Naming Your Business: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
If you’re launching a new venture, there’s already enough pressure.
The reality is that most businesses end as failures, and early decisions are extremely critical. While it’s tempting to downplay the importance of coming up with a business name, the fact is that the first impression made on customers and suppliers has a massive bearing on the success of your enterprise.
Ideally, a business name needs to be short and memorable – but it also needs to stand the test of time, while not limiting future expansion opportunities.
Business Names 101
Today’s infographic comes from The Business Backer and it provides points to consider when naming a new business.
Importantly, famous examples of mistakes made by well-known companies are also provided for reference.
Of course, this is just a set of guidelines, and rules can certainly be broken under the right circumstances.
However, it’s important to at least keep these guidelines in consideration, otherwise you may end up with a brand that means something quite atrocious in a foreign language!
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Here are some naming fails orchestrated by major companies, and how they got fixed:
Originally named Quantum Computer Services back in 1985, the name was far too long and confusing. It was eventually simplified to America Online in 1989, and finally AOL later on.
The first name used for what is now the centerpiece of the Jeff Bezos Empire was actually Cadabra. However, it turned out that over the phone most people heard “Cadaver”, and so it was eventually tossed.
Sony was originally named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, which translates to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. It turned out to be quite a tongue-twister, so the company came up with a much simpler name.
Hertz, the car rental company, was originally named “DrivUrSelf”, which wasn’t easy to spell for anyone.
Yahoo! used to be known as “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, which is long, hard to remember, and too different from other web portal or search engine names. Fortunately, Jerry Yang and David Filo changed the name of the company and also bought the yahoo.com domain name in 1995.
The Type of Business Every Country Wants to Start
This series of maps shows a regional breakdown of the most popular types of businesses people want to start, based on online search results.
The Type of Business Every Country Wants to Start
View a higher resolution version of this map.
Every year, millions of new businesses are started across the world—in 2021, nearly 5.4 million new business applications were filed in the U.S. alone.
And since startups and new businesses play a significant role in shaping a country’s economic growth, encouraging entrepreneurship is vital. But what types of businesses around the world are people most interested in starting?
These maps by ZenBusiness show the most popular types of businesses that entrepreneurs in nearly every country want to start, based on analyzing relevant internet search results.
Most Searched Businesses Around the World
To source the data, ZenBusiness analyzed searches from Ahrefs, specifically looking for the term “start a business” and its equivalents in local languages as of February 2022.
They then found the relevant topic or keyword with the highest search volume, and organized the results into 11 different industries:
- Beauty & Cosmetics
- Food & Drink
- Logistics & Infrastructure
- Personal Services
- Software Development
- Business & Financial
- Leisure & Tourism
- Real Estate
- Retail & E-Commerce
The data showed that the industries entrepreneurs are most attracted to vary greatly from country to country, depending on a variety of factors such as infrastructure, business climate, and culture.
Here’s a breakdown of the most searched businesses around the world, broken down by region.
From cooking gas refills in South Africa to supplements in the Gambia, entrepreneurs across Africa seem to be interested in starting a wide range of businesses (at least according to their searches).
But while the results varied across the region, the most-searched industry was personal services such as cleaning, interior design, and contracting. Cleaning was especially popular, ranking first in six different African countries.
One African country worth highlighting is Morocco, where freight is the most-searched startup term across the country. This makes sense considering Morocco is home to several major ports, including the Port of Tanger Med, which is Africa’s largest port by cargo capacity.
In Europe, real estate is the most-searched industry, ranking number one in seven different countries across the continent. Over the last decade, the European Union’s real estate market has boomed—between 2010 and 2021, home prices in the EU increased by 42%.
Retail is also a popular industry across Europe, with clothing-related searching taking the top spot in five different European countries.
Middle East & Central Asia
From soap production in Uzbekistan to dropshipping in Azerbaijan, the Middle East & Central Asia have the most diverse searches compared to any other region.
One particularly interesting top search was in the United Arab Emirates, where imports and exports ranked first. The UAE’s economy is heavily reliant on trade, especially oil, which makes up 30% of the region’s GDP and 41% of public revenues.
Rest of Asia & Oceania
Asia and Oceania had an interesting mix of unique business searches. For instance, pig farming ranked number one in the Solomon Islands, and lawn moving took the top spot in New Zealand.
But generally speaking, retail was one of the most-searched-for business types across this region, with clothing taking the top spot in countries like Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Across North America, retail takes the top spot for most searched business type. In fact, the top searches in nearly half of the region’s countries are related to the retail or e-commerce industry.
The U.S. currently has the largest retail market in the world, although China is close on its heels. In 2021, America’s retail market was valued at over $6.5 trillion U.S. dollars.
Food was the top searched industry across South America, ranking number one in half the countries across the region. In Brazil, sweets took the top spot, which might not be surprising considering the country is the top sugar cane producer worldwide.
Clothing was also a popular business idea, taking the top spot in five South American countries.
Which countries surprised you the most with their new business interest?
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