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Mar 20

Naming your business

It’s something I’ve not really given all that much thought to but a recent conversation has got me thinking. How do you go about naming your business? Although the name you choose says a lot about your business, the words you don’t use in the name are also important.

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When you’re choosing your company’s name there are a few things you’ll definitely want to consider

  1. Does anyone else have a similar company name in your industry?
  2. Is the domain name and Twitter handle, and names on other social media accounts available?
  3. Does the name say something, even obliquely, about the type of work you do?
  4. Is the name you’ve chosen limiting?
  5. Does the name have some associations with other activities you don’t want to engage in?

Each of these things can be answered with some research and by keeping an open mind.

Does anyone else have a similar company name in your industry?

Your local jurisdiction will maintain a list of registered business names. Find the website and do a search for the name you’ve chosen and obvious variants (with hyphens, concatenated words and other similar devices). If the name is used by lots of other companies, it might be time to reconsider the name and choose something else.

Online names and handles

Your online presence is a big part of your business’s identity. Snap up the Twitter, Facebook and other social media names, as well as the domain name so, once you register your business you can establish your online response.

And, make sure the domain name is easy to type and for people to learn. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time spelling aloud.

Choose a meaningful name

The name of your business is a critical part of your first impression. While a humourous pun might seem clever, it might detract from the serious part of your work.

Choose a name that reflects an important element of what you deliver.

Don’t be too specific

Using words that are specific might limit future opportunities. For example, if you’re a writer, use the word “communication” rather than “writing” when describing your services. A potential client that might want you for a video job or presentation might be put off if your name focusses on a specific activity.

Unwanted associations

This can be a little tricky. Some names might have unwanted or unexpected connotations. Run your business name ideas past a trusted friend or peer to ensure that you don’t choose words that link you with something you want to avoid.

In particular, if you choose words from other languages, make sure that you don’t accidentally offend anyone.

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