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What’s in a name? How to choose the right one for your business

If you have a child, you might easily discern what we mean when we say that naming a business is a lot like naming a child. It can take a lot of brainstorming and discussion before you figure out a name that seems ‘just right’ — not least it would have to tick quite a few boxes.

It needs to be memorable for the right reasons — but, if it is a startup in particular upon which you are set to bestow a name, how can you be confident of having the correct one?

Avoid including your personal name 

You could easily be tempted to do this if you lack other ideas. However, the problem here is that your own name’s inclusion in the business name is unlikely to be meaningful to potential customers if an established brand is not already attached. 

Hence, the business name could risk coming across as bland, even if it is far removed from the names of your company’s competitors.

Consider including a local reference 

This could simply be the name of the town, city or county where your business is based, or instead be more punny and abstract — for example, the mention of ‘Smoggie’ if the company is based in Teesside (the nickname ‘Smoggies’ is often used for people from this particular area).

Even in the name of a business with national coverage, a local reference works because it fosters a friendly community feel implying that the company is not too big for its boots.

Practice saying the name 

If a seemingly brilliant name pops into your head, try saying that name out loud and see how it sounds. You could find yourself stumbling with pronouncing it, especially if it was originally inspired by a foreign language.

As the Startups. website points out, “this is a name that you will have to say dozens of times each day and it is something you will be known by.” So, any difficulties you face in saying it could be a major warning sign.

Envisage how the name would look in a branding context 

It’s a good idea to make sure you like the way the name looks even when it’s just written in text. However, it would also be useful for you to imagine how the name could form the centrepiece of your company’s logo.

Once you do have a name, our graphic designers could give you a few ideas for how to have this name artistically weaved into the logo.

Check that the name is available as a URL

It would naturally be galling if you came up with an excellent name only to realise that it isn’t available as a sufficiently snappy domain name. 

This is why, when you have a promising idea for a name, you could ask us to not only check that URL’s availability but also, if possible, register the domain name for you. This could happen at the same time as you register the business name with Companies House so that both bases are covered.

What’s in a name How to choose the right one for your business
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