How to name your business (and things to check first)
Launching a new business is a really exciting time, regardless of whether it’s your first time or not – but there is SO much to think about and do – you could work full time for a month and still not be ready to launch, so the last thing you want to do is put in ALL THAT EFFORT just to realise that the name you’ve chosen sounds rude in a Scottish accent, or that a competitor has already got the Twitter handle!
To save you time and headaches and maybe even a law-suit, we’ve created a list of things you need to know, consider or check BEFORE you name your business.
SIDE NOTE – We cover this list in more detail in an episode of the Marketing 101 podcast. You can find the podcast on all podcast apps/platforms, or you can click below to listen to this specific episode.
- Keep it simple and memorable: The name of your business should be easy to remember and easy to spell. Avoid using complex words or phrases that might be difficult for people to remember or spell.
- Be descriptive: It might be good for the name of your business to give your audience a sense of what you do/sell. This also useful for SEO*. SEO isn’t just for Google or Bing – anything where you search, is a search engine – so YouTube is a search engine, TikTok is a search engine, as is Apple Podcasts and ChatGPT. Using ‘keywords’ within your business name will help the right people find it.
- Be unique: Try to come up with a name that is not already being used by another business or brand. Conduct a quick search to check if the name you have in mind is already taken.
- Availability: Once you’ve checked your name hasn’t been nabbed by a competitor, how about other businesses that aren’t in your industry? Maybe someone is already using your business name as the title of their podcast or YouTube series. Get searching!
- Companies House: Final availability check – head to Companies House***** and see if it’s available.
- Make it stand out: Your business name should be catchy and attention-grabbing. This will help it stand out in a crowded marketplace and make it more likely that people will remember it.
- Different uses: Make sure it works in every situation – for example, as a hashtag, website address or social media handle. You don’t want to make mistakes, like the Volkswagen Italy instagram account; @volkswagenitalia, or Susan Boyle’s album launch hashtag; #susanalbumparty (those are both genuine!! check them out!).
- Foreign languages / translations: another thing to be aware of – make sure that your business name, or it’s abbreviations, don’t mean something else in another language. A common example is the car brand Chevrolet which named one of their cars a Nova. In Spanish, this translates to ‘it doesn’t go’! Thankfully their Latin American sales were seemingly unaffected by this oversight, but it’s one to remember!
- Initials: If your business name has multiple words, will people ‘initialise it’ for ease? And do those initials mean anything elsewhere? Do they spell a rude word?! Try it out and Google your initials to make sure there’s no obvious conflict.
- Test it out: Before finalising your business name, run it by a few friends or peers to get their feedback.
In summary, when choosing a business name, keep it simple, descriptive, unique, catchy, consistent, and reflective of your theme. Test it out with to get feedback and make sure it’s memorable and easy to spell. And don’t forget the availability checks!
*SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. You can learn about the basics here; https://marketing-101.co.uk/easy-seo-tips-that-you-can-do-today-4/
**a ‘URL’ (aka domain) is basically your website address. For example; stupidboysclub.com
***a social media ‘handle’ is your unique name on any given social media platform. Generally it starts with an ‘@’. Ours on Instagram is @mktg_101
****when talking about ‘page names’ we’re talking about either a Facebook Page/Group or a Linkedin Business Page, for example. There can be more than one of these pages with the same name, they’re not ‘one use only’ like handles, but you may still wish to try and grab something unique if this is important to you.
*****or the equivalent if you’re not in the UK
So there we go – lots of advice for how to name your business, and also how not to name it. Now don’t always be put off if someone has your business name already. Do a bit more research and make sure that they’re still active/trading and, even then, particularly with YouTube channels and podcasts – are they successful? If not, then they’re not going to give you any competition.
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