The biggest dos and don’ts when naming your business

Monzo has analysed the businesses registered at GOV.UK Companies House to find out the most popular words and terms used in business names. Following this research, Monzo has teamed up with business experts to reveal the top dos and don’ts when naming a business.

The dos of naming a business

Keep it clear and simple

Keeping your business name short and simple allows your customers to remember it more easily, with many of the world’s most famous business names being one word and even one syllable alone.

Jade Arnell, Founder of digital marketing agency Rebellion emphasises the need to keep your business name to the point, stating that “your business name should instantly communicate what you do. Avoid vague or confusing terms that leave customers scratching their heads.”

Mike Smith, Director of The Business Expert, adds: “Choose a business name that is easy to remember and pronounce. A simple and catchy name makes it easier for customers to recall and refer your business to others.”

Daniella Genas, a business growth expert and Founder of Be The Boss also advises business owners to “road test ideas on friends and people from within your network of contacts. You want a name that people will easily remember, rather than instantly forget.”

Reflect your brand identity

The name of your business can be a customer’s first impression of what you have to offer, so conveying the values of your brand through your name is beneficial.

Daniella Genas, states: “The name of your business is effectively the brand under which everything else will sit, so it has to demonstrate a clear link to your business and to the values you hold.

Brand identity should be a top priority when choosing a business name, says Mike Smith. “Ensure that your business name aligns with your brand identity, values, and the products or services you offer. Are you innovative? Authoritative? Provocative?”

Check availability

As well as considering the catchiness of your business name, it’s also important to conduct manual research to ensure that you can legally use the name you’ve decided on before moving forward.

Jade Arnell highlights: "Check the availability before you fall head over heels for a name, and make sure it's legally available for use. Conduct thorough research and trademark checks to avoid legal clashes down the road.”

Be unique

With over five million registered business names on Companies House UK, standing out can be a challenge.

Matthew Hayes, the MD of Champions UK, says: “The key thing is to stand out, be unique, and be memorable. Your story is important because people buy from people. It's important because if you can create a personality for your business, then people will be feeling something about it.

From exploring variations of words to researching the most common names used in your industry, taking the time to find out what is out there already will help you produce a unique business name.

Our study shows that many local businesses in the UK utilise puns to make their business stand out on their local high street, with the names ‘Frydays’, ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Deja Brew’ featuring multiple times in Companies House data. 

Consider future growth

Finally, it’s important to consider the future of the company and room for growth to ensure your business name lasts the test of time.

“Think long-term and choose a name that allows room for future expansion,” says Mike Smith.

The don'ts of naming a business

Don’t jump on trends

Allowing room for future growth means avoiding short-term trends.

Mike Smith advises: “Avoid limiting your business's potential growth by selecting a name that may become irrelevant as your business evolves. Don’t jump on a short trend that might be out of fashion soon. We all remember many brands having ‘2000’ at the end of their name. It did not age well.”

Don’t try to be too clever

Overcomplicating your business name can lead to risk of confusing a customer. Roy Shelton, the founder of DropJaw Ventures supports this, stating to “pick a name that quickly communicates the service you are offering. Don’t try to be too clever.”

“Your business needs to reflect what you do and the product you are selling. If people don't instantly understand what you do, they are likely to choose a rival provider instead.”

Harry Ashbridge, Head of Writing at Monzo, shares an additional tip:

“Remember: naming matters, but it isn't everything. The behavioural economist Daniel Kahnemann famously said, "People don’t choose between things, they choose between descriptions of things”, and the name has a part to play in that. The Chilean Sea Bass was originally called the Patagonian Toothfish until someone realised the name was holding it back. The renamed fish sold at triple the price almost overnight.

“But there's no such thing as a perfect name, and there's a lot of subjectivity involved. So don't get too hung up on finding that perfect name – it's what you do and how you do it that really matters, and a good name is just the cherry on top.”