How to name your business
25 November 2016
The most successful brands build on a company’s strengths, so start by evaluating what you are good at and what you believe in as a business. The other part of the jigsaw is to look at what customers want and how you can deliver on that. If you can match your brand vision and values to what existing and potential customers want, then you should be on the right track.
Start by working out the message you want to deliver to your customers. This is the big idea that lies at the heart of your business and it’s what makes you different (brand identity).
Communicate your brand’s vision and values to your customers, suppliers and staff. Build your message into everything your customers see and hear about your business. This can be done through design, advertising, events, partnerships and training. Be prepared to regularly monitor your customer’s response to the brand and constantly review how your brand values are communicated to them. Aim to exceed your brand promises to your customers. If you fail to deliver just once on a brand promise it will damage your brand. Social media reviews are powerful and can make or break an image, so make sure you are consistent with how your brand is performing and have a good customer care policy in place.
Once you have established your brands identity you need to consider how this will be reflected in the image and name of your company. It’s easier said than done for many entrepreneurs, who will often run through hundreds of names before they settle on one. This guide will help you choose the right name for your business and ensure it doesn’t breach any rules. When you are deciding on your business’ name, you will need to make sure it ends with limited, plc. or ltd. for companies, or, if you are starting a limited liability partnership, LLP. Check with Companies House to make sure it isn’t the same as a company already on the register, and make sure it isn’t similar to a word or phrase which has already been registered as a trade mark. If you decide to go down the partnership route, if you are using your own names, remember one of you may choose to sell up in the future – so while Milsom & Jones sounds good now, if Milsom leaves, this may put your brand identity at risk. Remember if you are using a more generic name not to use inappropriate or sensitive names. Check your name against the Companies Act 2006 as some words mean different things to different people in different countries.
- Brainstorm a whole heap of possible names and pick out your favourites, then Google your names to see if anyone else has them.
- Search Companies House to see if the name is available.
- Check no one has the web address (or addresses) you’d want if you started up with that name. If you’re sure about the name, buy the domain for it now. Look at sites such as www.godaddy.com.
- Check the use of your brand, products, personal name or username instantly on popular and emerging social media websites. Grab your name with knowem.com and secure your brand before someone else does.
The University of Kent’s Hub offers tailored free 1-1 business advice for students, graduates and staff who are looking to start-up a business. https://www.kent.ac.uk/enterprise/hub/startup/services.html