Saturday, May 1, 2010

How did you choose your business name?

Choosing a business name always seems an exciting time and loads of ideas run around your head before you finally settle on 'The One'. But there's a few things that you should consider before those ideas run wild.

1. If the business is not going to be a global player, and potentially a household name, then including something that indicates something about what you do can help potential customers decide if they should be calling you or not.

Clever is ok, but if it leaves them mystified, it hasn't really helped the cause. Would Aviva, Corus or Square Giraffe say anything about your business?

If your business is really local I would even consider making it blatantly obvious what you do - Suffolk Management Training or Norfolk Plumbing Repairs.

2. Next on the list is to find out if your chosen name already exists. A search on Companies House and Trade Mark listings will show up whether your new business 'McDonalds Take Away' might get you into deep water with their legal department or simply get you confused with others of a similar name.

3. Finally you need to consider the Internet.

You really do need to have a domain name that matches your business name. Without that people will struggle to find you. If you have got this far and the domain name isn't available then I would go back to step one and start again.

If you are a UK based business then you absolutely need to have the version of your business name but I would also buy the .com .net .tv .info and .biz versions too. Just think of the consequences of a competitor setting up in the same business, taking one of those domain suffixes, marketing it like mad and taking half your business. Just allow enough in your budget to buy all of them to be sure.

If we take one of the business name examples above I would also buy the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions - suffolkmanagementtraining as well as suffolk-management-training. The second version is easier for people to see, understand and remember when it's on your physical advertising.

Hyphens can help too if the words could be mis-read when put together. There are some famous 'howlers' in this department which must have horrified their owners once they realised:-

therapistfinder - 'therapist finder' or could be 'the rapist finder'
expertsexchange - 'experts exchange' or 'expert sex change'
whorepresents - 'who represents' or 'whore presents'
penisland - which is actually 'pen island' apparently

Advertising the hyphenated version of each of those domain names would have saved a great deal of embarrassment!

If you are choosing your business name, then choose it wisely.

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