Your business name is the cornerstone of your company identity and helps shape your branding, company tone and first impressions. It also conveys the value and uniqueness of your product or service offering.

Here are some tips about how to go about naming your new business.

Set the tone. Your name should reflect the type of business you’re in. It can be playful or academic, edgy or professional. If you’re about to break into the financial services’ field, professionalism is important whereas if you’re in the creative field, being edgy and attention-grabbing would be abundantly appropriate.

Communicate your USP. Your main goal is to establish what sets your business apart from your competitors. It is this unique selling point that should be captured in your company name, tagline or slogan.

Keep it simple. The name should be short, to-the-point and easy to spell, pronounce and remember.

Avoid tired words and phrases. Too many names, slogans and taglines have overused words like ‘life,’ ‘power,’ and ‘promise’ that don’t mean much. Avoid them at all costs.

It should appeal. It should conjure up pleasant emotions and memories for your target market.

Do not use initials. They don’t create an emotional connection and can result in legal and branding problems if you use the initials as well as the name spelled out in full.

Don’t limit yourself. Choose a name that will still work even if you expand your offerings in the future. You need to consider where your brand is today, as well as where you want to go in the future.

Watch out for translations into other languages. A word in English may have a negative meaning in another language or culture. The best way to avoid creating an embarrassing situation is to test your name on your target audiences.

Give your name time to sink in. It can take time for a name to feel right.

Don’t settle on a name too soon. Don’t get too attached to any one name during the brainstorming process. It’s very tempting to begin visualising your company logo, web design and business cards with the first name you fall for. Before getting too swept away, make sure that perfect name is legally available for use — there’s nothing worse than getting into hot water over a trademark dispute.