You’ve thought of a great idea for a new business, and you are raring to go.

Just one problem: what shall we call it?

The things you should think about:

  • how long is the name?
  • is it too specific?
  • is someone already using it?
  • is the website domain name available?
  • is it a trademark?
  • is it already used by a registered company?

Don’t make it too long.

  • John Smith IT Services (Nottingham) Ltd may be an accurate description, but you will soon get fed up with typing it. And you will type it a lot.

Is it too specific?

  • Remember that circumstances change, and businesses change over time.
  • The name that describes exactly what you do now may be awkward if your business changes direction.
  • And you don’t want to go through all this again.

Is someone already using the same name?

Is the website available?

  • Suppose you want to call the business wonderbiz.
  • You don’t have to insist on getting wonderbiz.com: for a small business, wonderbiz.co.uk will be fine. But if wonderbiz.com is also available, grab it to keep someone else from using it.
  • You can check here to see whether wonderbiz is available.

Is it someone’s trademark?

  • You do not want to be sued!
  • If, say, a builder has registered wonderbiz, you may be safe to use it in a completely unrelated field such as childrens’ wear.
  • But take advice, please. I am not a lawyer.
  • Check here to see whether the name is a registered trademark.

Is it already a company name?

Stuck for a name?

  • It’s likely that the first names you think of will fail at least one of the tests.
  • In that case, think about branding
    • Are you selling to consumers or to businesses?
    • Does it matter if your name is a made-up word? You can use a slogan to say what the business is about.
    • You can often brainstorm a name by putting two unrelated words together – bluntfrost for example, or papercrunch!

Any comments?