Naming your business is one of the first and most important tasks for any business owner. Yet while your choice of business name can impact everything from brand visibility to ease of compliance, its implications are almost impossible to predict until your business actually begins operating. So how can business owners choose a name that puts them in good stead for the future?
Here are three must-do’s for any business owner, no matter your level of experience, when choosing a name for your newest enterprise:
- Check the business registry and domain
Choosing a name that you can’t actually use can set your operations back from day one. To avoid this, search for the proposed name of your business in the Australian Business Registry, which contains the official names of all registered businesses in Australia. If the proposed name doesn’t show up as a match in the registry, you can probably safely register it for your own business.
You should also check that the .COM.AU domains for your proposed business name aren’t currently being used by any other sites. Sometimes it also pays to check for slight variations on your proposed name, to avoid confusion with other similar businesses, for example, a business called Jane’s Dress Alterations should check for janesalterations.com.au as well as janesdressalterations.com.au. Choosing a country domain, .COM.AU for Australian businesses, is also important as it not only shows your customers you are truly local, but is also good for SEO purposes.
Once your business name is confirmed, make sure you register it with the Australian Business Registry in order to protect your domain and brand. Purchase all Top Level Domains, including .COM.AU, .NET.AU, .ORG.AU and .COM.
- Keep it short and clear
The best business names are those that are easy to remember and type in online. Ideally, a business name should be no longer than around 15-20 characters, and should make it clear, what the business does in plain English. That’s because business names feature not only on domains, but also on everything from business cards to letterheads and even signage. A lengthy name can make designing and producing these an unwieldy process.
If you are considering using your own name as part of the business name, remember that this will likely require you to be quite a visible part of the businesses marketing and sales strategy. Sometimes, it may be better to use some other characteristic or creative element of the business to distinguish it from competitors. Names that relate to the personal story of the business are often effective in this regard.
- How creative is too creative?
Some business owners may be tempted to come up with as “catchy” a business name as possible. Often that involves puns, alliteration, and other literary devices that inject humour into the name. While this can be a great way to make the business stand out, it’s also important that the name still be relevant to the business and not come across as corny or exaggerated. A great test to see what some of your prospects or customers think of the name is printing some trial business cards, or testing it among your networks or peers.
Creating a short, relevant business name that sticks can path the way to building a business that lasts.
About the Author
Tara Commerford is Country Manager at GoDaddy Australia & New Zealand