Why selecting the right business name matters

Establishing your business name is a big deal. Not only will it be the mark and identifier that you will promote for the rest of your business’ life, but it can also say a lot about who you are, what era you were established and how forward thinking you are. Whether you like it or not, your business name says a lot about your company and it could be helping, or hurting.

In 2012, I purchased a company called The School of Worship in Franklin, TN. Having been a long time supporter of this company prior to my purchase, I always felt the business name was perfect. From a marketing standpoint, it described exactly what we were: a school that focused on worship.

A couple of weeks after I took control of the business, a good and personally influential friend of mine sat in my office and asked a very casual question: “Are you changing the name?” I hadn’t planned on it…until then.

Over the next couple of weeks, I began to circulate the idea of changing the business name. Let’s just say, I was surprised and even shocked at the feedback I received.

“What do you do in there?”

“Worship of what, and why do you need to go to school for it?”

Another asked if this is where worship leaders came to better their ability to lead worship.

Finally, the kicker was when multiple people asked if we were a cult. (Yikes!)

It isn’t important to determine if they were right or wrong, the fact was, they’re responses indicated that the local community was largely unaware or confused about who we were and what we did. Furthermore, when I stepped out of the faith-based paradigm, I began to see that our name could be perceived very differently than what was intended.

It was clear that we needed to change the name, so we did on January 1, 2013. We are now ROOTS Worship Arts Academy.

  • ROOTS was chosen because of its dual meaning: “root” of a chord, and the spiritual “roots” we’re helping parents establish in their students
  • Worship Arts was selected because we wanted an obvious indicator that we were faith-based company. This is our primary competitive advantage.
  • Academy was a no-brainer as it is a much more prestigious word than “school.”

In January, I pulled down the last visible remnant of the “School of Worship” branding. The plastic letters, now detached from the cinder block walls, left a weathered stain of a tenant that once occupied our facility. The blank wall left our building without a clear identity. Certainly our new ROOTS monument sign would help people know who we are, but with the overgrown shrubs and relatively small size, it wasn’t for sure.

Today, the main hedge in front of our building has been cut down 15″ to remove the visual impediments that kept people from seeing what we’re doing in our studio windows. Furthermore, the entrance of our building has a fresh coat of paint and nice big letters that spell and define exactly who we are, and what we do.

We are…

ROOTS Before/After Signage

ROOTS: Music Voice Dance. It can’t get any simpler than that.

In some ways, these letters represent more than a sign. To me, it marks that we are an established company that is going somewhere.

Some Naming Tips

1. Only bring people you trust into the early stages of the naming process

Naming is a very personal process to most people. If those who are giving you feedback are too far removed from you or the business, they could help or deter you from a successful and efficient outcome.

2. Be prepared to defend your names and ideas

Early on, my wife didn’t take to the ROOTS name, but it grew on her the more we talked about it. My confidence in the name helped her grow in hers as well. Your confidence is critical to choosing the right name.

3. Make the decision and go with it.

It’s very easy to over analyze and over-think a business name. At some point, you have to choose and commit.

Finally, I previously stated that your business name could give your customers an indication of your forward thinking skills, or lack thereof, in 1999, I launched my first business called Extream Media. Enough said.

Have you considered what people might think or assume of your business name? 

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