Naming your business

Naming your business Blog Image

October 25, 2012

We’ve all heard people refer to their business as their baby. While that’s a bit of an extreme analogy for some, the naming process is often just as laboured over. You want something unique but not too abstract, short but not too simple, memorable, relevant, catchy… the pressure!

A great name can be the beginning of great success for a business. It’s certainly worth getting right.

Naming your business is obviously one of the most important first steps, so where you do start? Here’s a few tips:

1. Avoid unusual spellings.

Stick with words that can be easily spelt by customers. Some new business owners choose unusual spellings in order to stand out, but when your customers are looking to Google your businesses to find you or refer you to someone else, things can get lost in translation. Stay with traditional spellings, and avoid those catchy words that you love to explain at cocktail parties.

2. Choose something easy to pronounce and remember.

Forget made-up words and nonsense phrases. Make your business name one that customers can pronounce and remember easily. Skip acronyms that mean nothing to most people, unless it’s one commonly used within your industry. It’s not about being tricky or clever. When choosing an identity for a company or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style, and cost less to brand.

3. Keep it simple.

The shorter the length, the better. The most memorable names have two syllables. Avoid using hyphens and other special characters.

4. Make some sense.

Occasionally, business owners will choose names that are nonsense words. Quirky words (Yahoo, Google, Fogdog) or trademark-proof names concocted from scratch (Novartis, Aventis, Lycos) are a big risk. Always check the international implications. More than one company has been embarrassed by a new name that had negative and even obscene connotations in another language.

5. Give a clue.

Try to adopt a business name that provides some information about what your business does. Calling

your landscaping business “Lawn and Order” is appropriate, but the same name would not do well for a handyman business. Your business name should match your business in order to remind customers what services you provide.

6. Make sure the name is available.

This may sound obvious, but a miss here could cost you dearly. Your company name and Internet domain name should probably be the same. Check your preferred names with Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and a domain registration provider to see if they are available.

7. Don’t box yourself in.

Avoid picking names that don’t allow your business to move around or add to its product line. This means avoiding geographic locations or product categories to your business name. With these specifics, customers will be confused if you expand your business to different locations or add on to your product line.

8. Sample potential customers.

Come up with a few different name choices and try them out on potential customers, investors, and co-workers. Skip your family and friends who know too much. Ask questions about the names to see if they give off the impression you desire.