Skip to Main Content
Get started
Starting a business

What’s in a name?

Last updated: 11 May 2022

Choosing a company name has never been more important. Although the average small business takes only one or two days to choose a name it is essential to look at the possibilities and advantages of making a particular name as memorable and relevant as possible – especially now so much research is done using free online listing services.

Small businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of choosing a good company name and now opt for memorable names which do not have any family connections. A report by British Gas found 60% of those surveyed thought that their choice of identity should appeal to new customers, with three quarters of those questioned opting for unforgettable names.

If you plan to put your business online and harness the internet’s marketing potential you need a name that benefits your long-term business aims. Do not immediately choose a name based on personal preference. Think the process through logically and give a name that immediately indicates what you do or how you do business. The name will give customers the first impression of your business so it needs to be good. Avoid fashion names or names that will date easily, or names that might restrict you from expanding the business into new areas in the future. Handbags from Heaven might sound great, but what if you plan to expand into shoes and accessories before too long?

Avoid using your own name simply because it probably doesn’t tell anyone what your business actually does. Don’t be too clever or quirky and keep it simple. Brainstorm as many names as you like but reduce it to a shortlist of half a dozen. Ask family and friends for their opinions and be prepared to listen to criticism.

If you plan to put your business online, either now or in the future think about the way search items work. A good name can attract business. Check with Duport or Companies House to see if it already in use and who has the UK rights to a name. If the name is too similar to others avoid it.

Although people are ditching the family business name in favour of names that work well on the web, it is certainly true that, for certain businesses, having a family based name can be a strong advantage. Family names especially work if you are providing a product or a service to a local area, as it implies a friendly, personal service as well as a sense of trustworthiness. People often trust local businesses because they are in amongst the community and think they will get better comeback it there is a problem. Also, if the product is traditionally based family names can add authenticity and imply it has been around for generations, in a way that a modern memorable brand name cannot. Whatever name you choose, take lots of time over it. Two days may not be enough. You may have to live with it for a very long time.

Popular articles