Choosing a business name is one of the most important things that you will have to decide upon. Unfortunately, it is also one of the very first decisions that you will have to make. Read our guide before committing yourself to a title – a bit of forethought could save you time and money further down the line.
What’s in a name?
In a completely sane and rational world a company with a strong product, service, or niche idea could expect to make a healthy profit. However, it takes more than that to get across to customers the benefit of using your business instead of your competitors'.
The name is the first thing that any potential buyer is going to notice and in this respect is more important than your sales pitch or even your end product. You might have the best idea in the world but if people are looking elsewhere because your competition ‘looks’ more attractive then no-one will ever know.
As the name is the entry point to your business and, superficially, the only differentiator between you and your competitors, customers will make instant judgements on where they want to part with their cash.
Therefore, it’s essential that you strike the right tone with your business’ name. However, successful companies do not just have good names, they develop a brand. And, in time, brands can literally sell themselves.
Company branding specialist Jim Fowle of Red Mullet Design, says: “When starting a company, your brand is of vital importance. Branding is not just a memorable logo but also an effective, memorable name that can really help people remember you.
“This can be portrayed strongly visually as well. In the initial stages, we find it’s good to envisage your name and branding, making sure it’s recognisable, simple and reflects your business.”
Easier said than done. After all you want to stand out from your competition but you also need to be taken seriously. When you’re choosing a business name it’s essential to remember that this is a name that you will have to say dozens of times each day and it is something you will be known by. Make sure that you like how it sounds and how it looks before committing.
“Initially, in the early stages the best option is to be experimental” suggests Fowle. “Sometimes it’s easy to get too clever and to lose sight of what you are trying to achieve.
“It is about getting the balance of a good name and having good branding at the same time. This encapsulates the perfect package.”
It’s tempting to incorporate your own name into your business’ moniker, although Dave’s Cabs or Hutchison Landscape Gardening hardly screams originality.
A safe and trustworthy method is to link your business’ name to the area in which you operate – customers associate such firms with strong local roots and a friendly approach to the public. Therefore, the Acton Sandwich Shop or Govan Records would be perceived to be well-established, reputable businesses.
Humour or a nice play on words is an effective way to stand out from the crowd. While a fish and chip shop called Your Plaice or Mine or a hairdressers named Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow would elicit predictable groans from passers-by, puns can be used for good effect, as long as they are not overly cheesy or digress from the image you are trying to convey for your firm.
Ideally, names should be snappy, original and instantly informative as to what your business does. Customers should be drawn to a name that stands out from the crowd, but also find it trustworthy and professional.