How to Use The Saturation Method To Drive New Business

Employees may be passionate about your cause, but they’re not passionate enough to work for free. Money is the one necessity that every business shares. Getting enough of it also happens to be the leading cause of failure.

82% of businesses fail due to a lack of cash flow.

If businesses know this, why don’t they do anything to rectify the issue? They sit around and hope the right customer or client walks in the door. I empathize, I’ve been there myself. I figured if I delivered a quality product, clients would be busting down my door.

Sometimes they were…Sometimes they weren’t. I learned that passive business development is what leads to cash flow issues.

Sitting around and waiting for referrals and repeat business is unpredictable. You need to be more proactive if you want your business to survive (or thrive). My friend Cole from Honey Copy recently mentioned in his weekly email that he dedicates 20% of his day to marketing his business no matter how things are going.

Sounds easy, right? It’s not.

Building a daily habit is no small feat. It’s easy to let it slip when you’ve got a full plate of business. What happens when you finish those projects and your plate is empty? That’s not the time to start marketing and sales. You have to find, woo, and then close business before seeing a penny.

Slow your roll…

Hold up before you run out guns blazing firing off marketing tactics in every direction. I hope this post inspires action, but let’s take some time to put a little strategy into our efforts. Firing bullets in every direction makes it unlikely that you’ll hit the right target. You just end up wasting all your ammo (money and time).

Consistently executing a focused plan is what leads to a finely tuned business development machine. Follow these 4 steps of the saturation method and you’ll build a healthy stream of unicorn customers (wonderfully majestic creatures to be cherished and loved).

Step 1: Shrink The World

Stop trying to think big. Everyone is not your customer. Narrow your market down to what Seth Godin defines as the Minimally Viable Audience. If you haven’t read about the minimally viable audience, stop reading this and go back to the previous sentence and click the link. I promise his short post is worth your time.

Trying to speak to everyone is a recipe for speaking to no one. Here are a few simple prompts to define the right minimally viable audience:

  1. Who has the strongest need for your product/service? Focus on the people who have an aching desire or unbearable pain.
  2. Are they willing to pay for what you offer? Just because a group needs what you sell doesn’t mean they’ll pay for it. This is an important distinction to consider that many people brush past. Don’t waste your efforts on a market that doesn’t have the means to pay for your product.
  3. Can you reach them? It’s a necessity to have a clear channel to target and reach your audience with your message in some form or fashion (social media, tradeshows, industry publications, blogs, etc…). It’s preferable that they’re easily targeted via multiple channels.
  4. What makes them like each other and different from everyone else?Go beyond the surface level demographic description and tap into psychographics here. Figure out the fears, desires, and buying triggers that unite this group.

Answering these questions will help you paint a vivid picture of your minimally viable audience (MVA). Knowing who these people are will allow us to saturate them with the right message later.

Step 2: Write A Script

Repeated exposure to a consistent message drives recognition. Saying the same thing with the same language across every customer touchpoint will eventually make a message stick. How do you get everyone on your team saying the same thing?

Write a script.

Make it ridiculously simple by taking it down to one single sentence using the following prompt.

We help __________ do ______________.

Example: We help service businesses grow by connecting their brand, marketing, and sales strategies.

A single sentence is versatile. One sentence can power your website, social media profiles, and sales pitch. In fact, it should power all of these things. Customers must see this message everywhere they look and hear it from everyone they speak with at your company.

Step 3: Blitz The Hell Out Of Your Little Corner Of The World

You’ve identified who your minimally viable audience is, where to reach them, and what to say to them. Now it’s time to make them feel like you’re everywhere they look.

By shrinking the world, this is possible with a little budget and a lot of sweat. I like to break this out into two complementary categories.

Think of marketing like the farming portion of your efforts. You’ll be planting seeds and growing an audience of people that can be harvested when they’re ready. Marketing will consist of paid and organic efforts. You’ll want to capitalize on multiple marketing channels. A few regular channels to consider (but certainly not an exhaustive list) include:

  • Google Ads
  • Social Media
  • Tradeshows
  • Direct Mail
  • Blog Posts

Here’s an example sequence on how you can plant some seeds and start farming your fields:

Google Ads & Social Campaigns: Set up Google Ads and social media campaigns targeting your niche. You can be amazingly specific with your targeting parameters on Google and almost every social channel. Determine what your people are searching and consuming and be there when they look with helpful information. For most businesses, the best action is to establish credibility and trust as a first step.

Tradeshows: Attend the biggest tradeshow/tradeshows for your industry. Strategically invest in booth space and have a plan to stand out and drive engagement. Don’t just show up with the same lame presence as everyone else. Take the time to get creative and create a pattern interrupt.

Direct Mail: Follow up after the tradeshow with a two-tiered direct mail effort.

Tier 1: Legitimate Leads — This mailer is for people who are real prospects. They stopped by your booth, showed interest, and fit your customer profile. Send these people a handwritten note, relevant gift, or another item that further captures their attention and starts to build the relationship. Include one clear call to action in the mailer for the next step they need to take. This step alone captured three Fortune 500 companies for my last firm.

Tier 2: Show List — This mailer is for everyone who attended the show. You’d be shocked at how many people walked by your booth and may be interested, but they didn’t stop to talk for whatever reason. Use this timely mailer to establish awareness and include a clear call to action that delivers value. Make them take a simple step that can be tracked to receive whatever that valuable item is. If they take this action, you know they’re serious and you can move them into the tier 1 group.

Blogging: Post consistently to your blog and share with your network. Display your expertise and knowledge. Use your brand one-liner (script) that you created above as your editorial guide. Make sure everything you write relates to that single sentence. Continuously showcase your expertise and personality.

This is obviously a quick overview, but you get the idea. Your little niche is going to see you everywhere they look. You’ll go from zero awareness to industry fixture in months.

Marketing is key to driving awareness and trust, but there’s no substitute for sales efforts. The sales team are the hunters paired with the farmers in marketing. Being in sales requires thick skin and relentless execution. Put your ear to the phone, fingers on the keys, and your boots on the ground.

Sales aren’t dead as many have preached. I’d argue that an effective salesperson can be more useful today than at any time in history. It’s a matter of effectively complementing your marketing with the right sales efforts. Businesses don’t hire you, people hire you. People are influenced by emotion and relationships. Human interaction can be a powerful motivator. Learn how to leverage this to your benefit in sales.

If your organization properly implements a marketing plan as outlined above, you’ll be able to arm your salespeople with ripe leads. These salespeople will then be able to close these leads with a clear script that’s been provided in step 2. The combination of ongoing marketing cultivation with some human sales efforts leads to decision and action.

Step 4: Keep Showing Up

The final step is to continuously remind people that you exist. My weekly email has been a fantastic tool for keeping me relevant to clients and prospects. Projects that would have otherwise gone to someone else are shot my way because they remember I exist and they need help in an area where I have expertise.

Consistently execute a soft touch every single week. Don’t sell in this ongoing effort. Showcase your expertise.

Simply showing up is a big part of winning new business.

The Catch Is…

If you’re good at what you do, the saturation method will drive new business. The catch is that you have to actually start doing it now to see any benefit later. Commit to working on your business for at least 30 minutes every day. Build it into your daily activities no matter how good or bad things are going. That small 30-minute commitment adds up to significant progress and real money in the bank.

Every Friday morning I send a little story to your inbox. Each one contains a tip on how you can stand out and attract the right customers in this noisy world. You can end your week on a high note by signing up right here.

I Heart Butt Drugs

Did the name of this post make you stop and click?

There’s a reason for that, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s talk more about, “I Heart Butt Drugs” first.

That’s a direct quote from a billboard I came across as my family drove from Louisville, KY into Indiana.

The beautifully crafted copy was framed by ice cream cones.

Butt Drugs and ice cream cones?

My curiosity was peaked. Google was being searched within seconds. It turns out that Butt Drugs is a real pharmacy.

The store has been charming people with its unique name for three generations. William (Blackie) Butt, R.Ph. established the family pharmacy in 1952. The company operated as a standard pharmacy until 2001 when Katie Butt took over. It was Katie’s marketing chops that took the Butt dynasty to the next level.

She embraced the name that makes them stand out from national chains. Katie launched merch, an online store, and ad campaigns all about Butt Drugs.

Katie understands that their name is a pattern interrupt. You can’t read, “I Heart Butt Drugs” and not be curious. It’s the reason you clicked on this link and are reading my post right now.

This pattern interrupt alone won’t make them successful, BUTT it’s enough to give them a shot with customers who would otherwise drive down the street to Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid.

Don’t be afraid to be different. A little shock might do your brand some good.

The job of great marketing is to make the right people stop and take notice. Figure out the patterns of the people you’re trying to reach and how you can interrupt those patterns with a relevant message they want and need to hear.

This post was originally delivered to The Recipe community. The Recipe is an email I send each Friday for entrepreneurs and marketers. You can Sign Up Right Here

Obsess On Your Product

Every business is looking to acquire more customers and grow. But how?

Instagram influencers, Facebook ads, LinkedIn selling, blogging, Adwords, traditional advertising, and all the other tactics out there available are important tools at the right time.

But not yet.

There’s a much better investment for 90% of us looking to grow sustainable customer bases that organically expand.

Obsess on our product.

A fantastic product sells itself. Improving your product is the single highest return on investment you can make. Deliver a memorable experience and you’ll never struggle for customers.

Target a specific niche with a product that delivers results and you’ll get repeat business, referrals, and enjoy continuous growth.

Once you have this recipe nailed, you can pour fuel on the fire with other marketing tactics.

Too many people are trying to sell a crappy product hidden by a well-manicured ad campaign. You might sell that piece of poop once, but I can guarantee they won’t come back a second time or recommend you to anyone.

Don’t be tempted to skip straight to marketing tactics chasing immediate gratification. You’ll see a short spike and then a sharp decline.

Investments in your product continue to pay. You may not see immediate gratification, but I can guarantee that you’ll see a much healthier (and more sustainable) trajectory of growth.

Even though I came into Special Sauce with 15 years of experience running other companies, I didn’t just jump in and start pushing out ads. I’ve taken the time to polish our systems and make sure we’re delivering results for clients in a systematic fashion.

Now we can pour fuel on the fire.

If you’re struggling to identify what’s not working with your product or service, find someone like us to help. You need an objective set of eyes that can assess your strengths, weakness, competition, and industry opportunities. Identify your niche, focus your product, and clarify your message to build the foundation for growth.

I send an email each Friday for people working to build brands. I’ve been told it provides value (by people that weren’t my family). Sign Up Right Here

Does Your Brand Have Bad Habits?

Man Smoking Showing Brand Habits

I can go out and ride my bike for an hour, or I can go to the bar and drink two beers.

What vote will I cast today?

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” 

– James Clear, Atomic Habits

This idea from James Clear applies to the brand you’re building as well.

You can apologize to a customer when they’re unhappy and offer a refund, or you can refuse the refund and keep their money.

You can buy the cheapest materials to put behind the walls where your customer will never see, or you can demand quality in all aspects of construction.

You can offer a genuine please and thank you to every customer, or you can just get on with the next transaction.

Your decision is casting a vote for the type of brand you wish to become. No single customer transaction will transform your brand, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your brand identity.

Core values, mission statements, and manifestos are pointless if you don’t back them up with habits and cast votes every day.

The first step is deciding what type of brand you want to become.

 

You can sign up right here if you’d like to get a delightful email this Friday with brand and marketing wisdom.

How To Win The Hearts & Wallets Of Customers

Walmart. Save money.

Nike. Just Do It.

Disney. Most magical place on earth.

Great brands focus on conveying one story. Relentless execution of a clear story is what made them remarkable brands in the first place.

I’m not talking about taglines, although a tagline may be an important part of conveying your story. Walmart has changed taglines without changing their story. They simply found a tagline that helps better tell their story.

Compelling stories are simple, clear, and emotional. Walmart, Nike, and Disney all use these ingredients.

The often missed Special Sauce in all of these examples is empathy. These brands don’t tell the story from their perspective. They don’t try to jam benefits and features down our throat.

Walmart, Nike, and Disney have all mastered the art of understanding what their customer wants, needs, and desires. They take that understanding and spin it into a story where their customers see themselves.

Nike Find Your Greatness Campaign Example

Few campaigns exemplify this better than the Find Your Greatness campaign by Nike.

We can all learn something from these brands. Every business has the opportunity to write their own story.

Stop thinking about what you offer for a moment, and start thinking about what your customers want, need, and desire.

Once you nail the story, relentlessly execute like Walmart, Nike, and Disney.

If you’re digging what we’re slinging, subscribe for future posts or sign up for our weekly “The Recipe” email. You can sign up right here if you’d like to get a delightful email this Friday. 

How To Create A Marketing Plan You’ll Actually Execute

I had grand plans for a blog I launched ten years ago. I posted three times and then let it slide behind everything else on my plate. I told myself I was too busy.

A great idea killed by poor execution.

I’m willing to bet you’ve got a similar story somewhere in your past.

Good intentions let down by poor execution.

The idea and launch are more fun than the monotonous execution. That’s a fact.

BUT, it’s the monotonous execution that separates successful marketing from everything else.

I learned this lesson the hard way and set myself back ten years. Oh well, shit happens.

It wasn’t until I started a weekly email last year that everything came together for me. All of my experience and learning seemed to fall into place. Things I knew, in theory, came together in practice.

These realizations have led to the construction of a marketing plan framework that I now use for myself and all of my clients. Please feel free to steal the process and use it for your own benefit.

I call this grand marketing strategy pyramid planning. Here’s a quick view of the steps of the pyramid:

  • Goal
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Systems

Let’s dive into each step in a little detail so you can understand exactly why this marketing strategy makes sense.

Big Hairy Goal

Sitting up top is the goal you want to achieve.

I want to help 100,000 businesses grow through my Growth Recipe Brand & Marketing System by 2027. Sound crazy? Maybe it does to everyone else, but I’ve got a path to making it happen thanks to this plan. Your goal should be BIG & HAIRY. Your steps below will break things down into achievable steps.

Strategery

The step below your goal is strategy. What is the unique approach that will take you to your goal?

My strategy is to turn my Growth Recipe into a recognizable brand and marketing methodology. I will have four delivery vehicles for the Growth Recipe methodology (working with Special Sauce directly to implement the system, group workshops, taking my online workshop, or reading the book I’m going to release). This four-headed strategy allows me to continue working with clients (which I enjoy) while scaling up the number of businesses I can help to hit my 100,000 business goal.

Time For Tactics

Now you can lay out specific tactics that will bring your strategy to life.

I’ll be using weekly posts to my blog, Medium articles, The Recipe weekly email, and some strong new efforts on LinkedIn as my regular drivers. These will be amplified by some big effort items that include mentoring and public speaking to raise the awareness of my Growth Recipe methodology.

Systems Trump Discipline

The final piece of the pyramid is the foundation. Just like building a home, your foundation holds everything up. It’s not sexy and nobody will see it, but it’s the most important part of the building process if you want a solid house. In this case, the foundation is the systems you’ll use to ensure your tactics are consistently executed.

Goals are just dreams without systems to make them happen. Discipline will break down for all of us unless there’s a system in place to hold you accountable. My Friday email is a prime example. I am held accountable by the fact that I’ve made a promise to deliver an email every Friday. I take that promise seriously. The accountability has lead to a Friday schedule that ensures The Recipe gets sent. I’m now applying this across all of my marketing. Every tactic will be backed by a system moving forward.

To Sum It All Up

Setting big goals is pointless if you don’t have the strategy, tactics, and systems in place to make them happen. On the flip side, strategy, tactics, and systems are pointless if they aren’t moving you toward a Big Hairy Goal.

If you’re struggling to get something off the ground, try giving the pyramid planning system a go. Dip your toe in the water by only committing to one tactic backed by a single system. Small actions can add up to big things. The pyramids of ancient Egypt certainly weren’t built in a day.

Have a friend struggling to move past go? Share this with them. Let’s help them get off the ground.

This post was originally delivered to The Recipe community. The Recipe is an email I send each Friday for entrepreneurs and marketers. You can Sign Up Right Here

How To Craft A Brand Script That Tells Your Company Story

Does everyone on your team know what you do?

I’ll bet you’d be surprised by some of the answers employees or coworkers give to the question,

“What does your company do?”

Do you ramble incoherently when you’re asked?

You’re not alone. This is the most common problem I come across when I start working with a company.

I’m going to share the brand script framework I use for clients (and myself) in this post. Follow this structure and you’ll clarify every piece of communication that comes out of your company. This precise script has helped teams of all sizes convey a consistent brand position.

But first a little story…

I recently went to a neighbor’s house for a party where I only knew a couple of people. The scene transpired as you’d expect. We stood around, ate food, had a few drinks, and rattled through the standard conversation.

I stepped onto the porch to grab another beer and ended up chatting with a nice (and talkative guy). I could tell he was amped up to tell me about his work, so I let him lead the way.

He was passionate about their company and spent five or six minutes explaining what they do. Five minutes is a long time for a dinner party pitch. I’m fairly certain he would have referenced a slide deck if he had one on his phone. I started regretting my third high gravity IPA as I struggled to follow their founding story, key technologies, office location, funding to date, and a list of every single product they offer.

When he finished, he finally asked me what I do. I simply answered,

“I help people like you that are passionate about their business simplify everything you just told me into a sentence.”

The only difference between me and my talkative new friend is that I have a script to follow. My script keeps me from rambling on about every aspect of my business that nobody else cares to hear.

Scripts Tell A Story

Here’s how you avoid becoming that guy. Follow these prompts and you’ll have a nice foundation for your website, marketing, presentations, and company culture. This script naturally progresses you through the creation of a story. You identify your main character (customer), the conflict (customer pain or desire), and the resolution (how you solve their problem). Add in some author credibility (differentiator) and you provide a compelling reason for people to read your story.

Go ahead and complete the following script.

Our Customer Is…

They Desire…

We Help Them By…

The One Thing That Makes Us Different Is…

Keep your answers short. Every company should be able to answer these questions without a paragraph for each point. If you can’t repeat your script by heart, keep simplifying until you can rattle these points off without reading.

Here’s what the Special Sauce company script looks like.

Our Customer Is…
Companies with quality products or services that deliver on their promise.

They Desire…
Clarity on who their customer is, how to reach them, and how to make them buy.

We Help Them By…
Saying the right thing, to the right customers, in the right places to drive sustainable growth.

The One Thing That Makes Us Different Is…
We provide clarity for your business, not just pretty designs or fragmented tactics.

Now we just need to simplify this down to a single sentence everyone on our team can remember.

Whip Out The One-Liner

The final step is simplifying this script down to what I call a Bio One-Liner. Working with companies to create their bio one-liner is a fun part of my job. It’s great to see people’s faces light up when it all comes together and they know they’ve nailed their brand message.

All you have to do is fill in the blanks.

We help ________ do ________ .

Go back to my party response and you’ll see that I provided a variation of my Bio One-Liner based on the situation. Here’s what my standard one-liner looks like:

“We help companies with quality products grow by saying the right thing to the right customers.”

This little one-liner is a powerful piece of communication. You can use this in your social media profiles, at parties, in a sales pitch, and on your website.

The beauty of making it one simple sentence is that you’ve distilled your full brand script into a statement your team can remember (even if they have a sweet buzz at a party).

Everyone from your receptionist to CEO will be consistently repeating the same message with the same language.

Consistency builds recognition. Recognition builds a brand.

This post was originally delivered to The Recipe community. The Recipe is an email each Friday for entrepreneurs and marketers. I’ve been told it provides value (by people that weren’t my family). Sign Up Right Here

How To Use Social Proof

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, CEO

People have always made decisions on what to wear, eat, listen to, visit, and buy based on referrals from friends. Why else would mullets exist? One friend convinced a few others it was a good idea. Thanks, Tom!

Nothing has changed today.

A friend just called and asked me where he should go while visiting Chattanooga (I lived in Chattanooga for a while during our nomadic days). I spouted off a few places and I’m willing to bet they make it to those spots while visiting.

I casually mentioned a fantastic ice cream spot here in Boulder (Glacier…not fancy but so good) to another friend this week. I’ll bet he takes his family the next time they get ice cream.

I had a client reach out this week and tell me they need help with website development and maintenance. I passed along a recommendation and now the site developer I recommended has a new client.

These are three simple examples of social proof in one week. I made the decision of where to go easy for each person.

The businesses I recommended didn’t have to do anything beyond delivering a fantastic product or experience to get new customers. No fancy funnels or expensive ads.

You should also note that these businesses are in vastly different industries. Referrals are industry-agnostic. From craft beer to CRM software, people want to know they’re making the right choice.

What about when you don’t have a friend to ask?

Great question. Referrals are now compounded with the presence of Google ratings and reviews. When we don’t have a trusted friend to tell us who to pick, we go to the Google machine.

In an unfamiliar city and looking for a restaurant? We go to Google and filter out all of the restaurants with anything below 4-stars. Then we read the reviews of the remaining restaurants to find the perfect fit.

We’re simply seeking social proof to reinforce our decision. This is referrals at scale. Like friend referrals, ratings and reviews have become industry-agnostic.

I don’t care what you sell. You need referrals. I encourage you to spend a few minutes today to determine how you can become easier to refer.

Can you improve your product to make it more memorable?

Are there simple changes you can make in the way your product is delivered?

Are you dropping the ball somewhere in the service experience?

Do you leave clients with a bad taste in their mouth?

How do you look online? Is there an opportunity to improve how you appear to someone searching Google?

Focus on becoming referable. Build systems to make it easy. The time you spend won’t be wasted.

I send an email each Friday for entrepreneurs and marketers. I’ve been told it provides value (by people that weren’t my family). Sign Up Right Here

How To Make Your Website Sell More

Pain drives us to do crazy things. Whether physical or emotional, we want to avoid it at all costs.

I have chronic back pain. I’d pay a Tibetan Monk to fly to Boulder and heal my back if I knew it would work.

I’m not alone. Pain (or the avoidance of pain) is the greatest motivator for trying anything new.

Yet, most companies spin their wheels preaching about features, benefits, history, and everything else customers don’t want to hear on their website.

Simply tell us how you’re going to solve or prevent our pain. Toss in some social proof to let us know you’re legit and you have a recipe for a persuasive message that will win customers.

We’re all selfish people. We want to know, “What’s in it for me?”

Stop wasting precious space on your website and marketing talking about yourself. You only have a few seconds to convince website visitors that you’re the solution they’ve been seeking.

People buy products and services. Even if you sell B2B services to Fortune 500 companies, there’s a person behind that decision. Find and fix their pains.

I send an email each Friday for entrepreneurs and marketers. I’ve been told it provides value (by people that weren’t my family). Sign Up Right Here

How To Create A Unique Company Name

Your company name is the one thing that people will use to describe you for as long as you’re in business. A great company name is a huge asset that drives your business forward. The wrong company name is a roadblock to success that can cost you money (lots of it).

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a bad name. Take some time to make sure you pick a name that will stand the test of time and help you grow your business. Follow these simple steps and you’ll land on a name for your company that you’re proud to share.

The 5 Elements Of A Great Company Name

The first step is understanding the 5 ingredients of a great company name. Regardless of whether you’re trying to come up with a name for your construction company or tech startup, these rules apply.

  1. Timeless – Don’t name your company after a trend or fad. All trends end. Following a trend or fad will put an expiration date on your company name.
  2. Memorable – Avoid generic names that nobody will remember. This is a huge mistake we see repeatedly. Unique names get remembered. Generic names are easily forgotten. A1 Construction is easily confused with A+ Construction.
  3. Flexible – Leave room for your business to grow and adapt. Don’t name your company ‘Toilet Depot’ and be left scrambling when you want to sell faucets. Nobody wants to buy faucets from Toilet Depot!
  4. Ownable – Let’s pretend your name is Brad Pitt. You wouldn’t want to name your company Brad Pitt, LLC. Aside from the overwhelming disappointment in every woman’s face when you show up for a meeting, you also have to deal with the fact that you’ll always be overshadowed by your more famous Brad on social media, search engines, and everywhere else. This is a fun example. The consequences can be much worse if you infringe on someone’s trademark and get sued (more on that below).
  5. Easy – Your name should roll off the tongue. If you have to repeat your name five times for someone to understand, you’ve got a name issue. Take the time to say your name out loud to yourself, friends, and family (more on this below as well).

If you’d like a little more detail on each of these, you can grab the 5 Keys To A Great Company Name Here.

Make Your Company Name Reflect Your Personality

How do you want your company to be perceived? Are you the leading expert in your industry? Are you known for your playful customer service?

Align your name with the emotional response you want from people. A family law practice that prides itself on professionalism probably shouldn’t go with ‘Good Riddance, LLC’ because it doesn’t connect with their personality. For a pest control firm on the other hand, that little bit of playfulness that hits on a benefit could be the perfect fit (by the way, I looked and there is a pest control firm that uses this name…bravo).

Focus on a name that’s in line with your brand personality. Our name, Special Sauce, is a reflection of what you can expect when you work with us. We take our job seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Consider The Four Most Common Types of Company Names

There are themes you see throughout the name universe. Most names fall under one of the major categories. You can use these as a starting point to determine what’s right for you.

  1. Founder – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. You guessed it, founder names come from the founder of the company. Almost every law firm and accounting firm (in the freaking world) is an example of a founder name. Tip…don’t go with a founder based company name if you’re in these markets. Take advantage of the opportunity to stand out and do something different.
  2. Symbolic – These names have meaning the company wants to reflect or embody. Nike immediately comes to mind when you think of symbolic names. Just be careful because it’s really easy to stumble into trademarks with symbolic names. Common symbols have been used, so you have to get creative.
  3. Fictional – A company name in this category often wants a great domain name (website address). You’ll see countless software companies that use fictional names. They’ll either use creative spelling or complete fabrication to create something new. Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Reddit, Snapchat, Netflix, LinkedIn, etc….We could go on for days. If you go this direction, carefully review the name to make sure it’s easily said, repeated, written, and spelled.
  4. Acronym – GE and IBM are two that immediately jump to mind. We don’t recommend acronyms. These names usually fall into the generic category. The majority of acronym names don’t pass the ownable or memorable test.

Make Sure The Name Is Available

Think you found the perfect name? Take a second to cover your tail before you run out and start slapping that name on everything. You need to search three places before you decide it’s safe to run with a name.

USPTO Trademark Database – The United States Patent & Trademark office has a free database you can search to check for conflicts. Follow this link and select ‘Basic Word Mark Search’ from the options you’re given. See reference below.

Company Name Trademark Search

Once inside, make sure to check the box next to ‘Live’ so you’re only searching live trademarks. Now you’re ready to type your name where you see ‘Your Name Here’ in this example below.

Searching Availability Of Your Company Name

Type in your name and hit ‘Submit Query’. Be warned that you’re going to get a lot of results if you type in a generic term. For instance, the word ‘Western’ draws 1266 results. You’ll want to make your search (and name) as unique as possible to limit the mountains of results you have to review.

Important Note: You’re most likely going to get numerous results no matter what you search. Not all trademarks will be applicable to your business. There are different categories for different types of businesses. For instance, a restaurant and insurance firm can both trademark the same name. These two businesses are in different categories which allows them to both be granted trademarks. However, be warned that large companies will guard their trademarks with vigor. I advise consulting an attorney familiar with trademark law if you’re at all doubtful about a name. The trademark process can be intimidating and confusing. Also feel free to reach out to us if you have some questions.

Google Search – The second spot you have to search is the good old Google machine. This search is much less official and only requires common sense. Open Google, type your name into the Google search bar, and hit search. Review the results to make sure that there isn’t someone with the same business name that’s out there and well established. Be sure to pay particular attention to your geographic area. You wouldn’t want to open Red Bucket Brewery right next to Red Bucket Painting. You run the risk of consumer confusion. Consumer confusion leads to lawsuits.

Domain Availability – The final place to look is at Godaddy.com (or whatever domain registrar you like). You’ll need a website for your business and you want to make sure there is a decent option available. We recommend sticking with .com extenstions unless you have a very compelling reason to do otherwise.

Say And Send Test

Once you narrow your list down to a few good candidates, put them through the Say & Send Test. This is a simple exercise to make sure the name you pick is practical in all forms of communication.

  1. Say It – Start by saying the name out loud to yourself. Once you’re comfortable with the results of hearing it out loud, find a friend who knows nothing about your business and tell them about it using the name. Does the name roll off your tongue naturally in conversation? Do they easily understand the name? Ask them what the name of your business is after the conversation. Do they remember the name? Don’t just ask them if they like the name. People will tell you what they think you want to hear. Take this more scientific approach.
  2. Send It – Open your email and put together a signature file using the company name. How does it look in your outbox? Now send the email to yourself. How does it look in the email when you receive it? This may sound like a silly step, but it will help you view the name as though it’s being used.

That’s It

You’re ready for world domination. Be sure to email us and tell us your new name. Don’t hesitate to reach out for some feedback if you get stuck somewhere in the process.

Each Friday we send an email for entrepreneurs and marketers with tips on how to stand out in a sea of boring businesses and copycat brands. You look like the kind of person who appreciates that sort of thing. Imagine what we can accomplish if you mix our proven strategies with your big brain. Sign Up Right Here