How to choose a business name

Choosing a business name needs careful consideration. If you get it wrong and need to change it in the future, it can be a very traumatic and costly exercise so it is best to get it right first time. Your business name will be on your marketing material, stationery and most importantly on your customer’s lips when they talk about you. So make sure it looks and sounds good.

In addition to getting the name right, there are legal implications to be aware of and specific requirements to comply with dependent upon the legal structure of your business.  And did you know there is a list of restricted words?

Let’s start off with what makes a good business name.


A good business name should:

  • Be short and easy to remember
  • Reflect your brand personality and what you offer
  • Sound good when spoken
  • Be easy to spell
  • Follow the law. Check with Companies House for detailed information on naming rules and regulations.


A business name should not:

  • Be the same as an already registered business name. Check with Companies House
  • Mimic an existing brand or business
  • Conflict with a registered trademark. Check with the Intellectual Property Office’s Trademark database to ensure you don’t fall foul of any.
  • Contain any restricted word.
  • Be confusing or misleading
  • Limit your future – ‘North Devon Hair Care’ limits moving this business into other geographical locations. ‘Creative Kitchens’ limits moving into designing bathrooms in the future.
  • Be offensive in a foreign language if you are trading overseas


Have a look at the following and decide which you think is the best name.  All these businesses do the same thing:

  • Aspect
  • Premier Plumbing Services
  • Wears Brothers

If I was looking for a plumber, I know which company would grab my attention.


Other things to consider

  • What do you intend to do with your business long term?

What is your exit strategy?  If you are planning to build a business that you can sell one day in the future, think carefully about branding your business with your own name.  ‘Creative Cakes’ may be a better brand to be able to sell than ‘Amy Hill Cakes’.

  • Is the web address available?

If the domain name is already taken you will be helping drive traffic to that site when people search for your name.  Best to think of another name.


If your business is incorporated, you must register your business name with Companies House and there are then regulations you must comply with as to where your company name is displayed.  Up to date information on business names for limited companies and partnerships can be found at Companies House.