Business Names – How to Find the Right One For Your Startup


Business Names

Choosing a business name is quite possibly the hardest part for any startup. You want something that will become a brand; something that people will remember. You also want something that you can actually use! Without treading on another company’s toes or finding that someone else has taken your perfect domain name. In this business names guide, we’re going to go through the ways of finding the right name for your startup. The one that people WILL remember.

Grab Your Pen and Paper

It’s time to draw up some spider diagrams! One of the best ways to come up with a new business name is to think of all the words relating to your business. You may also want to grab a thesaurus for this. Start off by writing your key product or service in the middle. Now expand outwards with all of the words that relate to this product or service. Consider your unique selling points too. Will you pride yourself in world-class customer service? Write it down. Will you always deliver your service within 24 hours? Write that down too. Now use your thesaurus to look up all of the words relating to the ones you’ve written down. You’ll get some weird, some whacky and some super quirky. You might even get one that stands out as ‘THE ONE’.

Do Your Research

There’s something in a name, you know? Different words can evoke different psychological reactions in people. Some make them happy, others not so much. For example, we can’t imagine that the word ‘scam’ is going to go down very well in most people’s minds – unless it was something like Scambusters; the Ghostbusters of Scams (you can have that one). Put together a survey with possible words and phrases for potential business names. If you have something truly amazing you want to keep under wraps then perhaps don’t use the whole name, in case someone pinches it. You can also get survey respondents to sign an NDA if you’re really worried.

Find out how people react to the different words and phrases you’ve jotted down in your spider diagram. Do they make them feel happy? Does it make them trust you? Get as many people to fill in your survey as possible, to get a good range of answers. This should leave you with some definite possibilities.

Play Around

Now that you have some potential business names, it’s time to play around with them. Do they roll off the tongue? Can you imagine what the logo or branding would look like with that name? Is it too long or too short? Does it make you think of anything in particular? Don’t just rush in, think about the name for a couple of days. If you keep coming back to one in particular then that’s the one!

Business Names You Can’t Have

You may think you’ve found the perfect name for your business, but hold your horses! Are you sure you can definitely use it? If someone else has the name registered, if it’s too close to another business name, or if it contains ‘forbidden words’ then you may not be able to register it with Companies House. You could also end up with a lawsuit on your lap – not good for a startup! Here’s how to check the business names you can’t have, before you go ahead and start creating logos and business cards.

  • Companies House WebCheck – The first thing you’re going to want to do is check the Companies House register to see if anyone else has the name you want. If they do, it’s back to the drawing board, unfortunately.
  • Similar Names – It’s not just exact names you want to look out for. Keep your eyes peeled for names that sound similar too. If a potential client could end up confusing you for a competitor (or vice versa) then that’s another cause for a lawsuit. If you’re unsure if a name is too similar, talk to Companies House first.
  • Banned Words/Phrases – Because pretty much anyone can register a business, there have to be some limits on what you can call it. You cannot have anything that makes you sound like a government body or words that could cause harm or offence. You can find the full list of restrictions in Chapter 6 of the Incorporation of Names document.

Domain Names

On top of all these business names you can’t use for whatever reason, you’re going to want to think about the domain name! What if someone from another country is using the same business name as you? And they have the domain name? This is going to cause some serious confusion for your customers. Make sure you search for a domain name as you going through the naming process, to ensure that you’re not going to be stepping on any toes – or losing out on customers! You can search for a domain name on 123-Reg and nab it for a couple of quid (before anyone else does).

You now have all of the information you need to start thinking up business names. It’s no easy process, but when you’ve found the right one everything will start falling into place. Next up? Start writing up that business plan!

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