What To Name Your Business

Names are very important to us. It’s how we recognise people, places, things and yes, businesses. A name can be synonymous with a business and historically that’s how many a surname was derived. It was actually what that person did. Butcher, Tailor, Smith (from Smithy)for example.

But often a name is attached to what that person or company does to differentiate between different businesses. Take for example Walls. There are two well known British companies with this name, hence you have Walls Sausages and Walls Ice-Cream. Other examples of this might be Barretts the Builder (there used to be a shoe shop chain called Barretts).

Some names of course have become part of the English language. Hoover instead of vacuum cleaner, Levi’s instead of jeans are just two examples of this type of indoctrination.

Companies spend an absolute fortune in performing a marketing activity that is known as brand branding – making the name of their company a household name. The best example of this would be that famous bottle of cola. Their popular drink is more likely to be requested, as in ‘I’ll have a Coke’ than their main rivals Pepsi Cola. Practically no-one orders a ‘Cola’. Once brand recognition is established (take as an example McDonald’s stealing the limelight from Wimpy – that is Wimpy the burger people not the builders) then so also is the faith in whatever that company turns its hand to. The prime example of this of course is Virgin. Originally Sir Richard Branson’s record label, then a chain of record stores then, incredibly really, an airline – Virgin Atlantic, a train business – Virgin Trains and now we also have Virgin Media, Virgin Weddings, Virgin Holidays. Another example might be Lord Alan Sugar’s Amstrad – initially computers then satellite dishes for BSkyB.

But what we are really talking about here is giving your business a good start in life, rooting powder if you will, that will allow it to grow and grow. Giving your business a good and recognisable name is an asset to marketing and certainly when it comes to websites and going for pole position in search engine results then having what you do as the name or part of the name of your business is absolutely beneficial.

What I have done in the past when trying to come up with a name, a brand, for a business is to sit down and jot down all the names I can that are synonymous with the type of business.

I once put a tour operation (holiday company) together and there were obvious words like holiday and travel, getaways and breaks but then the holidays I was operating were in fact tours and more than that were battlefield tours, which led on from military history tours. My tours were led by experts in their field. I thus had a few options but what I ended up with was Tours With Experts as the business plan had the company developing into wine tours, gardening tours, art and architecture tours etc. So tours had to be in the name and they were led by experts – thus Tours with Experts.

The beauty of this name was that tourswithexperts and tours-with-experts, was also available as a domain name. As Ronseal so eloquently put it – to paraphrase – It did exactly what it said on the can.

So, I suggest you try the same method. Maybe you really, really want your name to be included but take a leaf out of Walls and for that matter Virgin’s book and add what it is you do.

A word from the wise. Arm yourself with a few options because if setting up a limited company you will need a name not already registered with Companies House plus you’ll also want a.com,.co.uk or maybe even the new.co domain name for your business also.