#23: Image

05/01/2015
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Welcome to my first expert article of 2015! Ready to get started? Over the past few articles, we have been looking at market research and why finding out who your competitors are is key to your own success.

One of the issues we need to think about at this stage is what you are going to call your business; what image do you want to portray, a great deal of which can be derived from the name. I am not a marketer, but as I see it you have three options:

  • First is that you go for a derivative of your own name, which is fine.
  • Second is that you go for something that gives a very clear indication of what you do, which is also fine.
  • The third one, which is particularly relevant if you anticipate doing more than one activity, is to go for a neutral name, so you can do multiple activities under one identity without unduly confusing anyone.

Students of political history will not be surprised that I did not call my company David Mellor and Co., or David Mellor and Partners. I was also unsure even then whether I would be undertaking a single or multiple activities.

So, I went for a neutral name, Primovant. It was medieval English for what astronomers considered to be the centre of the universe, so there were no ego issues involved at all! It no longer exists as when Stephen Furner and I agreed to set up what is now Viridian it was no longer required – more on that later.

If you are going to go down the incorporation route (we will come back to that shortly), just check that the name is available so that you don’t waste time or money on a name you can’t use, and also check that the URL is available because you will get very frustrated if you get caught up in design work only to find that you can’t register either the company or the URL. Both are easy to do.

If you are going to be a sole trader, just check your local Yellow Pages and make sure there is no one else trading under the same name. Obviously don’t “take the Mickey” and call yourself a well know brand!

If you are going to have a logo, please check what it looks like when it is photocopied or faxed. Some things look great in colour but rubbish in “black and white” and you can’t read them, so do the black and white test.

Finally before we move on, please make sure that you don’t fall foul of the Disability Discrimination Act; there are certain colours which are not friendly to those with visual impairment, so you have to make sure that whatever you have on your website is in colours that people who are partially sighted can read. Whoever you use to create your website should be aware of this.

Next time we will look at your strategic plan and why planning is important to your businesses success.

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