The decision to open your optical business was the easy part; now you must face the real challenge—naming it! This seemingly simple act is a component of business star-tup that requires as much thoughtful effort as deciding on a store location or choosing inventory. Your company’s name will become its face. It will be the focus of advertising materials; show prominently on stationery, signage and marketing materials and, hopefully, roll off the tongues of your customers. A good name, backed by a sound business, will take flight whereas a bad name might never lift off the ground.
Consider the experts. There are firms that specialize in naming businesses and, if your budget allows, working with one is a smart decision. These professional firms provide data on trends for names that are successful in today’s markets as well as critique and advise on a specific name or direction. They also work with trademark laws and states’ specifics regarding registration. The Small Business Administration cautions that some states require a sole proprietor to use their own name for the business name unless they formally file a trade name or fictitious name.
Define the qualities that you want people to associate with your business. Is it personal service that you feel best describes the business or do you want people to know that you keep up with current trends in eyewear and the latest technology? Clever and arty names for your business—My Father’s Monocle or Seeing is Believing—are abstract, and may convey certain qualities or elicit emotions, while descriptive names—Sam’s Discount Eyeglass Hut or Boulder Optical—relate information about your business such as location or price information.
Ask and ask again. The more people that you enlist in your search for a name, the better chance you have of landing the right one. By brainstorming with friends and relatives you will gather a list that has a range of serious, witty, sophisticated, and thoughtful selections. When you look at the possibilities a second and third time, you will begin to weed out those that won’t maintain their integrity.
Trade the yellow pages for the Internet. Once upon a time it was wise to choose a name that would start with “A” or “B” for a smart alphabetical position. Today consider how your business will be found on the Internet and how best to utilize keyword optimization.
Strive for longevity. If your 5-year plan includes the opening of one or more locations, be sure that you don’t limit yourself with your name. Boulder Optical would not have the same effect in Fresno. A witty name may lose luster month after month. The object is to settle on a name that is easy to say and remember, and one that allows for growth and expansion.
Generate some advertising (posters, business cards, ads) with a few different names; place them around your house and look at them over a few days.
- Generate some advertising (posters, business cards, ads) with a few different names; place them around your house and look at them over a few days.
Daisy Wells is a writer living in Hadlyme, Conn. She has more than 25 years of experience in feature writing for newspapers, regional/national magazines and journals. Wells has contributed to "The Westerly Sun," "The Connecticut Post," "The Norwich Bulletin," Shore Publishing, "The Hartford Courant" and the "Shoreline Times," as well as "Hartford Magazine" and "Cape Cod Life" magazine.