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Naming Your Import/Export Business

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Even the best products and ideas won't sell if the company's name is poorly chosen. It is also important to make sure that the name you choose does not mean anything offensive in any country in which you intend do business. I suggest you check out how your intended company name translates in the official languages of at least your five most likely markets. Obviously, the more translation checks you can do, the more comfortable and confident you will feel about taking your name worldwide.

After you have come up with a trade name that best fits your long-term mission and doesn't mean anything bizarre, off-putting or inappropriate elsewhere in the world, have your attorney conduct a legal search to insure that you are not infringing upon anyone else's company name. Your attorney should also register the name with the appropriate intellectual property authorities.

To begin the naming process, you must decide exactly what your business will do. Be specific about your business intentions without being too narrow. Imagine owning and running this business for a lifetime. Focus on your personal values and how they will drive your business. Spend as much time on this as you would naming a child -- it is almost as important a relationship.

When you are developing your ideas for a company name, it should move from the general to the specific. The process could look like this:

1. I am going to import/export ...

Earrings.

Specifically:

Import/export inexpensive costume earrings.

More specifically:

Import/export costume earrings that never cost me more than $1 a pair.

Most specifically:

Import/export pierced and clip-back costume earrings that never cost me more than $1 a pair and are nicely gift-boxed.

2. Twenty years from now I see myself ...

Working with numerous quality suppliers to offer hundreds of varieties of earrings and other jewelry items to customers worldwide.

3. Values that are important to me ...

Honesty, integrity and trust. I am concerned about excellence. I respect people, look out for their welfare, and believe that they are the heart of an enterprise. Employees come first; customers all over the world who love my products come next.

4. How much do I believe in myself and in my company's direction?

I believe in myself one hundred percent. I know I can make this happen. As long as I continue to believe in myself, I will lead the company in the right direction to achieve success.

After a thorough analysis, you will have a clearer picture of your company and where it is headed. You should be able to name your business and create a flexible mission statement to reinforce and encapsulate your corporate goals. It should contain a statement of purpose that is timeless, and distinctive enough to set you apart from competitors. Here's an example of Jewelry Import/Export Company's mission statement:

"To import/export world-class costume jewelry at affordable prices."

This statement is good enough for now and it can easily be altered over time, but the basic premise will remain the same.

When I started my company, I knew I wanted to import, export, and do a little sourcing of products worldwide. I didn't know, however, what my specialty product would be. I sat down with a pad of paper and wrote down words that fit my idea of what my company was going to do:

  • International
  • Worldwide
  • Trade
  • Export
  • Import
  • Delaney
  • Affordable
  • Source
  • Global
  • Products
  • Outside the U.S.A.
  • Marketing
  • Chicago
  • Far Away
  • After writing the words that best described what I thought I would do, I combined them to see if I liked the sound, look, and feel of the various combinations. This is how I decided on "Global TradeSource, Ltd." It fit my vision: trading includes both exporting/importing, combined with sourcing, all on a global scale. The "Ltd." was selected because it has a nice international cachet and helped shorten the total number of letters in the full corporate name.

    Global TradeSource, Ltd. was originally formed to export housewares, but after six unsuccessful months, we switched to food. If the company had been named "Export Housewares," it would have been difficult to make the change. That is why it is important to be specific but not too narrow.

    It is important to select a name you can live with for a long, long time and one that holds up well as a website name too. Take some time now to draft a few ideas for your own import/export shop.

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