Back in the good old days you just named it something that started with A so it came on top in the yellow pages (AAA Locksmith). Or based on location (North Ave Tires). Or using your family name (Amato's Pizza). Now you have to think about whether the domain name is available. Is it easy to spell. Easy to say. Does it look or sound weird? Does it convey what the business does? What services you offer? Does it give a mood or a feeling? Does it have bad connotations?
I have read about simple but expensive mess ups. I still remember when Bakers Square was called "Poppin' Fresh Pies." People thought they were a bakery (they are a restaurant that happens to feature pies). And when Boston Chicken wanted to expand from chicken. Now they are "Boston Market." Luckily no one seems to think they are Boston-specific. Those are expensive mistakes and changes to make. So I did not want to restrict my name to a specific service or a specific location.
I once worked for a company called Skil Power Tools (you may have heard of them). Then they were bought by Robert Bosch. Bosch is a German company. They wanted to rename Skil and put the Bosch in there, so they opted for initials, with Bosch first of course. A quite high up person was forced into the task of explaining why "BS Power Tools" was not a good name for a US company. Finally they went with "S-B Power Tool." Not TOOLS. I answered the phone for them, and took sometimes hundreds of calls a day. You try saying S-B Power Tool aloud, over and over, dozens or hundreds of times a day, sometimes 10-15 times quickly in a row. It's not something that trips off the tongue or can be easily shortened either.
I also once worked for a company called National Textbook Company. Less famous, but hey one of my books appeared in Sandra Bullock's hands in "Miss Congeniality" (in the Russian restaurant). Then NTC was sold to Tribune Education and merged with another publishing company. Suddenly everything was "NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company." Do you realize what a PITA that name is? I am thankful I never had to deal with answering their phones. However I did deal with branding and marketing, and that's why I say, the name was a pain. The two companies were like two different planets, and the name did nothing to make them into one cohesive idea.
This is possibly why I have not been so quick about picking the right name. It has to be the right name, because I don't want to have to change it later.
I had a great idea for a name, I thought. An awesome name. Domain name taken. Alternatives, taken. Other alternatives, available but not quite right. I don't know if these are real companies or just people who buy domain names that sound good to force people to buy them to use them. In any case I am still not sure I will make any money off this deal. *I* think it's a great idea. *I* think there is a market. But I also am not a natural salesperson.
My marketing strategy, if I have one, at this point consists of 1) letting everyone I know, know, 2) getting a website put together, and not a cheap slapped together something, 3) creating flyers, 4) posting said flyers on community bulletin boards in various areas where potential customers live and work, 5) creating some Craigslist posts, 6) making a Facebook page, 7) Tweeting occasionally.
I am not making items, so I cannot provide free product or sell on etsy or have a booth somewhere. I am providing a service. And I don't intend to "sell" per se. If you need the task done but didn't know how, here I am. I am not taking it upon myself to sell the idea on anyone. Maybe I will have to, I don't know.
I might create a separate blog just for the business too, just to connect people with information. But I am obviously not a big blogger. I write a lot when I have something to say, but I have a hard time coming up with topics out of nowhere. I have gone long weeks or months and never posted here. I guess I could share this blog except it's always been kind of personal and I have enjoyed the freedom that comes with some internet anonymity. There's a reason I don't connect this blog to my LJ, my FB, my twitter. Social networking is important, but I don't want to confuse that with actually creating revenue, and creating sales. I think it often happens that someone just likes being on the internet all the time, so they create some kind of business or following out of it. This is different from actually entering into social media and using it as a tool.
Right now I have 2 friends in my target market/communities that will allow me to do a test run for them, and then I can use comments and positive sound bites from their feedback in my marketing materials. I think if others see that someone in their area used my service, and I have have references, it will help.
I also have some unfinished ideas about partnering with some public libraries in certain areas. There I can show up and do a presentation, workshop, informational talk on this area of interest. Do demos. Connect with actual people who have some interest.
But I am not doing anything until my tax refund gets in here. Sure I could use my credit card and start buying things. But then I start this idea with debt. Which misses the point.
Right now I don't have any grand schemes for this idea. I am not sitting here thinking I am going to quit my day job any time. If I got one client a month I would be super happy with that. If I had one a week I would be over the moon thrilled.
But my goal, right now, is to get ONE. One. One person to pay for this service I would happily do for free. What I wish I knew -- how long and how hard should I put myself out there before I know it's not going to work?
I prefer to think THIS WILL WORK. I'm very passionate about it. I'm excited. I know know know there are people out there who could really use my level of knowledge in this area. But, will they pay for it? Can I find them?
However, I know that many small business ideas fail. I just don't know why. I have a full time job. When I am at my job, my time and my attention belongs to them, absolutely. I might mess around online a little bit, but I am not going to be generating revenue at a side job on their dime or their equipment. That's just wrong wrong wrong.
Anyway, I just don't know how long and how hard I have to push. If I make flyers, drive around this huge city, put them up, put posts on Craigslist, tell everyone I'm open for business, make a website and... nothing happens. Well then, I've really got nothing. No other tricks up my sleeve, really. I nave never ever even had one of those home based selling businesses. I had a Partylite party ONCE and it was awful! Hardly anyone came. A few people bought things, then the Partylite lady was pushing me bc I had to have a minimum amount in sales for it to be a "party" and what was I supposed to do? I thought their stuff was way too expensive and how was I to push someone into spending $50 on a CANDLE?!?!
woooo BAD FLASHBACK moment.
I am so anti-sales that I have never once even bothered to find out how to tell how many people, if any, even read my blog here. I prefer to think of it as me talking to myself. Once in a while I get a comment adn then I am super excited. Like, hey! Someone read it! It's always such a surprise.
Once I get 7 paying clients I will have paid off the expenses I am incurring up front. I think.
Anyway, my point. I did have one.... I am really happy right now that I solved the name dilemma. It was seriously bothering me. I feel happy and content with my solution. My gut says it is right. Or at least, close enough.
I am stalking my bank account to see if my money is in there. I have a small start up budget. I have done my research and I'm ready to buy. I'm ready to go.
It's kind of scary.
Photo 1: The same lemonade stand from this post.
Photo 2: "The Future - Now What?" From: "Boceprevir is FDA Approved: Now What?" By Dr. Joe Galati. Liver Specialists of Texas Weblog. 15 May 2011. LINK