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What's in a Name?

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  • What's in a Name?

    Am in the process of starting a little machine shop. Picked out a name such as "XYZ Technologies" and although I haven't advertised, found out that there is another shop in town with the name "XYZ Engineering" that is also a small machine shop.

    It seems like there are three names that float around for machine shops- the afore mentioned and also something like "XYZ Machine and Tool." I was wondering if there is any differentiation in the names?

    "Machine and Tool" would obviously be a machine shop. "Engineering" has something to do with design, but it is vague in the sense that it could mean architecture or similar, but also used in machining.

    "Technologies" seems to be rather vague, which was why I chose that name- I build all kinds of things. However, I have seen the term used for CNC shops, and did not want to imply that with my naming. It will be a few years before I can even think of CNC, if at all. Chances are if I take in any CNC work, I will contract it out to another shop.

    I am thinking of renaming my business before I get too much farther off the ground, because of the other business with the same last name as mine. Just wondered if it is necessary. A plus for keeping the name is that I have done a lot of business in the area working for other shops, so I have a good reputation. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

  • #2
    Your small business name is more important to you than anyone else. A clever name won't get you any more business. A ridiculous or offensive name may keep new customers away.

    "Joe's machine shop" will work fine.

    My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."


    • #3
      Also, a name like "Precision Machining" will make it damned hard for anyone to find you on the Internet.

      Be careful with "Engineering", in North Carolina if you call yourself "XYZ Engineering" the NC Society of Engineers has been known to harass small companies that don't have a licensed PE employed there.



      • #4
        stickwit the name you have now, ill tell you why, i have been there and wrote the book on name changing , i have change my name a few times and everytime i had done this it affected my business ,and not in a good way, it gives people the impression you are not very good in business when you change your name, the only time this was seen as a benifit is when i went from selling and fixing to computers to machining, totaly different ,

        when called my self kevin the goto guy , to what iam now which is kevys one stop repairs this caused almost 2 months of hell of hadely any business at all for me,

        in the computer stuff i was known as titles such as KCJ computers, kevins tech service and so on , when i was just selling and fixing airguns i ws known as K&S airguns and its just lately more people are remembering me for the airgun.pellet gun stuff , so a name can make or break you for a short to long time,

        i intend now on sticking with my new name kevys one stop repairs on my business cards it list most all that i do, so now all the connections are made and its been working rather well..

        so if you change your name make it a good one and related somewhat to what you are offereing ...

        but try not to copy some one elses name as this can cause a rift with you and another company thats held that name for sometime,


        • #5
          There's a great book on marketing : Position by Trout and Ries....actually, having read a lot of marketing books in my time, its probably the only great book on marketing. Written in the '70's by a couple of advertising execs who have some no bull ideas on why people by and remember companies and brands. It's a paperback, full of interesting anecdotes backing up their views with a lot of content on naming.

          Anyway, their view is naming is a fundamental opportunity many squander. Don't get cute and don't use initials - they only mean something to you unless you're of IBM or GE stature (and even then is a mistake vs a real name). Your name should say what it is you do otherwise it won't be remember or associated with the product/service. Pretty simple.

          I think Steves advice is also very good....pick and name that will search well.

          "technologies" and "engineering" don't say much. initials don't say anything. If its general machining, get your town or neighborhood name in there.

          in the end of your post you say your name already has a good reputation. A point in business is to build brand equity - to make your business worth more than the book value of assets. You say that's starting to happen but you want to flush it? Crazy. The positive rep, brand equity, you've built is gold. Keep the name, maybe add the town or whatever. Bob Smith's Tonawanda General Machining. or if you a focus area, include that as well

          That won't win any cute awards, but that doesn't matter. You keep the brand equity you've built and add to it words that say what you do so there's an association.
          Last edited by Mcgyver; 06-14-2010, 09:45 AM.


          • #6
            I have a cousin who named his photo business Aardvark so it would appear first in alphabetical listings. My business name has some rhyming syllables that might make it easier to remember.

            In memorable names and slogans I saw a truck in Milwaukee for "Hernia Movers - The Potentate of Movin' Freight".
            "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Naming, or branding as it is now called, is very important.

              Billy Bob's BBQ would probably work just fine anywhere. However, Billy Bob's Machine shop would not have a good connotation.

              For those of us you once lived in Southern California can you ever forget Cal Worthington and his dog spot? BTW, the "dog' was a pygmy hippo.
              Last edited by Dr Stan; 06-14-2010, 12:49 PM.


              • #8
                A-1 TOOL AND MACHINE should put you at the top of any list.

                I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
                Oregon Coast


                • #9
                  Using your last name in the business is not a good idea. Use the city, county or area name if not already used by someone else. Think about how the business name sounds for a while before deciding on using it.

                  One other thing, if your not going to have a business license or can't have a business license because your in a residential area be very careful about advertising your business or having signs on your property. Don't tell your neighbors and don't have deliveries from businesses, only UPS or FED-EX.

                  A business name has two effects, may tell who you are and should tell what you do. Think about just how much you want your name to say and keep it simple and to the point.
                  It's only ink and paper


                  • #10
                    *gets reminded of quote from duckman*

                    'Hi, We'r the plumbers from AAAAAAAAAAAAA-1 plumbing'
                    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                    • #11
                      In most places, if you do business under an assumed name or alias, you have to register that name locally. Fees are charged, you, become more public in the public record and you also come under more scrutiny for possible sources of tax revenue.

                      When I was doing business full time I had to do all the above. Now, for hobby work, I do none of the above. I just use my own name for the work that I do for compensation. (mostly writing or consulting) I get a 1099 at the end of the year and do my taxes.
                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                      • #12
                        Do you think anyone would consider ....

                        dealing with a company with the name

                        NFG Machining


                        • #13
                          Let me kind of clear this up- perhaps I should have used Smith or Jones or Doe instead of XYZ as a name.

                          I started doing business as "Smith" Technologies. I was unaware that there is already a "Smith" Engineering in town. We are similar in what we do- I figure the other guy is sort of a home shop guy, otherwise I would have known about him.

                          I have a good reputation around town from working for other companies, so feel I would not have any problem drumming up business, but to date have only one actual customer. I got the work from him before I actually considered starting a business- to change the name would not be a big deal at this point, but I would like to keep my last name in the mix. Just not too sure about getting confused with the other guy. Picked "Technologies" because it is rather vague; just wanted to make sure that it wasn't implying something that I did not want.

                          I do not intend to put any signs up, or get any deliveries other than Fed-Ex or UPS; the plan at this point is to be a one man shop with my son helping me out from time to time.


                          • #14
                            Your business name should imply or directly infer the type of work or services that you supply, otherwise you will spend half of your time explaining exactly what service that you do supply and that is not chargeable time!


                            • #15
                              Just keep it simple and to-the-point.
                              If you have a small machine shop, then it should be "YOUR" Machine Shop
                              or, "YOUR" Machining. Maybe even "YOUR" Industries.
                              Who you are, and what you do.