There are many considerations when choosing a name for your new company in Canada

When naming your new business, you have to take into account cultural differences, phonetics, spelling and accents that may affect how your customers find you or relate to your business.

I tell my clients to be very careful when choosing their business name. A good friend of mine told me of his new company name, Dubble Exxpress Go. Anyone would have trouble finding this business in the phone book because the spelling is unusual for those words no matter how bad a speller you may be. The owner of the business is a great guy and the fact that he is a recent immigrant from India should not be relevant to his choice of business names, but imagine for a moment my Mumbai friend answering the phone and saying, Dubble Exxpress Go, may I help you? – in an excited Indian accent.

He gets so excited talking to customers on the telephone his English is sometimes difficult to understand clearly. I suggested he produce a website so that potential customers could find him through the web versus the phone book, and to overcome the cultural differences we used the simple URL

Does this leave anything to the imagination as to what this business sells? No, it doesn’t and, yes, his product is vending machines. I love this guy, but his business name leaves much to be desired.

Something meaningful?

I’ve noticed that my Asian clients like to name their businesses with something familiar and meaningful to them. How many “Golden” restaurants or Win Win or Double Win Enterprises are there out there? Golden Bell may sound good for a Chinese food restaurant, but doesn’t have the same impact for a petrochemical consultant. My client wanted to be considered a North American educated consultant and in a very serious business like oil and gas, first impressions are important.

We came up with Stonebridge Consulting, giving an image of strength (a bridge of stone), longevity and Anglo Saxon for sure. Headquartered in Vancouver, her business sounds like it has been around for years.

Use your own name?

Using your own name can bring other headaches. Startups love to have their name in the business name, but what if your name is Bilodeau (like the Olympian). People will get caught up in the spelling and give up. Now, if your name was Foster, it might be different.

Think from your customers perspective

The bottom line is be careful, think from your customers’ perspective, check if there is anything close from other business’ and use commonsense. Remember your name will be with you a long time.

There have been some monumental name blunders in marketing history. British shoe maker Umbro developed a great running shoe in 2002 with the name Zyklon branded all over it. Zyklon is the German word for “cyclone,” so it is a sensible choice for a vacuum and a shoe. However, Zyklon B is the lethal gas used in the concentration camps in the Second World War. Umbro apologized and renamed it. German company Bosch Siemens withdrew a trademark application for the name Zyklon for a range of home products, including gas ovens soon after.

When you choose the name of your business remember that this is yours for as long as you are in business. So make it memorable or at least make it something you can relate to or feel good about.

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