There are lots of things to consider when starting a business and I believe choosing your business name is one of the most fun tasks! If you are self-employed you may just be using your own name however when you incorporate into a limited company you are probably going to want to choose something a bit more substantial!
It can be tricky to pick a name that you are going to stick with for a long time so it’s worth getting it right.
Where to start?
For a small business you might want to keep it personal and use your family name somewhere, this can be good if it’s just going to be a small team and you want to seem approachable.
You might want to include a mention of the type of business to help describe it, for example Pink Pig on its own could be used for a farm or a butchers but as soon as you put the word Financials on the end it is immediately clear the nature of the business.
Think about whether you want to turn your name into a logo. If you choose a long name, could it be shortened to use in a variety of ways and on different platforms?
Do you want to choose a name that is easy to spell? Sometimes it’s great to have a quirky spelling as it’s more memorable but it can also make it a little harder to find you!
If you are really stuck and don’t have a starting point there are some really great AI name creation websites out there that will create a selection of names for you to choose from. They take a few details about the business and ask what type of name you would like (real words, alternative spelling etc) and AI do the rest. It’s really fun to see what they come up with. My favourite is Namelix.com but there are quite a few out there if you do a quick search.
Check you can use it!
There are some legalities involved so make sure you do your research.
You can’t use words which are deemed to be sensitive, for example words that suggest your business is of a National Status such as ‘British’ or ‘National’, words that suggest a special status such as ‘association’ or ‘institute’ and words that suggest a connection to royalty or the government. Those are just a few examples so please double check which words you cannot use.
Once you’ve got an idea for a name head over to Companies House to make sure no-one else is already using the name you’ve chosen. Companies House hold details of all of the incorporated businesses in the UK. Here’s the link –
If you are planning to set up a website at some point too, type in the business name into your browser and see if anyone has already used that domain. Companies House will only show you registered companies but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sole trader out there using that name you like so definitely do a quick search to see what’s already about.
And finally test out your name! Ask your friends and family what they think, ask your Granny, get a full range as you want the name to be long lasting and still relevant in a few years time. Why don’t you try out your telephone voice, pretend you are answering a call and use the name!
If it feels good and sounds good then you might have found the one!
You’ve got your shiny new name and your ready to get set up so what do you need to do next?
There is lots to consider because you want to ensure that you set it up correctly to avoid getting into Companies House & HMRC’s bad books. We offer an incorporation service, which you can read more about here.
If you are wondering if you should set it all up yourself or use an accountant, our blog Why do I need to pay an accountant to set up my limited company when I could do it myself? explains all.