Choosing a Business Name

Naming your business is one of the most important things you’re going to do, and typically, one of the first. Therefore, it’s of equal importance to get it right. Firstly, do some research before choosing a business name. For example, to see if another business already exists with the same or similar name. It may seem like a pain, particularly if you’ve already come up with a catchy business name, which encompasses your business idea. However, with some careful research, you could mitigate future legal problems. Certainly, check your business name is free from any negative connotations. For instance, whether language, imagery or any other symbols etc. could cause offence.

In addition, when choosing a business name, consider your target market. For example, to check whether your chosen business name is clear and enticing. Not only that, since a recognisable business name helps you build your brand. Let’s explore some best practice and tips for choosing a business name. Remember, this is only guidance and it’s not intended to over-complicate your thinking. You also need to factor in things like business structure and how this could affect naming your business. In addition, the type of business and industry sector. Your business links directly to which domain name(s) you’re going to purchase. Ultimately, this has long-lasting implications on things like searchability, ranking as well as memorability.

Naming your Business

There are several ways of naming your business. You can either come up with a name yourself, hire a specialist or use an online tool like the Shopify Business Name Generator. Most importantly, try to base this on your business idea and what you want to achieve. For example, have a brainstorm and write down as many ideas as possible. Depending on how creative you feel, this could be the simplest place to start. You can even involve friends and family. Get everyone to come up with 5-10 options and then, discuss each in order to create a shortlist.

If you’re going into business with someone else (e.g. partnership), it’s vital that you all sit down and come up with ideas. Reach consensus about your business name. A more formal approach might be a brainstorming workshop or meeting. A ‘workshop’ can seem very formal, particularly if you’re a sole trader or partnership. It doesn’t matter what you name the event itself, so don’t get caught up on that. Do what works for you, but please take some time out and come up with as many names as possible. Consider the pros/cons for each. Most importantly, check whether or not a business has already taken a similar/same name.

Once you’ve come up with your shortlist, get some feedback. Choosing a business name, which sounds great to you, may not work as well with others. Test it out with as many people as you can. Certainly, ask a cross section of people from different socioeconomic groups, age brackets, cultures etc. This is your final sanity check, and someone could spot an issue, which you might easily overlook. For example, a typo or a grammatical error. Remember, we’re all different interpret things differently.  For example, the message or mind’s eye visual from the name. This could make you rethink the naming your business and you could come up with a much better option.

Considerations for Naming your Business

You’ve thought about the process for naming your business. Now, you’re choosing a business name and want to make sure you’ve “dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s’”.

  • Consider your business structure and whether you need to include “Ltd”, “LLP” or something else. In addition, it might make sense to consider acronyms associated with your business name. For example, think of well-known, big brands like the AA (British Motoring).
  • Make sure your chosen business name is clear and simple. In addition, whether or not you want it to directly reflect what you and your business is about. For example, your startup’s mission and values.
  • Name your business with branding in mind. For instance, choose a business name that’s memorable and easily identifiable. For example, the logic behind the name and so people instantly know it’s you. Certainly, check it will work with your logo design and slogans.

Research & Obtain Feedback

  • Complete thorough research to confirm whether or not your business name options are unique. For example, check existing company names via Companies House. Certainly, use a search engine like Google to check for similar/same named businesses. If you find similar named businesses, make sure you have suitable variations that mitigate legal and/or confusion problems. In addition, a name that supports your chosen market. For example, are you only trading in the UK, other European Countries or globally? How might this change in the future?
  • Check to see if your shortlist business names have available domain names, including available domain name extensions. For example, the most common being “.co.uk” and “.com”, but now there are several other options. For instance, through a provider like Domain Check or Go Daddy. In addition, remember that potential customers may use search engines to type in keywords/phrases and how this connects with your business name.
  • Test your chosen business name with a cross section of people. Most importantly, from different demographics so you can obtain a good cross-section of feedback. For example, mitigate language and other negative connotation issues. In addition, catch any typos or other confusion.

Further Reading

Read this blog on how to start a business, which includes a checklist and business advice tips to put you and your startup on the right track. If you’re looking for professional and expert startup business advice or coaching, contact Maximum Solutions Consulting Ltd. You can visit the Business Advisory Services London and Business Coaching London pages to learn more about available services.