Finding the right name and tagline for your business

Dr. Lynda Falkenstein

Dear Niche Doctor,
I’ve been in the retail business in this area for several years and more recently have set up a consulting company. My problem is that I don’t know what to call my new endeavor. My existing company is well established and I don’t want to confuse anyone with what I’m up to. Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

Your issue is quite common for people opening a second business. The good news is you’re undertaking a service enterprise. The extra good news is that it is a consulting operation. I say “extra good news” because the answer to your question is very straightforward and simple. Unlike the traditional retail industry where customers buy tangible widgets, in the service industry – especially the consulting part of it – people buy one thing. More accurately put, they buy one person: you.

My favorite axiom, “people buy people,” rings true. In a consulting business, people lay money down to have your advice, your expertise. What this means for the name of your business is that you’ve been walking around with it all along; it’s your name. Not some cutesy, clever acronym someone has dreamed up.

It never ceases to amaze me that some people are resistant to the obvious and keep looking for that magic term they hope will separate them from the masses of others in the industry. What they’re not realizing is that clients will buy them for their way, their approach and their experiences. Clutter those priceless commodities with some goofy name and you’ve hidden the reason clients want you in the first place.

If you are still reluctant to accept the premise, think about the season that will prevail from now until the first Tuesday in November, 2016. That’s right. Election mania is already underway. The first sign is candidates jockeying for the spotlight, in some cases doing whatever it takes to get visibility. Regardless of office, even the most unprepared candidates know you can’t get elected by being invisible; they have to get their name out to potential voters. I call it blitz marketing, and it’s true of celebrities of all flavors. Their name is their brand, their niche. The same is true for you.

“Okay,” you say, “but how will anyone know what I stand for? What do I put on my website or my business card?” Once again, the answer is clear, but it can also be a bit tricky. What you need now is a great tagline – a phrase that unpacks what you are up to. The tricky part is that you can only use a few words. Getting just the right phrase forces you to get to the core of what you do and/or how or why you do it. It’s nothing less than a strategic niche-development exercise. The exercise can be grueling, but once you’re there it is light bulb city. My own tagline, “Achieving Focus with Purpose,” reminds me everyday what I’m up to and, sometimes even more importantly, what I’m not up to.

So, you already know your name. The next step is distilling the essence of what you are about in a simple tagline. Do it now and you’re launch pad-ready tomorrow.

Dr. Lynda Falkenstein, business consultant and author of NICHECRAFT: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out, invites your questions and comments. To contact her with questions or comments, email or call 503.781.0966. Please note that the Vancouver Business Journal and Dr. Niche reserve the right to publish your letter or an edited version in all print and electronic media.