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A Guide to Picking your Perfect Business Name

By Rauva

Published on 31 January 2024

8 mins read

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Disclaimer: While the Rauva team strive to keep this information up-to-date, we always recommend seeking the advice of legal and financial professionals to assist with your unique situation.

When it comes to planning a new business, a big decision you'll need to make is choosing the right business name. Your business name is more than just a label; it's the foundation of your brand identity, and a well-chosen name can resonate with your target audience, establish credibility, and set you apart from the competition. 

What you Need to Know about Portuguese Business Names

The Pre-Approved List

'Empresa Na Hora' and Empresa Online offer a streamlined registration process, but 'Empresa Na Hora' comes with a catch. You have to select your business name from a pre-approved list. This list contains a variety of names that have been vetted and are ready for immediate use. The advantage? It speeds up the registration process. The downside? It might not give you the unique identity you're aiming for.

Trading Names vs. Official Names

While you might have to choose an official name from the pre-approved list if you go the 'Empresa Na Hora' route, it doesn't mean you're stuck with it for all your branding and marketing efforts. Businesses can operate under a different "trading name" or "commercial name." This allows you to have an official name for legal and administrative purposes, while your trading name can be more aligned with your brand and market positioning.

Why Go Beyond the List?

Having a unique business name can set you apart in the market. It gives you a distinct identity, making it easier for customers to remember and relate to your brand. With Rauva, you're not confined to a pre-approved list, giving you the freedom to choose a name that truly resonates with your business vision and values.

Actionable Tip: If you're keen on a specific name, it's worth checking its availability early on and considering trademarking it. This ensures you have exclusive rights to the name in your business sector.

How to Choose Your Perfect Business Name

Many entrepreneurs find themselves in a state of ‘analysis paralysis’ when choosing their company name, and can easily feel stuck, overwhelmed, and frustrated, but you don’t need to overthink it, let us take you through a 8-step process to help you pick the ideal business name that aligns with your values, goals, and vision.

Step 1: Define Your Brand Identity

Understanding Your Business Values and Goals

Start by defining your business's core values and mission. What does your business do? What does it stand for? What are your goals? It’s an important first step to establish these factors, as your name should reflect these values and convey the essence of what you do.

Target Audience Analysis

Creating customer personas can help align your business name with your target audience's preferences and values. Your name should resonate with the people you aim to serve, connecting on a personal level and building a strong brand-customer relationship.

Step 2: Brainstorming and Idea Generation

The next stage is to get brainstorming. You don’t need to utilise all of these techniques, however you’ll find them useful in the process of creating a shortlist of options. 

Keyword Exploration: Identify keywords that reflect your business and industry. These keywords can serve as a foundation for brainstorming creative name ideas. Not only can a business name that includes an industry-related keyword help your customers identify what you do, a business name that includes a description of your services can also help your business rank higher on search engines.

Mind Mapping and Association: Mind maps visually explore name possibilities, allowing you to see connections between different concepts. Associate keywords with emotions, visuals, and ideas that capture your brand's essence.

Word Association: Similar to mind mapping, start with a core word related to your business and jot down any words that come to mind when you think of that word. This can lead to unexpected and creative combinations.

Anagrams & Acronyms: Play around with the initials of descriptive words or phrases related to your business. You might stumble upon a catchy acronym or anagram.

Foreign Words: Look at translations of relevant words in other languages. A foreign word might have the perfect nuance you're looking for, and it can add an exotic touch.

Portmanteau: Combine parts of two (or more) words to create a new one. Think of 'brunch' (breakfast + lunch) or 'smog' (smoke + fog).

Historical References: Dive into history or mythology. Names of historical figures, events, or mythological characters can create intrigue and give you a great brand persona.

Thesaurus Dive: Look up your core words in a thesaurus to find synonyms that might not have immediately come to mind.

Visual Imagery: Think of images or scenes that you want your business to evoke. This can lead to metaphorical or symbolic names.

Abstract Concepts: Instead of descriptive names, think of abstract concepts that embody the spirit or ethos of your company.

Alliteration & Rhyme: Names that have a rhythmic quality or repetition can be catchy and memorable. Think of names like Coca-Cola or Dunkin' Donuts.

Geographical References: If your business has a local touch or is inspired by a particular location, consider using geographical landmarks, regions, or local slang.

Audience Perspective: Think about your target audience and what might appeal to them. Sometimes, a name that resonates with your audience's lifestyle or aspirations can be impactful.

Name Generators and AI: There are online tools that can generate names based on keywords. While they might not always give the perfect name, they can provide a starting point or spark an idea. Likewise, if you are struggling to find a name that inspires you, try asking AI to run through the brainstorming techniques listed here. 

Elimination Rounds: Start with a broad list and gradually eliminate names based on criteria like relevance, memorability, domain availability, etc. This can help in narrowing down to the best options.

Play with Word Combinations: Experiment with creative word combinations and blends. Unique name combinations can spark curiosity and interest among your target audience.

Incorporate Metaphors and Symbolism: Try infusing hidden meanings and symbolism into your name. Metaphors and symbols can create a deeper connection with your audience, conveying more than just a surface-level message.

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Step 3: Language and Linguistic Considerations

Language Selection

Decide whether to use local language or international terms in your business name. Consider the global reach and cultural implications of different languages, and ensure your name is universally understood if that’s an important factor for you - but it doesn’t need to be. 

Some business names don’t have an obvious meaning - for instance, Starbucks is named after a fictional character in a book, Google is a misspelling of the word ‘Googol’ - and even that was made up by a nine-year old boy, and Pepsi (which was originally called Brad’s Drink) comes from the word dyspepsia, which means indigestion.

Also remember, once you've shortlisted a few names, ensure they don't have unintended meanings in other languages! 

Pronunciation and Spelling

Opt for names that are easy to pronounce and spell. Clear pronunciation ensures customers can easily communicate and remember your business name.

Step 4: Shortlist Strong Contenders

Evaluate the Shortlisted Names

Once you’ve run through the brainstorming techniques, analyze each shortlisted name against predetermined criteria. Assign scores for relevance, memorability, and uniqueness to objectively compare options.

Consider Future Growth and Diversification

Choose a name that accommodates future growth and expansion. Avoid names that may limit your business's potential to evolve and diversify. If you start a property management company in Lisbon called ‘Lisbon Property Managers’, you’ll be stuck if someone offers you a great property to manage in the Algarve. 

Step 5: Check Domain, Social Media and Trademark Availability

Of all the steps outlined here, this is the most important. Availability and consistency across all platforms is one of the most important factors of all when choosing your company name. 

It isn’t a big deal if you need to pick an Insta username which is an abbreviation or variation of your company name, ensure that you can at least use the same variation across all platforms to ensure consistency.

Domain Name Availability

Securing a matching domain name is crucial for your online presence. Ensure the domain name aligns with your business name and is available for registration. You don’t always need to go with a .com domain, although they are usually the most easily understood by customers.

Social Media Availability

Check usernames across all Social Media platforms that you intend to use - and even those that you might want to use in future, even if you don’t want to use them now. 

Trademark Search

Avoid legal complications by confirming that your chosen name is free of trademarks in relevant categories. Conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure a clear path for your business name.

Costs vary to register your business name in Portugal according to the type of registration and the number of products or services chosen: - 129.08€ - online registration application - 258.16€ - paper application - 32.72€ - fee per additional online trade mark - 65.44€ - per additional trade mark on paper

Step 6: Test with a Small Audience

Soft Launch and Feedback Collection

Next, introduce your shortlisted names to a limited audience for feedback. Validate the audience's response and gather insights to inform your decision.

Analyzing Audience Interaction

You can also take this further if you’d like by tracking engagement and interactions with each name using data analytics. Data-driven insights provide valuable information for making an informed final decision.

Step 7: Make the Final Decision

Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each name option. Compare audience feedback, trademark availability, and other relevant factors, but ultimately, trust your intuition when making the final call. Balance data-driven insights with your personal feelings about each name.

Step 8: Secure Your Chosen Business Name

Registering Your Business Name

When setting up your business and registering your company name in Portugal, you’ll need to consult the official register of company names
Basic company creation includes a free name that you select from the register, and you can then use your chosen company name as a ‘brand name’, or, for the more professional approach, you can request that your company is registered under the official name of your choice which costs €75.

Domain Registration and Social Media Handles

Next, secure the chosen domain name and social media usernames to ensure consistent branding across digital platforms. Domain names are often included for free if you purchase web hosting services, so it’s important to shop around. 

Conclusion

Choosing the right business name is important and can add some great strength and recognition to your brand, however, it’s important to remember that your business success transcends its name. A well-run business, built on great service, consistent quality, and strong customer relationships, holds the key to long-term success and ultimately is what will define your brand.

While the process of selecting a business name involves creativity, research, and strategy, the real journey begins once you've chosen it. 

Strive to create a thriving business that echoes the essence and meaning of your chosen name through its actions, innovations, and customer experiences. Your business name can be the catalyst, but the true impact lies in the business you build around it.

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Written by Rauva

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