Choosing a name for your new business is an important decision. As well as being a key aspect of marketing your business, it also needs to meet certain legal requirements.

What name should I choose for my new business?

What do you want the name to say about your business?

Ideally it should reinforce the main message of what your business offers. It can do this literally, or in a more abstract way.

The name may be serious or quirky, but above all it should be memorable since it will form a key part of your marketing strategy.

If you’ve got a shortlist of possible names, by all means ask the opinion of friends and family, but the most useful feedback will come from potential customers.

What are the legal considerations for naming your business?

The main requirement is that your business name must be sufficiently different from other registered names so that customers won’t be confused about which business they are dealing with. If your proposed name is too similar to an existing name, it will be considered by Companies House to be the ‘same as’ the other business and your name will be rejected.

With few exceptions, the names of private limited companies must end in ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ (or ‘Cyfyngedig’ or ‘Cyf’ if registered in Wales).

Your company can’t include sensitive words or expressions that might mislead the public about the status or role of your business. For example, your business will have to meet certain requirements for it to include words such as “co-operative” or “royal”, or any regulated profession such as “nurse” or “architect”.

Find out more at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/incorporation-and-names

How do I check if a particular name is taken?

Before choosing a name for your business, you should use the Companies House WebCHeck service to ensure your chosen name is not the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index of company names.

It’s also worth spending some time searching online to see what results are shown from your proposed name. Even if your business name is unique, it may have unwanted associations with products or services offered by other companies.

Checklist: What else should do I need to think about?

Login to save this checklist to your profile for future use - as you work through the list, any checkboxes that are ticked or unticked will be automatically saved to your profile. (To register to join and enjoy the benefits of membership click on the link at the top right of the page. It will only take a few minutes to create your profile).

Get inspired! Some of our favourite business names

Here are some of our favourite business names:

  • A village greengrocer in Derbyshire: Village Greens
  • Flooring contractor in Newcastle upon Tyne: Lino Richie
  • Garden designer in Kent: Floral and Hardy
  • Commercial and domestic cleaning company in West Yorkshire: Spruce Springclean 
  • Vintage clothing company in east London: Frockney Rebel
  • Barbers in Berkshire: Hairy Pop-Ins
  • Optical boutique in Dundee: Spex Pistols 
  • Fish and chip shop in mid Glamorgan: A Fish Called Rhondda

Next Steps

Read a guide to ‘Incorporation and names’ by Companies House here

Before choosing a name you should use Companies House's WebCHeck service to ensure your chosen name is not the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index of company names. This guide will tell you all you need to know about using this service.

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