7 simple rules to name a business

A business’ name is more than just a word or a phrase – it is its identity. Once the management of a business makes its company name public, the process of retracting or changing it will often cost money, and lead to the loss of goodwill and clients, all of which are undesirable and counterproductive to profitability. This is why it is critical that every business takes time to analyze its name, before going public.

In the nineties, before the popularity of the internet and the influence of geo-political and social issues on businesses, business owners could pretty much give their businesses any name and get away with it. But in this age and time, there are a lot more factors that go in to choosing a business name.

The top 7 rules on how to name your business

1. Take in to consideration your service or product

An ideal business name is one which immediately gives an idea of the businesses product or service offering. When starting up a business, you need all the publicity you can get, while ridding any form of ambiguity or doubt.

Think of a name that once seen or heard, creates a clear mental picture of what one can reasonable expect to get if they should walk in to the business premise. Examples of businesses for which this application worked out well include Pizza Hut, CNN (Cable News Network), etc.

2. Try incorporating your core component or industry

If the core component of your product or service composition is something that is widely known to have a positive effect, you might also want to consider incorporating it in to your business name.

Pepsi for example was named after pepsin, a component that is widely known to ease digestion. Phamapur on the other hand goes to speak to the pharmaceutical industry, which is accredited with providing products for our wellbeing.

3. The name should be unique

The name should be unique
Photo: Marchmeena, Bigstock

This is a given as far as naming a business goes. You should try as much as possible to give your business a name that has not already being taken by another business, or which does not sound like that of another business, especially one which is well established.

To put this in to perspective, it will be unwise to create a business in the beverage industry with the name being “Koka-kola”. With the availability and increase use of speech-to-text software, anyone who searches for Koka-kola, will be redirected to “Coca-cola”, which is bad for business.

4. Easy to remember/spell

To become a major player in the 21st century, your business must be digital. This implies that at the very least, the business should have a website and an e-commerce platform on which customers can place orders.

So how does a business name relate to all of these? If your business name is not easy to spell or difficult to remember, you run the risk of directing potential customers to different sites.

Always be sure to use short names that are easy to spell, and check online if there is an available domain name for the chosen business name, before you proceed to make it official.

5. Name with a meaning

Every business name should have a meaning. Some names may sound great, have beautiful meanings, but at the same time come across as offensive.

You should therefore avoid giving a business a name such as “kekeke”, because it brings racial discrimination to mind. The public’s perception should always be taken in to consideration, when choosing a business name.

6. A business name should a story behind it

This is my story words typed on a vintage typewriter in black and white.
Photo: NoraC, Bigstock

Your business name might be new to the industry, but if it has a great story behind it, people are most certainly always going to remember that name.

Take for example KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). Every American and several people the world over know of Colonel Sander’s story, and the struggle he had to endure, having his recipe rejected 1,009 times before finally being accepted. Having such a great story behind your brand name is bound to increase your initial appeal in the industry. If you are pro LGBTQ, your business name should be able to tell of a story that relates with this community.

7. Avoid figures

As much as possible, you should avoid making figures a part of your business name, no matter how significant the figures are to you and the business. This is because they are difficult to rank in search engines.

In addition, people rarely search for keywords with figures in them. Sure enough, there are successful businesses which have incorporated figures in to their domain name, but it is a tricky thing to pull off.


Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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