How to pick a store name

Choosing a name for your business is one of the first major decisions you'll make. Dreaming up one may come easy for some, but others struggle with the task. The name needs to be right as the wrong name can actually be the end of your wonderful business plan.

Easy to remember, easy to spell

Obviously, your potential customers and clients need to be able to remember your business name. They also need to be able to find it easily if they’re looking for it in a phone book, directory or online. Choosing a business name such as “Crychalwellyn” is a bad idea. Unique is good but difficult spellings are a bad idea.

Try to avoid words that can be written more than one way. When someone is telling you a name watch out for variations:

  • Two can be confused with 2, To and Too
  • You can be confused with the letter U

Create a visual element

What popped into your head when you read “Crychalwellyn”? Anything? Most people don't visualize anything when they read this business name that I invented. But generally we are hard-wired to “see” images when we read or hear language, and incorporating a visual element into your business name can be a powerful aid to customers’ memory (and a powerful advertising tool).

So you want your business name to have a strong visual element to it. The catch is that...

Include information about what your business does.

Chances are good that your new business is not going to become an international brand. It certainly isn't instantly going to become as well known as Nike. So you need to be sure that your new business name at least gives your potential customers or clients some clues about what you actually do. That is why you see so many landscaping businesses that have the word “landscaping” in their name, and hair styling businesses that include words such as “salon” or even “hair designs” in their names.

Including information about what your business does in your business name also makes it easier for potential customers and/or clients to find your business in phone books and directories (both off and online).

Keep your name short

Once again this is vital because you want customers and clients to be able to remember your business's name (and be able to tell other people what it is)! But it is also important for promotional purposes. You want a business name, for example, that will fit well on a business card, look good displayed on a sign or in an ad, and perhaps even a business name that will serve well as a domain name and show up well in search if you have an online business. So keep it as short as possible.

Quick tips

Being specific
There really is nothing better than making it obvious what you do. Economy Car Hire, for example, also suggests value for money
Positive associations
Link the name to something well known that is in common usage (so not copyright). E.g. Capability Brown's Garden Store.
Top of the list
Whilst Aardvark Roofing might get you pole position in the Yellow Pages, it'll be suspiciously obvious that you’ve done it on purpose. Better to create a happy coincidence, such as Abbey Roofing.
You would remember a business called ‘Wellington’s Boot Store. Also, if people are searching for you online, generic names help.
Clearly the more your name alludes to a benefit, the easier it will be for people to remember. ‘Sparkling Windows’, suggests just that.
These are words that sound the same, but have different spellings. They stick in the mind. The Sauce Source Ltd
Adding numbers passes in and out of fashion. Unless there is a good reason (M25 Auto Recovery), numbers are usually best avoided.
Your name(s)
Although Messrs Marks, Spencer, Ford and Woolworth are amongst the best known exceptions, it usually shows a lack of imagination to simply call your business by your name.
Domain name
The internet is becoming more important. Check out the available domain names before committing yourself.
Second opinion
Hours of hard work will lead you to some stunning ideas for names. But, before deciding, ask others for their view.
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