What’s in a name?

One of the hardest things for prospective business owners to decide on is a name for their baby!

A well thought through name can draw customers to you, help to engage them in what you are about, and help with branding your product or service. Equally a ‘bad’ name can turn people away before they really understand what you do.

Once you are established it is difficult, and costly to change your name, so getting it right from the beginning is vital.

As we have gone through the exercise of naming our company, we wanted to share with you some pointers which might help you.

Be sure of what your business is about
Make sure you are clear on your business concept and have a clear business plan. This will help you define what your ‘brand’ represents and the type of customer you are hoping to attract. In our case we wanted a name which conveyed our ethos and what our course would encompass. For us the bright element of any business includes entrepreneurship, communication, effectiveness and confidence, whilst the strategic dimension includes strategy, marketing, sales and finance.

Don’t do it on your own
Seek professional help. Remember, whilst you might be clear on what you want to offer, a third party will be able to help you to match your name to your proposed market. They will also help you ensure you look at your business objectively.

Our branding expert, Louise, helped direct our brain storming session to clarify; what our business is about; who our customers are; what our ethos and goals are; how we will deliver our service; and anything else which defines the essence of our business.

Be prepared for a fairly full-on session! As the name is so important, the naming process can be an emotional journey but, if tackled well, you can end up with a name which perfectly matches your business offer.

Even if you decide not to engage a branding professional we would strongly urge you to go through a brain storming session with a friend, relative or business colleague. This way you will find it easier to open up and really explore what your name will do for your business.

check it out
Once you have a name you like look on Google to see if the name is being used by another company. If it isn’t, but a similar name is, just check you are happy with the potential association. Finally, check it isn’t registered at Companies House. Although you might not be ready to be a limited company, you may want to leave the door open to incorporation in the future. If you register the name (a cheap and easy exercise) you can ensure no one else nicks it!

Finally, before you take the plunge, and order all your marketing material, try it on for size over the weekend. Ask what your nearest and dearest think, and see if you still feel the same about it on Monday morning. After all you have to live with it for a long time to come!

Happy naming
Fiona

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