Selecting your company name is the first step to forming a UK limited company. Whilst it is possible to change the company name after your company has been formed, this is not ideal. In this post, we share 7 tips to help you choose a company name.
1. Check that your name is available
Companies House do not allow duplicate or similar names to exist on their register. If you already have a name in mind, before you go any further, you should check if it’s available.
You can do this by using our name search tool. Enter your proposed company name and hit enter. We’ll then immediately notify you whether it’s available or not. If it is, great. Now follow our tips to make sure the name is right for you. If it’s not, don’t worry, take a look at our tips for some inspiration.
2. Ensure that your name is truly unique
Forming a company that shares a resemblance with another entity is not only unprofessional, but can also cause confusion and damage.
Our name search tool will tell you if your proposed name is suitable for the Companies House register, and will spot and highlight if it’s ‘too like’ or ‘too similar’ to another company. These are rules set out in the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015.
However, not all businesses are registered at Companies House, so you should still carry out research to make sure your name bears no similarities to another business.
As well as completing a general online search – via Google for example – for your proposed name, we recommend making sure that your company is truly unique by using the Companies House ‘Search the register’ tool (just because Companies House will allow you to form a company does not mean that there aren’t comparable names on the register) and GOV.UK’s ‘Search for a trade mark’ facility.
3. Think twice before using a tricky spelling
The business world is full of brands that have either taken a word and then spelt it in a quirky way, or simply made up a word. Some of these brands have achieved amazing success, so it would be foolish for us to say, “Don’t do this”.
However, we do say, “Think twice before you do this”.
As a new business owner, you’re going to be out there pitching to potential clients, partners, suppliers, and other business contacts. When you meet these people, your company name needs to stick in their minds, and the best way to do this is to make it easy to remember, easy to spell, and easy to find online.
This should also save you the bother of having to spell out your company name every time you say it.
4. Look at your competition
Research your market and look at the names of your soon-to-be competition. What words are usually used and what words aren’t? Are the names more playful or do they project professionalism? Are there themes or is every business doing something differently?
Now consider where you want to stand in the industry. Do you intend to disrupt the market and do something wholly different from what everyone else is doing, or would you prefer to go quietly about your business?
The answers to these questions should inform the direction you go in, when it comes to naming your company and developing your branding strategy.
5. Give your business room to grow
It’s common for business owners to include their service and/or location in their company name, particularly in the construction industry. Whilst there’s nothing generally wrong with this, before you take this route – ask yourself what the long-term goals are for your business.
If you have no interest in expanding your niche or geographical reach, then including your service and location could be a wise move. On the other hand, if you have plans to start offering a range of services, or intend to open more branches – using these facets in your company name will look strange when the time to grow comes.
For example, Milton Keynes Extensions Ltd works well for a business that will be installing extensions, and nothing else, in Milton Keynes. But what if the business decides to start landscaping, and wants to start doing so in London?
6. Make sure the domain name is available
There is no rule that states that your company name must match up with your website’s domain name.
However, if you plan for the company name and domain to be consistent with each other, at the same time as checking whether your limited company name is available, investigate whether the domain name is available too.
This will help you avoid disappointment, and having to settle for a second-choice name when the time comes to register your domain.
This is also another good time to consider the potential growth of your company. If you foresee expansion, look to register all the appropriate domains now too, to stop anyone else from snatching these up.
7. Ask for opinions
We strongly recommended requesting feedback from a handful of friends, family, and if possible, people with industry knowledge, before you go ahead and register the name.
By seeking counsel, you may be pointed to details that you missed. Perhaps the name could be misconstrued. There’s a TV character with the same name. You’ve spelt something incorrectly (unintentionally). Or, it’s just not very good.
The feedback will come whether you like it or not, so invite it at a stage where you can use it productively.
Thanks for reading
Choosing the right name is a vital step in your business journey. Take the time to get it right, and your business will be off to a brilliant start. We hope you have found the tips covered in this post helpful.
If you have already formed your company and now regret your company name, we can help you fix this with our Company Name Change Service:
If you have any questions about naming a limited company, or would like to share your own advice, please leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.