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Guide to Start-ups Step 2: How to choose the perfect business name

Having sketched out your business plan, you’re now in a great position to choose a name. Your business name really couldn’t be more important. It’s the first thing that most people will learn about your business and, unless you’re offering something unique, it may be the key thing that sets you apart from the competition.

Approach an ideation session thinking what you want your name to convey and who you want it to appeal to. As you go through several proposed names, apply them to our criteria below to see if your chosen name stands up.


Be comfortable with it

Because you’re creating a brand and you’re going to have to be its number one advocate, you should be comfortable saying it, hearing it and writing it down.  Plus, if you choose something which really appeals to you, you’ll have extra confidence in your business and brand as it takes on a life of its own.

Be original

Before you decide on a name, check to see if it’s in use. You should aim for something distinctive that is both memorable but also won’t be confused with other businesses. This is particularly important if you’re engaging in eCommerce. Look up whether the business name is already in use on Companies House name availability checker and check if the web domain name is available.

Keep it simple

It may be tempting to get creative with words and come up with something which sounds ingenious to you, but will it make immediate sense to the casual observer or potential customer? While many companies have invented names (Xerox, Kodak, etc) they also have large budgets to spend on branding. For a new business, clarity is everything.

Avoid committee thinking

There’s a difference between appealing to a mass of people and having that mass come up with your name. The one thing you shouldn’t compromise too much on is a bold, distinct identity that fits with your business aims.

Avoid clichés

While you might want to choose a name that describes a quality or value of your company, all too often it’s very easy to stumble into cliché. Names like Pinnacle, Summit and Apex are supposed to convey that the company is at the top of their industry, but have become all too ubiquitous. Try to say something different. Property developers Anthology pride themselves on telling stories about the area they work in – which is reflected in their name.

Think about online

It’s likely that a lot of potential customers will find out about you through search engines, so it might be a good idea to pick a name that is easy to spell and isn’t spelt differently to the way it sounds. There are also tools like Google Adwords that can give you a list of most commonly searched for words around a particular subject – which may give you a good starting point. That said, it’s best not to rely too heavily on current trends, as you will want to pick a name that endures.

Take your time

Once you’ve decided on a name, don’t instantly rush out and order the customised stationery. Instead, sleep on it, let it settle and see if you’re still happy with your choice a few days later. This might be a name you’ll be living with for years to come, so invest time getting it right to start with.


If you’ve got to the end of this guide and think you have the perfect name, now might be the time to check if your perfect Dot London domain name is available.

Next – Step 3: How to choose your business structure
Previous – Step 1: How to write a business plan