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To tell my friend her business name is bad?

(242 Posts)
helpfulormeddling Sat 11-Aug-18 17:12:43

Name changed. Sorry this is long.

I have a lovely friend who's recently been through some horrendous times recently. She's just starting to launch a new business which I think she'd be excellent at. But the name she has chosen is...not good. Should I say anything or keep my mouth shut?

She's been putting stuff together for this behind the scenes for a couple of years. She picked the name and set up the website before she told us (her friends I mean) what it was called. If she'd asked for input then I know we'd have steered her somewhere else. It's hard to say, people have to say "What?" when told it, when you hear it there's ambiguity about the spelling so I worry about people finding the site if doing a search for it, it's kind of really unsuited to the business - like if I said the name and asked you to guess what it sells I doubt anyone would get close - so it's really not great. But I didn't know how to say that to her and the project was parked for ages anyway.

Now all of a sudden it looks like it's got an opportunity to take off and she just said to me about getting the website finished. I don't know should I mention maybe having a rethink? If I even mention it in the sense of "So I'm just wondering, is it too late to change the name?" she'll know I don't like it and she might be upset (not about me as such but that maybe others won't either). I don't know if she's tied to it legally, like if it's registered, and so changing it and the site etc would be a nightmare and then I've given her cause to doubt it when it's too late. On the other hand, am I a crap friend for not mentioning something that I think might hold the business back? It's in a very image conscious area and it's a really bad fit for that and I don't want people judging her badly.

She's been through so much and she deserves this to be the start of something amazing - and it could be - so I don't know if speaking up or shutting up is best for her.

YearOfYouRemember Sat 11-Aug-18 17:15:23

If she's a true friend and you mean it kindly then you can find a way to talk to her with a suggestion ready.

Merryoldgoat Sat 11-Aug-18 17:15:35

I’d tell her tactfully, like you’ve suggested. She’ll need a thicker skin if she’s starting her own business.

Strongmummy Sat 11-Aug-18 17:18:40

Just tell her your concerns like you’ve done so here. You have her best interests at heart

SuperSuperSuper Sat 11-Aug-18 17:18:44

Not telling her could cost her money in missed business, and after her recent hard times she deserves to do well and be comfortably-off......Maybe focus on that if you're struggling to pluck up the courage to say something i.e. You'd be doing her a financial favour.

OverTheHedgeSammy Sat 11-Aug-18 17:22:58

I think business names should EITHER make it clear what the business is, OR be completely made up, so that they are meaningless. The name then takes on what the business is (if successful).

It should NEVER make you think the business does something else.

MintCassis Sat 11-Aug-18 17:28:55

Could you offer your time one afternoon/evening to help make sure everything (name, website, social media, brand, SEO etc.) is as strong as it could be? Then have a list prepared with all the different elements and run through them one by one together, brainstorming for elements that could be improved. That way she's less likely to be defensive about it and looking at everything together she might realise herself the name causes problems.

noego Sat 11-Aug-18 17:33:07

If you didn't know what these sold would you be able to guess


Leave her to it.........

Vitalogy Sat 11-Aug-18 17:33:23

What about companies like Apple and Benefit cosmetics, doesn't seem to have done them any harm.

It's hard to say if it's suitable or not without us knowing the name and product.

helpfulormeddling Sat 11-Aug-18 17:38:35

I can't post it obviously in case she comes across this, but if anyone wants to PM me I can say to get a second opinion. Maybe actually it's just me. Well I've spoken to a close mutual friend who agrees but that's only two (it just came up on conversation and we were both a bit concerned, we weren't slagging it off or anything).

MissusGeneHunt Sat 11-Aug-18 17:39:23

I think you sound like a good friend with reasoning behind your thinking. If possible, a chat with her would be good, with open questions and discussion rather than 'telling' her. I'd value a friend who did that for me.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 11-Aug-18 17:39:52

But as a PP said, a meaningless name is one thing, a name that implies something else is another.
e.g. A restaurant called 'Fred's Plaice' you would expect to be a chippy, or focus on fish, not a vegan place.

Or a recruitment consultancy called Tailored Solutions sounds more like a management consultancy (or dress alteration service).

TeenTimesTwo Sat 11-Aug-18 17:41:41

I think you should say something. Ask her what market research she has done re the name. It is too important a thing to mess up on.

ScattyCharly Sat 11-Aug-18 17:42:50

I’d leave it personally.

Knittedfairies Sat 11-Aug-18 17:43:24

Could you say that before her business goes live, it might be an idea to dot the is and cross the ts by doing some market research on her choice of names? It might mean standing about in the street asking people what the name xxxx means to them, or a poll on Facebook - but you wouldn’t be the bad guy if the responses were negative

Disquieted1 Sat 11-Aug-18 17:47:37

Say nothing.
She's been working on it for a couple of years so has not just come up with it on a whim. It's like criticising the name they give their babies.

Also, her judgement may actually be better than yours:
None of these names make much sense but they're doing OK.

BlankTimes Sat 11-Aug-18 17:52:23

Have any other businesses got a similar name that people associate with them?

Like Etsy which is for selling upmarket crafts and she's called hers Etty to sell yogurt.

I'd point it out tactfully, there must be something online that has guidance for naming a new business.

EdisonLightBulb Sat 11-Aug-18 17:57:41

The worst ever name was Toys R Us, I mean who puts an R backwards, wtf did that signify?

Mind you they went bust didn't they, but not before the whole world had heard of them I'm sure.

QuestionableMouse Sat 11-Aug-18 18:02:32

Can you PM me it? I'm really curious now and happy to give a second opinion.

CuppaSarah Sat 11-Aug-18 18:04:06

I think you can tactfully bring it up. Maybe tell her you've had a thought, that it's hard to spell and people might struggle to Google it and it could cost her customers.

It's not a criticism of her choice then and is purely factual.

craftymum01 Sat 11-Aug-18 18:11:55

Why don't you get her to do a questionnaire or poll with her friends and family asking what they think of when they hear the name? Might open the discussion up if others are unclear. You don't have to tell her you don't think it is suitable, just that it makes good business sense to do this before it goes live.

Deux Sat 11-Aug-18 18:14:01

I think you should bring it up in a ‘have you thought about how your brand name comes across’ your way.

If she ends up seeking finance/bank loan or joins any networking groups there’s a good chance someone else will bring it up anyway. And they may not be that tactful about it.

Most brand names have a solid reason and/or meaning at the point of inception. Eg Tes (TE Stockwell) + Co (Cohen); ASquith DAiries etc.

ManyCrisps Sat 11-Aug-18 18:15:25

@Disquieted1 but BMW makes sense so isn’t good example BMW is just short for the full name barvarian motor works.

DaysOfOld Sat 11-Aug-18 18:15:33

Would also love to know it. Can you PM me too @helpfulormeddling?

I will tell you what I think. smile

ManyCrisps Sat 11-Aug-18 18:15:52

I can’t judge unless you tell us what the name is.

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