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Naming Your Business

Seven ways to choose the right name for your business.

Bertie du Plessis

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Did you know there are only a limited number of options to name an enterprise? What a relief, isn’t it? As a matter of fact there are only seven really different ways in which you can create a name for your business or product and I am going to show them to you. However, before we get to the seven ways, we must first get a strategic issue out of the way. Going through the seven options with the wrong strategy will only help you from the frying pan into the fire.

So, let’s quickly play a game.

What would you choose?

Upfront I offer you a name that won’t harm your enterprise.  Take it, off you go to a flying start! It is not a “Wow!” but it will work. Most importantly it won’t harm your business.

However, I also have a secret name in a box. If you reject the “plain” name that I offer you upfront, you may choose the name in the box. But, wait, here’s the trick! In the box can be either of two names.  Name A is an absolutely fabulous, mindboggling “Wow!” name for your venture.  Name B on the other hand is a very inappropriate, “ouch!” name for you business. For our experiment’s sake you will have to use whatever you choose. Once taken you can’t discard.

What do you do? Take the appropriate, but uninspiring name and get off to a flying start? Or do you take the chance and choose the box – at least you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting a fabulous name for your business?

What you should do, is choose the appropriate if uninspiring name, because a name alone will not guarantee business success. A business is by far too complex for that. A bad name, however, may positively harm your business. I have seen some really bad names for businesses which the owners justified by saying that “they wanted to be different.”  Yes, we need to differentiate, but if we are too different your market will fail to make the connection between their needs and your offering! Many things will differentiate your brand. The onus is not on the name alone! When you come to a professional agency for name development, the greater part of the fee will be for preventing you choosing a name that will make you look foolish and harm your business!

Before you even begin to name you enterprise, make the right strategic decision. If, by luck or inspiration you do stumble on a “Wow!” name, good for you! You are lucky, but don’t over estimate the power of a name in business success!

Now we get to the tricks of naming a business or enterprise.

1. A personal name

If you are in the services industry, your first choice should always be your own name. Only when there are compelling reasons to the contrary (for instance: you are afraid if you fail, your name might be tarnished), should you choose anything else. Take your name in the real world, for instance Sue McGregor and add the description of your business, for instance “Sue McGregor Financial Advisors.”   Your biggest advantage in small businesses is you yourself; especially in services. Use your name to give personality and a face to your business. Personalise, personalise, personalise!

2. Combine two words to create a metaphor

Take two words and combine them to make a new word with a new meaning, “airbus,” for example.  A bus transports passengers in bulk on land. Combining the word bus with the word air creates a new meaning, bulk passenger transport by air.  You use a part of the meaning of one or both of the words.

3. Combine two units of meaning (morphemes) to create a new word

“Provita,” the name for the well-known health biscuits come from “pro” meaning “for, on behalf of” and “vita” life. This is very powerful.

4. Create an acronym from the first letters of a description

This is very popular way with technology companies.  “Intel” comes from “Integrated electronics.”  “Modem” comes from modulator emulator.  The important thing to remember is that the name must sound like a real word. This means that you should have vowels attached to consonants as in In and tel.  Don’t, don’t have only consonants such as BRD or RDF.  “IBM” only works because it first was Industrial and Business Machines, became well-known, and was then abbreviated. You are not IBM!

5. Take a part of what you do and use it to refer to the entire enterprise

“Staples” is only an (insignificant) item on the list of office supplies, but it is the name of a large supplier of all kinds of office supplies in the US. Windows is only the obvious visual part of the office software package.

6. Take a well-known word from one area of life and apply it to your enterprise

“Diesel” is the name of type of fuel, but it is applied to a well-know clothing brand. In this case the word carries emotional overtones of “rugged” and “working class.”  “Apple” is another example. The trick here is to choose words with emotional associations that will support your enterprise.

7. A totally new word that has not existed before

There is a strong case to be made that this may yet be the best of all options for a product or large enterprise. Examples are “Exxon,” “Sony” and “Kodak.

Finally your biggest no-no is to be generic.  You can’t be “Our Game Farm” or “The Pharmacy” or “My wine.” As an individual you don’t want to be known as “My father’s son.”  You want to have a name! The Internet has not changed this at all.  Remember, books.com got nowhere, but Amazon did!   Search.com got nowhere, but Google did!  It’s counter-intuitive but indisputable true!

Bertie du Plessis founded his successful consultancy firm, MindPilot, 17 years ago. He names several of South Africa’s blue chip corporations among his client list and has taught as a lecturer and guest lecturer in six different disciplines at tertiary institutions. His fin24.com blog is the most read business blog on the 24.com domain. Visit Bertie Du Plessis's website for more information.

Researching a Franchise

The Digital Headaches Of A Franchise Marketing Team

Here are my top 5 tools that can help control and regulate franchisees marketing with minimum friction.

JG Bezuidenhout

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Franchise marketing teams already know that managing campaigns for a business with multiple locations and/or stores is a time-consuming job.

When it comes to online marketing, many franchisees are frustrated with the mother brands’ national campaign strategy, as it may not suit their immediate needs. This often means they embark down the dangerous route of “rogue” or unapproved campaigns.

This is a huge risk for any brand as there is limited to no control over the message and quality of creative, often resulting in brand CI and best practices not being followed.

Rogue advertising can be totally avoided by a franchises’ marketing team by employing tools that allow them to set up a managed process where franchisees can advertise through. With a managed approval process (preferably automated) it is easier to manage “rouge” content.

Here are my top 5 tools that can help control and regulate franchisees marketing with minimum friction.

1. Create a consistent Facebook content experience whilst still allowing your franchisees to post to their own page

Facebook location pages makes it possible to, as an alternative, allow every store to open a Facebook page, each with different versions of your logo as their profile picture, as well as incomplete profile data or even old or past promotions as their cover image. You as a brand manager can set up each store as a location page on the brand’s main FB page.

The pages can all be linked to the main page and if you change the profile image or cover art, it will automatically update all the other pages. There are also a number of other marketing advantages to this, but most importantly for me was the ability to manage them all from a single interface and clean up all the old and abandoned pages that just confused customers.

2. Manage social media content

Gain is extremely simple to use and connected to all the popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. As a user, you can create posts or ads and schedule them all from the same window. Once said posts are scheduled, the marketing team can preview the content and approve it for publication or request changes all within a matter of seconds.  Best of all, nothing will get posted without your approval.

3. Free professional looking content in a template

Pablo is an old favourite of mine! It supplies predefined size templates where a user can use free professional stock photos and quickly overlay text. The feature I love most on this tool is the “insert logo” feature, which with the click of a button can overlay a banner or brand element that creates consistent content experiences. Once done, you can export the image and post it to gain for approval. Simple right!

4. Create email alerts for when your brand is found online

Talk Walker alerts is a nifty tool and acts like your personal internet detective who constantly crawls the internet for keywords that you define. I like to use my clients’ brand names and sometimes even my competitors just to keep tabs on their activity. Once set up, you receive daily emails with links to the content in question.

5. Pre-approved marketing creatives and targeting with machine learning optimisation

Lead Gener8or tool can define a bespoke target audience per store and lock advertising geographical areas to prevent any cannibalisation. Once completed, franchisees can execute pre-approved marketing campaigns as and when they wish on any of the integrated channels (SMS, Email, Facebook, Google and Youtube), without any further involvement required from the marketing team.

Powered by big-data machine learning, campaigns are automatically optimised while in flight. Marketing teams can monitor all campaigns in real time. This tool really is a game changer for franchise marketing teams and brand managers.

With these tools correctly implemented into your business, the digital headache of your franchise’s marketing team can subside and focus on what you do best, delivering results!

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Business Ideas Directory

5 Simple Ways To Identify Business Ideas That Could (Really) Change The World

Want to come up with a world-changing business idea? First step, think locally. What exactly does your community need?

Jennifer Spencer

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It’s one thing to be able to identify industries and businesses that are poised for major market success. But entrepreneurship requires more than just finding an idea that can make a lot of money. For entrepreneurs to tap into the motivating power that drives lasting success, the ideas they conceive must be powerful enough to change the world through major economic, social or environmental impact.

If your idea meets that criterion, quite simply, you’ll be far more motivated to get through the entrepreneurial challenges that will follow if your product or services are a force for good. The reason is that it will be something you can truly become emotionally invested in. The challenge, of course, is identifying these business ideas in the first place.

How to do that? Here are five simple ways through which you can identify world-changing business ideas:

1. Find opportunities in your own community

Though cultures and languages may vary, many of the challenges facing our world are similar across many parts of the globe. As such, one of the best ways to identify world-changing ideas is to start locally: Look for issues that concern your local community.

To get an expert view on how to look for opportunities locally, via email, I reached out to Geoffrey Leslie, CEO and president of Screems. This Netherlands-based company is slated to affect changes on both a local and global level using MAPS (Major Appliance Power Station), a clean energy-generating device that can be installed in a home or business. It’s a device that just might change communities around the world through the affordable, self-sustaining electricity it offers.

“So many of the best ideas come from our own personal observations,” Leslie wrote to me, echoing my thought about looking locally. “But to obtain these insights, you have to get out in the community.”

He suggested joining a volunteer group to learn more about the issues it’s trying to address, and reading news articles that discuss problems in your city. “These micro-level interactions can make all the difference in finding an issue you can address,” Leslie said.

Rather than trying to transform the entire world all in one go, you might instead identify ideas that can first be tested in your local community. This can serve as a great way to fine-tune your efforts and quantify your impact as you prepare to take your idea to a much bigger stage.

Related: 300 Business Ideas To Inspire You Into Entrepreneurship

2. Draw upon your own personal experiences

Many of the most powerful world-changing ideas come from the experiences and challenges an entrepreneur has faced in his or her own life. Take a moment to consider the problems you’re currently dealing with. These problems could be affecting your current business endeavours, your personal life or your home.

Chances are, you’re not the only person facing these issues.

Rather than wait for someone else to solve your problem for you, take steps to change the world by developing a business idea that directly addresses the issues you’re confronting. More importantly, understand that when you’re addressing your own problems, you’ll be more likely to be passionate about creating and making available the best solution possible.

In Leslie’s case, for example, this meant looking at his home in the Netherlands and seeing a heavy reliance on fossil fuel. This, combined with rising concern over climate change, pegged his solution as not only an important advancement for his company, but for the world at large with the potential to democratise energy production.

3. Look for ideas that get other people involved

collaboration

Many of the most successful world-changing ideas don’t just offer a new product or service. They seek to change the way people approach their day-to-day living. Changing someone’s mental outlook will have a far greater reach and impact in the long run.

Take this example shared by business consultant Monica Bourgeau. As she wrote in HuffPost, “[Author and TEDx speaker] John-Paul Flintoff works to help protect the environment and prevent global warming. He realised he could make an immediate difference by reaching out to his neighbours. However, he did this not by overloading them with facts and research, but by giving them … tomato plants.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Business Landscape

Load Shedding – How To Stay Productive

We’ve all already had massive interruptions from load shedding and it’s not going away anytime soon so, instead of being caught out each time and losing productivity, let’s stay steps ahead of the outages and make sure that our productivity stays where it should be…

Warrick Kernes

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They say that prevention is better than cure and with load shedding the best cure is to have a generator, backup power inverter or UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) set up to kick in when the lights go out. If you don’t have this in place then you will want to understand when you will be affected and how to minimise the impact of this on your work.

The first step is to know when your area is scheduled for load shedding. You can find out by downloading the free app called Loadshedding Notifier which tells you when Eskom has scheduled areas to be turned off. We’ve already seen that the lights don’t always go out when they are scheduled to do so but it’s better to be prepared than to be caught in the dark.

Many entrepreneurs rely on their normal routine to drive their productivity but once you know that your routine is going to be interrupted then it’s time to re-plan your day. You could plan to get up earlier to avoid traffic or to start work super early so that you get through your priority work before the power goes off.

Arrange your to-do list so that you can get through the highest priority and income producing activities first and then you can get around to the rest of your work. Prioritising your daily actions becomes even more crucial when you have limited time. You can also plan priority work for when the power is out; just imagine how many sales calls you can make when not being interrupted by emails.

If you work from home check if the neighbouring suburbs will have power so you can go work at one of the cafes. Most cafes have free wifi but it can be slow and these networks aren’t always secured so it’s preferable to have your own 3G dongle so that you don’t rely on others for internet.

A few more load shedding quick tips:

  • Work in the cloud so that all your work is backed up automatically and not lost if you suddenly lose power.
  • Unplug devices when the power is out to avoid damage from potential surges when power is restored.
  • Keep your electronics charged up such as; headphones, cell phone, laptop battery, powerbank, 3G dongle.

If your computer battery dies or you run out of things to do then create a list of work that you and your team can do which doesn’t require computers or internet. An impromptu team building lunch or a good old brain storming session could prove incredibly valuable or if your team isn’t up for that then the storeroom could probably use a clean.

If all else fails don’t panic as you can always just go for a walk, meditate, spend time with the kids or go to the gym to clear your mind.

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