So, you’ve made the decision to go into business for yourself. The first hurdle you will come across is choosing a good business name! There are choices to be made and there is no single, correct solution. A business name is an individual decision and one that you should spend some time thinking about.
Selecting a business name is an important step in the establishment of your new business.
The name you choose will become the identity of your business by:
Creating an image for the business
Informing customers of the nature of your business
Helping customers recall your business
Giving your business respectability
Differentiating your business from all others
Your business name is also a powerful marketing tool. Further, the use of a ‘neutral’ name may avoid possible conflict between owners regarding who should get top billing. For example, should it be “Smith and Jones” or “Jones and Smith”
Think carefully about what your business name says about your business. Consider the differing impacts of the following:
AVL Designs or AVL fashion
Grace Creation or Handbag & Things
John Smith graphic designs or Funky Graphic
Eden gardening designs or Garden of Eden
Anastasia Jewelery Designs or Ladies must have
Here are 5 ways of how you can select a business name for your new business:
Naming your business after yourself is relatively simple and easy to do. By using your personal name will add credibility to your business. It could be your full name, first name or surname. Using all or some of your initials is also fairly common. The business may be a partnership of two or more people, which provides more possibilities.
Examples of companies named after people:
As with brandable business names, a problem with using a person’s name is that it is not immediately apparent what products and services your company offers.
2. Descriptive business names
Generic, descriptive names make it easy for your potential customers to work out what product or service your business offers.
Examples of descriptive business names:
- International Business Machines (IBM)
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
- Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC)
Descriptive names run a slight risk of not being able to ‘stand out from the crowd’, although the examples above didn’t seem to have any trouble in making their mark!
3. Combination business names
A combination of descriptive terms and personal names is also quite common. It allows you to add a personal touch but also to include your products or services in your business name.
Examples of combined business names:
- Ford Motor Company (Henry Ford)
- Dell Computers (Michael Dell)
- Dunlop Tires (John Dunlop)
4. The “Brand” business names
Any company name can become a brand; simple, ‘no nonsense’ words are probably the easiest to brand though, especially if they are catchy and easy to remember.
Examples of brandable business names:
Brandable names have popular appeal—would Google have enjoyed the same rise to popularity if it was called ‘The Search Engine Company’? The biggest problem with ‘no nonsense’ names like these is educating your potential customer as to what services you actually provide. Remember that building a brand takes time and usually requires significant resources (i.e. money).
To search for a business name you can go direct to ASIC (Australia) website and perform a search to see whether the name is already been registered
It is wise to check the available domain names before choosing a business name. Good domain names are harder and harder to find, so it pays to make sure the domain name you want is available before choosing your business name. Choosing a domain name is an important part of setting up your business, so take some time to research it and select wisely.
Be careful using a specific location in your business name. If you move across town or across the country your name may become a issue. The same applies to the products or services you provide—there is a chance these may change in the future, so try not to be too specific what you include in your business name.
As part of the naming process, try searching Google for your potential business name (put it inside double quote marks when searching). See if there are any other businesses with the same name, particularly in the same country or local area.
There are many options for your business name. Brainstorm potential names by writing out a list of all the possible choices. Eventually, the right name for your business will become obvious. Register the name with your local or national business authorities and you are on your way!