When you first start to plan your new business, your thoughts will probably be dominated by major decisions Ė is the business viable? Should you rent premises, if so, where? Should you take on someone or wait until you can properly afford it? Will the bank give you a loan? If they donít where else could you turn?

Itís understandable that seemingly small details will be overlooked. Not ordering enough (or too much) stock, badly thought out prices and how you will travel to and from clients are problems that can present themselves without preparation.

Starting up a business is not so much a juggling act as the assembly of a giant jigsaw puzzle. Some pieces are bigger and apparently more significant than others, but without each little item in place, it doesnít quite work. One of these small, but glaringly obvious, considerations is exactly what you should call your business.

Everyone and everything needs a name. Businesses are no different. Blunder along with an inappropriate name or, worse, no name at all, and your business will suffer.

Customers make a habit of making quick decisions, and your businessí name is often the first impression they will get of the service you offer. Recent  research by Microsoft suggests that many entrepreneurs are getting this horribly wrong, with four in five putting little to no effort into naming their company.

Although choosing a name may seem like a side issue, it, in fact, fulfils many functions for your business. It provides the first step in marketing yourself and conjures up an image of what your business is about. Itís the first port of call for customers and, if it sticks in the memory, can provide plenty of repeat business.

If you do not run a fish and chip shop or a hairdressers, do not worry that you will miss out on names such as Your Plaice or Mine or Scissor Sisters. Even a consultancy business or insurance firm can have a catchy title that draws in the public.

Microsoftís research suggests that many entrepreneurs spend less than 10 minutes thinking up the title of their business, which is surely a recipe for disaster. Would you spend 10 minutes devising a marketing plan or filing your tax returns?

Of course, hours of procrastination over the name of your business isnít a good idea either, especially if your final decision is uninspiring and dull. The naming of your company should be conducted in the businesslike manner in which you should make most of your decisions Ė after debate, and possibly market research, but swiftly, to avoid the issue dragging on. Opening your business without it being christened first looks shoddy.

So, when thinking of what impression you want your business to make, donít overlook the importance of what it is actually called. Make sure you stand out from the crowd.




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