How Did You Name Your Business? Some Food For Thought.

How did you name your business? Did you choose a name to make a statement, have an energy of its own? Did you intend it to be a reflection, a symbol or perhaps send a message?

There can be a lot to think about when choosing a name for one’s business and sometimes the names just come easily! You usually begin with some kind of “starting” principle or point of reference, just as you do when naming a baby or even a pet! But then what happens?

Let’s look at a few major companies and how they chose their names:

MacDonalds – rather simplistic. The originators were Dick and Mac McDonald. Their first go round was as McDonald’s BBQ but realizing they sold more hamburgers than anything else they changed to just selling burgers and simplified their name to McDonald’s! They put 2 golden arches over the stand to attract people driving by!

Cisco Systems – The founders, employed at Stanford,, were driving by Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and realizing their newly invented product would make a huge advancement in the “bridging and compatibility” of data connections, immediately grabbed onto the name “cisco” ( short for San Francisco) and their logo was created, patterned after the San Francisco bridge.

Nike – Nike takes its name from Nike (Greek Νίκη, pronounced [nǐːkɛː]), the Greek goddess of victory. The swoosh logo was the result of a designer sketching multiple “marks’ … the swoosh being the one chosen by Nike. Some people say it symbolizes a simulation of the greek goddess Nike’s flight

All very interesting. And, I bet all of you are extremely familiar and probably even customers of each of these businesses and never even thought about the origin of their names. You simply know them for what they do and what they contribute! Very normal to think that way, which leads me to asking, “what is it that happened between the naming of each business and what their names mean today?”

Think you have to say their names are still in sync with why they were given their names, even as they have grown and expanded their market share and customer visibility. They have each been successful in staying true to the original intention of their names … with a slight tweaking by McDonalds. And therefore they each carry an essence that comes at the very mention of their names. There is really no need or reason to go back and discover where or how their names evolved. There is no gap that creates the curiosity to wonder where did “that” name come from? It just “is” even when it might not make obvious sense.

My question for all of us to ponder is, “are we doing this with our businesses? Are we developing and deepening the soul and essence, of our businesses? Are we keeping the original intention of our business name in mind as we grow and expand – creating a deep footprint? You might be asking, “are you referring to branding?” Yes, that is part of it but it goes beyond branding. It speaks to the purpose and goals you create that lead to your branding. Hope that makes sense.

Let’s turn to you and your own “personal” name. If you look in the mirror could you see yourself as the holder of any other name? At this point in your life, would it fit? Would it work? Try the same exercise with your business name. Could your change your business name today? Would another name fit at this point? Would it work?

If you said no to the ability to change your business name at this point, you are most likely in sync. If you said yes, take some time to think about your business before renaming. Maybe the name is good and you just need more focus on your business activity. On the other hand, maybe a name change is a good thing to do! Look at what McDonalds did as they simplified to just serving hamburgers.

It’s not for anyone to say a business name is good or bad. It’s what the business name represents that makes the statement. What it portrays to people when they hear it and “that” comes with what you do under your business name.

Going back to the 3 businesses mentioned above, each of their names represent today a true essence of their beginnings … but what people see today at the mention of each of these business names goes way beyond when the names were originally assigned. The San Francisco reference for “cisco” is lost to many, but the intention of “connecting” is as strong as can be! How many people know there is a goddess named Nike? But – Nike products are worn by those out there in the sports field who experience “victory” and are chosen by many a weekend warrior for that reason.

Lots to think about with your business name — when you create it and as you develop and expand your business. Just giving you some food for thought! Enjoy!

Keep Your Business Garden Growing,

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