Why your business's name matters: tips on choosing a great business name

What’s in a name? Well, if you’re starting or rebranding a business, it’s everything. Your name is your calling card – it’s the most recognisable aspect of your business, and it needs to stick.

At Simply Business, we work every day with the UK’s most exciting, innovative small businesses – and their names often reflect their imagination. We recently ran a nationwide campaign to try to find the UK’s best business names, and we weren’t disappointed. From hairdressers to removals firms, and from flower arrangers to car cleaners, we were bowled over by the creativity on show from the nation’s entrepreneurs.

So, taking our cues from some of the best-named businesses in the UK, how do you come up with your own perfect name?

Make it personal

Your business has its own personality – and so should its name. The best-named businesses we came across had tons of personality, and they all reflected the quirks and uniqueness of their owners.

Some of my favourites included an optician called Spex in the City, and a car-cleaning service called Spandau Valet. Without any hesitation, you already know a lot about the personality of these businesses and their owners. The names raise a smile, and they instantly suggest an approachable business owner.

Remember, remember

The other key thing about Spex in the City, or indeed some of our other finds, like tiling firm Bonny Tiler or removals company He-Van? You’re not going to forget them any time soon.

The UK is a nation of entrepreneurs, and it’s likely that competition in your field will be fierce. As a result, you need a name that sticks at the front of the mind. Your potential customers might not be ready to buy from you immediately, but with a memorable name you can increase your chances of them coming back to you when the time is right.

Think digitally…

In many industries, the internet is now the primary means by which customers and clients find the businesses they need. Obviously digital marketing has become a huge opportunity, but the importance of online is such that it now impacts on every aspect of your business – including its name.

Your business’s web address should be one of the first things you consider. Your choice of name may be limited by domain availability – if you can’t secure yourname.co.uk or .com, it might be sensible to think again.

Just as importantly, make sure that there are no similarly-named businesses, especially doing things in a related field. This can cause confusion, but it could also mean that you fall foul of Companies House or trademark rules.

Keep it simple

Simplicity is key in business naming (and I’m not just saying that because we’re called Simply Business). People are more likely to engage with and remember things that can be easily understood – indeed, a study from Princeton found that, at least in the short-term, stocks with easy-to-pronounce names performed better than their more complicated counterparts.

Choose a name that conveys what you want to say about your business in a clear, simple way, and avoid any unnecessary hurdles to comprehension.

But don’t forget to test!

Finally, it’s important to remember that your name should be tested just as thoroughly as any other part of your business.

At Simply Business we’re big advocates of the Build-Measure-Learn process. Once you think you’ve arrived at a great name, it’s time to prove it! Focus groups are a great way of doing this, as they’ll allow you to gather useful, detailed feedback.

Even better, though, is to involve potential customers and other stakeholders from the very beginning of the process. Try to speak with these individuals at the earliest stage. They are the the targets for your new name, so it pays to have them involved.

In need of some inspiration?

Our 2018 ‘You name it, we insure it’ campaign featured some of the best names in business, and aside from a few laughs, might help to get your creative juices flowing.

Check it out below…

Fiona McSwein is Chief of Staff at Simply Business.

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