How to Choose a Company Name

How to Choose a Company Name

Choosing a company name is one of the first steps towards making your business official and giving it identity.

Now, before I get into this post, I want to be clear that your company name is really of little significance – so don’t spend too much time procrastinating over it.

And here’s why it doesn’t really matter:

  • You can change your incorporated company name very easily (we did it after just a couple of months for Vitalife Ltd – it was previously incorporated as Snow White Teeth Ltd)
  • You can use a trading name/brand in front of your company name and on all communication – so if you don’t like the company name you chose, and you don’t want the hassle of changing it at Companies House, just make up a trading name to act as the face of your business
  • A company is built on what it does, not what it’s called – look at ‘Associated British Foods’ for instance. Not the most thrilling or memorable of company names (and nor is it even that applicable to one of its best known brand names, Primark), but worth over £25billion

The most important thing is for you to come up with a company name, and get it incorporated, so you can continue to make progress on your business.

Equally important is that you check the availability of your preferred company name on the Companies House register, the Trademark register, and also check for your domain name availability, before you agree on anything.

The last thing you need when starting your business is an infringement case being presented against you.

Here’s some ideas for quickly and easily coming-up with your company name:

Merge two Associated Words

Great for consumer-facing businesses and where the brand/company name is going to need to resonate a particular image or impression – because it does this naturally through the connection with the words used.

This is exactly the technique we used when coming up with the name ‘Vitalife’ – our Group of businesses is all about health and wellbeing, so we took the words ‘vitality’ and ‘life’ and merged them. So whenever someone thinks of our brand name, even if they don’t know our business that well, they instantly think of health and wellness, because of the connection with the merged words.

This works equally well in a B2B (Business to Business) organisation too.

Accenture, the professional services company, took this same approach – merging the names of two things they specialise in the most, acquisitions and divestiture.

Tell it Like it is

Plain and simple.

Call your company by exactly what it does.

It may seem boring, and quite easy for people to forget, but you have to weigh this against the benefit of instantly communicating what you are about to your market, and not leaving them guessing.

This works great in companies where repeat purchases are not expected from customers, and therefore memorability and awareness are not as important in comparison to clearly communicating what you are actually selling.

The ‘Euthanasia Clinic’ will not be too concerned about remarketing to its clients – so the benefit of communicating a message to potential first-time customers outweighs the downside of having a non-memorable name.

You can always adapt this technique and combine a unique, trademarkable brand name with a descriptive term, to get the best of both Worlds.

Use Your Own Name

Give your business a personal edge and a closer connection to yourself – if you’re well known in your particular field, for instance, it could add credibility and instant awareness to your newly incorporated business that would otherwise be unknown to your market.

This is a common technique in professional services due to the nature of this work and the personal connection they establish with their clients – that’s why you see a million and one solicitor firms and estate agents named after their founders and partners (which, to be honest, would swerve me away from this approach if I operated in one of these particular fields – just to differentiate myself from the rest of the surname-laden estate agents or solicitors).

Choose something Random

If you’re still at a loss as to what to call your company, just choose the first word that comes to your head – however random.

Usually, random words, and made-up terms, can be the most memorable.

All you have to be aware of is that this approach may give no indication whatsoever to your market as to what you do.

So whilst memorable, and great for maintaining awareness once this is gained in your marketplace, it can be difficult to communicate your offerings as a newly incorporated business.  Like ‘Uber’ – everyone now knows they are mainly about their cab-calling service, but early on, nobody knew what they offered.

What this does also achieve is help you get off the starting block – it’s better than spending a further week procrastinating over your company name, when you could be busy building the actual company.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can always change the name down the line if you don’t like it anymore.

You can receive my advice and guidance on the many other steps involved in setting-up and growing your own business by enrolling in my step-by-step business start-up course here.

Have an incorporated company already?

I’d love to hear how you came-up with the name for your company in the comments section below.

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