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16 Nov, 2011

You name it! Top tips for naming your business by Bev James

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success|PR|Small Business Coaching Articles|Success Stories

Coaching heart, commercial mind™ - Bev James

“Groucho isn’t my real name. I’m just breaking it in for a friend.” - Julius ‘Groucho’ Marx

I have seen countless coaches get to the exciting stage of naming their business only find the process of registering the name drives them crazy.

Having named several companies myself, I know the feeling, and understand exactly how frustrating it can be. Just when you come up with the perfect name, you Google it to find that another coach is using it already; or trawl through the Companies House database to find another company has already submitted it for registration.

A few years ago when I was planning my website, I went online to buy BevJames.com and BevJames.co.uk, only to find that both domain names had already been taken.

My heart sank. Who could have bought them? What sort of business were they running? Could I persuade them to sell them to me? Those and other less charitable thoughts went through my mind as I delved further.

I looked up the name of the owner … only to find it was me! I had brought them a few years previously when I set up Elements Consulting, my first coaching business, but had forgotten about them. The relief was immense – and it was a real wake-up call.

Web domain names are so valuable that they are being bought-up speculatively these days – so whatever stage you are at in your business planning, don’t delay. No matter what name you eventually choose for your business, if your own name is available, buy it now if you can.

TOP TIPS FOR CHOOSING A NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS


DITCH IT

The two most common mistakes that people make when choosing a name:

• Trying to be too cryptic or clever. If you have to explain how to spell the name or what it means every time you speak to someone – forget it.
• Using unusual spelling to be different. People may forget the spelling and find it difficult to find you online; or worse, mis-spell it and stumble upon of your competitors by mistake.

It is also wise to avoid using words that will date, may cause offence or have regional or UK spelling.

 

DO IT!

Things to ask yourself when choosing a name:

• Is it memorable?
• Is it easy to spell?
• Does the name tell people what you do? e.g. Life Coaching for Change
• Does it give out a message that will limit future development? e.g. The Brighton Coach (not much use if you move to Inverness, or could be mistaken for a transport hire company.) You get the idea.

Decide on your name and get if registered before ordering business cards and stationery, to avoid unnecessary disappointment and expense.

Consider using your own name as the business name – especially if you already have an established reputation. It has worked well for self-improvement gurus such as Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy. It also increases the chance of your name being remembered when people make personal recommendations – and improves the chances of your name being returned in Google searches.

Register your name – Once you have chosen your name, check to see whether the domain is available. Just Google “UK Domain registration” for a full list, or contact Nominet, which manages .uk domain name registrations.

If you are a limited company check out the Companies House website to make sure the name is available. You can use different names for trading and registration.

 

SPECIAL NOTE:

There are legal guidelines surrounding the use of words such as ‘Limited’, ‘Associates’, ‘Partners’, ‘Trust’, etc.

Certain ‘sensitive words and expressions’ need permission and proof for use if they:

• Suggest your business is of national or international importance (such as British, International, Olympic etc)
• Imply special status or authority (such as Association)
• Describe a particular function (such as Charity or Trust)
• Suggest a connection with government (such as Agency) or the Royal family (such as Royal)
• Imply professional status (such as Chartered, Registered, etc.)

There are also legal guidelines about Trademark infringement and passing off. Again, Companies House offers clear guidelines and advice. Business Link also offers useful information via their website.

Tell the world you exist – once you have decided on your company name and have registered it (but not before!), get the word out via as many routes as you have available. Don’t be shy. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, email and every other avenue of business communication.

The more often others mention you and eventually link to you, the more likely you are to be found and recommended.

TOP TIP: Even if you don’t plan to use your own name for your business, make sure you own the domain. Buy the .com and .co.uk if they are available and I suggest you DO IT! today.

About Bev

Bev is CEO of The Academy Group which includes The Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy (EBA) & EBA for Coaches which are both joint ventures with James Caan. Her book “Do It! or Ditch It” has already been listed as a bestselling business title and she is ready to pass on her success to your organisation.

Connect with Bev on Google+

8 Responses to "You name it! Top tips for naming your business by Bev James"

1 | Lara

November 16th, 2011 at 11:54 am

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Excellent tip!

2 | Inge Dowden

November 16th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

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Great tips as always Bev. And when you’re not as lucky as I was in being the only Inge Dowden in the online world, you can always try for other extensions to the domain, such as .biz or .uk.com. Most domain names providers offer this is a standard option so fear not when JaneSmith.com is no longer available, you might still get it somehow.

3 | Iain Smith

November 17th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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Hilarious Bev! I know you’re competitive but fighting yourself for your own domain name is something special. And even then you won.

Good advice from Inge. I’ve noticed that once you’ve got a good reputation then people ask for you by name anyway and don’t always know what the company is called. Call it what you want – as long as you’re delivering the goods then the business name is, or becomes, irrelevant.

4 | Sam Waterfall

November 20th, 2011 at 11:38 am

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Thanks Bev…. you’re telling us what we already know… “There’s Only One Bev James!”

Seriously, this is a very important tip and it comes down to understanding our clients’ worlds. They are too busy to bother to work out our ‘clever’ or ‘cryptic’ company names (they are only ‘clever’ to us anyway).

Thanks Bev. Do it!

5 | Bev James

November 20th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

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Thank you all for your comments, nice to get input from successful coaches.

Iain you know me well :)

6 | femi okenla

November 20th, 2011 at 8:23 pm

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good tips

7 | 7 Tips for Success | The Coaching Academy Blog

November 23rd, 2011 at 10:58 am

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[...] Look at who can be part of your Dream Team. You need other people to build your business. It should include a Virtual Assistant to do the lower fee earning work, the administration, maybe [...]

8 | Amalia

November 25th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

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I participated in last weekend’s seminar 16th-17th of November. I really enjoyed all the information provided thanks a lot!

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