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How to choose a winning business name


Choosing a great business name doesn’t guarantee commercial success. But settling on a bad name can nudge success out of reach.

So you’re thinking of starting a business?

You’ve probably got a great idea, an exciting product or a service you’re going to provide – the foundations of any good business.

But what are you going to call it?

Like many start-up businesses, you may consider mixing your name with your partner’s name and come up with something like Jotom or Bevmax. Although that may mean something to you (and your partner), it says very little to your customers. Your business name should communicate what you ‘do’ or ‘how’ you do it.

The name should be a short as possible – long business names do not perform as well as shorter names because they are harder for potential customers to remember or even spell when searching for you on the internet. Imagine Qantas today if they were still marketed under their full name of Queensland and Northern Territories Airways System.

Avoid generic names like Green Printers or Cars Online as these will be harder to register as a business name and a domain name.

Start with a list of ten or twenty ideas and show them to your friends, family and business associates to comment and select their favourites. By doing this you get instant ‘market research’ from a mixed-age audience, which represents your future customer base.

Ask yourself: “Does the name create a ‘positive’ feeling for my business?”

Next, check the business name availability through ASIC’s free company name search at www.asic.gov.au, then, if the domain name is available at one of the many domain registrars. Every business today needs a web presence and your domain name is your ‘online’ street address, so it is important that you register a domain name as well as your business name.

Now that you have your new business name there is one more thing to add: your positioning statement. It’s this one-liner that will set your business apart from its competitors. FedEx’s “Absolutely, positively overnight”. Hungry Jack’s “The burgers are better”. Toyota’s “Oh what a feeling”. Qantas’s “The spirit of Australia”. Bose’s “Better sound through research” and Saab’s “Move your mind”.

Your positioning statement should offer a benefit and give the customer a reason to buy from you and not your competitor.

Armed with your new business name and a dynamic positioning statement, all you need now is the logo – but that’s another story …

Tony Eades is the creative director for DesignShop, Australia’s fastest growing online design and print solution provider. He is a business marketing expert, with more than 20 years experience in design, advertising and client media campaigns.

Photo: charles chan(flickr)

Business Names