niagara falls thunder water photo by dbhurley

Thunder and Water: On Naming Your Business

Thunder and Water are two primal forces found in nature. They each contain a descriptive and vivid imagery which I would imagine immediately brings to mind some specific scene or instance when you experienced one of the two. Words are powerful. And because you can convey so much through word choices you should be selective and thoughtful when naming your business.

A National Treasure

Recently I had the opportunity of traveling to Niagara Falls. It was an incredible opportunity to experience a beautiful part of nature. Of course my family is never one for sitting back and merely observing. We chose to go for the full experience. This involved both a movie with a historical perspective of the falls as well as the now famous “Maid of the Mist” boat excursion.

(On a side note: If any of you have the opportunity to visit this wonderful national park, don’t hesitate). 

Well, since I’m always “on” when it comes to work my mind automatically drew similarities between some of the historical facts in the movie and small businesses. One of the interesting points they mention in the movie and which my oldest daughter, Kate, and I discussed afterwards was how they named Niagara falls and what the name meant.

The Background

According to the informational film they created and showed at the falls the name translates literally into English, “Thunder of Waters”. The narrator supposed this to be as a result of the obvious loud thunderous sounds of the water crashing onto the rocks below. The Indians in the area would often refer to this term or, thunder and water, when mentioning the falls.

I loved the symbolism, the very descriptive, clear, and informative name. Of course my mind immediately began to compare modern names of businesses with the simplicity and clean-ness of the name Niagara.

Quixstr?

How many businesses today are named because the .com domain name is available? Be honest, how many times have you looked at domain names and started your business name search with a www lookup? It’s sad really. The technology age we live in has made us slaves to its rigid protocols and boundaries. Rather than selecting a name which is imaginative, descriptive, and informative we select something completely random simply because we can register the domain.

To be honest I love looking back at names from older generations, especially Indian names, they did an amazing job at creating and joining words for a purpose. They sought to give meaning to a person, a family, or a group. Through the years we’ve somehow lost this ability (to an extent). We’ve shifted our focus from creating deeply personal and meaningful names to silly, made-up nonsense words which would be better found in a Dr. Seuss children’s novel than the name of a successful company.

Re-Order Priorities

Does your business name truly reflect something of meaning and value? Before you push the purchase button on that domain name order stop and ask yourself. Does this name truly reflect my business, my product? Am I purchasing this name because it fits with what I’ve already established as my business?

If you answered no to the above question then save yourself $7.99 and don’t buy that name. It’s far more important that you re-order your priorities. Arrange them the way that will be more beneficial for your business success. Put your domain name in its place (and that’s not first). Start with what matters to you. Why are you creating this business? What problems are you intent on solving and what are your goals as a company? The first question to always answer is the “why”.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”
– Simon Sinek

Be Full of Meaning

Once you have defined you’re “why” you are ready to move on to the next step. Identify your keywords. Those unique and descriptive words which suit your business and define who you are. Use these keywords to come up with a name which suits your business. When naming your business, be daring, be catchy, be unique, but most of all be meaningful.

Your business name is your first impression. You can capture imaginations, capture hearts, and capture customers with the right name. Be sure your name is full of meaning. It may seem unimportant now, but I guarantee you when you reach a certain size you’ll be asked the question some people dread…”So, what’s your name mean?” If you don’t have a name full of meaning your answer to this question could potentially cost you a client.

I won’t go on through the other important steps since in this post I want to focus merely on the importance of naming your business. However, if there is any interest I may continue on with a more in-depth series on establishing a business.

A Personal Note

I don’t normally include too much in my posts that are personal (should I change that? Tweet me and let me know!) but I’ll leave you with a picture of my three kids on the boat ride shortly after the “mist” left us all completely soaked. We had a wonderful time and we all agreed Thunders of Waters was a most appropriate name!

hurley kids niagara falls maid of mist