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.

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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5 Characteristics that Successful Business Leaders Share

The success of a business is only as good as the people leading it. Bad leaders produce unproductive work environments and stagnant growth. In contrast, great leaders can develop trust, engage employees and fast-track success.

When it comes to successful business leaders, these are five of the top identifiable characteristics they commonly share:

1. A Clear Vision

Renowned business executive Jack Welch said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

If you don’t have a clear and engaging vision of where you want your company to go and what you want to accomplish, you can’t expect others to follow suit. Employees need a common goal that they can get behind to feel a sense of belonging and usefulness.

If you don’t have a clear and engaging #vision of where you want your company to go and what you want to accomplish, you can’t expect others to follow suit. #goals Click To Tweet

Here’s how you can get started:

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Overcome These 4 Fears About Selling Apparel Right Now

When Howard Potter, CEO of Utica, NY-based A&P Master Images, first started his decorated-apparel business, he operated from a 15-foot-by-15-foot room in his house. “In the beginning, I sold apparel mostly from catalogs and ordered samples to show customers only when I needed them,” he says.

As his business grew, he increased his showroom space—from 8 feet on a wall, to an 8-by-10 area, and then to a large 20-by-20 showroom. “We created a better layout and experience for our customers to view products,” Potter says. “But when we didn’t have tons of space to show actual garments, we didn’t let that become a block to stop us from selling.”

Potter focused on a couple of things: showing clients the most popular and effective mid-level and up styles in a variety of colors, plus recommending apparel and decoration unique to each client’s needs. “We want them to know that we aren’t trying to make them look like everyone else,” Potter says.

Many distributors and decorators, who’d like to sell more apparel, need to overcome their fears about selling it (even more so than overcoming their customers’ objections).  Luckily, we’re here to help you get past the four most common challenges we’ve heard about.

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The Power of Networking for Small Business Growth

A common misconception is that you only need to network when in search of a new job. However, the reality is that networking and face-to-face interactions are crucial for any small business’ continued success. As an entrepreneur, connecting with new people is a necessary skill for growth.

We’ve listed out why networking is important and some best practices to help you get the most out of the experience.

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5 Steps to an Effective SEO Strategy for Your Small Business

Most businesses have heard the term “SEO” and have a basic understanding of why it’s important. However, when it comes to truly understanding, planning and implementing a sound SEO strategy of their own—they don’t always follow through. Too often small business owners get wrapped up in the day-to-day operational needs, and see a list of marketing to dos as daunting tasks. The truth is, search engine optimization is part of the long game, but is integral in determining digital visibility and success. In simpler terms, it’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.

In order to achieve brand awareness, organic traffic growth, and ultimately, product purchases—you need to cultivate an SEO strategy.
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