You Might Ask ‘What’s in a Name?’


What’s in a Name

Today we are surrounded by brand names, Adidas, Shell, Vodaphone etc. To improve on the memorability of these names the owners specify the type face, the colour, and carefully control where, and by whom these can be shown. Over the years you will be building a brand of your own so it is essential that you make a carefully considered choice at the onset.

A new business cannot hope for the same level of memorability that the long-standing big boys achieve and maintain at massive cost to themselves but must somehow standout from the crowd with their target audiences. A business name has to be acceptable

  1. by the relevant authorities – in the UK that is Companies House for Limited Companies; and must not lead to confusion with other businesses;
  2. and must not involve ‘controlled words’ like ‘international, ‘Royal’, or ‘Bank’ without approval from the controlling bodies;
  3. and if you are intending to trade on the internet a closely related domain name has to be available in some form or another. |It is easy to check availability through any of the Internet Hosting Providers.

Your trading name has a role in defining the nature of your business. ‘Cheese Makers of Somerset’ has connotations. It implies that the owner is:

  • Proud to be local – in Somerset
  • Traditional
  • Rural (and therefore trustworthy)
  • Large Scale

‘Alan Smith Domestic Plumbing’ gives out quite different vibrations.

If you intend to trade in names other than your own, it must be clear in all outlets who owns the business and how they can be contacted.

From your own point of view, and as an ideal, your business name should:

  • be easy to remember,
  • says what you do and where you do it
  • not mislead or create confusion
  • be available on an appropriate domain suffix such as .com,, .net etc.

to be effective.

And now that you’ve settled on a name you can set out the rest of your ‘branding’ scheme including:

  1. Your corporate colours
  2. The standard fonts to be used in all your materials, brochures, website, letterheads, business cards etc
  3. A corporate logo.

There are any number of websites that will help you with this – often as a free service – so you don’t have to splash out on an expensive ‘branding’ exercise, and if you feel you lack the skills to come up with an attractive scheme, then try the local art college. There are plenty of final year students eager to see their creations valued by a third party, and if a small fee is involved, well…

Roger Webb is a retired CEO from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).This article comes from his wiki site together with 100+ other pages of useful advice for entrepreneurs launching their first business

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