A Cafe Javas delivery agent transports food on order in Kampala. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA


The A to Z of naming your business

What you need to know:

A business name makes difference between gaining traction or fading in anonymity. 

Starting a business is one of the most thrilling ventures with a lot of opportunities whose vigor should not be toned down at any one stage or step along the way.  

For Uganda’s case, with a young rapid growing population, strategic location in East and Central Africa and flourishing oil and gas sector make it more attractive destination for a budding entrepreneur.  

If you are about to start a company or launch a product of your own, you might be feeling pretty overwhelmed by the prospect of having to name it.

Coming up with a business name is a daunting subject that might make you abandon the idea of the start up or pursuing a company in any field that you so desire because it might be quite challenging.

That business name can mean the difference between gaining traction or fading in anonymity. However, having a catchy business name might bring up some magic to the brand in the mind of a potential consumer.

The ambitions for your business might be lowered if you feel nervous about coming up with an incorporating catchy business name that might come from your favourites.

Prosper magazine took a step further to find out some of the things to consider when choosing a business name as some startups or businesses might fail to kick off because of issues revolving around the business name.

Mr Stephen Baryevuga, a communications specialist, at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), says when choosing a business name, you need to look at a name that is unique and distinguishes you from all other existing entities for easy identification.

However, sometimes some business names may be rejected due to various factors.
“When reserving and or approving names, the URSB office looks at the desirability of the name. In determining what is desirable, consider factors such as similarity with existing names, connotation of patronage of government, vulgarity or whether the name is misleading the public,” Baryevuga says.

He adds that it is likely that on a scale of 1-10, there are 9.5 chances that people will come up with the same business name.

To avoid the brand name you have come up with from being rejected, Baryevuga encourages you to think of something unique that is not already existing.
He explains: “First do a general name search on the system to get an idea on what name to use for your business. The name should also be desirable as per the desirability test.”

Before choosing a business name, it is vital to first do a check in the system to see what names exist or what names might be similar to the name you intend to use. Further, be creative when choosing a name for your business so that it is unique and different from any other entities.

Factors to consider
Mr Francis Kasura, a brand enthusiast, says a business name just like the logo, is the face of a brand.

It is usually the first point of interaction between a business and its customers hence its importance.

A business name should relate to the value proposition of the brand or something that your target audience would care about. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

Mr Kasura who is also in charge of branding and advertising at Fireworks Advertising, cites three main things that make a good name. These include; roll easy off the tongue; it must be easy to pronounce or even write.

In addition, the business name should be meaningful. It must relate to the value proposition of the brand or at least something that your target audience would care about (this is an exception for invented names like Apple, Twitter  and Facebook among others).
Thirdly, it should be short.

Steps taken when of branding
Kasura notes that branding involves a simple process called the PF6.
This is a rational iterative design and general properties that involves a structure of the different intermediates.

‘Start with building a value proposition. This is about defining why your business exists and who it exists to serve. The value proposition must be strong and address a very serious problem,” Kasura elucidates.

Naming and tagline
Get a representative name and bundle it with a slogan that best represents what you do or how you make your customers feel.

Visual identity
Humans are visual and audio beings and so a brand should follow suit.  It must have a logo and identity that represents what the business does.

Application of the brand
The brand must operate in several environments to allow it to be used in a versatile way.

Set rules
Every brand must have a documented set of rules on how it should be applied. This can also be referred to as a brand manual.

Animate the brand identity to allow it to play in dynamic spaces.
John Kakungulu Walugembe, the executive director, of the Federation for Small and Medium Enterprises (FSME) says naming a business may seem small, but it conveys much weight.

“A limitless company name must convey the essence and objectives of your enterprise,” he says.

He notes that even though finding a business name is time-consuming and expensive, changing your company name is more expensive because you have to apply for a new employment identity number (EIN), notify the responsible bodies and update licences and permits. This implies that your company name should ideally last forever.

In addition, people develop an impression of your brand in just seven seconds, but it takes five to seven impressions for them to remember it.

“It will stay if your brand name is distinctive, catchy, and conjures up the right associations. Brand awareness has a big impact on your business’s bottom line. Here are some tips for making an informed business name choice,” Walugembe says.