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*Virtual Handshake Post New Topic | | Topics
choosing a business nameViews: 234
Jul 21, 2005 3:25 pm re: choosing a business name

Scott Allen
I have so many business names -- almost as many as I have domains!

When I left my last company and was going into consulting, but not sure exactly what consulting I was going to do (generally, whatever people would pay me for, right?), I used "Thinking for a Living", which emphasized the idea of working smarter, not harder. My consulting was focused on creative ways to help small businesses do more with less.

As I shifted towards the work on online business relationships, it really was driven around keywords, and I went with OnlineBusinessNetworking.com.

As we started to explore the space more, we found that a lot (OK, not a lot, but a couple of important demographic groups) of people had negative associations with the word "networking", so we changed it to OnlineBusinessNetworks.com.

We knew all along, though, that that was a stop-gap until we had the title of our book finalized. We knew we were going to have to undergo a major rebranding, but we couldn't do it until the publisher finally committed to the title, which just happened a few months ago.

So now it's "The Virtual Handshake". OnlineBusinessNetworks and OnlineBusinessNetworking are no more -- those domains just redirect to TVH.

How did we come up with that? We brainstormed big-time. We wrote down the key concepts we wanted to convey and brainstormed all the words we could think of around those concepts. We used a thesaurus and added more words. Then we started crossing words off the list for one reason or another -- negative connotation, ambiguity, etc. Then we started combining the words.

Ultimately, "The Virtual Handshake" is highly evocative. A handshake symbolizes not only the initial meeting, but each meeting (and usually each goodbye) thereafter. Also, originally the handshake was a symbol of trust. It was a knight saying to the other knight, "You can trust me, and I trust you not to attack me because I'm offering you my open hand."

We chose "virtual" over "electronic", "online", "digital", "cyber", etc., because it seemed more "human". "Virtual" comes from "virtuall" (the same Old English root as "virtue"), meaning "effective". Another good subliminal connotation.

BTW, I have an article (currently my 2nd most popular) on my About.com site about "How to Create a Great Business Name" (and how to make sure it's not already in use): http://entrepreneurs.about.com/cs/gettingstarted/ht/business_name.htm

It also has some links to some very useful resources in the sidebar under "Suggested Reading".

- Scott -

P.S. "The Virtual Handshake" is NOW AVAILABLE!
http://snipurl.com/TVHAmazon

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