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4 ways to choose a great limited company name

by 1st Contact | Jan 28, 2014
  • Your brand name is your company imprint. For many people, it’s the first exposure they’ll have towards your services. Here you’ll find four simple ways to help you choose a company name that stands the test of time.

    Rewind the clock a century and you find a breed of business people that gave scant attention to company names. A list of long-established brands provides a case in point. Just think General Electric, Standard & Poor’s, General Motors, Legal & General Group, Standard Life, National Australia Bank, Air New Zealand and Standard Bank in South Africa. Or WPP, one of the world’s largest branding companies, which stands for Wire and Plastics Products.

    1. Make it easily pronounceable

    To be fair, there is a certain allure to exotic-sounding names. With internet-based translation services, it’s easy to transform your native-tongued word of choice into an epic-sounding foreign label. But if your business name is tough to pronounce, it’ll be hard for people to give you word-of-mouth referrals. Unless, that is, you’re Xyience, a Las Vegas-based energy drink that pokes fun at the ‘proper’ way of pronouncing its name (it’s pronounced like “science” but with a “z”) to draw attention to its brand.

    2. Trademark your name

    If you’re forming a limited company in England, the States or Canada, you won’t have to file or register a trademark because your trademark is automatically “actioned” once you start promoting your product or service. This right only extends to the geographical scope of your business operations though. In other words, if you’re a local company aiming to go global, it’s an investment in your business’s future to register a trademark early.

    3. Brevity is king

    If you study what makes other names great, you’ll notice a trend: Most great brand names have ten letters or fewer. In fact, the only companies in the top-50 portion of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2013 that have more than ten letters are Mercedes-Benz, Louis Vuitton and Thomson Reuters. The plus-side is, these are established companies whose long-earned reputations befit their somewhat foreign-sounding names.

    4. Be strategic in your choice of name 

    Contrary to popular belief, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula didn’t choose the name Apple for its casual catchiness alone. The decision to name their company after the world’s evergreen fruit was a strategic attempt to compete with Atari, the biggest computer tech company at the time. After all, the newly-founded Apple Computer would come before Atari alphabetically in the phone book. A secondary reason was Jobs’ fond memories of the Oregon apple farm he worked on one summer.

    Similarly, when Reg Bamford founded 1st Contact in 1995, he knew that the name would appear at the top of the phonebook. Not only that, but the name would resonate with newly-arrived expats, who used 1st Contact as their first point of contact in the UK.

    A final word of warning

    Certain words and expressions come with specific rules and regulations about how they’re allowed to be incorporated into company names. To play it safe, double-check through Companies House’s list of sensitive words.

    If you need help in setting up a limited company, feel free to give 1st Contact Accounting a call on 0808 141 2341 (free phone within the UK) or email them

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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