Working with clients over time have made us realize that one of the most difficult but very important aspects of starting a business is choosing a business name. Business name is very important because that is one of the loudest identity your brand will ever have. Choosing a business name shouldn’t be done casually and if possible, it is always good to make consultations, research and comparison before coming up with a business name.
This may not be very important if you aren’t hoping to do this business in the long term and if it’s just something you want to pass time on. If you are hoping to build a lasting business, then you must carefully decide what your identity should look like.
When choosing a business name, don’t just choose a name because you like it, it doesn’t even have to be your name because your business isn’t about you. When you look at major brands today, the names weren’t necessarily linked to the name of the founder or CEO. Google, Amazon, Apple, Tesla and so on all never had its names from the name of its owners.
On the long run, you will realize that your business is never about you but about the problems you are solving. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook alongside other persons but today, Mark Zuckerberg owns only 29% of Facebook, Bill Gates owns 1.3% of same Facebook. Now you see, if Mark Zuckerberg had made it merely about himself and branded it around his own personality, it may be tough growing the business as a global brand.
We have outlined some best practices you should consider when choosing a business name.
You need to put the following into consideration:
You wouldn’t want to start running your business with a name that has already been taken. To run a business, the right thing to do is to register your business name but you must check if the name is available or has been taken. In Nigeria, you can check for name availability via the Corporate Affairs Commission, we also offer this when you subscribe to any of our SME Bundles. While considering name availability, you should also consider if it is available for domain registration in case you need a website for your business.
Choose a name that would resonate well with your brand. For example, Google had to do with the search engine and was named Google. There are also times you may want to use abstract names. If your business is focused on a product or industry, you may want your business name to reflect that but if your business is meant to have diverse products, it is okay to choose a simple name not be talking about anything in particular.
While choosing your business name, you need to be very creative with it, you may need to coin two words to become one word but whatever name you are choosing, never make it sound long and boring. Names like “Best Solution Brand Support Limited” would be so long, plain, boring and hard to remember, you may consider creating something like “Brandport”. Brandport is not only creative, it sounds nice and easy to remember.
Let your business name be as simple as ever. These days, simplicity is king. This is so true especially in the world of branding. If possible, your business name should be only one word or at most two words. For example, Brandport or Brand Port. Major brands in the world use a simple one word for their business names. For example, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc.
It is true that your business obviously has other businesses you must compete with but never ever copy them or make your business name similar to theirs. It will not only have legal consequences that would shut down your business, it will make your business look very inferior as long as it exists. For example, I would never buy a SamSong TV because I’d assume its a fake version of Samsung. I wouldn’t go for a Nokla phone because I’d see it as a fake version of Nokia. Another thing copying and modifying your competitors brand name is that it hurts your brand image.
When choosing a business name, always think of the future and use a name that is scalable. While you may be selling only rice today, you may eventually start selling drinks tomorrow too. Choose a name that can accommodate diverse brands. For example, instead of choosing “Finyte Aluminium Ltd”, it is better to simply use “Finyte” as the business name because aside aluminium production, you may diversify. While “Finyte Aluminium” can serve as a product name, Finyte Ltd can serve a general-purpose.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change
While it is best to choose a name that would be relevant as long as your business lasts, do not be afraid to change the name if you discovered you had made mistakes earlier. It is okay to rebrand your business, give it a befitting name and make your brand more relevant than before. Just because you have walked long in a wrong path doesn’t mean you should continue walking. Don’t be afraid of change or to change.
Consider other factors
There are other factors that would still determine your choice of a business name. When these factors come up, be free and bold to break the rules. Some of them may sound crazy and unthinkable but you need to pay attention to details. Have you ever wondered why Apple, a multi-trillion dollar business, chose that name for their business? What is the relationship between Apple and computers? Jobs had worked for Atari before founding Apple and those days, people would use phone books in the public domain to search for contacts. As a competitive factor, Jobs figured out he needed a brand name that would be on top of the search in phone books ahead of Atari and he choose the name Apple. The brand name was also linked to Newton who was inspired by the fall of an apple. Jobs also had apple as his favourite fruit, he believed the name was “fun, spirited and not intimidating.”
We hope you were able to gain a thing or two from this article?
Which of these points resonate well with you? Let’s read your thoughts.