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We often have clients who arrive at our door, early in their business planning. This may be at the point of requiring branding or a new website, but sometimes it is a stage before this. What should I call my business?
It’s an interesting question, and one that we love to be involved in. And it has prompted us to write down our considerations in blog form.
1. Do I use my initials?
Initial based businesses are common amongst tradesman and small businesses. It’s your business and you would like your name above the door, but don’t want to be literal enough to give your whole name away. It makes sense. The consideration is, do I need the business to be memorable? Initial based businesses are common, and lost combinations have been taken. Adding to the pot could mean that your new venture is mentioned but soon forgotten. There is also a shortage of National businesses using this format, so future scaling has to be a consideration.
2. Should I use a locality?
You have a trade. You are based in a city. So it makes sense to name your business by your trade and location, doesn’t it? And that will help with search engines too, right? As afore mentioned, future scaling has to be considered. If you name your business with a location in the name, it will inevitably limit your catchment area and can prevent future expansion. There have been exceptions of course, Norwich Union being one. But even Norwich Union eventually caved into the expensive process of renaming and rebranding many years down the line. As for search, a domain name that has www.locationservice.co.uk has such a small impact on search results it isn’t worth considering.
3. Is a credible domain name available?
The web is a cluttered place. Aside from the large number of established businesses out there, we also get to enjoy domain hoarders who buy up viable domain names and sell them off at a ransom. Finding a business name that has an available domain name really helps. You can be creative with adding hyphens or extensions (ie. nuimageagency.com) to the name but should avoid lesser known domain extensions such as .work or .biz as they rarely appear near the top of search results.
4. Should I be creative with misspellings?
Clearly this is one we are well placed to answer! If your domain name isn’t available you may be tempted to go for a misspelling. When NewImage.co.uk inevitably wasn’t available 13 years ago we did just that. It has served us well, but it comes with sacrifices. Firstly, you will need to spell your web address and email address to everyone each and every time you introduce yourself to someone new. Secondly, you have to be prepared to accept mispronunciations and incorrect formatting along the way. We always get NU image or N U Image from people who understandably don’t know we meant New.
5. Do I need to include my service in my new name?
You are a carpenter, so including carpentry in your business name will make it clearer to customers. That is a good thing. But imagine you get busy, expand, hire a team and take on full house builds and extensions. Carpentry suddenly seems quite limiting doesn’t it? This expansion can mean an expensive and time consuming rebrand, change to domain name and re-registration with companies house. We started as Nu Image Design but our evolution has moved us through to web and on to digital marketing. As a result we have had to change everything over to a new, neutral name of Nu Image. It caused us around 6 months of disruption in search results.
6. Is my new business name memorable enough?
Competition is inevitable and a healthy part of business, but if you can stand out from a crowded market place, you are already a step above the rest. If a potential client catches a glimpse of your branding whilst on the road, or you are mentioned in passing conversation, will they be able to remember your name until they get home to Google you – or more likely, until they next require your service. Choosing an uncomplicated and quick to recall name is always best.
7. What if someone else is using my business name?
How much this impacts on your business name decision depends on the locality of your services. It makes sense to carry out a local search to ensure that no one in your county is using your potential new name, but as previously mentioned, consider the availability of a relevant domain name and national companies also using your preferred name, before settling on your final decision as should you wish to scale up in the future, it is best not to be treading on the toes of others.
8. Should I get the opinion of others before choosing a business name?
We always consider it a good idea to test your new ideas out on others, but be careful of whose opinions you gauge. Create a test panel of those that fit your businesses target audience, as whilst you may genuinely value the opinion of Auntie Amy or your next door neighbour, if they are not the right fit for your business they won’t offer feedback that counts and that will reflect your audience. Above all, choose a name that you feel proud to call your own, after all it will hopefully be something you are working alongside for a long time to come.
We love taking brands through their journey, from an initial idea to becoming an established entity… and we have plenty of business name ideas too! Contact us today on 01603 859007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org