Naming the Business
It turns out picking a name for your business can be as hard as choosing a college to attend or picking your major. It seems as though the life of your business depends on getting the name right, oh, the pressure!
I was going to take the coward's way out and just use my name: Penny Schouten Consulting. I wouldn't have to file any paperwork, it would be fairly easy. But that name doesn't tell you what I do. Consulting for what? Could mean anything-interior design, organization specialist, business advising, who knows?!
And I'm not recognized by my name, except for people who know me. Last time I checked there were about 4 Penny Schoutens on the planet: one is a fitness business owner in the UK, one works in planning in Canada, there's a real estate advisor in Australia and me.
I started a list of possible names, but nothing really 'sang' to me. Whenever I am struggling with something, I will take a step back and find a totally different approach with the hopes that it will create a better idea. In this case, it was, what do I like? What makes me happy? The answer came immediately- HORSES. I love horses. But how would that relate to marketing?! I had no idea.
I started brainstorming words related to horses. Then I had an epiphany-cliche's using horse references. Hello, Google and BOOM! Idioms related to horses.
I found it:
(straight) from the horse's mouth
if you get information about something from the horse's mouth, you get it from someone who is involved in it and knows a lot about it
In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional 'from the horse's mouth' is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself.
It is a 20th century phrase. The earliest printed version found of it is from the USA and clearly indicates the horse-racing context - in the Syracuse Herald, May 1913: "I got a tip yesterday, and if it wasn't straight from the horse's mouth it was jolly well the next thing to it."
What a perfect representation of what I do- authentic marketing.
Update August 2017): The business cards are done, I've joined the Chamber of Commerce. People seem to love the name and get the meaning right away. I love that they smile when they say it. It's exactly the reaction I'd hoped for.