Business names for your business – things to consider

One of the first things a budding entrepreneur will consider when starting a business, is business names – i.e. what to call the business.

If you intend to incorporate your business as a limited company, the registration process will filter out unacceptable names and names that are too similar to a company already registered at Companies House. However, this registration process can create situations where an existing company thinks that the name you have registered is too close to their own and may challenge you to change your company name.

If you set up as a sole trader there is no official registry of business names, but you must still be wary of using certain expressions.

In certain circumstances, you can write to a particular organisation or government department to get clearance to use a restricted name or phrase in a name.

For example, you should avoid, or seek to permission to use, the use of the words: association, bank, British, charity, England, government, His or Her Majesty, institute, King, mutual, NHS, patent, police, Post Office, Queen, registrar or regulator, society, Trade Union, trust, tribunal, and University.

This list is by no means complete. There is a fairly comprehensive list of names and expressions to avoid on the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporation-and-names/annex-a-sensitive-words-and-expressions-or-words-that-could-imply-a-connection-with-government.

Another important point to bear in mind when choosing a business name is what domain name you will be choosing for your website and email. It’s best to check with one of the main domain name providers what names are still available. One thing I often see is organisations that choose ridiculously long domain names that are difficult to spell. This makes it much more likely that an email address or website URL will be typed incorrectly making it difficult and frustrating for potential customers to use or remember.

If you need advice we can help here at THP. We have advised numerous businesses on how best to set up and run a new business. Please call to arrange an initial consultation, with offices in  SuttonChelmsfordWanstead, and Saffron Walden.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    About Mark Boulter

    Mark Boulter is responsible for the efficient running of the firm’s infrastructure, and ensuring that THP delivers the best client service. Promoting the vision and culture across all branches, people are the key: “I like people who have a fresh approach and I’m happy for them to run with their ideas,” he says.

    Communication across departments is crucial and Mark pioneers this. He ensure that people and departments not only talk to each other, but that they share ideas– whether they’re about marketing, finance, sales, strategy or any other topic that can result in us offering a better service. “I think helping to develop the next generation of THP people is essential to our success,” Mark adds. “We’ve a lot of talented people and our way of doing things increasingly attracts ambitious newcomers who are looking for a fresh approach. That’s good for us and even better news for our clients.”

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