers paid vacation. According to a recently revised report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, that means 23% of workers have no paid vacation and 22% of workers have no paid holidays. In comparison, the European Union’s Working Time Directive requires its member countries to provide European workers at least 20 paid vacation days a year — something many U.S. workers will never receive. 

Of those Americans who do have paid time off (PTO), more than half leave the time unused. The U.S. Travel Association reported that just last year, 768 million paid vacation days were left behind by employees. Maybe it’s because Continue reading “5 Reasons Vacation is a Must for You and Your Employees”

4 Tips to Get Ahead of Tax Season for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you know that every penny counts come tax season. To complicate things further, you’re dealing with changes to tax laws yearly. Although these tax reforms may only impact small businesses minimally, it’s important to be aware of any new tax law reforms and how, or if, they apply to your business. 

For a small business, maximizing deductions and lowering your tax bill can be the difference between a profitable year and another year of scraping by. So, understanding where you can take additional deductions can save you major dollars and headaches. It’s imperative to speak with a tax professional for specific tax knowledge, but in the meantime, these tax season tips can help you get a head start. 

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The 5 Best Role-Playing Scenarios for Sales Team Success

Just as athletes train to perform at their best during practices, so should your sales team. This is where sales role-playing comes in — it’s a crucial and valuable tool with a high learning rate. To help ensure your team’s success, we rounded up five of the best sales role-playing scenarios that provide a low-stakes opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses among your sales reps. 

5 Effective Sales Role-Playing Scenarios 

1. Active Listening Improv

According to a recent study by HubSpot, 69% of buyers say a sales representative listening to their needs is the best way to make the sales experience positive. In order to tailor a specific sales approach to a prospective client, active listening — not just hearing — is key. 

This exercise will require at least two people and can also be done with a group. Here’s how it works:

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Become a Business Gifting Guru for Your Clients

Fall is nearly here, which means the holidays are right around the corner! Get ready for decked halls, celebratory countdowns and of course, gifting. When it comes to the merry season, your clients aren’t just looking to gift to friends and family, but also customers or employees. In fact, a recent study by Knack shows the corporate gifting market is worth a staggering $125 billion. A thriving market to tap into, now’s the time to channel your inner Santa and become your clients’ business gifting guru. 

Before giving you the inside scoop to steer them in the right direction, let’s go over some important guidelines.

Business Gifting Guidelines

Businesses can use corporate gifting to show appreciation and loyalty, build goodwill and express the value of their relationships. However, before you start shopping, think about these three things:

  • The Relationship: Think about the recipient of the gift to determine an appropriate type of present, regarding the relationship at hand. 
  • The Budget: Check company gifting policies for any budget limits that may be in place. According to the same study above, the sweet spot for many businesses is between $50 to $150. 
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How Do You Say ‘Success’ in Italian, Luca Benini?

Slam Jam: It’s the name behind some of the most notable streetwear collaborations and brands in the industry. So much of what the company does is under the radar, working closely with industry powerhouses, such as Stüssy and Carhartt WIP. But, that’s exactly how Slam Jam’s founder — Luca Benini — likes it. Among many things, the Italian native is known for pioneering streetwear culture in Europe. 

As Slam Jam celebrates 30 years of success, we’re taking a look at one of the most iconic influences in streetwear, the legendary man behind it all and our takeaways for sustaining a successful business based on Benini’s achievements.

Slam Jam and Luca Benini: Celebrating 30 Years of Success 

When Benini was growing up he had two specific dreams: to be a DJ and to sell clothing. In the end, he found a way to do both. 

The Birth and Evolution of Slam Jam

Back in the ‘80s, Benini’s main business became DJing, which fueled his passion for clothing. He quit school to work as a shop assistant, where he would print flyers of his gigs on tees — an early intersection of culture and fashion. 

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The Importance of Saving Money

The most basic tenant of business is that to be successful, you must earn more than you spend. But even more important is saving money for a rainy day—and the current climate is a perfect example of why. COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is wreaking havoc on all businesses, but especially local businesses. All of this is forcing  local businesses to adjust their hours or even close to comply with local health ordinances. Many are losing money and could certainly benefit from some extra money in the bank.

Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Nairobi / Public domain

No one knows this better than FUBU founder Daymond John. In 1992, he returned from the company’s first retail trade show with $300,000 in pre-orders—but didn’t have the money he needed to get those orders to customers. He tried applying for a loan but wasn’t sure how to fill out the paperwork. He was rejected by 27 banks and eventually turned to his mother, who mortgaged her home for $100,000. This move paid off: FUBU went on to generate $350 million in revenue over the next six years.

“I got my first piece of advice when I was 22 years old, from a guy who owned a little bodega in my neighborhood,” John said in an Inc. article. “He told me, ‘If you really want to start a company, you better dig under your couch for a couple of extra dollars; you’ve got to stop going out to dinner four times a month; you’ve got to trade in your car for a cheaper one, and raise that $40,000 or $30,000, if you can, by yourself.’”

Every business, no matter how big or small, should be saving money. Business Daily outlined some common excuses that small business owners make for why they can’t save money. Let’s take a look at these and learn more about why they’re so misguided.

Excuse 1: I need to make more money before I can save.

As long as you’re making more money than you’re spending, you should be saving. You’ll always find a new excuse not to save, even when your revenue increases. Try saving a percentage of each month’s revenue and increase that percentage as your revenue goes up.

Excuse 2: I need to save for something specific.

Sure, you might want to save for something specific, like new equipment or remodeling your store. But you shouldn’t let that prevent you from saving money for unexpected expenses, like water damage due to a burst pipe or lack of foot traffic due to a global health crisis. There’s no telling why you might need some “just in case” money, which is why it’s so important to have it in the bank.

Excuse 3: How do you save when spending is so tempting?

Having money in the bank makes it more tempting to spend. Spending money is necessary and, yes, fun. But, it’s also incredibly satisfying watching the amount in your business savings account continue to increase. Try to resist the temptation to make impulse buys, or remove the temptation completely by taking your savings out of a traditional account and putting your money into investment or fixed-deposit accounts, which produce greater returns.

Excuse 4: Cash flow is tight; I can’t afford to save.

Yes, you can—even if it’s a small amount. You’ll be glad you did when the day comes that you need to dip into your savings. Try setting a financial goal and take small, manageable steps to achieve it.

Excuse 5: I don’t have any disposable cash to save.

Business Daily lists several ideas to help free up funds to save:

  • Share office space with another small business or adopt a virtual business model.
  • Run your business from the cloud—it means avoiding expensive hardware and the staff to maintain it.
  • Pay invoices on time and avoid late payment fees
  • Cut down on meetings and focus on strategic functions instead.
  • Outsource work such as design and copywriting rather than hiring a full-timer.
  • Hire interns to help out with admin work.

No matter how big or small your business may be, one fact remains the same: start saving now. If the day comes that you need to dip into your extra cash, you’ll be glad you did.