No Moss Brands Pistachio Ice Cream PhotoOkay, maybe this post will sound LIKE a rant, but it's only because since I started my own business at the beginning of the year I'm starting to see a trend. A trend of using the word LIKE to describe or make business decisions.

I work with small start-up businesses to large businesses and have discovered that small business owners or those just starting out with very little true experience tend to make decisions using LIKE!

The problem with the word "like", especially when making decisions regarding branding, advertising or marketing, is that "like" tends to be very personal.

You know, "I really LIKE pistachio ice cream!" That's great! LIKE in the personal feeling context has nothing to do with positioning, naming or branding a business. And, I do see business owners making decisions based on "like" that are strongly associated with personal feelings.

When making business decisions for your company your LIKES should not be the defining reason why you select a name, logo or brand message. Instead in business, it's all about how this new name, logo, tagline or brand positions you in the marketplace to compete successfully. The term LIKE implies my decision is personal and not relative to the strength of your business. I see small business owners most often use LIKE to make decisions. And, sadly, I hear this term out of women more than men.

Hey, I'm not gender bashing. I'm just telling you from my experiences and making a strong recommendation to all business owners, whether ladies or gentlemen, that your business is in business to be successful. If you didn't want to be in business to be successful than I think we can call your business a hobby. And, no, I'm absolutely not trying to eliminate passion from your business. After all, for most small business owners being passionate about a cause, service or product is what propelled you into the world of entreprenuerialship.

Making business decisions based on passion alone, can and will, create challenges down the road.

No Moss Brands Dress Photo

These challenges may include selecting a name based on your husband's cute nickname, yet has no relationship to the product you sell. This creates market confusion for your customers who may not relate to your husband's nickname thus can't remember it. While they still may want to find you and your product or service, they Google the type of product or service you offer and guess what, Google has very little idea what your product or service is either, because your name is unclear. And, to add insult to injury, you didn't have your website adequately optimized relative to search engines. Bummer, because now your potential customer hasn't found you, but they did find your competitor offering the same product. Sale loss!

So, let's get this clear, when presented with options for naming your company, the logo, tagline, brand or other advertising you need to shake the LIKE thought process. LIKE is more a feeling than a value reason you decide. LIKE is for wedding venues and dresses or puppy dogs, not business. I suggest you really listen to the company you've hired to present you with options, and not immediately dismiss options because you didn't LIKE them. Instead consider the true "value" those options will have and their contribution to your short-term and long-term business objectives or goals.

In other words, the logo or name you select shouldn't be made because it's your favorite color or you always LIKED that name. If you make business decisions using that logic you are setting your business up to have limited growth opportunities or challenges competing in the marketplace. Because, unless you're the first company to invent the iPod, toilet or other widget/service your company WILL have to compete for the same customers.

So, please, save LIKE for Facebook, your first crush or your favorite ice cream, and not for business!

Whatever you do don't let LIKE be the only reason you make important decisions for your business. Successful businesses are successful because they make value based decisions, not those based on their favorite color or because it goes with their eyes!

I challenge you to test yourself the next couple of days, weeks or months.

  1. How often do you use the word LIKE to describe why you have made a business decision?
  2. When you used the word LIKE, ask yourself, did you make that decision based on a business value statement, and not personal feeling?
  3. Could you replace the word LIKE with "value" for "X, Y, Z reason"? Evaluate, if your decisions, when presented to the team, come across as more impactful or readily accepted?

For the record, I do LOVE pistachio ice cream, puppies and kitties, but am less personally excited by wedding dresses!

For more tips on business read Sports & Business – Part 1: Know the Rules of the Game!

Or, for more information on how to include passion in your business in a positive manner, read How The Hunger Games might be better than your brand!