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Guest AmandaD

What's in a name?

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Guest AmandaD

Hi Everyone


I am looking for opinons...


I am starting up a VA Practice and money is tight as I'm currently on maternity leave. My husband and I are hoping that things will work out so that I don't have to go back to work in September.


Do you think it is a good idea to operate under just my name "Amanda Dugas, Virtual Assistant" until I can get some cash flowing in? Or is it a wise investment to pay the $100+ to search and register a business name?




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Hi Amanda, and welcome to the group.


Naming your business is a matter of choice. Many VA's do choose a business name, rather than using their own. But I also know of some successful VA's who are using their own name.


Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you will want to continue using in the long term. If you start with your own name now and then decide to change it later, it is going to cost you a lot more money to do so than it would if you went ahead and registered your business now. Think of all the things that you would have to change - business cards, marketing materials, cheques, just to name a few.


Best to start off with the name you want to use, and stick with it.





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Amanda, glad you're here and asking some great questions about setting up your business! Both Lori and Becki have given you some good advice.


Another aspect of choosing the right name from the beginning concerns branding. In the beginning no one really knows you and your business, but after just a few months you will have handed out lots of business cards, sent letters, developed a web site, maybe produced an e-zine, etc. and basically created an image and a presence in the market place. This is called branding, and there's no way to put a monetary value on it except that you might lose business if that presence suddenly isn't there (has changed it's name) ohmy.gif . AND there's a higher chance that keeping your name will result in recognition and potential clients and referrals. biggrin.gif


Spending that $100 on your business name is money well-spent in my opinion!


Good luck! Be sure and let us know what you decide.

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Guest TerryGreen



Great advice about choosing a name you will want for the long haul, and it's relationship with branding. Since my business was originally a brick and mortar secretarial service, I chose Fastype. At that time, the name conveyed what I did, which was mostly typing of some sort (WP, DTP, etc.). Now as a Virtual Assistant, the name Fastype doesn't really give any indication that I'm a VA. I don't want to change my name for a variety of reasons, so I had to develop a logo that incorporated the fact that I'm a VA. In retrospect, I wish I had put more effort into making sure that the name of my company was one that would stand the test of time.



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I am writing a workbook on how to start up your Virtual Assistant business which should be available in mid-February. In it, I wrote a chapter on Choosing Your Business Name. For a sneak peak into my NEW VA workbook and for some helpful exercises to help you choose your business name, keep reading....


Choosing a Business Name


One of the most important decisions you will make in your business is naming it. Give today's naming exercise plenty of thought. Brainstorm, create a list, then test your top three choices by surveying your target market. Be cautious of opinions shared by family and friends outside the industry – you may be bombarded with unprofessional rhymes, hackneyed or overused synonyms, or a name that simply does not reflect what you do.


Consider the following when deciding on your business name:


Is it simple to remember?

Will it take a long time to say as you answer the telephone or possibly introduce yourself?

Is it distinctive?

Does it describe your business?

Will people remember it?

Does it appeal to your market?

Can you legally use it?

Does it create an aura, or heighten curiosity about your business?

Does it represent your business image?

Does it have any double meanings attached to it?


Remembering that your business name should be distinctive, professional, and easy to pronounce, dedicate a portion of today to creating a business name list.


Exercise 1: Business Name Brainstorm

There are two parts to a business name. The first part is the distinctive, unique portion – for example, "Mediamage." The second part of the business name describes your business – for example, "Business Solutions."


Now, brainstorm key words to the first part of your business name. Play with words and ideas. Think outside the box. Complete this exercise without looking at the yellow pages for names within the industry. Come up with ten words worthy of describing your company.


Exercise 2: Business Name Brainstorm – Part 2

Think of the second, descriptive part of your business name. Come up with 10 possible names.


Exercise 3: How Does your Business Name Hold Up?


Make some matches from your first and second list. Now, do open up the yellow pages and check if any names on your list are too similar to other established businesses. Make modifications if this is the case.


Have your target market give you some feedback on your list of possible names.


Tawnya Sutherland, Copyright © 2005

Email tawnya@mediamage.com for permission guidelines to reproduce.



Get your first month for $7 using coupon code: TRYFOR7

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