Deciding on a name for your business
Choosing the right name for your business is essential and is something you need to think about because whatever name you give to your business will need to create the right image for potential customers. For example, let’s say you plan to organize painting holidays in Cornwall. Of course, you could call your business ‘Painting Holidays in Cornwall,’ but the obvious problem here is that it doesn’t give any more information than the obvious. So, before you go any further, you need to ask yourself more questions about your proposed business:
Your business name doesn’t have to describe your business
Your business name doesn’t have to describe or suggest what your business offers. Take Amazon as an example. Here we have the world’s largest retailer of books with no mention of books anywhere in the company name. Yet everyone knows they retail books. Although initially marketed as an online book retailer, Amazon now sells a whole range of non-book products, including software and games. The advantage of choosing a name like Amazon is that it is easy to remember and intriguing, but the name doesn’t restrict the future growth or diversity of the business. Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is similar.
Beware of choosing cliché names
It’s also a good idea to avoid choosing a cliche business name. By this, I mean something like Green Fingers Gardening Company or Joe’s Bloomers, or Harriet’s Heavenly Pastries, etc. While words like these might seem like a good idea at the time, wait until you discover there’s already more than one of them in the country, and suddenly your business isn’t unique after all.
The exception to the rule is when you’re sure that what you’re offering will be cheaper than offered by most other retailers, you should include this information somewhere in your title. So, for example, let’s say you’re planning to open an online fishing tackle shop where offering rock bottom prices is the basis of your marketing strategy.
Personalizing the name
You could also personalize your business name and call it like Joe’s Fisherman’s Warehouse. Some businesses are ideal for this sort of personalization, mainly if they involve looking after something your customer treasures, like children, pets, gardens, etc. For example, while John Browne’s Dog Walking Service might seem dull and unimaginative, it does suggest to potential customers that John Browne and not someone unknown to them will be looking after their dog. Including your name in your business name can, under the right circumstances, create a feeling of trust, which brings credibility. So don’t be afraid to include your name, mainly if the business you’re planning to run involves looking after other people’s treasures.
Is the business name you want available?
There is no absolute right to a business name unless, of course, that name is the name of a company or another business trading in the same area as you intend to. So if there’s already a Flo’s Dog Walking Service or Martin’s Organic Vegetables in your area, then obviously, were you to start up a similar business using the same name, they would have a legal argument to say that you are trading using their name. But, of course, it would also be silly to knowingly use another business name as not only are you bound for legal conflict, you also deny your business any opportunity of being unique.
Opening a business bank account
There is no legal requirement that I am aware of that says you must have a business bank account. However, banking terms and conditions will tell you that you cannot use your account for business banking if you ever have the time and patience to read.
Creating a business identity
Do you need another line? Yes, I believe you do. Nothing will put potential customers off more than an inadequately answered telephone. In the past, I’ve phoned businesses where children have responded to the phone, and I’ve given up trying to get them to put mum or dad on so I can order something. So instead, I’ve done what most people would do – moved on.
Give plenty of thought to the name you’re going to give your business. Your business name creates the first impression of your business. Therefore, it’s essential to get it right. Get a business plan written document that describes in detail how a business (typically a new one) is going to achieve its goals