Taking the huge step of starting your own business can be incredibly daunting.
But it is also a very exciting time and your chance to make your mark on your industry.
Choosing your business name is a large part of this.
Select the right name, and you’re able to pitch your business in an appealing way to your target audience.
Get it wrong, though, and you could be in for ridicule at best, legal complications at worst.
Here are three tips to help you choose your business name and avoid the pitfalls some others have made:
1. Try Ideas with People
A great place to start when coming up with names for your business is with your friends, family, mentors and, if possible, members of your target audience.
The best way to do this is to have a selection of options prepared. This will help those who care about you from responding positively to a name they dislike to avoid hurting your feelings.
At least if you have multiple options (even if you have one firm favorite), your respondents don’t think they’re squashing your only idea.
It’s a good idea to check people can read and pronounce your chosen business name too. Write it down and ask them to read it to you.
Ask other people to write down the business name as you speak it to them. If they can do these tasks, it’s likely other people will be able to as well.
After all, if people can’t say or write your business name, they’ll struggle to find you and to recommend you to their friends.
2. Name a Brand, Not a Product/Service
It was common in recent years, especially with the rise of search engine optimization, many businesses have chosen to name their brand by the service they provide, e.g. “Plumber Salford.”
However, it’s much easier for your audience and peers to relate to your business if it has a strong brand name — something that stays in their memory.
There are also promotional benefits to this too; come up with something unique and people will be able to find you easily online and off.
3. Make Sure It Works in Other Languages
Even if you’re not planning on taking your business overseas (yet), ensuring you have a name that works in other languages (and more importantly, doesn’t not work) is important.
You never know who might uncover your fauxpas and again, ridicule could follow, or worse, your name could be unusable overseas if you ever did want to export.
Once you have your near-perfect name decided, make sure it’s still good in other common languages by running it through Google Translate or asking native speakers of those languages that you might know.
A well-known example of a translated name gone wrong is that of the Chevy Nova, a small car which took on a very unfortunate meaning when translated into Spanish, where Nova literally translated to “no-go.” An issue for the vehicle’s marketers, no doubt.
4. Have a Unique Name
You must register your business with Companies House if you are to trade legally in the U.K. You won’t be able to do this if your business name is already in use or too similar to another business’ name, infringing copyright laws.
Check your business name isn’t already in use by searching the register. Remember to look for similar business names too.
If you plan to have a website, check your preferred domain name isn’t in use by searching on domain providers such as 123reg or simply putting the domain name into your browser and seeing if anything comes up.
There are legal implications to this if you get it wrong, so take the time to do your research.
Starting a business is a daunting but exciting time. Get your business name right, and you’ll be well on your way to being a successful entrepreneur.