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The hardest writing in the world is naming a kitten

What’s in a name?

It might have been Evelyn Waugh who said: ‘The hardest writing in the world is naming a kitten’. It’s the same when it comes to naming your business.

Business names can usually be categorised into the following types:


Ford, Edison, Jack Daniels


General Motors, United Airlines, British Gas


Microsoft, Instamatic, Kodak


Trailblazer, Adobe, Caterpillar

Faux-Greek/Latin neologisms

Acura, Verizon, Viagra, Altria

In my opinion, a good name is succinct, unique, yet explains what you do, at a glance. Here are some great business names:

• Mustdestroy: Collect and destroy confidential

Bite-Back: Campaign to protect sharks

Innocent Drinks: Fruit smoothies that are 100%
pure and unadulterated

Splat: Painting and decorating

No More Frogs: Dating agency

There are no issues with trading under your own name, or your own name/initials and a brief description e.g. Lucy Sandhurst, Personal Trainer.

If you are a sole trader and choose a different business name, you must also show the owner(s) name on business communications including your invoices, emails and website e.g. John Browne trading as Corporate Curtains or Jenny Collins T/A ClownFeet.

Does your business name ‘do what it says on the tin’?

Case study: Directory Enquiries is one industry where names have proved critical to success. 118 118 (The Number) is the most popular, probably because it’s the easiest to remember. It’s the number that all the providers wanted, but they were allocated randomly by Ofcom. However, they are also one of the most expensive providers (because they can get away with it). Next most popular is BT 118 500. Guess what. They’re not the cheapest either (because they retain a leading brand identity). Search online for the latest cheap 118 pricing and you could save £££s.

Top tip for businesses: Choose a good name

Top tip for customers: It pays to shop around!

Jackie B

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