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The Essential Guide to Naming Your Business.

Did you know it’s easier to name a baby than to name a business? Are you a new business owner or considering starting your own business, one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding the perfect name for your business. (elaborate more) But don’t worry, with a little creativity, some brainstorming, and this guide as your trusty companion, you’ll soon have a name that perfectly encapsulates your brand and attracts customers like a magnet. Let’s get started!

In this guide, we’ll cover;

  • Why Naming Your Business Right Is Important
  • What To Consider When Naming Your Business
  • Steps To Follow When Naming Your Business
  • Brand Name Vs Legal Name: How To Get Your Business Name Approved By The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

 

Why Naming Your Business Right Is Important

Choosing the right name for your business is very important. It can even make or break your company’s success! That’s why it’s crucial to take your time and come up with a suitable business name. It is necessary to choose a name that accurately reflects your brand and resonates with your target audience. The right name can:

1.    Describes Your Business

Your business’ name tells the public what kind of products or services you offer. For example, let’s look at Printivo, an online print shop. With a name like that, it’s easy to tell that they specialize in printing services. By choosing a name that reflects your business products/services, you can save a lot of time and money on marketing efforts. Customers will naturally be drawn to your business because they already know what you do.

2.    Build Brand Awareness

A strong business name can do wonders for building brand awareness. A well-crafted name that’s easy to remember and pronounce can help your brand stick in the minds of potential customers. A good example of this is Bolt, the ride-hailing service business. It’s easy to pronounce and remember and associate with the services they offer.

3.    Create An Identity Among Competitors

The right business name could give you an edge over your competitors. For instance, try searching for something like “Scrunchies” on Instagram, and you’ll find that businesses that include the word “Scrunchies” in their business name will come out on the top (irrespective of other Instagram tactics). When the market is crowded, your business name could literally speak for you.

4.    Build Loyalty For Your Brand

The right business name can effortlessly foster customer loyalty for your brand. For instance, the company Adun, which offers ready-to-eat African food products in the USA, decided to change its name from “All I Do Is Cook” to “Adun” in 2022. By selecting a name that resonated with their target audience – African immigrants in the US – they’ve been able to cultivate a strong and devoted following. This decision has paid off handsomely for them, resulting in the tremendous loyalty they now enjoy with their audience.

 

After seeing the powerful impact that the right business name can have, you may be wondering: where do I even start in creating a name that’s just as memorable and effective?

What To Consider When Naming Your Business

Before you begin the process of naming your business, think about the product/service you will be offering, your potential customers, and … In the following sections, we’ll be explaining these considerations in more detail.

Availability

This is always top on the list of things to consider when naming your business, and rightly so. This is because the main reason for having a name is for identity. Two businesses cannot have the same identity, there will be conflict.

These are the areas you can confirm name availability for your business:

  1. Social media: To avoid choosing a name that causes problems down the line, it’s a good idea to search popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see if the name you want is available. If you settle on a name without doing this research, you may discover later on that you can’t use that name for your social media handles or that customers can’t find you because the name is too similar to others.
  2. Domains: In this day and age, online marketing experts preach having a website as “your own plot of land on the internet” where you can have some measure of control. However, it’s not enough to simply have a website – you also need to ensure that your domain name (which is like an address for your plot of land) is available. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you check domain name availability like Namecheap and WhoGoHost.
  3. Legal Availability: In addition to checking domain name availability, it’s crucial to ensure that your business name is available on the databases of corporate regulatory agencies like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), which is responsible for registering businesses. This step can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you can use your chosen business name without any problems. You can check this by visiting: https://search.cac.gov.ng/

Your Target Audience:

When choosing a business name, it’s important to consider your target audience. After all, your business is meant to serve this group of people, so it’s essential to choose a name that resonates with them. As we saw in the previous example of “Adun“, a business name that appeals to your target market can help you create a strong brand identity

Expansion Capability:

It is also very important to consider the evolution of your brand, in two or five years, your business might evolve to accommodate other services, if it is limited to a particular location and you’re thinking of expanding to another location, it could limit your brand, the brand name should not be restrictive. Take, for example, Linda Ikeji’s media company. She began with a blog but expanded into film production, TV shows, news, and music, yet her brand name, “Linda Ikeji Media,” remained suitable for her diversified business interests.

Simplicity

Make sure that your business name is easy to read, pronounce and remember. Avoid long, complicated names that are difficult to spell. Brands that are simple and easy to understand are more effective. Consider popular brands such as Apple, Google, and Tesla, whose names are straightforward and distinctive. For instance, if you’re thinking of naming a clothing brand “Benson Wears”, avoid using a more complex spelling such as “BNXN”. This looks nice on paper, but it’s hard to pronounce and not clearly understood.

Legal Compliance

When it comes to naming your business, it’s crucial to keep in mind the guidelines set forth by the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The CAC is responsible for ensuring corporate compliance for businesses in Nigeria. To avoid any issues with the CAC, you should consider their guidelines for naming businesses, which include:

  • The name must not be too similar to another business name that has already been registered. You can confirm if a name has been already registered by visiting the CAC’s search portal (search.cac.gov.ng).
  • Your chosen name should typically be about three words long to increase your chances of approval.
  • Sole proprietorships cannot have “Ltd”, “Limited” or “Incorporated”, in their names. Instead, we advise our clients to use words like “Ventures”, “Enterprises”, “Services” or “Solutions”.
  • Names for organizations, like NGOs and Charities, can end with “Foundation”, “Initiative”, “Organization”, “Centre”, “Programme”, “Network”, etc.
  • Businesses registered as Limited Liability Companies can have “Limited”, “LLC”, or “Ltd.” in their names.
  • Your chosen business name must not be offensive or misleading to the public.
  • The name must not suggest any illegal activity or be against public policy.

 

Steps To Follow When Naming Your Business

Having understood the significance of choosing the right name and the essential things to consider, this section will provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you come up with an appropriate name for your business.

Define The Business

Defining your business, brand, tone, and values is a necessary step in naming your business because your business name should reflect and communicate those elements to your target audience. A business name is often the first thing that people will see and remember about your brand, and it should give them an idea of what your business is all about. A clear and well-defined brand and value proposition will help you develop a name that resonates with your target audience, and it will make it easier for them to understand what you do and why they should choose your business over your competitors.

Brainstorm

To come up with a unique and memorable name for your business, don’t hesitate to brainstorm a variety of ideas. For instance, if you’re starting a beauty store, you can:

  1. Find inspiration from similar businesses in your industry by browsing Google or social media platforms. This will give you a feel for the names your competitors use, so you can avoid using similar formats and stand out.
  2. Use a thesaurus or other brainstorming tools to search for associated words related to your business. Consider creating a word dump by jotting down words that come to mind or are relevant to your brand or industry. Word association tools like Wordassociations.net can also be helpful.
  3. Try business name generators like this free business name generator
  4. Translate words into a local language or combine two or more words. For the beauty store, we could try; Luscious + Lovely to have Lusly or Luvel. The Microsoft that we know is a combination of Microcomputer and Software.
  5. Include your name as another viable option for naming your business. For instance, if your name is Mabel Uduak, you could use Mabel Uduak Makeover.
  6. Use acronyms such as “M.U.M.” (Mabel Uduak Makeover). It’s also essential to think of words, phrases, and ideas that evoke the essence of your business.
  7. Don’t be afraid to be different, funny, or unusual, such as “Buttered Skins” for a hypothetical beauty store.

Ultimately, your business name should channel a positive and relatable meaning that resonates with your target audience. Try to choose a name that is unique, and memorable, and that also communicates something meaningful about your business.

Get Feedback

Before making a final decision, share your top 5 to 10 names with family, friends, and colleagues to get their opinions. If possible, get feedback from your target audience too. This can help you determine which name is the most effective. It would also make sense if you can talk about the business name with your network to test it out and people unfamiliar with your business to get their unbiased feedback.

 

It’s important to ensure that the chosen name does not have any negative connotations with your target audience. Remember, the ultimate goal is to choose a name that both you and your prospective customers will be happy with.

 

Brand Name Vs Legal Name: How To Get Your Business Name Approved By The CAC

What is a brand name, and how does it differ from a legal name?

A brand name is a name that a business uses to market itself and build its identity with customers, while a legal name is the official name of the business that is registered with the government and used for legal and tax purposes. A brand name is usually part of a business’ legal name.

To illustrate, Bolt Services UK Limited is the legal name of the business, but it goes by the brand name “Bolt”. Paystack Payments Limited is the legal name of the business but goes by the brand name “Paystack. Meta (formerly Facebook) is the brand name for Meta Platforms, Inc. (Legal name). These are examples of what a typical, legally approvable business name looks like. A business name consists of your chosen brand name and other words or phrases to make it complete.

Why Is This Important?

When you register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission, you will be required to register a legal name, not a one-word/phrase brand name. If you choose a brand name like “Buttered Skins” for your business, you will need to add suffixes (two to three words) to make it an approved legal name, such as Buttered Skins Beauty Solutions for a sole proprietorship or Buttererd Skins Ltd. for a limited liability company.

This is the first step in getting your business registered and it’s important that you get it right to ensure registration success

 

Conclusion

We cannot over-emphasize the importance of naming your business properly. By following the steps outlined in this guide and understanding the process of getting your business name approved by the CAC, you can come up with a name that accurately reflects your brand, sells your products/services & resonates with your target audience.

Still in need of assistance? Feel free to contact us. A part of our business registration service involves helping you shape your name to fit approvable standards, and we’ve done it well for the past fifteen years for over 11,500 businesses!

Was this guide helpful? We’d love to know.

The information contained on this guide, whether free or paid, is for educational and informational purposes only. The Company assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents of the guide. The information contained on this guide is not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, legal or tax advice. The information contained on this guide is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation. We have done our best to ensure that the information provided on this guide is accurate and providing valuable information. Regardless of anything to the contrary, nothing available on or through this guide should be understood as a recommendation that you should not consult with an attorney to address your particular information. The Company expressly recommends that you seek advice from an attorney prior to taking any actions. Neither the Company nor any of its employees, owners, or contributors shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions on this guide or for any damage you may suffer as a result of failing to seek competent legal advice from a licensed attorney who is familiar with your situation.

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