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Choosing the best business name: Rules and common mistakes

Choosing your company’s name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you start a new business.



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The reality is that names do affect perception. The instant we hear a new word, our brains immediately go to work trying to make sense of it – What does it remind us of? How does it feel?

What’s in a name?

A lot, as it turns out, especially when it comes to naming your business.

Choosing your company’s name is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you start a new business, as it sets the tone for all your future branding initiatives. For better or worse, your business name helps create a first impression with potential customers and investors, so it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. The right name will empower your business for years to come, so give yourself enough time to make a smart choice.

In this article, we’ll review the 10 crucial mistakes to avoid when choosing product brand names.

[READ MORE: 12 lessons on business strategy from the game of Chess]

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Copying a well-known name

No one likes a copycat, so why go down that road? It’s all too common for people to copy coined business names. It may seem smart to borrow some brand power from established names. The problem is it makes you seem lazy and unoriginal. Not to mention, you could wander into a legal gray area.

The whole point of branding is to get people talking about the great things that set your business apart. Names have strong associations.


Choosing a long name

Shorter is better when it comes to choosing a business name. Longer names are difficult to remember and tiring to look at. Aim to keep your business name short for two reasons:

  • Everyone gets distracted easily these days. Don’t make people work hard to recall what your business does.
  • Chances are, you meet potential customers everywhere. You want the most forgetful person to recall your name even without a business card or brochure.

If you’re determined to go with a longer name, try coming up with a shortened version as well. Think CBS, NBC, or P&G.

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Ignoring trademark laws

New companies are popping up everywhere; so, choosing a good business name is getting tougher every day. Checking for existing trademarks can help you avoid legal battles down the road. Keep in mind, there are federal and common law trademarks. A competitor with a similar name doesn’t have to own a registered trademark.

A quick Google search is an absolute must and you may want to supplement it with a professional trademark search.

Choosing complicated spelling

The last thing you want to do is confuse people with a name they can’t say or write easily. If you’re using common words, customers will choose the most obvious spelling. Now imagine what will happen if they try finding you in a search engine and 20 other businesses come up first. You will lose valuable business, and the customer still won’t know how to find you.

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If you can’t say it, you won’t be able to remember it. When you make up names that aren’t real words you need to make sure that they are easy to pronounce. Don’t try to be clever at the expense of being understood.

Brainstorming in isolation

Starting a business is about sharing your products with the world. That’s why you should consult people you trust when you have a strong list of names. You see and hear things one way; other people catch things you don’t. Even big companies run into trouble when their creative teams overlook alternate meanings or hidden words. With this in mind, make sure you:

  • Say names aloud at various speeds. When mashed together, words can unintentionally send the wrong message.
  • Write names down without spaces. When you pick a domain, you don’t want the joined words to contain alternate meanings.
  • Check for words in other languages. If you work with international customers, make sure your business name isn’t offensive in another language.

Don’t choose a name that is too generic

It’s hard enough to stand out, so don’t choose a name that is too generic. Generic names include acronyms; stay away from them. You want a name that will provoke curiosity and the desire to learn more about the company behind the name. Being too generic will cause people to overlook you if you sound like every other company out there. A generic name will also make it difficult to buy the domain name and to register the name for social media accounts.

You haven’t researched competitor names

Many businesses don’t realize the power of brand recognition and will have almost the exact name as another business, especially in the same industry. The name should be creative and strategic, set you apart from the pack, and summarize what the company does.

You’re following a short term trend

Do your best to select a name that will stay relevant for years. Many phrases are catchy, so they get overused and annoying within a few years. Businesses can influence trends, but they don’t have complete control over them. Trends frequently develop associations with certain groups or stereotypes, but those stereotypes don’t always overlap with your intended target audience.

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[READ ALSO: A look at some financing options for small business owners]

You haven’t tested your name with your target audience

Naming a company may be one of the most important strategic decisions a company will make. Once you have the name (or names) you are considering, take the extra step and test it with the target to make sure it delivers the image you want and it resonates correctly. And make sure that the target can easily pronounce the name; this will eliminate market confusion

Even if you don’t make these 10 common mistakes, you should still consider getting a legal opinion on the name you have chosen.

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In a hyperinflation economy like Nigeria’s, these are the best investments to consider immediately

A deeper review of investments to consider amid the prevailing high inflation in Nigeria.



Where to buy Real Estate in Lagos in 2021, Nigeria's Real Estate Sector recorded positive growth after three year low, Real estate: Declining credit reflects underlying weakness 

Let’s face it, Nigeria’s rising inflation plus lower options for high yielding investments are already driving a significant number of investors away from Africa’s leading frontier market. This is coming at a time when Nigeria’s top performing investment asset class for 2020 is currently having a year-to-date return of around -3.30%.

Recent data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals Nigerian inflation rate surged to a 33-month high, as it rose further to 16.47% in January 2021 from 15.75% in December 2020. This is marks 17th consecutive month of rising inflation in the country.

Consequently, Nairametrics interviewed selected financial experts on the investment options best suitable for such macro.

That being said, it’s important to note that there are no guarantees when it comes to investing during high inflation. At best, such investments may be inflation-safe, but returns can never be guaranteed.

READ: The Nigerian economy is increasingly dollarized but there is a way-out

Debo Adejana, MD/CEO, Realty Point Limited, Chairman, REDAN South West Zone.

At 16.5% inflation rate as of January 2021, the obvious is that there are very little short-term investments that can outperform that especially in the short term. So, that being said, my traditional conservative disposition of the fact that the best investment term is the long-term.

To make returns that will consistently be higher than 16.5% in short term investments will require very good knowledge of the asset class and share dedication.

If that is clear, then by my own understanding, the following are some of the possible investment areas or strategies to adopt with real estate being my most preferred asset class anytime:

  1. Financial player in a JV Property Development Scheme. This helps to save time and gives faster turnover of investment fund.
  2. Buying distressed property now, renovate, rent-out for 2years of more just to hold if necessary and sell after.
  3. Crowd owning/funding property deals
  4. Guaranteed rent discounting
  5. International property investment for positive cash flow and to enjoy foreign exchange appreciation

All the above can be done as a large ticket investor or little fractional holder using a well-structured and regulated vehicle.

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READ: Real estate sector GDP positive in Q4 2020, but still in the woods

Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka, Co-founder, Quba Exchange

Inflation means that prices for things are rising, and as such the same amount of money buys less over a certain period of time. This in itself is especially not good for cash savings as the best way to manage inflation is by investing in instruments that give you a return higher than the current rate of inflation or at least one that keeps up with it.

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The best kinds of assets to invest in during inflation are tangible assets that have fundamental values and as such, their worth measures up together with inflation. These assets include real estate, growth stocks, and commodities like food, crude oil, and gold (especially gold).

On the flip side, one should avoid long-term fixed-income investments. This is because the value of the underlying security falls as investors tend to focus on higher-yielding alternatives when the interest rates of that instrument start rising.

READ: FG says Finance Bill 2020 will check inflation

Thelma Ugonna Ohiri-Anyanwu, CFA

Inflation is the increase in prices of goods over a period of time, where a specific amount of currency will be able to buy less than before.

In as much as inflation erodes the value of funds, this should not deter one from investing as some investment’s types are great hedge against inflation and helps to preserve capital. Some of such investments are Gold, REITs, real estate, commodities and a well-balanced stock portfolio.

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Silas OZOYA, Founder/CEO SUBA Capital

Inflation in many ways affect the general health of a countries economy and her citizens literally and the only way out of inflation is continuous and increased investments in local production, expansion of existing local businesses and enacting fiscal policies that would strengthen the currency of such country.

To mitigate this, increased and persistent investment from all angles in Agriculture, local processing, and increased export would do a positive dent on our inflation rate and keep us far away from recession through job creation, wealth growth, food, and cash crop production at scale.

Nigerian’s home and abroad should consider investments that support economic growth through investments in Agriculture and agro-allied ventures.


Agriculture from my experience is one of the very few sectors that puts food on the table, employs people, and grows the value of your money against inflation all in one value chain.

The general public, high net worth individuals, and Nigerians abroad should consider holding at least 20% of their asset portfolio in Agriculture and agro-allied investments.

Angela Aya, Head, Institutional Sales at Alonati

There are a lot of investment opportunities for both the wealthy and not so rich investors in Nigeria, investors desiring to get an income or return on investment. Some are the FGN Savings Bonds, Stocks, Real Estate, Gold, Cryptocurrency, Agriculture etc. However, below are some investments that offer inflation protection:

Real Estate

Investment in real estate has been profitable and remains lucrative especially in Nigerian urban cities.

This investment however requires medium to high capital. Nigeria is still a developing Country in the world and the need for housing to match the Country’s increasing population size remains critical, as urban-rural migration continues to increase due to the neglect of development of the rural areas by the States and Federal Government.

The value of land and property has continued to rise and will continue to appreciate due to the margin between demand and supply as the need for residential and commercial buildings in major cities remains high.


Investing in gold has remained an agelong golden income space. The value of gold has continued to appreciate over the years because of the importance attached to it all around the world.

Gold remains an important symbol of wealth and affluence, and can be purchased as bars, coins or jewelries and resold at a higher price over time.

Bottom line

A disciplined investor can hedge against inflation risks by investing in the following asset classes that often outperform during high inflationary climates.

  • Debo Adejina – Real Estate,
  • Darlington-Morsi Onyemaka – real estate, growth stocks, and commodities like food, crude oil, and gold (especially gold).
  • Thelma Ugonna Ohiri-Anyanwu, CFA – Gold, REITs, real estate, commodities and a well-balanced stock portfolio.
  • Silas OZOYA – Agriculture and agro-allied ventures.
  • Angela Aya – Real Estate & Gold.

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Investment Tips

Retail franchise investment next gold mine for Nigerian investors- CIG

Retail franchise investment curbs unemployment  and create buffer for people looking for side hustle



The Choice International Group (CIG) has tasked both unemployed and employed Nigerians to embrace retail franchise investment, as the initiative would curb unemployment in the nation  and create buffer for people looking for side hustle.

In line with a recent FBDS Study, there are over 450,000 Nigerian career professionals with minimum investible funds of N1 million, looking out for investment opportunities.

In the majority, these funds are looking for franchise type opportunities for ease of venturing and minimal failure risk.

As far as CIG chairperson, Diana Chen, is concerned, such investor should look no further but consider the group’s retail franchise investment opportunity, which offers Nigerian community mouth-watering offer of owning Gree & Lontor retail stores.

According to him, Gree is the world’s residential air-conditioner manufacturer, while Lontor provides high-quality, energy-saving and convenient rechargeable home appliances and lighting products for global consumers.

He said, “Both brands have been built by the CIG into a world-class electronic retail chain in Nigeria opening no less than 20 brand shops in Lagos and Oyo over the last 18 months.

“The sales performance of its existing stores in the country makes Gree & Lontor one of the most profitable businesses in Nigeria with yields of an average return on investment of 50% and above per annum.

“CIG is offering investors the opportunity to own any of six regional logistics centres, or any number of Gree & Lontor brand shops in viable locations across Nigeria.


“It is the decision of the company to open up these opportunities to the investing public through a Franchise Retail partnership.”


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He added that the company has mapped out two investment models it says are simple, transparent, and hassle-free.

“The first model involves only six regional logistics centres located across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

“Whoever invests in this will require a capital outlay of $1 million, and become a mega distributor partner of the Gree & Lontor brand, and service a network of brand shops.

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“The second investment model involves the Gree & Lontor brand shops – retail franchise stores that require an initial capital outlay of N20 million.

“The investor will secure a store size of 120-150sqm at any choice location, shopping mall, plazas, high streets and even residential neighbourhoods.”

What they are saying

Nigeria is a growth market for franchising and franchise development services.

Gbenga Ajayi, an Entrepreneurship analyst, said, “The retail industry comes second to the food industry among sectors with best franchising opportunities.

“As with other emerging markets, one of the challenges of franchising in Nigeria remains the strengthening of intellectual-property regimes so that franchise companies can transmit knowledge and franchise system concepts with the confidence that such know-how will be protected.

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