The name you choose will say everything about your business. It will come to define you. So you need to get it right from the start!
Your whole company, that’s what!
The name you choose will say everything about your business. It will come to define you. So, you need to get it right from the start.
I have been an entrepreneur for over 15 years and have started incredibly successful business ventures, including Jersey Beauty Company (the UK’s no.1 skin health destination.) But my first start-up business began in a spare room, designing websites. Nowadays, I want to help people like you find success and happiness by pursuing your wild, far-out dreams, and launching an eCommerce start-up of your own.
Sometimes the name is clear straight away. You just know what it needs to be called. Like with Jersey Beauty Company. When the company first started, products were VAT free when shipped from Jersey. So, Jersey gave a clear sign to a customer of savings. The rest of the name was simple – it does what it says on the tin. I also started another beauty company, Oqibo – with a very different story as to how it found its name.
Here are five things everyone should consider before choosing the name of a business.
We’re going back to the very basics. But we always benefit when we go back to the very basics. We need to know our customer. Who we want our customers to be.
We’re all customers. We can all think of brands that say something to us with their name. Quality, reliability, experience. The name of your company must resonate with your customer in the same way. It needs to be attractive to them. To make sense to them. They need to trust you. You want to demonstrate to your customer that you are a trustworthy brand. That you can be a part of their story.
A lot of companies make the mistake of placing their company as the hero in their customer’s story. They focus on their story, how they are the market leaders, that they have the answers. What we want as customers, isn’t a hero, it’s a guide. We want a company who can help us to be the hero of our own story. When we buy beauty products, for example, we want someone who can help us to choose the best products for us – who can guide us.
We have to be able to show a customer two things:
Empathy – I understand you
Experience – I can help you
We want to choose a name that will say this to our customer. We can only do that by knowing our customer in the first place.
Nike, Disney, Apple, IBM, Next, Gap – what do all these companies have in common? A simple, easy to remember, name. A name you can spell. So, when you go to search on Google for that brand your friend told you about, you can remember the name and are likely to find it.
Of course, not all companies follow this rule. There are some hugely successful companies with really complicated names. But if you’re starting out, the easiest thing is to keep it simple.
Jersey Beauty Company is a great example of this. It’s a company that supplies skincare products based in Jersey. A lot of successful start-ups use the owner’s name. This can instil a confidence and a personal touch for your customers.
Apple – it’s a word we’re all familiar with. “A is for Apple” – it’s so familiar to us, we use it to teach children to spell! It is probably one of the first fruits you were taught about. It is also one of the biggest technology brands in the world. Why does the name Apple work? The connotations it gives match the services it offers. Apple aim to be the core provider (no pun intended!) of technology for every aspect of your life. Just as an apple is a staple fruit in many of our diets, Apple want to be a part of your everyday family life.
Apple create simple technology for everyone. They aren’t a “techy” brand, although they cater for that market as well. They are the brand you get a product ready to use straight out of the box. No preparation required. Just like an apple.
So, what will your company name say about you? Designer brands often choose names that have a weight, a quality to them. This instils confidence in the buyer.
Brands that are more about the fun of the products they sell may choose a name that has connotations of fun. While Savers, Quality Save, Poundland – all say cheap products, value for your money. You wouldn’t go a company called CheapAsChips to buy a luxury watch you wanted to invest in for the long term. When you’re choosing a name, why not ask people you know for the connotations it brings up for them. Ideally choose people who are like the customers you want to attract
So, you want to start your own company selling hair products. You have the skills and the experience. You know your target customer – they are twenties to thirties, female, probably working mums. They take out a small window to get their hair done. They want hair products delivered to their home and they want the delivery to make them feel special. You choose the name ‘A Cut Above’. It’s simple, catchy. It says what you want it to. You are aware of the
How much does it all cost?connotations you want your company name to have – it has
to say you provide a quality service, an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy schedule.
A quick search tells you that there are at least 40 other people who have companies called ‘A Cut Above’. What does that tell you? Your company will have a more difficult time standing out. In a Google search your customer might not find your website first. Choosing a name that makes you stand out, for the right reasons, can help you to build a profile for your company.
This is really important for online companies; you want to avoid getting lost in the crowd.
You can use this handy link to check if the URL you want is available.
If you can’t get your company name as a simple URL then you might want to rethink the name at the start. Jersey Beauty Company’s website is jerseybeautycompany.co.uk – this is not only easy to find, but it also suggests that there isn’t another company people are going to get us confused with.
Going back to the hair products business, A Cut Above, you can see, from a quick Google search, that the first three pages are full of websites along the lines of acutabove---. co.uk. This means the chances of your customers landing on your site first are less. Also, if they have to search through three pages of similar Google results to get to your site, how many of them will give up before they find you? Ideally you want a URL that is COMPANYNAME.co.uk. This should be a big factor when you’re choosing the name, along with all the other points I have already gone through. Choose a name that is memorable, unique, fun. A name that has a story. It may be a name that gets your customers talking, like my beauty company, Oqibo.
'Oqibo' is an abigram. You can turn it 180 degrees and it will read the same. What does it mean? Well it’s a made-up word, so it technically doesn’t mean anything. I have worked to give it meaning – Oqibo now means Celebration and Health. Now it might sound like I have broken my own rules! But Oqibo is a simple name to remember. And most importantly, I knew my customer. They were the people who bought Dermalogica and similar brands. I knew I could get the URL and I knew I could build on the existing connotations and use the company name to stand out for the right reasons.