09 Oct How to choose the perfect name for your business
Choosing a company name is one of the most important things to consider when forming a business. It is also one of the very first decisions that you will have to make – as a result, it’s always best to do your research and plan thoroughly before choosing one.
Read our guide before committing yourself to a business name – a bit of forethought could save you significant time and money further down the line.
Make it a name that counts
In an ideal world, a company with a strong product, service, or niche idea should expect to make a healthy profit. However, it takes more than a good business idea to get across to customers that there is legitimate benefit to using your business instead of your competitors.
Your business name is therefore essential because it’s:
The point of contact. The first thing that any potential buyer is going to notice is your business name, whether you operate a high-street store or website based business, as a result it is almost more important than your sales pitch or even your end product.
The initial appeal. You might have the best idea in the world but if people are looking elsewhere because your competition ‘looks’ more attractive then no-one will ever know. The key is making the initial appeal better with the best name.
The first point of entry. As your business name is the entry point to your start-up and, superficially, the only differentiator between you and your competitors, customers will make instant judgements on where they want to part with their cash.
Therefore, it’s essential that you strike the right tone with your business’ name. And more importantly, successful companies do not just have good names, they develop a strong brand identity. And, in time, brands can literally sell themselves.
What do the experts have to say?
“When starting a company, your brand is of vital importance. Branding is not just a memorable logo but also an effective, memorable name that can really help people remember you. This can be portrayed strongly visually as well. In the initial stages, we find it’s good to envisage your name and branding, making sure it’s recognisable, simple and reflects your business.”
Easier said than done. After all you want to stand out from your competition but you also need to be taken seriously. When you’re choosing a business name it’s essential that you:
Like saying it. Remember that this is a name that you will have to say dozens of times each day and it is something you will be known by. So you need to enjoy saying it – if it’s overly complex to say, this may be a problem.
Like hearing it. Make sure that you like how it sounds and the way people say it. If it’s difficult to pronounce you might get people saying it wrong, which can be difficult to hear and also detracts from your overall brand recognition.
Like looking at it. The way it’s written in text, how the logo reads and every other visual representation of your name needs consideration. Make sure you like how it looks before committing.
“Initially, in the early stages the best option is to be experimental” suggests StartupGuy.
He goes on to say that: “Sometimes it’s easy to get too clever and to lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. It is about getting the balance of a good name and having good branding at the same time. This encapsulates the perfect package”. So be bold, but try to keep it simple.
Choosing a name: What to do and what to avoid
Avoid the personal touch
It’s tempting to incorporate your own name into your business’ moniker, however Sandile’s Cabs or Shabangu Landscape Gardening hardly screams originality. As a result, try to avoid personalising your business as it’s unlikely that the name will sway any customers without an established brand attached to it. If you’re hoping to grow your brand too – it’s important for your business to stand on its own feet independent of you.
Bring a bit of local flavour
A safe and trustworthy method is to link your business’ name to the area in which you operate – customers associate such firms with strong local roots and a friendly approach to the public. Therefore, the Soweto Sandwich Shop or Cape Town Records would be perceived to be a well-established, reputable businesses.
Inject a bit of humour
Humour or a nice play on words is an effective way to stand out from the crowd. While a fish and chip shop called Your Plaice or Mine or a hairdressers named Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow would elicit predictable groans from passers-by, puns can be used for good effect, as long as they are not overly cheesy or digress from the image you are trying to convey for your firm.
Don’t be boring, keep it snappy
Ideally, names should be snappy, original and instantly informative as to what your business does. Customers should be drawn to a name that stands out from the crowd, but also find it trustworthy and professional.
Naming your company… And getting it right
The process of naming your company is very important, and ideally you do want to get it right first time – this means your brand is consistent throughout the lifecycle of your business, and if it grows and you evolve into something different then that’s fine. Try to pick a name that can grow with your business.
There are many other ways you can make a difference in your business, but a good company name is a fantastic start.