Choosing a business name is an art. If you want your business to succeed and be taken seriously, it’s important you choose a unique name that really conveys what your business is trying to do.
Getting too many people involved
It’s important to consider other opinions than your own when naming a company; you may have missed something. However, bear in mind that the more people involved in the decision-making process the more likely you’ll choose a distilled name that achieves broad consensus. This may keep everyone happy but may not be the best name for your business. Instead of involving too many people, just choose those who will play a key part in growing your business. Ensure a decent mix of creative and technical people, especially those who leave their pride behind and concentrate on finding the best name possible.
Not being unique enough
Attempting to be too unique can cause problems, but so can not being unique enough. Many companies have become successful using generic names, such as General Motors, but these are very few and far between and generally represent initial players in relatively untapped markets. Nowadays, it’s difficult to gain mass market success using a generic name, particularly with limited funds and no previous business experience. Make sure your business name is strong and unique; after all, your name is part of your brand.
Using geographic prefixes
Geographic prefixes are popular but can become restrictive as your business grows and expands to new markets. Whilst you can then think about changing the name, this can have detrimental effects on your brand and customer base. In addition, some geographic prefixes require certain conditions to be fulfilled before they can be used legally, such as ‘British.’ Permission to use these is unlikely to be granted to new businesses.
Being too obscure
Business names should provide a strong foundation from which to build your firm, but too obscure a name can alienate customers who can’t work out exactly what your business is about. If you’re pushing for mass market appeal, it is particularly risky to use an obscure name that would only be understood by niche players. Avoid using mythological names or names that borrow heavily from other languages; for many people the reference will be lost, and the name will lose all its potential power.
Too complicated to remember or write down
When picking a name for your business it’s essential to think ahead to when it’s likely to be used. If you plan on making use of word-of-mouth or radio marketing, a long and complicated business name is likely to put people off as it’ll be difficult to write down or memorise. Likewise, playful puns on everyday phrases can be more trouble than they’re worth as misspellings will be commonplace. Ensure as little confusion as possible when it comes to your business name to ensure your potential client base is as large as possible.
Using a clichéd name or metaphor
Words that signify extremes are often overused by businesses looking to heavily brand themselves. Using terms such as Apex or Peak will mark you as an amateur as the market is saturated with companies using these or similar words. It’s fine to borrow from precedent i.e. using a word that already has some meaning but you must use it in a unique way. Your business name will not do the hard work for you, and exists partly as an indicator of your company’s values and performance. Clichés can turn people off, potentially marking your firm as lacking innovation and uniqueness.