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12 tips for choosing the right company name

Choosing a company name is a nightmare for some and a piece of cake for others. Whatever path you take, the name of the company is something to think about. We have listed a number of important matters for you.

1.    Choose a name that suits you 

Many entrepreneurs start working under their own name. A big advantage is that customers know who they are dealing with and useful to emphasize your expert role. A disadvantage could be the possible sale of the company in the future. Even if the sole proprietorship gets several owners later on, the name can suddenly come across as strange.

2.    What’s in a name… where do you start?

If you don't choose your own name… then the inspiration has to come from somewhere else. Does the target group offer clues or maybe your products or services? Also think about what your USPs (unique selling points) are. If you find this difficult, involve some friends in this process. A brainstorming session with others who are a bit further away from the subject matter can provide very valuable input.

3.    Creative first, then critical 

To get creative ideas on the table, it is useful to enter the brainstorm openly and freely. Avoid that everything is immediately swept off the table. Remember that the name Apple was also invented at some point. Many tips for good brainstorming sessions can be found online. But you can also get input from:

  • foreign language
  • puns
  • contradictions
  • anagrams

You can also use an online generator to come up with a name. For example, take a look at:

4.    Trends

Trends are fun, but not timeless. While it was hip 10 years ago to combine letters and numbers (2Good or One4You), the best-before date has now passed.

5.    Make a shortlist

If you have several names on paper, it is important to investigate 2 or 3 more closely. Feel free to put it aside for a few days and pick them up again after a few days. A fresh look can make the difference.

6.    Check if your name complies with the rules.

It may seem obvious, but not everything is possible in terms of company name. For example, you may not just add a protected profession (doctor, lawyer, etc.) to your name if you are not registered as such. Also names that are already used are not allowed. Not even if you spell it differently.

7.    Be mindful of Google

General (generic) names may immediately make it clear what you are doing… it can cause considerable competition in search engines. Run the name through Google and see what search results it yields. In addition, take a look in a dictionary… in addition to inspiration (and alternatives), you naturally want a name without mistakes.

8.    Present your name to others

If the name complies with the rules, does it offer possibilities in search engines and does it sound good (after all, the ear also wants something), then pass it on to a number of others. How do they feel and what does it evoke in them?

9.    Is the domainname available?

In addition to a check in search engines, it is also useful to see whether the domain name (URL) is still available. Besides .eu and .online there are many other options, but keep in mind that .nl and .com are the most well-known and are the most memorable. If these are occupied… then another name is worth considering.

10.    Online en offline capture

 If you are completely satisfied, you can pass on the company name to the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). Also claim the domain name and the social media channels. Even if you don't want to use it immediately, recording is always good. After all, you don't know what the future will bring.

11.    Trademark law

Registering or claiming is different from registering. If you really do not want your company name to be used by others, you can register it as a trademark with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) []. It is important that the name is distinctive enough to qualify for trademark law. Here too, general terms are not distinctive enough to qualify as trademark law.

12.    Change company name

As an entrepreneur, you are alert to opportunities and you do not shy away from challenges. That may mean that there will come a time when the company name has to be changed. It's not very complicated, but there are a few things to consider. You can easily report the change to the Chamber of Commerce. But don't forget that your website and social media accounts have gained online authority in recent years. Just converting to the new name or starting over takes time and affects online findability.

In addition, you have also built up brand awareness offline, the name of your company is on folders, business cards and stationery and you may have facade advertising. These kinds of things also have to be adjusted in case of a name change.