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What Is In A Business Name?

Businesswoman and question mark drawn in chalk on blackboard

What Is In A Business Name?

So much time can be spent thinking of what to name your . As your name will help you to position your business, whatever you call it, will impact upon how you are viewed by potential customers and investors.

Starting out, you think you’ve found a name, but you check it out and it’s either already in use, with a reserved domain name, or that it actually means something quite different in another language!

Then you involve family and friends to help you work through options. When you become overwhelmed with too many bad, cheesy or boring names, it’s easy to zone out and your creativity hits an all-time low. That’s when you decide to outsource the task to a naming agency. When you contact them, the fees make your eyes water.

You can easily avoid these pitfalls, and others, by tapping into your creativity. You know your business better than anyone else, so give it a go by following the tips below:

  • Firstly you need a name which reflects your business for the long-term, not just the short-term. Keep away from dates, years, or anything which could date your business, unless it is intentional.
  • Keep away from names which have no or little meaning. Giant enterprises, such as Xerox, Sony or Kodak are household names, with plenty of money to invest in advertising to convey their meaning.
  • Tap into the hearts and minds of customers. For example, A Quarter of, is a retro sweet manufacturer, so the nostalgia of buying a quarter of sweets comes into mind and childhood memories are rekindled. That’s original thinking and it doesn’t matter about using retro terminology in this case.
  • Don’t aim to use geographical areas in your names. Okay, KFC was started in Kentucky, but it’s better to avoid localisation, especially if you want a worldwide presence on the internet. The same point applies to acronyms too; don’t use them, as they are easy to mix up.
  • Do remember to keep your business name easy to spell and ensure it is easy to remember. Short and sweet is better than long and rambling.
  • Finally, check your name is available and not trademarked anywhere!

There are business name generators available. For example, shopify have a generator which can help to stimulate your thinking. When it boils down to a final choice, just ask yourself and be honest, will your customers know what your products or services are from your name? If they can’t identify with what you are offering, then it’s back to the drawing board!

A creative and commercial writer, with experience as a business mentor for start-ups/SMEs, as a HR consultant and as a published author of many books and articles.

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