Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Small Business

Starting up your own small business is a daunting challenge, but an exciting one.

There are so many pitfalls that you have to avoid, so many basics that you need to address in order to be successful. In our helpful guide on How to Be a Successful Small Business Owner we discuss some of the basics you must get right such as having a budget, outlining your goals and having a support network. Even with those things in place, it can still be tough and Investopedia claim that 45% of all startups fail in the first five years. That might be a lack of planning, it might be a throttled market or it might be something as simple as giving your company an errant name.

One aspect of owning a small business which might seem trivial is the name, but it is easy to fall into some common traps when trying to develop that aspect of your brand. A killer idea, a gap in the market and the drive to succeed can all be offset by making one of these four common naming faults.

Too Plain, Too Obscure

You want your business to stand out, so you decide to give it an obscure, wacky name that just screams ‘remember me’. The only problem is that whilst people might remember you, they possibly have no idea what your name means, or what you do. Try not to overthink the name, try not to be too creative and develop a brand so obscure that potential customers are left baffled. On the same note, try not to be too plain. If you open a flower shop, for example, ‘Jo’s Flowers’ just will not stand out from the crowd. Then again, neither would ‘Gracious Asphodelus’, a play on the meaning of Jo and a Latin word for flower. So be careful and try to strike the right balance.

Limiting Your Growth

 Try not to pick a name that limits future growth. If you are opening that flower shop in Georgetown, then calling yourself ‘Georgetown Flowers’ would mean future expansion might be limited. If in the future you want to open in a neighboring town, you would have to rebrand. Similarly, if you opened a flower shop, but found a side trade as a tearoom, calling yourself anything with ‘flowers’ in the name could limit your future options. You do not know what is around the corner, so pick a name that reflects your potential.

Similar Names

You must avoid falling foul of the law, too. There are some basic naming rules you must adhere to when branding your business and a failure to do so could land you in trouble. In a guide to setting up an LLC by ZenBusiness, they explain how you must ensure your business name is different from any other in the state, so make sure you do your research. You cannot use anything misleading for your LLC either, words such as ‘bank’ are not acceptable.


If you do brand your business in a manner which later causes trouble, do not be too stubborn to initiate a change. You may like your name, but remember it is not just an identity, it is your advert, and how people get to know you from the get-go. There is nothing wrong with admitting your initial name is not working. Remember the company Cadabra? No? You might know them better as Amazon. Even the very best have to adapt and change when they know things are not working out.

Have Fun

Finally, with so much to consider, you might be put off naming your company at all. Don’t be. Starting your business is an exciting journey on which to embark on and with the right skills and approach, you could be set for a thrilling future. Just take the time to get the foundations right and whatever you build on top will serve you well.

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