How to Choose the Right Name for Your Small Business

Picking the right name for your small business is really important. Here's a quick guide on how to choose a name that will ultimately help your business become a successful venture.

One of the most important things to consider when you start your own small business is what are you going to call it? It's also one of the first decisions you'll ever have to make. So, it makes sense to do some research and some thorough planning before you choose one.

Make your name count

If you have a strong product, service or niche idea then you're probably thinking that you can expect to make a good profit. This is not necessarily so. It takes more than a brilliant business idea to convince customers and clients that whatever you have on offer is better than your competitors. Choosing the right business name is crucial because:

It's the first thing any potential customer is going to notice about you

It doesn't matter if you're business is bricks and mortar-based or is run from your website, the name you give your company, initially, carries much more weight than your sales pitch, and quite possibly even your product.

It's your first chance to make a good impression

Your product may be the best and most innovative in the world, but if people are shopping with your competitors because their nameĀ  'looks or sounds' more attractive, then they're not going to bother coming to you. A great company name will significantly boost the initial appeal of your business.

It's the only thing that sets you apart

On a superficial level, your business name is the only thing that differentiates you from your competitors. Customers are notoriously unreliable when it comes to deciding where to spend their cash so it's critical you strike the right tone with your company name. Look at how successful companies don't just give themselves catchy or edgy sounding names, they create a brand which in time, literally sells itself.

Consider the B word

Branding is not just a pretty logo. It's an effective company name with a strong visual that people remember. Which is why it's helpful when you're starting out to envisage your business name and branding together. Make sure it's easily recognisable, simple, and that it reflects your business. This can be easier said than done, especially when you're trying to stand out from the crowd but still want to be taken seriously. When you come to choosing your company name it is essential that:

You like saying it

Once you start your business you'll be saying your company name dozens of times every day, and it is something you will become known by. You need to enjoy saying it, so it's best not to make it overly complicated.

You like the sound of it

The way your company name sounds, and the way people say it, is important. It can be frustrating and potentially affect your profits if new customers keep on pronouncing it wrong. Also, if the sound grates even slightly, it can detract from your overall brand image and recognition.

You like the way it looks

The way your company name appears in texts, in your logo and other visuals is something you need to consider before you commit. Experiment, brainstorm and gather the opinions of people you trust before you make that final decision. Some names and designs might look and sound clever and you may have invested tons of time creating them, but there's a danger you'll lose sight of what you're trying to achieve. Choosing a name you can turn into a brand is about getting the balance right. By all means be bold, but always remember the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle, too.

What you should avoid

Incorporating your own name into your business title may be tempting, but John Smith's Landscape Gardening Company doesn't exactly broadcast originality. Your name probably won't sway customers anyway, unless it's part of an established brand, so avoid personalising. Plus, if you want your brand to grow then it's important your business stands on its own feet, with or without you.

Add some local flavour

Linking your company name to the area or region where you operate is solid business advice. Customers like companies with strong local roots because they perceive them as being more friendly and accessible to the general public.

Add a touch of humour

A nice play on words or another touch of humour is a great way to stand out from the competition. It's perfectly okay to use puns just as long as they are not overly cheesy or distract from your company image. So, no Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow hair salon, no Your Plaice or Mine fish and chip bar. And definitely no Pants in Paradise laundrette. You get the idea.

Keep it snappy

The ideal name for your business should be upbeat and snappy, original, and it should immediately inform people what your company does. It should be a name that stands out from the crowd, sounds professional, and which also instils a sense of trust amongst your potential customers.

Nomen est Omen

The name of your company tells the public what you do. But it also projects an image of who you are. Which is why naming your business is such an important process and one that you'll want to get right the first time. This allows your brand to grow and remain consistent throughout the lifecycle of your company. If it does evolve into something else along the way then that's fine, but you should try and choose a name that can grow with your business.

There are lots of ways to make a good impression on your customers and clients, and there are lots of ways to bind them to your brand. Giving your business a really good name is one of the best as it forms the foundation upon which everything else is built.

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