Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Woo-hoo, so you’ve decided to go into business, or re-brand an existing business. The first question many think of is how to choose a business name. There are many opinions on this, so decide what works for you.
Tip 1 Considerations when including your own name
Dick Smith when interviewed post the DSE closures, was adamant using his name in his businesses was the right move, because he provided the uniqueness. However many years after he sold his electronics business he was still associated with it. Not so great when it’s forced to close. On the flip side, people can be limited in growing their business, with people only wanting to deal with the named party.
Tip 2 Don’t use misspelt names
If a name is misspelt, it can often be difficult to find on Google because of the auto-correct functionality. If you plan to misspell a word or make up a word, then at least check to make sure Google won’t auto-correct it.
Tip 3 Don’t make the name too long
Long names are difficult for customers and to translate into domain names. Therefore you often need a shortened version. This can cause confusion, so is best not to do it.
Tip 4 The name should resonate with your customers rather than you
Some new business owners name their businesses after their children or themselves. This is often ego driven and has nothing to do with the actual business or customers. You are better off choosing a business name that resonates with your customers.
Tip 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) consideration
I recommend using one keyword in your name and another word showing your uniqueness. What is your unique value proposition or difference that you make in one word?
Tip 6 Check the name is available
You will need to check in a number of places. I suggest following this sequence:
- check not already used on the ABR business name register
- check IP Australia for any trademarks using your whole name but also any keywords in part of the name. For instance Dazzle Doughnuts, check that Dazzle is not listed as a trademark at all or at least in your class.
- check domain names (try GoDaddy or Name Cheap) and make sure that the .com.au is available for Australian businesses, and ideally for all businesses the.com too. This is good if you want to go global, but also is helpful to stop competitors using the.com
Personally when choosing a business name, I also did a “speech mark search” in Google so I could see where instances of my proposed name appeared. You can also check the main social media accounts you want to use, though these are more easily tweaked. I had to go through about 100 names to find a name that worked! Crazy, but I was happy with what I ended up with.
Tip 7 Register your name everywhere
Once you have decided on your name go through the process and register the name everywhere. Register the business name first (you’ll need to have your structure sorted), then domain name, then social media channels. You can also trademark if you wish, but it can be good to have your logo before doing that. I do recommend trademarks for small businesses. Not so much to stop people competing with you, but to stop people trying to prevent you from using your own name.
Hopefully this was useful in determining your new or rebranded business name. If you get stuck please get in touch with an advisor. Western Sydney Business Centre, offers 4 hours business advice at NO COST with a NSW Government funded Business Connect Advisor. We can help guide you to set up a business name and move forward. Please book here now!