How to choose a great name for your organizing business

One of my responsibilities as Director of Membership for Professional Organizers in Canada was ordering the name badges. I was amazed at how many members ordered a replacement name badge within their first year or two – not because they’d lost theirs (they are organizers, after all), but because they changed the name of their business.

business name

I suppose I really shouldn’t have been surprised, as I did the same thing myself. When I started my business, my goal was to use my training in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help others make career choices and develop organizing strategies based on their individual personality types. Not being terribly imaginative, I came up with the name “Barclay Career and Organizing Solutions.” Although it was too long and uninteresting to be memorable, that wasn’t what motivated the change.

When I added website design and virtual assistance to my service offerings, I knew I had to let something else go, so I decided to drop residential organizing and career services and focus on the small business market. Sensing that I might eventually wish to streamline even further, and not wanting to go through another name change, I brainstormed ideas for names that would apply whether I was an office organizer or a virtual assistant, and came up with Organized Assistant®. I’m sure that many of the other organizers who needed new name badges had also changed their focus or specialty, but that’s not the only reason for changing a business name.

I suspect that some of them may have realized their selected name was too much like that of another organizing business, an issue that can be avoided by doing thorough research right from the start. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when choosing your business name. Perhaps another organizer is using a name you like, and you figure there’s no conflict because you’re thousands of miles away from each other and therefore not targeting the same clients. But what happens if down the road one of you starts offering virtual organizing, teleclasses, or digital products? NAPO’s downloadable tip sheet on Selecting a Name for Your Company is a very helpful resource in this regard.

Others may have realized their original name choice wasn’t all that great from a branding standpoint. For example, I’ve seen business names that were foreign or made up words. Though they may have sounded elegant or clever, it’s hard for people to remember unfamiliar words. Furthermore, these names didn’t clearly articulate what type of business it was.

The New York Times published some interesting stories last year which demonstrated other factors that led to business name changes.

Whether you’re trying to pick a name for your new organizing business, or are planning to make a change, here are a few thoughts for you to consider:

Peter Urs Bender and George Torok, co-authors of Secrets of Power Marketing, recommend that if you have a one-person service business, you should use your own name in the company name. Not only does it reinforce your personal brand, people are more likely to give you repeat business and/or referrals if they only have to remember one thing instead of two. You can use:

Some of the cleverest business names I’ve come across involve a play on words, where the organizer’s name is linked to the services they offer, such as:

Your name may not lend itself to be used this way, but don’t rule it out too quickly! It’s amazing what a little creativity can do.

Hearpreneur has a regular feature where different entrepreneurs answer the question, How did you come up with your business name?. I recommend reading the wide variety of answers; something just may provide the inspiration you need.

How did you choose the name for your business? Do you ever wish you’d chosen something different?

Graphic © Letizia – Fotolia.com

Comments

  1. When I started my business I lived in Québec so when people asked me what I did, I said “J’organise” (I organize). Since my first name started with J, I figured I’d just keep that name.


  2. Twitter:
    I fit into the thousands-of-miles-away, small-world-online scenario. The original (and next) users of Organized For Life never successfully trademarked it (making it difficult for me to), and by now there are at least a dozen of us out there. I recently changed my Facebook biz page to” Hazel Thornton is Organized For Life”. I like it because I can say things like, “Are you Organized For Life?” and “Thank you for getting Organized For Life!”… but I’m not interested in trademarking and policing others. I find that no one remembers it precisely anyway (Organizing Life? Organize Your Life?), but they remember me!
    Hazel Thornton recently posted..The 80/20 Rule is Your FriendMy Profile

  3. Hi Janet
    I chose my business name Life Sorted because it is a very British saying to get “yourself sorted” , so when i was looking for a phrase that was easy to remember, i thought Life Sorted was to the point. As organizing isn’t always about the stuff, it is also about everyday Life clutter, thats’ what i went with.
    Jill Robson recently posted..This Ole House Kitchen Part IV- ZonesMy Profile

  4. I am so tickled that you like my business name, Janet. When I first started thinking about my business at the end of 2001 and start of 2002, I knew I wanted something that was tied to me but that could, conceivably grow. The funny thing is, the vast majority of people — even those who know me — don’t realize that it’s a play on my name until they hear me introduce myself (or get introduced), and then hearing Bestry and Best Re…sults so close together in one sentence turns on the light bulb. I’ve had colleagues who’ve known me half a dozen years come up to me and point out they’ve only just NOW gotten it. So, perhaps I was a little too clever for my own good, but knowing you like it made my whole day! Thanks again!


  5. Twitter:
    My business name is The House That Clutter Built. It is a play on the House That Jack Built. I know it is long, but it is memorable and stands out within my industry. There’s surely nothing close to it. My logo is a house almost bursting out the seams with clutter. It works well for my niche clients; people who hoard.


  6. Twitter:
    First, Julie, I’ve known you for 3 years and I just got it!

    Second, Janet, another reason to give long hard thought to your business name is to be sure it is yours and yours alone. I know of at least 2 organizers here in GA who have had to go through an intensive and expensive renaming and rebranding process because someone else was already using that name. Due diligence on the front end is so important.

    Finally I named my business Good Life Organizing because my goal is that my help/work will allow my clients to live that Good Life they have been dreaming of!


  7. Twitter:
    Much good food for thought here, ladies. I thought I’d tied up my business name (De-Clutter Coach) by purchasing all the domain names and versions of them to protect it. Well, that didn’t work completely as there’s at least one other organizer with this business name with a slight variation.

    As well, people often refer to me as The Clutter Coach.

    I’ve been pondering all this of late and am wondering whether to remain the De-Clutter Coach or rebrand. It’s a real dilemma.

    Thanks for this opportunity to discuss! :)


  8. Twitter:
    Janet-

    What a fabulous blog post! So useful and timely for many.

    As you know, I rebranded last year (by choice). I kept the name of my professional organizing division which I founded in 2002 as LM Organizing Solutions, but now have a new parent company name, Lisa Montanaro Global Enterprises. I chose that name for several reasons: 1) I am going global, playing in a bigger sandbox, and wanted to share that intention though the name, 2) I am running a personal brand, and 3) I mostly use my real name online and that is what I noticed people would search for. To be honest, I use the business name less and less now, and focus more on my “brands” and “slogans” to market myself, always connecting them to my real name. My corporate name does not show up in many places. This was a very strategic decision.

    As a business coach and legal consultant for organizers and other entrepreneurs, I have seen the ugly side of business naming. Many clients have had to rename their businesses due to trademark disputes. I have filed trademarks for my clients, negotiated consent agreements for them to use the same name as another business owner, and advised them to rebrand altogether when the trademark issue was not on their side or too expensive to pursue.

    But this can often be avoided up front, as you suggested. I use a 4-part test with my clients when choosing a business name:

    1) Domain Name Search – Check to make sure you can get the domain name that you want to represent your proposed business name.
    2) USPTO search – You can conduct a free search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site at USPTO.gov or use a paid service to research trademarks nationwide.
    3) State Corporations Database Search – You can do a quick search on the Secretary of State web page to see whether your name is available. If the name is available, you may want to reserve the name through the Secretary of State, but you are not required to do so before forming your business entity.
    4) NAPO Member Directory Search – If you are a professional organizer, you should check to see if the proposed name is already being used by a NAPO member. Remember, it is not NAPO’s responsibility to police names as a professional association. It is the business owners!

    Thanks again for your really relevant post.


  9. Twitter:
    Great discussion Janet! AND of course, thank you for your brilliance LOVELY Lisa Home-Run-Montenaro!

    I went with Sane Spaces – frankly because I awakened with it when I was working on my original business. I tend to be a very intuitive person, and thought it was a message from the universe. I started as a DBA, and moved into an LLC structure three years later. I added Productivity Consulting because my business spanned the gap between the worlds of corporate performance consulting, coaching and at the time residential and business organizing. I did a thorough search for the name and have branded quite widely with Sane Spaces. Now that I’ve moved almost exclusively into training and coaching, I have kept the name because it spanned the gap without creating dissonance in the skills, services and products I offer! I’ve become more focused on working with moms who are running businesses while juggling thier lives and busy families, and the name has spanned that new audience. Thanks for the discussion! – :-)
    Cena recently posted..How Mompreneurs Prioritize Their Own NeedsMy Profile

  10. Love the conversation here ladies. When I first created Calahan Solutions, Inc. I intentionally gave my business a name that allowed me to change what I do as I change. I’m an “Alchemist Explorer” type which means that all the work I do is transformation giving, but I will continue to move and alter in how that transformation happens. My degree choices, career path and interests all prove that to be true. Knowing that about myself, I did not want to lock myself into a name that would “define” me. I realize this perspective is very counter intuitive to many naming businesses, but I knew that I would expand as I went. That philosophy served me well until I decided to ignore it!

    Waaaay back when I had my first blog created, I chose to go with http://www.productiveandorganized.net for the blog name (the company name stayed the same and is on the blog). I listened to the then gurus that talked about SEO and ease of finding you and chose to use keywords vs Calahan Solutions.

    This was a mistake on my part because I have grown and changed and the name no longer fits what I do at all! I have not organized for clients in 6+ years and most of the work I do, while it can lead to productivity, is not focused there. I decided to go back to my roots from my corporate days and deepen my work with people. My business is really strategic business consulting/coaching with broad system implementation and automation. I work with organizers, coaches, speakers and authors. I help purpose-driven entrepreneurs bring their big visions to life w/ power, grace & ease so that they can impact more, experience a more joyful life, make more money and have real freedom now! (So, the url just does not fit anymore.)

    Like Lisa, I’m going through a re-brand. In my case, the company name has not changed, but the branding did. I had no idea 7+ years ago, how much a blog would become the center of my branding or I certainly would have done it differently!
    Stephanie LH Calahan ( recently posted..5 Fast and Easy Ways to Create a PDF FileMy Profile

  11. When I first dreamed up the idea of helping people get their homes ready for company, I figured I was really on to something new and different and was going to be “The Clutter Bug.” Imagine my surprise when I went online and found not only that there were several businesses already using that name, but there was actually a national association!! So much for new and different!

    I originally named my business “Ambiance Solutions,” the idea being that we create a better ambiance in the home or office (I got “ambiance” from a sugar packet!). Fast forward and I walk into a networking event and someone said, “Hey, it’s the declutter lady!” *LIGHT BULB* As soon as I got home I did my research and NO ONE was using that name! Who would have thought? So, I registered the trade name, bought the domain and –voila– here we are!
    Brenda Spandrio recently posted..A unique way of looking at things…My Profile

  12. Great discussion, Janet.

    I went with Organized at Heart as it was how I’ve always thought of myself. I don’t know that people always get it quite right : I hear ‘organizing by heart or ‘organizer at heart.’ It fits me well, though, and my business.

  13. I am on the brink of starting my own professional organization business
    And the hardest think to do is come up with a name

    Achhhh

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