HHow to name your business? Your business will need to have a memorable name. A good name is vital if you are to achieve success. Choose the wrong one and it could easily consign your entrepreneurial dreams to obscurity…
Your trading name (if a sole trader) or company name (if a limited company) can have a big impact on the success of your business. It should convey professionalism, espouse the values of your business and ideally give people a sense of what product or service your are offering.
Abstract or explanatory?
Some will tell you that the best names are abstract. Names like Tesco or Google are blank slates which you can use to create any kind of image. Others tell you straight away what the business is about. To some, made up names are memorable while others say that they are way too forgettable.
The truth is that a name is perhaps secondary to the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
Whatever your personal view on the best way to go about naming your business, here are some pointers to bear in mind when it come to christening your startup:
What do you want to communicate?
Start with the message you want to convey. Make sure that your audience can relate to and understand your company name. The more your name says about your business the less time you will have to spend explaining what it is that you do.
Don’t restrict yourself
Calling your business Buckinghamshire Plumbers is just fine until your business grows and you want to start selling outside of your original startup territory. Or what happens if you decide that you want to offer both plumbing and electrical services?
Don’t limit your options
Don’t just make it about you. Naming your business after your wife or dog is pretty limiting, especially if your marriage breaks down or your dog dies. Choose a name that appeals to the kinds of customer you want to attract and avoid personal puns or “in jokes” that only make sense to you or your friends.
Play on the emotions
Think about names that are evocative or ones that conjure up pleasant or relevant associations for your potential customers. Keep it simple and easy to spell. Five letter words are popular for a reason- they’re easy to remember and have impact: Yahoo, Pepsi, Apple, Cisco & Intel are familiar examples. Avoid names that are hard to spell, long or confusing
Get your thinking cap on
If you choose to go the “blank slate” route you can get creative. In a world where most common names have long since been trademarked, making up a word might just be the way to go. Try coupling meaningful word segments together. The name Compaq doesn’t actually mean anything but it is clearly playing on the word compact- perfect for laptops.
Do your homework
Once you’ve settled on a shortlist of four or five preferred names, it’s time to do some research. Do a trademark search and have a trawl through Companies House to make sure your name isn’t already taken.
Do a domain name search and see if your preferred website name is available.
If your name involves two or more words make sure they go well together as a domain name. A recruitment company decided to register a domain name for their new venture call "The Careers Exchange”, until they realised that the domain www.careersexchange.org could be read as "Career Sexchange”
Once you've established that your shortlisted names are available, go back to your original objectives and see which name best fits the purposes of your business. Read the names out loud, check them in translation software to make sure they don’t have some scary connotation in a foreign language. Conduct a focus group and see what potential customersmake of the names that you have come up with.
Take your time and get it right. Your name is the thing you will build your brand identity around.