Naming your business is one of the first things you’ll do when you start your business and is also one of the most important.
Your first step in naming your business is to decide what type of business name will work best for you. In this article we’ll take a look at the three main types of business names and the pros and cons of each so you can choose a business name that will serve your business well and not cause problems in the future.
Your own name
This is where you name your business after yourself. This can be a great choice if your clients will be working with you directly and you want to build your personal brand.
- People may be more likely to remember your name than a business name
- People are more likely to refer clients to a person rather than to a faceless business
- You can become known as an expert in your field
- Your business will be able to grow and evolve over the years without fear of outgrowing your business name
- There are usually no trade mark issues – unless you happen to have the same name as a famous person or another business eg. Jenny Craig or Lorna Jane
- It can be difficult to sell your business because you and your business are intimately entwined
- Your name might limit you as you grow your business, employ staff and step away from working directly with clients
A descriptive name
Most business owners love descriptive names. They’re often the obvious choice that doesn’t require too much thought and creativity. A descriptive name might be something like Sydney Plumbing, Relax Massage Therapy or Yummy Snack Bars.
- Potential clients know instantly what you do
- Potential clients may find you in a google search when they’re searching for your product or service
- Everyone else in your industry is using the same words to describe their products and services (eg. everyone else who sells snack bars is going to call them “yummy”)
- As a result, your brand is not that memorable
- Your descriptive name might limit the products or services you provide. For example, with a name like Sydney Plumbing you’re quite limited to providing plumbing services. What if you want to branch out and provide other services as well?
- If someone types your business name into google, you might not be the number one result (or even on the first page!) because all your competitors will be optimising their website for the same keywords
- Names with a geographic reference can also limit your business growth. What if you want to move towns or expand to other locations?
- Descriptive names can become long and confusing if you you’re trying to cover all your bases eg. The South Sydney Health, Wellbeing and Meditation Centre
- Descriptive names don’t usually elicit an emotional response from your potential clients. A company named The Computer Design Company is less likely to create an obsessive cult following than a company named Apple
- You may not be able to trade mark your business name (or it may be very expensive for you to do so) which means that you won’t be able to protect if from copycats and competitors
A unique and unusual name
Some of the biggest, most successful brands in the world fall into this category. Think brands like Apple, Amazon, Nike and Google. Some Australian examples are Boost, Qantas, Optus and Bunnings. Virgin is a great example of how you can use a unique name in a way that also describes your products or services eg. Virgin Mobile, Virgin Money, Virgin Galactic, etc
- Your brand is different and memorable
- As a result you can build a strong brand that can become a valuable asset for your business
- As your business grows and evolves your brand will be able to grow with you
- Potential customers will be able to find you easily if they google your business name
- You can usually protect your brand with a registered trade mark
- You may not pop up in a Google search (unless you work on your SEO)
- People won’t know what your business does just by reference to your name
As you can see, the type of business name that’s right for you will depend on the circumstances of your business and one of the most important things to think about when choosing your business name is whether you will be able to register a trade mark to protect it.