7 Rules for a Business Name
Let’s start with the really obvious rule – the business name has to be available. Fortunately finding out if a name is available is getting much easier. In Australia the ASIC site gives you an immediate answer (http://www.asic.gov.au/bn-availability).
Domain name available
And by domain name available, I mean the “.com” or here in Australia the “.com.au”. Ideally in Australia I mean both the “.com” and “com.au”. If the domain name is taken, move on. It means that someone else is already making milage from what ever great company name you have thought of.
As a matter of brand protection, if the “.net” and “.net.au” etc are available, buy all of them. They don’t have to be available for you to decide on a company name, but once you do decide on a name, grab every domain extension you can. Who knows, one day you may want to expand into New Zealand and that “.co.nz” domain will come in handy.
This was one that I wasn’t even aware of when I first set up my company, but is critical for the long term success of many companies. If you are starting with a very small company you may not want to rush off and buy the trademark but it needs to be an option in the future. Likewise you want to stay clear of other peoples’ trademarks.
And trade marks are an odd entity. They are category/industry specific so just because it’s taken in one category doesn’t mean it’s not available for your industry.
Easy to remember
It has to be easy to remember. It has to be easy for you to say over the phone (especially a bad mobile connection). It has to be easy for a person to repeat to a friend. It has to be easy for someone to remember a week later. My next blog on guides of a new business name largely expands on this rule.
The new company name needs to be strategic. It needs to have a purpose and more importantly you need to have thought about the potential of the name, and the problems. It needs to fit into your plans for your business.
Mind you I’m being a bit vague here. For example, if you are looking at a short term or long term strategy you could come up with two totally different sets of names. Which is better? I don’t know, but what is important is that you have given it very careful thought.
It has to be you
If this is the company that you will be trading over for many years to come, it needs to be about you. Don’t bother trying to hide behind something that you aren’t.
With the modern age of social media, people are expecting to have an online personal relationship with companies. It’s a bit weird, but you are putting an image out there, and it starts with your name.
And once again, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be you now, but it could be all part of your 5 year plan for world domination.
It has to pass the Google test
By that, I mean type it into Google and see what happens. This will reveal a number of things including:
- if it is the name of a successful company else where
- how popular is the name as a google search term (or alternatively how hard will it be to achieve number 1)
- if there is a product or company that already has that name that you weren’t aware of
- if there is an alternative meaning or slang usage of the name