The importance of a good business name: 5 top tips

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When starting your business, whether you are a dog walker, a personal trainer or therapist, your business name is hugely important.

Picking a moniker that will work for you and deliver results for your enterprise isn’t as straightforward as you might think. That looks obvious from the results of a recent study into the matter.

Digital product developer, Studio Graphine asked 2,000 people in the UK to look at 10 company names and logos. They were then asked to match the names to a description of each company’s business model.

Unfortunately for the companies involved, on average, only 21% of respondents successfully identified a business’s functions from their brand name.

This fact should be disconcerting for some small businesses. With consumers unable to identify the services a brand offers, that business could be missing out on potential customers.

5 Top tips for a good brand name

The importance of a strong business name is huge. But deciding on one for your business is a fine balancing act.

We’ve picked out five things for any business owner to consider when choosing their brand name.

Simple is often better

In short, having a name that is easy to remember and spell is the obvious starting place. If a consumer is having trouble spelling, pronouncing or remembering an overly complex business name, it’s probably worth changing.

Consider some of the world’s biggest brands; Google, Amazon, Nike, Facebook – all global giants with very simple, single-word business names that are hard to forget.

While none of the above specifically relate to the services they offer (though they have become synonymous with their services), it’s always worth hinting at your business speciality within your brand name.

There’s nothing to say you must use a single-word business name, or you can’t experiment with your brand, but take a moment to think; do you really need to add multiple zzzz’s to the end of your name? Have you lost your customers as soon as they see your branding?

Humour works, but don’t overdo it

Having a snappy, humorous business name is a great way to stand out from the crowd. When a consumer sees a funny advert on TV, they are likely to remember that ad, and therefore, that brand.

Trying to add some form of humour or clever wordplay into your business name can be a great idea.

As pet business insurance providers, we see some great wordplay with brand names that really work. Here at Protectivity, we’ve insured businesses such as The Furry Dogmother (a dog grooming company), Canine to Five and Noah’s Bark, all of which clearly infer they are dog care brands while adding some great pun-work.

However, it’s important to keep things in check. While witty humour can work, going overboard when looking for laughs can leave your business looking amateur and can take away from your key message.

Think digital

According to a survey we carried out, over three-quarters of Pet Business customers and 66% of personal trainers used Facebook to promote their business. However, it can often to think about the digital implications on a bigger scale.

For example, if deciding to build a website you need to consider whether your business name will be best placed to flourish in a digital landscape.

Carry out some Google searches to check what competition you would have for your business to climb the rankings. If you find you will be up against big players in the industry, it might be wise to consider changing the business name.

It’s also worth seeing if a web domain relating to your business name is available, in order for you to register the most obvious web address for your company. It might also be worth securing rights to that domain even if you don’t immediately intend to build a website.

Be careful with geographical references or people’s names

A study from Premier BusinessCare found highlighted the prevalence of geographical locations in UK business names. In total it found that over 33,000 businesses featured the word ‘London’, more than 5,000 chose ‘Yorkshire’, while ‘Manchester’ featured in more than 3,500.

The same study also discovered that true extend of names being used in business titles. Atop he list was ‘John’, which featured in the name of over 8,000 companies, slightly ahead of ‘James’ on 7,680. What to think about here is, what happens if you want to step away from the business? Would you want your name associated with a company being run by another individual?

While including your location or name within the title of your business is a good way to add both a personal touch and a nod to your local roots, you do need to consider the future.

What would happen if you moved from one county to another? ‘Yorkshire Dog Walking’ doesn’t sound too bad, until you find the business operates in Devon. If you find yourself in this situation, you risk having to undergo a re-brand to build up the same consumer confidence in your new parish.

Check it is available

Finally, once you have decided on a brand name that works for you, it’s time to register it. But failure to check that name is available beforehand could see all your research and planning wasted.

If you are planning on running a limited company, rather than acting as a self-employed, freelance individual it’s important to do your research here.

Once you have a few business names shortlisted, it’s worth visiting the Companies House Company Name Availability Checker to assess the availability of your business names.

If you are given the green light, you’re good to go. Register your business and you’ve taken your first steps to becoming the next start-up to succeed in the business world.