Constructing a Company Name – A Comprehensive Guide

Congratulations! After much thought, you’ve finally decided to start your own company. Maybe you’ve spent months, or even years wondering what you’d specialize in – and now you finally have the answer! Regardless of what product/service you may decide to base your company on, it’s evident that you will need to create a name for your company. But why is the company name so important – and how do you even come up with one? Are there specific guidelines that should be followed? Not to worry! Here’s a comprehensive guide for when coming up with a name for your company (courtesy of SimpleBooks).

What is the “Company Name”?

Simply put, it is the identity of your business. It defines your company and works to describe the type of business you will be conducting.

Why is the “Company Name” important?

There are several reasons why your company name is of major importance ;

  1. All legal decisions/documents are based on your company name.

All business related legal decisions and documents will be based on your company name. For example ;

  • The name will be on all formation documents, such as the Articles of Association.
  • The name will be on all contracts and agreements representing your company’s interests.
  1. It is the first impression of your business

Your company name will be what is featured on all advertising and marketing material. It may even be printed on business cards and used as the name in your website, is the very first impression your customers/potential clients may receive of your business.

  1. It sums up everything your company is about!

Since the name is the first impression of your company, it usually tends to sum up what exactly your company is about. It’s crucial to come up with a company name that showcases the exact identity of your business, and all its aspects. For example – the name “SimpleBooks” perfectly showcases the service provided(bookkeeping – made simple and easy), along with the general tone of the business itself.

How do you select a “Company Name”?

Now that we’ve covered the importance of your company name, let’s move on to how you should select the perfect name for your company. Here’s how you can make sure your selection is ideal!

  1. Go back to the basics

To start selecting a name for your business, take a look back at what you may be offering as a

service/product. Consider your business plan and unique selling points. Focus on what you

want your company to represent, and what you may want people to think/feel when they see

your company name.

  1. Brainstorm

Now it’s time for some creativity! Sit down with your associates and try to come up with as many business names as possible. Make sure to keep your guidelines in mind during this brainstorm, and list down all the ideas you come up with.

  1. Shortlist

Once you have your long list of ideas, it’s time to shortlist the ones that immediately resonate

with you. Mark down those which you feel might be the best fit, and take some time to consider if your business would truly benefit from the specific names selected.

  1. Check Availability

Now that the shortlisting process has been dealt with, you will need to check the availability of your selected names. Run a series of searches on google and other search engines to find out if the selected name is trademarked, or used by another company offering a similar service. This way you’ll be able to cross out the unavailable names, and finally, settle for your best pick.

You can check if your selected/decided name is available here.

Company Name Check

Legal Requirements and Restrictions

Once you’ve selected the name of your business, there may be a few guidelines you’re required to follow, mostly depending on the type and nature of your company.

Requirements

  1. A listed company (whose shares are traded on an official stock exchange) should end with the words “Public Limited Company” or “PLC”.
  2. A limited company (a private company whose owners are legally responsible for its debts only to the extent of the amount of capital they invested) should end with “Limited” or “Ltd”.
  3. A private company (a company whose shares may not be offered to the public for sale, and operates under legal requirements less strict than those for a public company) should end with “(Private) Limited” or “(PVT) Ltd”.

           Restrictions

  1. Your company name should not be registered by a name which is identical to the name of an existing registered company (local/overseas).
  2. However, when determining whether the name is identical or not, the following will be disregarded ;
  1. The word “the” – if it appears at the front of the name.
  2. The words ;
  • “company”
  • “and company”
  • “company limited”
  • “and company limited”
  • “limited”
  • “unlimited”
  • “(Private) limited”
  • “Public Limited Company”– should they appear at the end of the name?
  1. type and case of letters, accents, spaces between letters and punctuation.
  2. ”and” or “&”  
  1. It should not contain the words “Chamber of Commerce” (unless you obtain a license for it to be registered without the addition of the word “Limited” into its name).  
  2. It should not be registered by a name that may be found “misleading” by the Registrar.
  3. Unless the company is found to have some regard to national interest, and granted consent by the Minister, the name should not include the words ;
  4. “President”,”Presidential” or other words that suggest patronage of the president, connection with the government or government departments.
  5. “Municipal”, “incorporated” or other words which suggest connection with Municipality or other local authority.
  6. “Co-operative” or “Society”
  7. “National”, “State” or “Sri Lanka”

After you’ve followed the selection process, and adhered to all the guidelines – your company name is all set and ready for registration! Have any follow-up questions? Let us know in the comments below!