business name

How to Choose a Business Name

Aine Hendron
1 Sep 2021

Starting a business is exciting, but committing to an official company name can be nerve-wracking. Consumers will judge your business by its name. Choosing a name that’s not fit for purpose can cost you dearly. 

Let’s look at how to choose a business name that accurately reflects your business.

Why are names important?

A strong brand name is one of the most valuable assets a company can own. This is one of the few factors of a business that you can control, so it is best to choose a name that will attract your target audience.

What’s more, most people form an impression of businesses in a matter of seconds [1]. While your employees, products, and visual branding play a role in this, it’s safe to assume that your business’s name does as well. By choosing a good name that reflects your values or services accurately, you can maximize your chances of making a good impression. 

Key considerations when choosing a name

It’s easy to see why having a great name is essential, but that’s easier said than done. Let’s review some factors to consider before you choose a business name. 

Make sure it represents your brand

Most important of all, you want your name to reflect your company. Even if you have a very catchy name idea, it will only be helpful if it aligns with your ethics and mission

Part of this step is choosing a name that relates to your product or sector. For example, a home cleaning business will do well to mention “cleaning” in its name. Likewise, a restaurant will benefit from mentioning what type of food a customer can expect. For better SEO results and at the risk of creating a boring, generic name, look up synonyms for your business services and try to pick something more memorable. 

While many successful companies can get away with using abstract or made-up names, such as Google or Yahoo, this is somewhat risky. Unless you build a strong brand identity, potential customers will not know what the name represents. 

Make sure it’s easy to understand

While this point seems obvious, many business owners still make the mistake of picking a complicated company name. All too often, people try to create a trendy, brandable name that includes a misspelling. In these cases, customers will struggle to find you online, possibly resulting in lost business. 

For example, consider the popular photosharing platform Flickr. The company’s website is flickr.com, but they also bought flicker.com to redirect users to the right website. Likewise, if a user searches for “Flicker” instead of the actual name, they will see unrelated search results. 

Although some search engines do show the correct website in this example, the same can not be said for your new business that is only starting out and is not yet established. 

Make sure it’s available

Governments have differing rules for naming businesses worldwide. So, you must be sure it isn’t taken already. In many countries, you won’t be allowed to legally register your business if another business with the same name already exists. You can search existing business names on the Government’s website to make sure yours isn’t taken. 

Another really important step is to check that your ideal business website URL is available. Ideally, you want a URL that is your complete business name, but you can occasionally get away with a small tweak. 

For example, the law firm “Morgan & Morgan” uses the website ‘www.ForThePeople.com’. This web address works for the company because “For the people” is the business’s motto and is central to their brand.

You should also check that your preferred social media handles are available across different platforms, too. 

Some common mistakes to avoid 

All too many business owners expose themselves to potential issues by choosing the wrong name. Watch out for these pitfalls.

Limiting your geographic reach

It’s not uncommon to see a company mention a specific city or region in its name. For example, a cobbler in Las Vegas might come up with the name “Las Vegas Expert Shoe Repair.”

But what happens if their business explodes in popularity and they want to expand? Can they still do business as “Las Vegas Expert Shoe Repair” in other cities? 

When choosing a name, avoid mentioning a specific city, county, or possibly even the entire state. If you want to show customers you’re a local company, you can include this in your official tagline. 

Returning to the example above, the cobbler could instead choose a name like “Henry’s Expert Shoe Repair” and use the tagline “Your trusted local Las Vegas cobbler.”

Limiting your products or services

Healthy businesses are always looking for ways to draw in new customers. To accomplish this, stores might expand their inventory or service providers might offer more services. 

Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t consider this possibility when choosing their company name. Instead, they choose a name that fits their current business niche but does not allow them to expand.

For example, a new business owner who pressure washes driveways might choose a name like “Expert Driveway Cleaning.” If they decide to offer landscaping or home improvement, they will need to rebrand. Otherwise, customers will be confused and may be hesitant to trust a driveway cleaning company to clean their home.

In this example, it might be more advantageous to choose a name like “Expert Property Care” since it covers a wide range of services. Even if the owner only cleans driveways, they can leave the door open to add new services without having to change their name. 

Sounding too similar to another business

Even if your company name is available, you will want to do some research before registering your business. Since many words sound alike or can be spelled differently, you’ll want to avoid choosing a name that sounds too similar to an already existing business. 

For example, a store called “Fine Fruits” can easily be confused with a different one called “Fine Froots.” 

Choosing a name with a homophone can expose you to legal trouble as well as damage your brand. Customers might assume you’re a copycat of the original company, which weakens your credibility and branding power. 

Need help with your small business?

Choosing a name is only the start of owning a business. Before you can open, you’ll need to obtain licenses, acquire funding, and find employees. Then once you open, you’ll spend nights and weekends managing operations and planning for the future. 

On top of this, you’ll need to choose the right technology and software for your small business. For most businesses, the most important piece of equipment is the point of sale (POS) system. Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for businesses in various industries. We let you choose the tools and insights to help make your business achieve its goals. You can do everything from process transactions and print receipts to take inventory and manage staff. 

With Epos Now, you can also:

  • Filter reports by individual product, trending items, best and worst sellers, and employee sales
  • View sales analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and expenses
  • Access a multi-award-winning inventory management that syncs online sales and in-person sales for the most up-to-date stock levels
  • Automate stock purchasing so you never miss a sales opportunity
  • Save customer contact details and shopping preferences for more targeted marketing on our CRM system
  • Integrate with the business automation apps that are right for your business
  • Access e-commerce platforms, email marketing software, accounting, bookkeeping, and loyalty program apps
  • Simplify employee management for more efficient scheduling and payroll. 

Request a free call back from one of our experts today.

Epos Now Phone Call us now