What’s in a name, Shakespeare has said, but this question is quite loaded when it comes to choosing the perfect name for your business. The right name can roll off your tongue effortlessly and have people saying it just because they love the sound of it, but the wrong name can bring up feelings of fear or dread, which is no way to start off on your brilliant business path. The wrong name can project an unclear identity about your business, whereas a strong name can accelerate brand awareness.

Think of the value invested in the name Apple and how Google has become part of our language, as in “Google it”. The first thing a customer will notice about your business is its name. Creating the right first impression is essential, but not as easy as it looks. Inspiration for business names can come from almost anywhere. Some names are playful, such as the woodpecker furniture crafts. Others, such as The Village Bakery, are more functional. But all effective business names project a strong image that sticks in the mind of customers. Whether you are re-naming a developing business or starting a new one, the name you choose could make a serious difference to your chances of success.

Factors to consider when choosing your business name

  • Think about your target market, your product or service and the image you want to project. Is it better for your name to be functional or creative? Should it convey personality or reliability? Pick the wrong one and you could be stuck with it for a long time.
  • The safest bet is the does what it says on the package approach to business naming. Whatever style of name you choose, it should differentiate you from competitors. Naming your company A1 Cars may get you a listing at the top of the phone book, but customers will struggle to remember if you were A Cabs or A Star Drivers next time they want to book a car.
  • Complications to avoid: When thinking of names, steer clear of those which are a mouthful when you answer the phone, that would look awkward on stationery, or are tricky to type as a web address. Avoid anything that could restrict your business development.
  • Names that restrict a company to its geographical location can create problems. A name like ‘Webdeveloper-India’ can limit the might confuse the international audience about the scope of service to be limited within the boundaries on nation only. Using your personal name can be limiting, too, especially in a service industry where clients may feel they are not getting their money’s worth when Mr Sharma is no longer able to handle their business personally.
  • Legal constraints: Before committing to a name, search the National Business Register to check the name you want to use has not been registered or trademarked by another business, and that the website address is available. You must also avoid using words such as ‘National’, ‘Royal’ or ‘Chartered’ which could bring legal action. If you are a sole trader or partnership, you cannot include the words ‘limited’, ‘Ltd’ or ‘PVT’, but you are allowed to register the same name as another business – providing it does not trade near you or is nationally known.

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