Would Google still be a global powerhouse if the founders had stuck with their first name BackRub? Probably not.
Plenty of businesses have failed in the past largely because of a name that fell flat, so it’s important to get it right before you open the doors and begin promoting to the world.
While there are no hard-or-fast rules when naming your business, there are some tips and tricks that can help you on your way. The right name should be easy to understand and hard to forget. One that makes you unique, while allowing you to grow with new products and services. Deciding on where to plant these roots in a field of competing businesses can be daunting. Luckily, Viabrand is here to help.
Check Your Legals
Let’s cover the basics first. Before embarking on your quest for the holy grail of business names, consider what kind of business structure you have. This is crucial because rules for name registrations depend on the structure of your business. In particular:
- If your business is a company, you will need to register the name at the time of registering your company
- If you are a sole trader or have a partnership, you will need to register your business name with the ASIC, unless the business is named after yourself or your partner.
In Australia, you can check for the availability of a business name on the ASIC website. If you are considering registering a business name as a trademark, check IP Australia to locate the already registered trademarks.
Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let’s get stuck into the fun part – choosing the perfect name for your business. Consider the following tips to help guide your decision and avoid common mistakes.
1. Be sharp and to the point
The name you settle on for your business will play a key role in its memorability. One or two words should be plenty in most cases, with as few letters as possible. If it’s simple and catchy, it will take shape as a lightbulb moment for customers and they will keep coming back for more. But if your name is confusing and forgettable, you’ll lose your grasp on consumer retention.
Another reason to keep your name simple is so customers won’t need a road map when they try to find your business online. You want to avoid continual misspelt versions of your name and for customers to pronounce it correctly on the first try.
2. Put a Twist on Words
Open your mind as wide as you can and get creative. You need the right mindset to convey your unique ideas expansively and abstractly. Consider words that are original and represent the special aspects of your company – what makes you unique and stand out. Not only will this make it more memorable and likeable, but it will set you apart from the competition. Some businesses will make up a new word entirely; this is effective if it’s easy to say, spell, and remember. We recommend playing with some free word-related sites like:
These kinds of sites help you combine and modify words in ways that make sense. Settling on a name that’s creative and original will ensure your business resonates with your target audience.
3. Don’t Copy Competitors
Your business name needs to rise above the competition and offer something original. Avoid choosing a name that is too similar to other businesses in your industry and makes you appear bland and uninteresting. It can mean potential customers will confuse your business with your competition, or simply view your business as replaceable.
4. Avoid Your Own Name
Ideally, your business name should convey something meaningful and positive related to your company. Unfortunately, your personal name probably won’t make the cut. To put it bluntly, your own name doesn’t communicate anything about your business and won’t mean zip to potential customers. It may even hold you back in the future if you ever consider selling your business or expanding.
5. Get the Digital Down
Are the relevant and consistent social handles and domain names available for your chosen business name? In today’s world, assessing the online presence of a name is just as important as checking its legal availability of it. The domain name can impact your online following and influence your digital marketing efforts. After Covid-19 flooded the market with online startups, you may come across a few road bumps and there’s a chance you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
6. Don’t Limit Yourself
Avoid choosing a name that limits your growth or may cause issues down the road. Imagine if Steve Jobs had picked the name “ComputerOne” instead of ”Apple”. While it may be great for SEO, a descriptive name can pigeonhole your business to a particular product or a specific location. If there is even the smallest chance your business will boom and you decide to expand, it will be a painful, time-consuming and expensive process to change your name. Check this Viabrand DesignRush profile as an example. The brand name is short one syllable and very easy to remember.
Choosing a business name is one of many challenges when building a brand. If you need some inspiration to bring your business to success, get in touch with Viabrand. We look forward to hearing from you!