Coming up with that perfect name that will create a strong brand identity for a new business is one of the challenges startup entrepreneurs face and it is also one of the very first decisions that you will have to make. Most times you find yourself in the crossroad of long lists of names and deciding on the one that is best becomes a major issue. If you ask me, ‘do you really need to go through this hard thinking process before naming your business?’ and I’ll say yes. Naming your business is like naming your child and you wouldn’t want to come up with something crappy and unappealing.
Why is it important that you must pick your business name carefully?
The name you bear is important when it comes to small-business success. A good name is like a sweet song. It sticks to the mouth and it appeals to the heart. The right name can make your company the talk of the town while the wrong one can doom it to obscurity and failure.
• Your name is the first thing that any potential buyer will notice.
• Your name determines the initial appeal. Even if you sell the best product or service with the wrong name, people may not know because they are too busy searching elsewhere.
On choosing a brand name, company branding specialist Jim Fowle of Red Mullet Design, says:
“When starting a company, your brand is of vital importance. Branding is not just a memorable logo but also an effective, memorable name that can really help people remember you. This can be portrayed strongly visually as well. In the initial stages, we find it’s good to envisage your name and branding, making sure it’s recognisable, simple and reflects your business.” Explained below are factors you should consider when naming your brand?
• Don’t pick a name because it appeals only to you. It is your customers, those who will buy from you that you should have in mind.
• Don’t include taboo words or words that portray something negative. Such words like fuck, bitch, nigger…should be avoided if you want to run a corporate business. Now let’s consider these criteria;
1. What do you want?
You should start by deciding what you want your name to communicate. Your name should emphasize the key elements in your business. It should not be vague. The more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must make to explain it. Simply put, your name should embody the products or service you what to sell. For instance, while the name ‘BookLand’ may appeal to businesses related to education or books, it will turn out badly for a restaurant or an automobile company.
2. Seek help
Finding the perfect name for your business may be complicated, so you may want to consider consulting an expert. Naming firms have comprehensive systems for creating new names and they are very knowledgeable in issues of trademark laws. They can advise you against bad name choices and explain why others are good. If this is what you need, visit our main site www.ogamars.com to see how we can assist you develop that irresistible name.
3. Think of the future
Before you pick that name, you may want to ask yourself if it is what you want your business to bear now and in future, when your company must have grown. In future, what are other areas of products and services you may want to go into? Will the name you’re picking today still be relevant to other products and services you will sell tomorrow? The idea here is that you need to pick a name that will not only be relevant to what you do today, but will also accommodate other things you may consider doing in future.
Avoid names that are tied to location. Such names will render you handicap if you plan to grow beyond your location. An example is “Lagos Taxis.” What if the company wants to expand beyond the city of Lagos? What meaning will that name have for consumers in Imo or Abuja? And what if the company diversifies beyond taxi cab operation into sales of motor spare parts? A good business name must be both meaningful and broad?
4. Don’t be a copycat
Some people are very good at being copycats. They lack originality of their own, but if you are reading this article, I will take it to mean that you are making sincere effort to create a name that will stand out now and in future.
5. Tap into your creativity
You will agree with me that these days almost all simple and cute names have been registered, and mostly the major option startups are left with is to coin names for themselves. Creativity is key if one is to find a remarkable business name. It may involve borrowing words from other languages, compounding of words or joining parts of two words together. Some examples are Acura (gotten from ‘accurate’ meaning precise) and Compaq (gotten from ‘compact’ meaning portable), which were developed by a naming firm called NameLab.
According to Michael Barr, president of NameLab, ‘coined names can be more meaningful than existing words.
6. Keep it simple
Don’t pick a name that is long or confusing. Your name should not be difficult to spell either. Long and hard to spell names means it will confuse your customer and will be easily forgotten. Some use their surnames not minding its length and the difficulty in spelling. If you must use your name, ensure that it is both short and easy to spell. ‘Trump, Dangote…’ are companies named after their owners. This is possible because these can be easily pronounced or spelt. Names like Agbonavbare, Ihwerhukeme are direct opposites when it comes to being easily pronounced or spelt and therefore should not be considered appropriate for business name. Whether you’re coining your name or picking known words, make sure it is something people can easily relate with without much effort.
7. Check that your name isn’t taken
In picking a business name, it is normal to keep a long list of names that occur to you and those suggested by others. You then need to trim down your long list by removing the names that are less appealing until you’re left with the best 3-4 names. Now, do name search of these names so as not to infringe on any one’s trade name.
There are different bodies responsible for registering new businesses and they vary from country to country. In Nigeria, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) handles registration of businesses and it is with them that a name search can be done. You can risk facing a legal suit for infringing on another companies name, so I recommend you do your name search and registration first. At Ogamars Limited, we can take you through the paper works and handover to you a ready business.
If you are lucky, you will have 2 or more names that have passed the name search. Now how do you pick the best? Evaluate the available names considering all the criteria discussed in this article. Which name best fits your objectives? Which name most accurately describes the company you have in mind?
You also need to check if web domains are available for your preferred names. To see if domain name of your business is available visit www.whogost.com and if you have confirmed that it is not taken, secure it by registering it.
To wrap it up, remember that your name is your first step towards building a strong company identity. So I highly recommend that you give it your best shot and we will always be here to help you through it.
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