naming your business

What's in a name? Hint: Everything.

The name.

Oh, the name.

When I had to choose a name for my children, I was so concerned that I was going to mess it up. I worried about the number of syllables, whether the name was memorable but not too trendy, and I would come up with all the possible nicknames to make sure mean kids on the playground wouldn’t be able to call my kids horrible names based on their given ones. Man did that take a lot of energy.

Naming a business is different, but not entirely.

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Of course, you don’t have to be steps ahead of a schoolyard bully, but you still do have to think about how other people will react to your company’s name.

There are companies you can pay thousands of dollars to for them to work for 6 months on choosing a name for your company. Also, a lot of tech-related companies choose made-up names: Shopify, Fiverr, Canva, BuzzSumo, Bizzy, etc.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to October 1, 2012. It was that day that I filed papers for my fledgling nursing wear company and officially named it Udderly Hot Mama. 

If you’ve never been a breastfeeding mother, I’ll let you in on the why this name is funny (to some). You kind of feel like a cow, you kind of feel like you have udders and you desperately want to feel hot.

When I settled on this name, I asked a very limited group of people (all friends/family) what they thought. They all laughed and thought it was brilliant.

PROBLEM #1 

I didn’t ask the right people. What I should have done is create a survey and send it to every pregnant and nursing mother around to see their thoughts on the name. I’m sure I would have gotten a resounding and slightly overwhelming NOOOOOO!! from most of those surveyed.

PROBLEM #2

I chose joke, a pun. Not everyone in the whole world shares the same sense of humor. There are lots of people who won’t get the joke or worse, won’t find it funny.

PROBLEM #3

I didn’t consider how sensitive people can be. To everything. I believed that since I was a nursing mother, I knew what ALL nursing mothers were thinking. WRONG! As it turns out, a lot of people have been offended (gasp!) by the name over the years. And yes, it’s cost me some business because people refused to buy from a company that was offending them or their customers. 

PROBLEM #4 

The sound. Say the name of your business out loud. Does it have a “ks” or “x” sound in it? Those tend to be better names than something wishy washy.

PROBLEM #5

The length. The name of my company for a long time ended up being: Udderly Hot Mama Nursing and Pumping Wear. What a mouthful! I shortened it to Udderly Hot Mama once people started knowing the brand better but even that has proven to be too long! Think of some of the biggest companies around: Nike, Adidas, Nordstrom, Amazon, Lulu Lemon, J Crew, Spanx….These are short names.  

When choosing a name, be sure to consider everything above. And survey, survey, survey. In October 2012, we didn’t have Instagram to reach out directly through DMs to people who would be potential customers. The word “influencer” wasn’t in our vernacular yet. Now, you could reach out via direct message to influencers with whom you’ve developed relationships and ask their opinions. These are the opinions you need! Not your mom’s!

With VIP Business Connection, I carefully considered everything. Ultimately, I came up with a three-word name for a reason. I needed all three to describe what clients are going to receive: VIP treatment, all about business, and business connections with me and other entrepreneurs.  

And I’m pretty sure no one will be offended by this name.

Cheers to your success,

Melanie