8 Fatal Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business

Last Modified: May 4, 2024



How important is your business name? Our brand agency experts weight on on the most important elements of a brand naming exercise! In many instances your business name is the first impression people have about your business. Not only does it introduce your company to the world, it could also be the differences between people wanting to learn more about your company or choosing one of your competitors instead.

It’s critical you choose the right name for your business. Here are the top mistakes to avoid when making your decision.

#1. Avoid names that could be considered offensive or used inappropriately.

This is especially important when using imaginary words or words from other languages. Just because a word sounds pretty from your perspective doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive to others. One way to check is by simply doing a google search to see if there are alternative meanings you aren’t aware of. If using words in other languages, ask a native speaker of that language for their feedback.

#2. Stay away from words that are hard to spell, say, or understand.

You want to make things as easy as possible for your clients and customers. For example, businesses make it a point to let everyone know their service is “fast”, placing orders is “simple,” or they can receive their orders “quickly.” All this is for naught with a confusing or difficult to say business name.

In addition, if people are unable to find the company online or can’t type the website address correctly, they may assume the rest of the business is difficult to use as well.

#3. Having too many people involved in creating the business name (including a Brand Agency).

Some companies will have their employees help with the name creating process. While a popular, this method has its drawbacks:

  • Some employees might be offended or feel alienated if their choice isn’t chosen
  • A name approved by the majority could be too plain and not stand out from competitors
  • If you involve a brand agency – you add an extra element of complexity with another opinion at the table

Instead of having everyone’s input, a better option may be to create a think-tank or having a few key decision-makers involved. These individuals should have the mindset of doing what’s best for the company, not their individual preferences or opinions.

#4. The name is too vague.

This refers to the full name of your business. If people are unable to determine what you do by your company name, you could have a difficult time attracting new business. This also applies to names that are unrelated to the products or services your company provides.

#5. Your company name is too long.

Our Brand Agency experts can attest to the fact – that long names may be difficult to remember or type into browsers or search engines. Your company name should fit comfortably into a social media handle or internet domain name. Keep it simple: aim for a company name of 30 characters or less.

#6. Refusing to change your name

This refers to situations where a person knows their business name isn’t the best fit for the company, but they refuse to change it. This situation typically applies when a company outgrows its original market, changes direction, or adds new products or services to its business.

In other instances, the company may change its name to coincide with changes in public perception. For example, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC because of the health concerns of eating fried foods. By making this subtle change, the company was able to add new items to their menu and avoid public scrutiny.

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#7.  Another business has the exact same name or something very similar.

Most businesses have their names trademarked, but there may be instances where businesses in unrelated industries have the same (or similar) names. Not only could this confuse the customer, but their bad publicity could affect you as well: people might mistake that company for yours. This case of mistaken identity could severely damage your reputation (and profits).

#8. Your business name looks like another word when written down.

Not only should your business name sound good, it must look good also. Thanks to social media, words are now put together without spaces. As a result, it’s possible your business name could have an entirely different meaning when there are no spaces between the words. For example, the movie title “Girls Trip” can take on a different meaning if written as a website address without the space separating the words (www.girlstrip.)

Should You Change Your Business Name?

This is something every business owner should ask themselves from time to time. As you review your company name, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has your business evolved from its original purpose?
  • Has the focus of your business shifted over time?
  • Are you embarrassed to hand out business cards because of your company name, logo or image?
  • Does your business name reflect a certain region, but you’ve expanded geographically?
  • Your brand or name was involved in a scandal or negative public perception?  
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Each of these could be a sign that a name change is necessary. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s time to change your business name.

The Bottom Line

Having the proper name can make or break your business. Care must be taken to ensure your business name is easily understood by your target market and signifies what your company is about. For existing businesses, periodically check to make sure your name still represents what your company is about. 

More About Soto Group Brand Agency

We are an Australian branding, marketing, and web development agency based in Mount Lawley, WA. We service clients all over the globe and help them navigate the often tricky website design landscape. Our ethos is to build relationships based on trust that leads to design projects and outcomes that are goal-specific and help our clients’ businesses grow and thrive. Hundreds of businesses trust us to build then brands and websites that can stand the test of time, and lead to more conversions, more sales and more work life balance.

If you are looking for advice from an expert Brand Agency on getting the right brand advice for you or finding out more about our services and how we help businesses excel, reach out to our friendly team for a no-obligation chat.

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