How To Name Your Business

How To Name Your Business

When you have already developed an idea and a business plan, it is important to decide on the name you are going to give to your business. It is actually the next step you need to do once you have decided to set up your own business.  You will have to register your business with this name. You will do all marketing and advertising related to your business with this name.

Now the important question is how to come up with the best possible name for your company. It is possible that you are overflowing with suggestions from your friends and family. But it is necessary to make the best selection of name.  If your name is not acceptable by the market, your business may never be successful.

Identifying your target consumers will give you the first lead towards naming your business.  You can ask yourself the following questions or do a market survey.

·         What is the average age group of the consumers?

·         What is the language preference of the consumers?

·         What are the tastes of the consumers?

Your name should also be URL ready.  That means the domain name you wish to have is not already taken up by another business. You can easily create your own website with your company name without facing any legal issues.

A.       Let us look at the various ways successful companies have named their business and have been able to stand out:

1.       Use of two Different Languages:

When you are thinking of a name you must be thinking of only English names. But have you ever thought of coming up with a Hinglish name? Taking an English and a hindi word and putting them together can form a meaningful word. The local target customers will have a special fondness of such names. These names will be unique and hence less chances of someone else already using it.



SodaBottleOpenerWala is an Irani café which has used this trick to the best.  We all relate to a Chaiwala- a person selling tea. Hence we will all can relate to this restaurant as a cafe which also has a bar and serves drinks.

Radio Manpasand is an interactive radio program.  The public will have a ready acceptability of the name because of the presence of the word “Manpasand”, which means favorite.  One look at the name will immediately suggest that is a very popular radio show.


2.       Name on the basis of a Region of operation:

When you first set up a business, you know which locality you will be performing your activities in the initial few years. You will concentrate on a particular area, or a city or a country and then expand your business to other regions. So, you can name your business according to the name of that region you choose to start in. That way, when your business expands globally, people would know where your business originated from.


The entrepreneur, Harland Sanders began selling the fried chicken in a roadside restaurant in Kentucky.  Hence the name Kentucky Fried chicken.

The origin of the bank lies mainly in Hong Kong.  The first branch was opened In Shanghai.  From these two regions comes the name Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.


3.       Misspelled English Words:

The deliberate use of incorrect spelling while branding products is also known as Sensational Spelling. One disadvantage of this method is that it might be difficult to locate your business or search your business on the internet. But on the other hand, it has that special effect to draw attention of consumers.  Some common means of doing so is:


·         Replacing “C” with ” K”

·         Replacing “Ph” with “F”

·         Replacing  “Z” with “X”




Kelloggs has changed the spelling of “Fruits” to “froots” and used two colored loops to represent the two “O”s. This kind of spelling and animation instantly catches the eyes of the children, the major target customers of the product.

This is a digital library consisting of e-books, audio books etc. The word “scribed” literally means “written”. Here the vowel “E” has been deliberately omitted but the pronunciation has remained the same.


4.       Use of someone’s name or the family name:

Irrespective of the type of activities or place of business, you can keep the name after your surname. This will ensure that customers will relate to your products and services with the goodwill of the family for generations to come.



 Both Jamshetji Tata and Jamnalal Bajaj chose their surnames as company names.

Customers have faith in the quality of its products because of the reputation of these names.


Instead of your surname you can use your own name in naming your business.


Yash Chopra used his own name in branding his film production company.



5.       Name that directly suggests the activities:

 You can come up with a name which directly explains the type of products that you are selling or the type of services you are providing.  Your name will give the customers a clear view of which activities you are involved in. This process is simple and effective as there is no uncertainty about the nature business among the consumers’ mind.


As it is evident from the name itself, it is an online movie and events ticketing brand.


You can get a little more creative here.  Use the activities of the business in an intersecting manner.


This name was a result of brainstorming session. Jack Dorsey, one of the founders said that the definition of twitter was ‘short burst of inconsequential information’ and ‘chirps from birds’.  That’s exactly what the product was.


6.       Use of Initials:

Your company name can be the initials of your name or that of your partners. There are disadvantages of this type of naming. These names are repetitive and boring. It will fail to catch the curiosity of the public.


The initials of the principal founding members form the name of this accounting and auditing firm. 

K: Klynveld, Piet

P: Peat, William Barclay

M: Marwick, James

G: Dr. Goerdeler


It is not necessary that the initials have to be that of your name. You can use initials of a meaningful phrase.



The initials originally stood for “Lucky Goldstar”.  But now it is being promoted as “Life’s Good” in marketing campaigns.


7.       Alpha numeric names:

You can make your business name comprising of both letter and numbers.  These numbers can indicate different versions of your product  (Apple 5, 6) or product’s physical attributes ( V8 engine).


This is a film studio spelled as Twentieth Century Fox Film Co operation.

This is used as an abbreviation from the company’s original name which is “Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company”.


8.       Combining two or more words: 

A mix of two or more words will form an abstract word which can be a good business name. These names will not have a dictionary meaning. It might give rise to curiosity in the customer’s minds as to how this name was generated.  Customers would research about your business more. But remember, these names should not be too complicated as people will tend to forget word which doesn’t have an existence.


This name comes from three different words. They are Voice, Data and Phone.

This is an online communication program and its name comes from two words. They are Sky and Peer to Peer Communication.


Let us now see the common mistakes people make while naming their business.

B.  6 common mistakes while naming your business


i.                     Keeping a name which is too long to remember

ii.                   Keeping a  name which is too complicated

iii.                  Keeping a name which sounds similar to another brand

iv.                 Using offensive and derogatory word

v.                   Names which doesn’t have easy pronunciation.

vi.                 Names which cannot be spelled easily

C.   Select name for business as per Companies Act, 2013


Companies Act 2013 provides the rules for naming your business. The basic statutory provision is that, in case of Public Limited Company the last word will be” Limited”.  In case of Private Limited Company, the last words will be “Private Limited”.

As per the Companies Act 2013, you need to keep the following three aspects in mind while choosing a name for your business.

Let us now look into these three aspects in details.

1.     Proposed name should not be Identical name:

The proposed name should not be similar to an already existing company name. It should not resemble too nearly to the name of any company already established. The following will be disregarded in determining if the name is identical or not.


a.       The words

·         Private

·         Pvt

·         Pvt.

·         (P)

·         Limited

·         Ltd

·         Ltd.

·         LLP

·         Limited partnership

This means that mere interchange of these words will not render the name unique.

Example: Gupta Private Limited and Gupta Pvt Ltd are identical names. 


b.      The words that appear at the end

·         Company

·         &company

·         Co.

·         Co

·         Corporation

·         Corpn

·         Corp.

These words will be disregarded while determining the uniqueness of the name.

Example:  Stylus and Company and Stylus Company are identical names.


c.       The plural version of any word appearing in the name.

Example:  Suppose a company with the name “Alliance Global Auto Part Limited” already exists. You cannot choose the name “Alliance Global Auto Parts Limited”. Just by using the plural version of a particular word in the name, you cannot make the name unique.


d.      Type of letters, case of letters, and punctuation marks:

Example:  Beach Resorts and Spa Pvt ltd; BEACH RESORTS AND SPA PVT LTD; Beach, resorts, spas Pvt. Ltd.

These are all identical names. Change of case of letters or punctuation marks will not make them unique.


e.      Joining words or separating words:

Example:  Smart tech Communications Limited and Smarttech communications limited are identical names. In one case they are written as two words. In the other they are written as the same word.


f.        Use of a different tense or number of a same word

Example: Gupta A1 Foods Pvt ltd and Gupta’s A1 foods Pvt Ltd are identical names.

Likewise, Gupta’s A one Foods Pvt Ltd is also not a unique name.


g.       Using different phonetic spellings or spellings variation:

One word can be spelled in different ways and you can also keep a misspelled word as the name of your company. But the same name with different spellings will not be unique names.  Use of different phonetic spellings will also not make them unique.

Example:  Sky High Pvt Ltd and Ski High Pvt Ltd are same. Just by changing the spelling of the word “sky”, the name does not become unique.

Similarly suppose there is a company by the name S&B Associates.  You cannot open another company by the name of “Ess& Bee Associates”. They are identical names.


h.      Intentionally misspelled words:

Two names with different spellings are identical names. Just because one name has been intentionally misspelled, doesn’t make the two names unique.

Example: “Jammy’s Photoshop “and “Jammy’sFotoshop” are identical names.


i.         Addition of an internet related designation such as:

·         .com

·         .net

·         .edu

·         .org

·         .gov

·         “.” written as “dot”

Example: and Makefriends dot com are identical names.


j.        Addition of titles or common words such as

·         Shri

·         Sri

·         Sree

·         New

·         Modern

·         Nav

·         Om

·         Jai

·         Sai

·         The

Example: Sharma Sweets; new Sharma Sweets and Shri Sharma Sweets are all identical names.

Mere addition of the name of a place also doesn’t make the name unique.

Example: Fireworks Pvt Ltd and Fireworks India Pvt ltd are also identical names.

Exception: Such names can be allowed only if no objection from the existing company by way of board resolution has been submitted.


k.       Different combination of words in the name

Example: World tours and Travels Pvt ltd and Word Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd are identical names. Just reshuffling the words will not make the names unique.


l.         A Hindi or English translation or transliteration of an already existing name.

Example: Ram Kapoors’ Online and Ram Kapoor’s   Online are identical names.



2.     Proposed name should not be Undesirable


The proposed names are undesirable in any of the following situations:


a.       If it violates the provisions of Emblems and Names Act, 1950.

b.      It includes the name of a trademark already registered or which is subject of an application for registration

c.       It includes words which are considered offensive by some section of the public.


3.     Other Conditions

a.       The proposed name should be in conformity with objects of the company as set out in the Memorandum of Association.  It is true that the company name cannot always be indicative of the objects of the company. But the name and Objects cannot entirely be contradictory to each other.

Example:  Suppose the objects of a Company are to Manufacture and sell Electronic Devices. That company cannot go by the name Jyoti Apparels and Garments. A more suitable name would be Jyoti Electronics.


b.      If the company’s main business are either of the following

·         Financing

·         Leasing

·         Chit fund

·         Investments

·         Securities


Or a combination of the above then the name should indicative of such related financial activities.

Example: An Investment company cannot go by the name Sunlife Corporation of India.

A more suitable name would be Sunlife Investment Corporation of India.


c.       It resembles closely The abbreviation of an existing company

d.      The proposed name is identical or too nearly resembles the name of a company incorporated outside India.

e.      If the proposed name consists of any type of business constitution or legal entity to which it does not belong, the name will not be allowed.

Such words are:

·         Co-operative

·         Sehkari

·         Trust

·         LLP

·         Partnership

·         Society

·         Proprietor

·         HUF

·         Firm

·         Inc.

·         PLC

·         GmbH

·         SA

·         PTE

·         Sdn

·         AG

Example:  A proprietorship company cannot take up the name of R. R. Roy Company Limited as it is not a Public limited company. No shares have been issued to the public.


f.        The proposed name cannot contain the words “ British India”


g.       The proposed name cannot imply association or connection with embassy or consulate or a foreign Government.


h.      The proposed name cannot include or imply association or connection with or patronage of a


·         National Hero

·         A person held in high esteem

·         Important personages who occupies or occupied important positions in the Government.


i.          The proposed name cannot be vague.

Example: XYZ limited or 123 limited.


j.        The proposed name is identical to the name of a company which has been dissolved as a result of liquidation.

Exception: The name can be kept if a period of two years has already lapsed from the date of dissolution. But if the name of the company was struck off as per section 248, then the name will not be allowed before the expiry of 20 years from the date of publication of such striking off in the Official Gazette.


k.       The proposed name should not be identical or too nearly resemble LLP in liquidation or a LLP which is stuck off up to a period of 5 years.


l.         If the proposed name contains any of the following words

·         Insurance

·         Bank

·         Stock Exchange

·         Venture capital

·         Asset Management

·         Nidhi

·         Mutual fund

Then a declaration is required. This declaration states that the applicant has complied with all the requirements mandated by the respective regulator such as

·         IRDA

·         RBI

·         SEBI

·         MCA

m.    Only Government Companies can use the word “State” in its name.


n.      The name cannot be only the name of a specific country, or city or continent. Names like” India limited” or “Mumbai Limited” are not allowed.


o.      The name cannot be a general word like “Cars Limited” or “Stones Limited.”


p.      The name should not create a misleading impression regarding the scope and scale of activities.


q.      The proposed name should not contain the name of a foreign country unless a business relation is there with the said country.  No company shall be incorporated using the name of an enemy country.


r.        The following words cannot be used in English or any other language unless an approval from the Central Government has been obtained.


·         Board

·         Commission

·         Authority

·         Undertaking

·         National

·         Union

·         Central

·         Federal

·         Republic

·         President

·         Rashtrapati

·         Small Scale industries

·         Khadi and Village industries corporation

·         Financial forest corporation

·         Municipal

·         Panchayat

·         Development Authority

·         Prime minister or chief Minister

·         Minister

·         Nation

·         Forest corporation

·         Development Scheme

·         Statute or statutory

·         Court or Judiciary

·         Governor

·         Bureau

·         The use of the word “scheme” with the name of Government States, India or Bharat or any government Authority or in any manner resembling the schemes launched by the central, state or local government or authorities.


s.       For section 8 companies the name shall include the words

·         Foundation

·         Forum

·         Association

·         Federation

·         Chambers

·         Confederation

·         Council

·         Electoral trust and the like

t.        Companies incorporated as Nidhi shall have the last words as “Nidhi Limited”.


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