When setting up your own business, one of the seemingly simple tasks you need to do is come up with a business name. Yet as is often the case with the easiest tasks, they have a way of proving more complicated than you expect.
Choosing a name allows for a degree of creativity, however your name is massively important from both a legal standpoint and a branding point of view. We provided some advice to guide you in making your decision
Keep it legal
There are a number of rules governing what can and cannot be used in your company name. For example in the UK words such as Association and International can only be used if you meet a certain criteria, while the word King cannot be used without consent from the Cabinet Office. A full list of these words can be found here
First impressions count
Your business name will be the first impression your contacts have with your business so it is important to get the right message and feeling across. Think about what your brand will stand for and the market you’re targeting (professional, easy-going, fun etc.) and then consider working around this. For example, a call from Crazy Dave’s Recruitment Ltd is very quickly going to create a picture in your customer’s mind’s eye.
Consider future plans
Your future plans are well worth considering before settling with a business name, as the wrong name could potentially cause headaches when expanding. Calling yourself ‘A1 Oil & Gas’ might be great while you only focus on Oil & Gas but if you enter the education market then this could be an issue. Also, does your name translate well in any countries you are looking to enter? A classic example of this is Sega, which doesn’t translate well into Italian…
So, at this stage you’ve probably got a couple of ideas so it’s a good idea to check nobody has already registered them. This can be done quickly and easily at the Companies House website.
Choose your domain
Most of the hard work is done now, you’ve found a name you like, and it’s available so now you need to get a domain. A quick web search will produce a number of companies who can help with this. An important thing to consider here is the reducing importance of having either a .com or .co.uk web address. Choosing a .co or .me makes no difference if a user is searching your website from Google or Bing. The chances are they will search for you company name so as long as you’re registered with that search engine then you’ll appear in the results.