How to Name a Company

The name of the company is mentioned in its Certificate of Incorporation and will be used in all the company’s contracts and agreements, irrespective of the trade name that the company chooses to operate under.

The company name or the corporate name is the formal name of the company when it is incorporated. The name defines the legal identity of the business.

The Companies Act, 2013 also requires the company to add suffixes to the name of the company depending on whether it’s operating as a Private Company, Public Company or Limited Liability Partnership.

8 Tips to Choose a Company Name

The name of the company should be memorable, distinctive and should ideally reflect the business' character. Here are a few tips to naming your business.

  1. Hard to Spell: You don’t want a name that’s difficult to pronounce and spell. The name of your company should be simple and easy for people to remember and recognise. The name also should sound good when you say it aloud. That’s the reason people use alliterations while naming their company. For instance: Coco-Cola
  2. The name shouldn’t limit your business: Let the name not describe your product or limit your business to a particular area. This makes it difficult to expand and grow at a later date. For instance, Apple Computer Company was changed to Apple Inc. because it limited the products of the company. The same principle goes while choosing names with a city or places. KFC was earlier called Kentucky Fried Chicken, the name was limiting growth and expansion, and the company chose to be known as KFC instead. 
  3. Internet Search: The internet is a great tool to check if your company name works for your business. You can find keywords and similar words using Google AdWords. It will also help you get slightly different variations for the name you have chosen. An internet search will also help you find out which names get better traction amongst searches, or if there are similar names that already exist.  
  4. Domain and Web-friendly:  The name of your company will also be used as a domain name. So, make sure that the domain name of the company doesn’t already exist. Ideally, domain names should be short enough for people to type easily, therefore, your company name should mimic the same characteristic. Also, dyslexic spellings are old school. Don’t choose names like 'Dresses4U'. People shouldn’t be confused when they try to search for your company name.
  5. Meanings: Names with meaning get a lot of traction. This helps people understand a little more about the brand. While some meaningless names also do really well, like Google and Yahoo, they were extremely catchy, making the names stand out. 
  6. Conduct a Name Search: The name of the company should be distinctive and should not be the same also any other registered company. The name of the company also shouldn’t infringe on existing trademarks. This is why it’s important to conduct a trademark search as well.
  7. Get feedback: Constructive criticism helps while choosing a name. Choose about five to ten names and run them by people to get their opinion. Some companies also conduct focused group studies to be doubly sure. For instance, General Motors came up with a new car called Nova, only to realise that it meant ‘do not go’ in Spanish
  8. Pick a name you are happy with: At the end of the day, it’s your business and you should really be happy with the name. It’s important to like the name of the company because the relationship with the company name only gets stronger with time.

5 Popular Company Name Ideas

It's important to understand that your company name is not going to make or break your business. Ultimately the course of success is chartered by how well the products and services of the business perform. But finding the right name for your business can be a daunting task. Here are a few popular and time-tested company name ideas:

  1. Obvious words: Take companies like Innovate Retail Pvt. Ltd, or the Body Shop International Limited – These names give clarity about the company’s function and explains what product/service the company offers. This types of company names are easy for the audience to grasp and understand. The only problem with this option is that the name might turn out to be common or boring. It would typically be suitable for niche businesses. 
  2. Founder Names: Many companies are named after their founder. Such as TATA Motors, Aditya Birla Group, etc. Many fashion designers such as Ritu Kumar and Sabyasachi Mukherjee also follow this approach. Using the family/founder’s name helps the company be unique and at the same time, it reflects the roots and history of the company to create an emotional relationship with the audience. 
  3. Trendy and Catchy: Start-ups want a young and trendy name to help them relate with their audience. They come up with made-up words that start to give the company a unique identity. For instance: Google, Whatsapp, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The only issue with trendy names is that they are relative and might not be to everyone’s liking.
  4. Abbreviations: Companies like HP (Hewett Packard) and P&G (Procter and Gamble) prefer to use abbreviations to make their long names seem catchier. Several Companies use abbreviations as it's easier to remember, spell and pronounce.  
  5. Compound Words: Facebook, Snapchat, Flipkart are all company names that are a result of fusing two or more words. The possibilities are endless and can make interesting names that get catchier with time. This is a creative way of naming a company, but it's important to not force the name. 
  6. Real Word Names: Think of companies like Amazon, Apple, Shell that have been inspired by household names. Such an approach would lead to reinventing and redefining the actual meaning of the original word. It’s a popular way of naming a business because it's easy to remember and helps better brand recall. 


Reserving the Name of your Company

Before you incorporate your business, the name of the company has to be reserved. Once you have picked a suitable name for your business, the same should be reserved before registration.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has prescribed that the name of the company can be reserved through the RUN (Reserve Unique Name) online web service. The RUN application should contain the preferred name of the company and should be submitted along with the prescribed fees.

The Central Registration Centre (CRC) process the RUN application and communicated the acceptance or rejection of the company name after conducting a comprehensive check.

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