You will be surprised just what is in a company name?

Choosing the right name for your business

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your own business but now you have to decide on a name.  This is not as straightforward as it may seem and there are a lot of things to consider.What's in a name, company names

Why is the name important?

Choosing the right name can be the difference between standing out and being memorable or blending into the crowd.  The right name can tell your market place why you are different and stick in peoples’ minds – to achieve the same effect with advertising will cost you a lot more.

However, there are many more things to consider:

Branding – if you’ve done your business plan you should understand your branding strategy.  You should be aware of who you are and how you want to be perceived by your market place.  Make sure your name conveys the right message.

Domain name – before deciding on your name, check that there is a suitable domain name available.  You don’t want your potential customers visiting your competitor’s website instead of yours.

Social media – every business needs a social media presence nowadays.  Have a search through the platforms such as Twitter, Facebook etc and make sure that there is a suitable social media handle available for your preferred name.

Geography – don’t limit yourself by area.  While it may be suitable to be Ipswich Roof Repairs when you start out, if you want to expand to other areas later on then your name will no longer fit.

Growth plans – don’t name your business based on where you are starting from.  Think about where you want to be in five years’ time – will your name still fit?

Language/social – if you are planning on trading overseas, make sure your name will still be suitable.  Many companies have fallen foul of their name having an undesirable meaning in another language or culture.

Is it memorable? – You need people to remember your name.  If it is dull or instantly forgettable, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Spelling – keep it simple.  If your name has an unusual or tricky spelling, you will forever be spelling it out over the phone, correcting people or they will struggle to find you online.

What is missing? – although it is important to look at what is in a company name, also be aware that if your name doesn’t indicate what you do, you should include it clearly on your business cards, letterheads, website etc.  For example, if your company name is ABCDEF Consulting, include a short description such as ‘sales recruitment specialists’ on anything showing your branding.


The Legal Stuff

You don’t have to register a business name with Companies House as a sole trader but if you do, you must follow some of the rules that apply to companies and partnerships.What is in a name

Search the Companies House register to see if your chosen name has been taken as you can’t have exactly the same or too similar a name as another registered company.  Your name also can’t contain a sensitive word or expression, suggest a connection with government or local authorities or be offensive.

If you have registered your company as a private limited company, your name must end in either Limited or Ltd (or the Welsh equivalents if you register your company in Wales).  However, if you are a charity or sports club, you might be able to apply to leave ‘limited’ out of your name.

Be aware that registering a company name with Companies House does not mean it is protected as a trade mark, you have to register these separately.  However, it is still worth checking the trade mark register before selecting your name to make sure it hasn’t already been registered.

What is in a company name – more than you think!

Does it work?

The only thing left is to test out your name.  The most obvious place to start is friends and family but be aware that you will most likely get a biased opinion so test it out on people you don’t know so well too.  A focus group or social media business group would be a good option as you should get honest opinions there.