Having to select a name for your company or business may not be as easy as it seems. It has to be creative and easy to remember while also representing your brand. With many international brands becoming household names, it is crucial that you carefully craft a name for your organisation to avoid being easily forgettable. If you are starting your company or business in Singapore, you will also have to take into consideration legal requirements established by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Generating Your Company Name
It’s always best to have a list of potential names for your company before ultimately settling on one. Give yourself time to decide what works for you. When you begin your list, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions –
- Is it simple and easy to spell?
- Does it have a meaning
- Does it limit me from future business expansion?
- Will you be able to create a unique logo?
Is it simple and easy to spell?
You’d want people to be able to easily remember your company name, as well as search for it online. If the name is too complicated, the Internet might end up directing your misspelling to other companies instead. With a name that is unique and yet simple – think Google, YouTube, and Facebook – people are also more likely to remember it.
Does it have a meaning?
Although some famous brands are named after their founders (e.g. Versace), it’ll help if your company name has meaning too. For some inspiration, Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory while Amazon owes its name to the world’s largest river. Meanwhile, other companies like Häagen-Dazs has no meaning language wise, but was designed to be Danish-sounding to attract attention.
If you’re stuck, you can also look towards words that describes your company. Take Volkswagen, for example. It means “people’s car” in German, which is apt as it was produced during a time when the wealthy dominated the road with expensive cars in Germany.
Does it limit me from future business expansion?
Though we suggested picking a name that describes your company, avoid choosing one that suggests you only sell a certain product or service. For instance, if you decide to sell books and name your company XX Bookstore, it may be a problem when you decide to branch out into selling other products like toys and stationery too as the name suggests that you only sell books.
Will you be able to create a unique logo?
You logo symbolises your company name, making both equally as important as each other. Think about brands such as Amazon and Nike. Amazon’s A to Z logo is a clever way to indicate that they sell everything from A to Z, while Nike’s swoosh is simple and yet, easily brings their slogan “JUST DO IT” to mind. Whenever an individual sees any of these logos, they are able to tell which brands they belong to. Similarly, your company’s logo should also be striking and memorable.
Using Other Resources for Help
If you still can’t decide on a name, here are several websites which provide name generators to help you for free.
Even though you’ll probably end up not using most of the name ideas, you can use these name generators to get your creative juices flowing. There is no limit to how many names you can experiment with, and you can even combine different iterations across the different generators to come up with a unique name that represents your brand well.
After you have compiled a list of names, choose a few that resonate the most with you and get feedback from your family and peers. By gathering different perspectives, you will be able to further narrow down your choices.
Check for Availability
Once you have settled on a name or your top few names, check if they have already been taken by other companies. This can be done by simply searching for your potential company names on any web browser or through these websites –
Prevent Your Singapore Company Name from Being Rejected
Your company name will be rejected if it falls under these categories –
- It is identical to an existing organisation’s name, and/or
- It is undesirable (e.g. offensive), and/or
- It is prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance.
It is necessary for new business owners like yourself to be vigilant when coming up with a name, though you are eligible to apply for a company name that is identical to a company that is no longer operating in Singapore after a period of time.
ACRA stipulates that the following will be disregarded when determining whether two businesses have identical names:
(i) “The”, where it is the first word of the name;
(ii) “Private”, “Pte”, “Sendirian”, “Sdn”, “Limited”, “Ltd”, “Berhad” and “Bhd”;
(iii) the following words and expressions where they appear at the end of the name: “company”, “and company”, “corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Asia”,“Asia Pacific”, “International”, “Singapore”, “South Asia”, “South East Asia” and “Worldwide”;
(iv) any word or expression which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is intended to represent any word or expression in sub-paragraph (iii);
(v) the plural version of the name;
(vi) the type and case of letters, spacing between letters and punctuation marks; and (b) the symbol “&” shall have the same meaning as the word “and”. The rules will also provide that the Registrar may refer the parties in dispute over the use of a name to mediation before giving any direction for a name change.
Register Your Company Name
The first step to setting up a company is registering your company name, prior to which you are unable to incorporate your organisation. The application costs $15 and is to be completed via BizFile. Do note that you have to indicate your business’ activities during the application process. Once approved, the name will be reserved for 120 days, during which you have to register your business.