Naming your sole trader business: Tricks of the trade

A guide on picking the right sole trader business name, from sole trader examples to avoiding trademark issues, here we talk about what really is in a name

What’s in a name, eh? Well, when it comes to christening your sole trader business, it turns out quite a lot. For example, did you know that 60% of consumers find quirky business names more appealing because they make them smile? Whilst 50% agree that a creative name is helpful to remember the business by.

Setting up as a sole trader means that you can trade under your own name or your business partner’s name, should you have one. However, you also have the scope to get creative and give your fledgling company a new title if you wish to.

Choosing the right sole trader business name is paramount. After all, this will form the basis of prospective customers’ first impression of your offering. Read on for more some quick tips on naming your business, or, if you want to know more about what being a sole trader entails, take a look at our What is a sole trader? page.


On this page, we will cover:


Important considerations for choosing a sole trader business name

Naming your sole trader business should be a really fun part of setting yourself up for business success. You get the chance to be creative and really create a stamp of identity.

However, before you come up with what you think is the perfect sole trader company name, it’s important to know the following:

Firstly, sole traders are not allowed to use the following terms (or their Welsh equivalents) in their name as this incorrectly describes the status of their business:

  • Limited (Ltd)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Public limited company (Plc)

Secondly, as with any company name, it can’t be offensive, nor can it contain prescribed “sensitive” words.

This includes names that suggest your business is connected to the government or is of national importance (such as British or International) unless you have obtained specific permissions to use them.

See our summary of business name restrictions for more information.


Choose a sole trader business name that is memorable

You want a name that is catchy and original, sets you apart from the crowd, is memorable, available to use, and encapsulates your brand identity or proposition.

Why should you choose a memorable business name? A study by Vistaprint in July 2017 of 2,000 Britons found that 60% of consumers prefer a creative business name over a more traditional one, while 40% are more likely to make a purchase from a shop with a quirky title as a result.

Another 25% of consumers agreed that they typically get better service from a shop with a great business name (although there’s more to great service than just an interesting name).

So, memorability is great for branding. Simplicity is key and something smile-worthy works well. Think of some successful brand names like Nike or Dove. Did you know that Nike was also the Greek goddess of victory, whilst Dove has connotations of peace, softness and purity – perfect imagery for a brand that specialises in moisturising soap.

For some funky examples of fun sole trader business names, hop down to the bottom of the page.


Local businesses: consider incorporating the area into your business name

Did you know that 70% of google searches have local intent? That means that most people are looking at ‘pizza near me’ or ‘taxi near me’ type searches.

With this stat in mind, it might be worth considering putting the town your business is located in into your sole trader business name. This is so that when prospective customers search for a product or service that you offer, they’ll know that you’re a stone’s throw away – encouraging them to pay you a visit.

For example, if you’re a pizza shop in the town of Stourbirdge, ‘Stour-Dough Pizza’ might be a fun name to use – incorporating both a pun and related to the where the business operates.

Queens Park Garden Services or South Coast Bikes are other less ‘fun’ examples But something along this line can work to your advantage – especially when potential customers are seeking your offering within your locality.


Check that your sole trader business name is available and isn’t a registered trademark

Before you start branding, getting merch or building your website, you must check that your chosen name is not already being used by someone else, and does not infringe any registered trademarks.

Take a look at our recent interview startup business owner, Aneisha, to hear all about how Scrumbles (a luxury pet food startup) was “threatened with legal action” over its original business name.

Read all about how Aneisha overcame this challenge in Scrumbles’ Just Started feature, or, read our guide on how to check if your company name is original to avoid trademark infringement in the first place.

Read our guides: what not to name your business and what to do if your chosen business name is taken for help on what to do if you get a bit stuck.


Examples of creative business names

To help get your creative juices flowing to name your sole trader business, here are some great examples of business names that are humorous, funny, and most definitely memorable:

Planet of the Grapes – A wine bar in West London

Planet of the Grapes

Jason Donervan – A street food business in Bristol

Jason Donervan

Deja Brew – A coffee shop in Denton

Deja Brew

Wright Hassall – A solicitor's firm in Leamington Spa

Wright Hassall

Note that many of these names are a play on a popular film, trend or celebrity so you can take this into account when deciding on your business name – but, as we discuss below, check that your name doesn’t infringe on trademarks.

For more advice on choosing a creative business name, click here or watch this quick video on how two great start-ups came up with their business names.


Next steps:

Register as a sole trader:

Once you have determined that your name is available to use, and complies with all the rules, the next step is to register as a sole trader.

If you choose this route, you do not need to register your business with Companies House. Instead, you simply need to register as self-employed with HMRC.

However, you may also choose to register your company with the National Business Register (NBR). This affords you more protection against any legal challenges to your name, as the NBR will perform all necessary checks on your behalf and will inform you if there are any issues with your proposed title.

According to the NBR, registration also prevents others from copying your name in the future and protects your business against “passing off” – that is, others using your name to piggyback on your success, potentially taking customers away from you in your market or trading area.

Full business name searches, protection and registration for one year costs around £100.

Register your domain name:

Firstly, let’s clear up what a domain name actually is:

A domain name is the name of the website and forms the address via which customers can access your website online. For example, in the web address: www.startups.co.uk, “startups” is the domain name of this site.

For any modern business owner, the importance of having a website cannot be stressed enough. Plus, any good branding must be consistent across the board – meaning that the sole trader business name you choose must match your domain name (otherwise, how will your customers find you online?). So it’s best to develop both simultaneously.

To register your domain name you can use the handy website Domain.com, this will both check availability and register the name of your choice, making sure you get the business presence you need to build the best brand possible.

Excited to build a website for your sole trader business? Of course you are! And, the best news is that it’s easy – simply follow the seven steps in our how to build a website guide and you’ll see that it’s easy as pie.


Overall

In a nutshell, this article should have armed you with the knowledge and a touch of inspiration for naming your sole trader business. By now, you should know where to go to register your business name (hint: HMRC), and how to register a domain name too.

When it comes to building a website for your new business, we’ve got your back – be sure to take a look at our guide that takes you through how to build a website in seven easy-to-follow steps, or, if it’s a website builder you’re looking for, our best website builders page will help you make up your mind.”>how to build a website in seven easy-to-follow steps, or, if it’s a website builder you’re looking for, our best website builders page will help you make up your mind.

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