Question: How do you name your business?
Something many businesses struggle with in their early days is finding a name which identifies them. Sole proprietors may have it easy, since they can name it after themselves. However, as soon as additional people join the business, using your name to identify the business may not be the best idea. However, there are certainly exceptions, for example, Dell or Gucci.
When you named your business, how did you choose the name? What vision were you trying to portray with your choice of name?
Last week, I asked about finding a mentor, or where you might look to find a mentor. Perhaps the best answer was the one from Jeremy:
Friends in business, business partners, customers that you respect, or hire a business coach!
The best approach here is to address each on its own.
Friends in Business
These are your peers, who have no vested interest in the performance of your business in particular, beyond a desire to see you succeed. They may not have much more experience than you, but their experiences are similar, and yet different enough to be of use. An issue you face now might be one a friend dealt with a while ago. Additionally, this mentorship relationship can be reciprocal, with you giving your friend the benefit of your experiences when they need it.
The downside to such a relationship is that finding a friend with sufficient experience, and where having a mentor-like relationship will not impact your friendship, can be difficult. Not every business owner can find such a resource, but if you can, it should certainly be used.
The upside to business partners as mentors is that they know exactly what issues you’re facing, and the implications of the decisions you need to make. The downside, though, is that they also have a vested interest, and some of those interests might not align themselves with your own.
When using a business partner as a mentor, try to find at least one other resource who can act as a mentor as well.
This one may be surprising, but the perspective customers bring to a business is not to be taken lightly. They see the short-comings of your business, as well as what it is you do well that keeps them around as customers. If you have a customer who has experience with business, and with whom you have a good relationship, try to at least spend some time with them on a regular basis to get feedback on how your business is developing.
This is, perhaps, my least-liked approach to mentorship, though many advocate it. My primary issue with such a mentor is that they are in the business of mentoring, and as such, want to see you succeed. However, this lends itself to a potential pitfall, in that if you succeed too quickly, you may abandon them sooner rather than later. Of course, that also might result in more referrals, but you are a guaranteed customer, while referrals are a maybe.
However, a business coach who has experience running a business (other than their coaching business) could be an extremely valuable resource. If this is the route you are taking, be sure to get personal referrals for a coach from other business people you know and trust.