Bigger Business Name Blunders

Restricting your market

This step is all about future planning. Lets suppose that you open up a jeans store, and after a few years it is quite profitable. You want to expand your market to also include other types of clothing – but you named the business Just Jeans!

This is an example where the company (Just Jeans) stubbornly stuck with the name until it became synonymous with their brand – which is really about jeans and other bargain clothing marketed towards 15-22’s. They have the financial resources to enable them to do this , to promote the name and adapt it to their offering , do you ?

Another way people restrict their market is to name the business after the location – Kentucky Fried Chicken being a great example. Now the company is global, they made the transition to “KFC” to avoid confusion.

If you have a non-limiting name to begin with you can save money and effort on a re-brand, and also increase brand awareness in the long-term.


Do not name your business a made-up catchy word. Sure, examples like ‘Google’ and ‘Yahoo!’ sound impressive but these companies have the budgets to give the made-up words meanings. ‘Google’ is synonymous with the company, and has even begun to be used as an adjective – “Just Google it!” These kinds of names are a hindrance to the business because they mean nothing and say nothing about the business – and a lot of money has to be pushed into marketing before this can change.

Cross-cultural Meanings

“Barf” is an Iranian laundry detergent, that in Iranian means “Snow”. Unfortunately in western cultures that has a very different and unfortunate meaning. This does not affect sales of the product in Iran, but if they ever decide to expand the market they may have to reconsider the product name. Please do a quick check on your top business names, and pick one that is not offensive or funny – in any language!

And now for the big one, and it’s a lot more common than you would expect.

Personal Names

I cannot stress this enough – do not name your business after yourself. I would go so far as to say that if you are in the first few years of owning a business and it is named after yourself – change it.

For one thing, your name means nothing to the general public, and like choosing a Gibberish word lots of money has to be pushed into marketing to give your name / the company name meaning.

Another good reason is that it makes the business difficult to sell. Would you purchase a business named after a previous owner? It makes the business very hard to shift without a costly rebrand. If the business does sell, but the new owners run it into the ground, your name is tracked through the mud.

Will your name change if you get married? Divorced? These are all important things to consider when naming a business.

The only reason a business should be named after the owner is if the product is the personality based. A famous example of this would be – ‘Oprah’ or ‘Hamish & Andy’.

The business name is the first thing that a client perceives about your business, and it can serve as an asset or a liability to your business operations. If you are smart you will follow these tips, and avoid the hassle of a rebrand further down the line.