by James McAllister
First impressions count for a lot in the business world, and often the first impression a customer or client will have of your business, is your company name. It’s for this reason that new businesses should take the time to choose a name that’s not only appropriate, but also memorable, interesting, and reflective of the industry the business operates in.
Your business’s name is an important calling card for your brand, and if it fails to create a strong impression, your brand identity runs the risk of becoming lost amongst your competitors. If your company name is too generic, complex, or even too difficult to pronounce, then it could leave people with either a bad impression of your company, or worse, no impression at all.
We’ve established that naming your new company is an integral part of setting up a business, but it can be difficult to know where to start. To help you kick-start your business-name-brainstorm, here are five top tips to follow when naming your new business:
1. Be unique
Ensuring that your business’s brand distinguishes you from other businesses–even those operating outside of your industry – is essential to ensure that your company doesn’t get confused with others. There is no harm in looking for inspiration from fellow businesses, but remember that your business is unique, and so your business brand should be as well. Not only will an original name help distinguish your brand from others, but it can also help to empower and reinforce it.
There are also legal requirements you must adhere to when choosing an original name. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you should carry out a trademark search to see if your chosen names infringe on any other businesses. Failure to do so could land you in legal hot water – which is definitely not something you want when setting up a business.
2. Keep it simple
If something can’t be understood, it often can’t be remembered. You should try to avoid using made-up, strange, or unfamiliar words in your business name. Enabling customers to build familiarity with your brand is key, and this can be made difficult if they can’t understand or pronounce your business name.
3. Consider your web presence
For a modern business, your website domain name is a pivotal part of your identity, and it can help to take this into consideration when selecting your business name. There are a number of funny examples of businesses who failed to learn from this lesson, such as American Scrap Metal, which chose the website URL www.americanscrapmetal.com for their business. Similar considerations must be made for social media, as businesses begin to rely on a social presence more in their marketing efforts.
If you’ve found your ideal business name, but you’re having trouble securing a domain name, consider making your domain more specific. For example, Firefly, a legal service provider, included the word ‘legal’ in theirs, to secure www.fireflylegal.com.
This is not to say that you should allow your domain name and social media handles to solely dictate your decision, but they can certainly help to strengthen your brand continuity, which can quickly become diluted online.
4. Don’t forget your branding
Your business’s brand is made up of many different elements, but your company’s name plays an integral part in your core identity. As such, it’s important to consider how your business name fits in with the wider concepts of your brand.
For example, a family brand may be misrepresented by a name such as Johnson’s Inc., as the inclusion of ‘Inc.’ suggests that it is a large business separate from the family name. But, by dropping it, the name becomes less corporate and aligns much better with a family brand.
5. Don’t limit your business
Finding your niche and maximizing your appeal to current markets is an essential task in business – but it’s also important to keep one eye on the future of your business.
By including specific products, services or even geographical locations in your business name, you risk limiting the scope your business has to develop. For example, a clothing boutique called ‘Debbie’s Dresses’ suggest that the business specializes in dress making – not ideal if you wanted to expand your business into male fashion.
There is a lot to consider when coming up with your business’s name, as your name is going to play an integral part in many aspects of your business. While it may not be feasible to take all of these considerations into account, it can help to cover as many as possible, to make sure you get it right.
Do you have any of your own business naming tips that we haven’t mentioned? What experiences have you had when deciding on a business name? Let us know in the comments below.
James McAllister is a content writer specializing in the online, technology and business industries, and is the creator of The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an Online Business. You can reach James on Twitter at @JaMacca01.