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Naming your business

Naming your business

Choosing a name is one of the most important aspects of setting up a business. Settling on a name that accurately represents your business while allowing you to build an effective brand identity is harder than it first appears.

Fortunately, the only thing harder than choosing a good name is choosing one so unequivocally bad that it is met with the collective derision of the internet. Here are a few poorly-named businesses that made the internet laugh:

·         The bad: OK Service (a car service company)

·         The worse: Boring Business Systems (an IT services company)

·         The downright ugly: STD Contractors (a servicing company).

While avoiding names like these should be quite easy, choosing one that'll give your business a distinct identity that your customers will remember can be difficult. Here are a few pointers to get you on the right track to naming your business.

Think about what type of name best suits your business

The type of name you choose will depend on what sector you operate in, what product or service you sell and the nature of the brand identity you're trying to construct.

·         Words that describe your product/service: PC World, Costa Coffee, British Gas

·         Made-up words: eBay, Skype, Mozilla

·         Unrelated words: Apple, Monster, Blackberry

·         Acronyms: IBM, BP, HSBC

·         Owner-named: WH Smith, GlaxoSmithKline, The Walt Disney Company

Think carefully about which type is most suited to your business and sector. Experiment with different types and build up a shortlist of potential names.

It's worth mentioning that there are some names you can't legally use. These include:

·         offensive words

·         those that imply a connection with government or local authorities

·         'sensitive' words or phrases

·         names that are too similar to existing companies e.g. 'Defect Tech LLP' is too similar to 'Dephect Tech LLP'.

Competitor research

Do a little research into your competitors and ask yourself the following questions:

·         Why have they chosen that particular name?

·         What does it say about their company?

·         How can you make your business appear different?

Check that your name isn't already registered with Companies House

After you've got a selection of names you think reflects your business, you should run checks on the Companies House website to make sure that no other business is using the same name.

You may find that some of your names are already taken which will allow you to further refine your list.

Run a namecheck at the Companies House website here.

Make sure the domain name isn't taken

Although not as important as clearing your name with Companies House, it's a good idea to make sure that the domain name is available for your website. If your business is based in the UK and does most of its trade in the UK, you'll want to prioritise getting a .co.uk domain name.

Aside from registering your main domain name, you'll want to register a number of other similar domain names to prevent other people from creating a domain similar to yours. Type 'domain name availability' into a search engine to find a website to help you.

Contact us

As part of our comprehensive service for business startups, we'll help you prepare your business plan, decide on a suitable structure and assist you with raising startup finance.

Contact us on 01628 631 056 or email geoffk@knightandcompany.co.uk to learn more about our services for startups.