It goes without saying having a good business name is extremely important for a business. My business name Maow Care came to me because ‘maow’ is nickname my husband has been calling me for many years, which means ‘cat’ in Chinese…
So I thought Maow Care sounds like me. Notice I did add a ‘w’ at the end of just ‘Mao’ due to obvious reasons…
When I first got the idea of a name, I have asked one of the marketing consultants in the Start Your Own Business course by Dublin Enterprise Board. He thought ‘Meow Care’ would have been a better name. But my gut feeling told me I needed something a bit different, something almost a little strange so people would remember me. ‘Meow’ sounds too common. After using Maow Care for 5 years, I believe I was right. Because now I could use the word ‘Maow’ in a lot of word play in any marketing campaigns, e.g. Hungry Maow Cat Food Collection, Maow Of The Year competition, MAOW! Newsletter, etc.
I was lucky to have inspiration for (what I believe) a great name to come to me naturally, so I honestly don’t have an ultimate solution for you to pick a winner business name but I do have a few tips to help you to possibly get there.
1. Name generator
I didn’t use this, maybe I should have. But I didn’t know about name generator at the time. It probably won’t pop out a great name that sounds like a billion dollar, but it might help the brainstorming process. Here are a few of them.
2. Domain name
Domain name is HUGELY important when considering a business name these days. Make sure your business name has its domain name available before you go out and register your business name! It will be utterly confusing if you have your business name and your domain name spell differently. So PLEASE check the domain name is available before you finalise your business name.
3. Google search friendly
Make sure to do a quick google search to see what brings up if you type in your business name. If your business name brings up weird association, you might want to avoid.
4. Existing name in other countries
The google search should also help you to find out if the business name you have in mind have already been used in other countries. You will want to avoid that. Even though it’s not technically illegal to use the same name in another country, but you don’t want to confuse your future customers, so I would suggest to avoid that.
5. Ask friends for opinion
After doing all of the above, your business name is probably ok to go, but please ask your friends and family around you. The thing is, sometimes you might not notice, but someone might be able to spot something terribly wrong with your name that you didn’t notice before! Look at these people, I think they didn’t ask their friends and family around them…
6. Additional reading
You might want to read this post about how to pick a great business name. This post is pretty good too.
So now you are very happy with your business name and you want to go ahead and use it, what’s next?
1. Register your business name
If you decide to be a sole trader and just wanted a trade name instead of registering a company, go here to Company Registration Office to register your business name. Click 2. Register a business name. It costs you 20 Euro if you do that online and you will receive a certificate in 1 week time. (We will talk about the difference between sole trader, partnership and company in the next post, just bare with me for now.)
I got asked regularly if it is necessary to register your business name officially. It’s not compulsory but I would recommend you to do that. Armed with the business name certificate, you can then open a bank account using the ‘trade name’. It will be handy in the future when you start receiving payment from customers. Some people might prefer to write you a cheque in your business name than your own name.
It takes 5 minutes and cost 20 Euros, you really have very little to lose. Plus, it makes you look so much more professional to have an official business name, it gives your customers more confidence that you are a serious business.
Once you got your business name certificate, you can then think of a logo. I can’t emphasize that enough but getting a great logo is not money you want to save. You can save on other stuff later (e.g. I do my own accounting), but a logo is your identity, you don’t want to go into a run of the mill print shop to get a whatever logo. Please spend time and money on getting a great logo. You don’t go out on the street not dress properly, why would you want your business to be poorly presented by a crappy logo? Again, make sure to check with your friends and family around you to make sure there is nothing terribly wrong about your logo like these people.
Are you a business owner? How did your business name come to you? Do you have any question about registering a business name? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.