What’s in a name? Well, a lot when it comes to small business.
Your business name sets the tone of your business and helps define what you have to offer. It’s the first impression someone has of your business, and it pays to get it right.Your business name should convey your expertise, value, and uniqueness.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to choosing a business name. But simply Googling ‘business name ideas’ won’t quite cut it. Everyone has a different view on what makes a great name, so it’s hard to follow a precise set of rules. Essentially, however, any name can be effective as long as it’s backed by an appropriate marketing strategy.
Keeping it simple
If you follow one rule, it should be that the more your name communicates about the business the better. You want to make it easy for potential clients with a business name that’s to-the-point. Don’t pick a name that’s long and confusing. For example, calling your name “śrotriya upasparśana” might look and sound exotic (translation: “Divine touch” in Sanskrit). But can you imagine typing that into Google Maps when you’re running late for your massage appointment? Or recommending the business to a friend?
Keeping your business name simple will also help with keeping your URL manageable. It will also look better on your marketing material and be significantly easier to remember than something long and complicated.
Keeping it legal
The other rule you MUST follow is make sure your business name is legal. The rules regarding name registration vary depending on the structure of your business. If it’s a company you will need to register the business name when you register your company. If you are a sole trader or have a partnership, you need to register your business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). You can learn more here.
You’ll also need to check to see if the name you want is already in use, although technically speaking, unless a business name is registered as a trademark, it can be used by multiple entities. But consider your brand. Would you be happy with a similar name to your competitor?
Keeping it real
Once you’ve covered the first two major rules the rest is about finding what best suits you and your business. Tips you might like to consider for keeping it real include:
Get to know your audience
The more you know about your audience the more you can cater your business name to suit them. Who are you envisioning will be your major clientele? Let’s say you are starting a mobile massage business, and that your target audience is big corporations that have employer wellness plans. Managers may feel more comfortable communicating with staff and including information in the annual report if your business name was for example Massage Wellness, as opposed to “Crystal’s Magic Touch”.
Consider the philosophy
Massage is about health and healing. Your business name should reflect this. Getting too cute or going off topic puts you at risk of people conjuring up the wrong image. Make the most of a power thesaurus and get creative using reflective words. But keep your words simple to avoid looking like you’ve just used a thesaurus. Words like “prophylactic”, “benignant” and “convalescent” might sound fancy, but not if no one understands them!
Sell what you’re offering
As your service is massage, it makes sense to include the word massage or a synonym in your business name. If your specialty is specific, such as sports massage, you could include this too. As we said earlier, the more information you can spell out for your audience, the easier they’ll understand what it is you’re offering.
Make it local
If you’re setting up a business in Port Macquarie and you’ve got no intention of leaving Port Macquarie any time soon, consider bringing a location into your business name. A geo-targeted business name can help with your Google presence, and it can also help you brand your business as a regional leader (aka the business of choice). Just make sure there’s not another “Port Macquarie Massage Services” you could be confused with.
If you are thinking that you’d one day like to expand the business or move interstate, leave location out. Renaming later down the track can be expensive and damaging to your brand.
Make it personal
If you are a sole trader planning to stay that way, you might like to consider naming your business after yourself. Your clients, having received a great experience from you once, will easily remember your name and it’s a simple way to spread the word. Some potential clients also radiate to the personal touch and the opportunity to get to know the therapist before committing. Make yourself a big part of your branding and it can pay off. Do, however, bear in mind that selling on “Anna Beckett Therapy” will be a near impossible task.
Make a play on words
Puns are a form of wordplay that can create humour using words that sound the same. Sometimes thought of as a “joke” a pun can actually be a good way to keep your business name in someone’s mind. Other forms of wordplay include acronyms (a word using the first letters of other words) and portmanteaus, which combine one word with another word to form a completely new word – eg. “brunch”. If you are going to use a play on words, make sure it will be universally understood.
5 things not to do
There are certain things you should avoid when coming up with a business name.
- Don’t be too specific about your location. For example, you might not always be located on Main Street.
- Don’t pick a name that gives the wrong impression. Avoid words like “erotic”, “sensual” or “happy”.
- Don’t name only for SEO. Google might make sense of it, but your customers won’t.
- Don’t go against your gut. If your business name doesn’t feel right, don’t go with it.
- Don’t name according to trends. Remember that fads come and go.
Testing your business name
Once you’ve whittled your favourite names down to two or three, test them out. This means applying them online to letterheads, invoices, flyers, advertising, your website, car signwriting, business cards and more. A graphic designer can help you with this, and the development of a logo to match your business name. This way you can see which name is really best for your business.
Ready to open your own massage business? Get qualified with Discover Massage Australia today.