Starting a new business is an exciting process, albeit a slightly daunting one too! One of the first, and arguably most important, steps is choosing a business name but it can be tricky to know where to start. After all, it will be one of the first impressions a customer gets of your company and can often have a big impact on whether they immediately choose to trust your brand or keep hold of their cash. Here we look at where you can start and outline some of our top tips.
Where to start?
It’s difficult not to jump straight in and start making a list of loads of potential names with all the excitement, but try and take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Your business name will need to reflect all aspects of your business and key messages so, make sure you’re crystal clear on what these are. Think about what it is your business does and try to describe it in as little words as possible. Don’t forget about your customers either, think about how you want them to feel, for example a clothing brand may want their customers to feel confident while a food brand wants to inspire.
Brainstorm some ideas…
Before you start brainstorming some business name ideas, it’s worth looking towards the future and thinking about where your business could go. It may seem odd as you’re only just launching but you don’t want your business name to hold you back in the future, for example a hairdressing business may not want to include hair in their company name in case they expand to offer nail and beauty treatments in the future.
You could choose to go traditional, which has the advantage of clearly showing customers what it is you do, but has the potential downfall of lacking inspiration or excitement. Similarly, if you’re a local business you may wish to link your location to your business but be careful you don’t limit yourself. For example a company selling traditional welsh cakes could use their Welsh heritage as part of their business name but an accounting firm based in Cardiff may not want to use the city within their name in case they expand to multiple locations across Wales in the future (you can also always use your domain name to do this as well, more about this later).
On the other hand, you could choose to go abstract and just give a hint of what your business does within the name, this can be a great way of clinching a customer’s curiosity and encouraging them to explore your brand further. You may need to be prepared to put some extra time and money into building your reputation and making it clear to potential customers what it is you offer though. Or, you could always look to mix both the traditional and abstract approaches!
Do’s and Don’ts
As you begin to brainstorm some ideas for your business names, keep this list of the top do’s and don’ts in mind:
- Do keep your name simple and try to avoid hyphens and numbers.
- Do spell things as they should be to avoid confusion.
- Do test your name ideas with friends and family, they may spot something you didn’t notice.
- Do look at what would happen if someone accidently misspelt your business name, or abbreviated it or removed spaces.
- Do keep it short and snappy so it is easy to say, spell, type and remember.
- Don’t limit your business by including location (unless it’s a heritage/branding asset) or product description.
- Don’t forget about your wider brand messages and future plans for the business.
- Don’t focus on your competitor’s names too much as you’ll want to differentiate your business.
- Don’t settle for a name you’re not excited or passionate about, keep brainstorming!
Do your research
Once you’ve got a shortlist of your favourite names make sure you do some research to check whether the name is being used by another business or if it’s very similar to that of a competitor or something you don’t wish to be associated with. You can take a look at trademarking and legal advice on the UK government website.
The next most important step is to see whether your domain name is available, as your website, email address and business all go hand in hand. If an exact match isn’t available try to search for a domain name that matches as closely as possible, this is especially important as more and more customers use search engines to find businesses. By keeping your business name, website and email addresses consistent you’ll also portray a professional brand image. Don’t forget your domain name can showcase your business’s location and heritage without it necessary having to be included within the business name, for example secure the perfect .wales and .cymru domains to showcase you’re Welsh.
Once you’ve chosen your business name double check it fits with your marketing messages and plans and most importantly make sure you love it! After all, you’re going to be speaking about your business a lot so making sure you’re passionate about its name is a must! When you’re ready start the procedures of registering your business name and make sure you secure the domain name quickly before someone else snaps it up. It may take some time and effort, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll have a great chance at choosing a perfect business name. Good luck!