Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Naming your new business in India

Choosing the right name for your business is both important and tricky. A name must be such that it prompts recall of your business; it must also be “right” from the legal point of view to avoid trademark skirmishes.

If you are starting a new business by setting up a company in India, the registration procedure with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) will begin with a name search. You will have to propose a set of names in order of preference, and the ROC will approve the one deemed appropriate.

Obviously, this process ensures that you are not violating some other company’s intellectual property by using a name identical or similar to theirs, whether on purpose or by accident. Bear in mind too that the ROC asks that the company name be sufficiently descriptive of the nature of the business. Also, names that contain “India/Indian/Hindustan” are usually reserved for public sector corporations.

Even if your startup is a sole proprietorship or partnership, it is very important to choose an appropriate business name. Your business’ name must fulfill at least some of the following objectives:

Reflect business activity or company values. In this context, it is worth mentioning that a number of new Indian businesses wear their “Indian-ness” on their sleeves and adopt ethnic or Sanskrit names. While this may well set them apart, the significance of an esoteric name usually escapes most people, and if the business is looking overseas, it may create needless complications.

Appeal to the customer. If your business caters directly to end users, and your company name is the same as the brand, consider the specifics of your client base (for example, sophisticated versus youthful).

Have no negative connotations. History is rife with examples of name-disasters, especially when the company ventured into another culture or country. Also steer clear of any names that could be perceived as being controversial or offensive.

Be easy to remember. The name is a huge part of your business’ identity, so ensure it is easy to recall. Short, simple, universal generally works.

If a website is central to your new business, the same logic applies when it comes to choosing a name. In addition, use a “.in” extension to improve the search engine rankings when someone is searching for your type of business in India.

1 comment:

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