What’s in a Business Name in the Health and Fitness Industry

Starting Your Health and Fitness Business?

Over the past 10 years I have received many requests for assistance from physiotherapists, personal trainers and other therapists about starting their businesses. Recently we have developed a web site development and hosting business for our many health/fitness industry clients. One of the most often asked questions is “what shall I call myself?”

What is in a name?

Many entrepreneurs in the fitness and health industry deliberate and spend too much effort trying to come up with an appropriate business or product name. In many cases it can stall the progression of a business. The truth is that no business name is critical to success, regardless of how memorable or well-established it is.

A name is only as valuable as the marketing plan (and often the dollars you can invest) and the business behind it. A business needs to be both well run and have a marketing budget to make a name or trademark meaningful. Otherwise, it is irrelevant how memorable or clever the name is. Simplicity of often a godsend.

Just consider some of the leading names in the world today – Google, Twitter, Amazon, Rebel Sport, Fitness First and Virgin Active. It is possible that some of the most successful names were conceived by teenagers at a university bar, not by some high powered marketing executive. Keep in mind that many companies with great or even long-established business names have failed. Great names cannot make up for the lack of a good business model or adequate financing. Every name – no matter how seemingly valuable – can be changed. It is easy to believe that customers know a name so well that it cannot be changed, but that is simply not true. Here is a site with some naming strategies and and cool things to think about.

Small companies often change names when they change ownership, typically with positive rather than negative effects. Even very large companies change corporate names and are able to keep, or even expand, their customer base.

Here are some things for a business to keep in mind when deciding on a business name:

  1. Ensure you business name is available. Your business name should be available as both a registered business (or company if you want protection Australia wide) and as a web address.
  2. Marketing beats a good name. No matter how good a name is, a business has to be able to first reach customers. A lot of marketing exposure is a lot more powerful than the best name. If there is a choice between spending resources on obtaining a name, versus the opportunity to reach customers, the marketing path is normally the most effective. Do what has to be done to place your service or product in front of customers.
  3. There is no ‘must-have’ business name, product name or trademark. No matter how great the name conceived, there is always another name out there that will work just as well.
  4. Many businesses use similar names. It is easy to lose sleep over the fact that other businesses use names that are similar. Do the marketing and customers will find you.
  5. A simple name may prove more effective than a clever one. A company with a straightforward name, such as ‘Highlands Dental Clinic,’ may develop a better business than a company with a seemingly memorable or clever name. Do not under estimate the obvious names.

Here are some handy sites you should visit when thinking about starting your business:

Company and business names ASIC Searches.

Web names and availability from Ipera or Melbourne IT

Starting your business in NSW, Victoria, QueenslandSA or from the Commonwealth.

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About the author

Bradley Wilson is the Managing Director of the AOK Health Group, established in 1994. The AOK Group is comprised of 3 companies which specialise in the design, manufacture and distribution of health and rehabilitation products, education and services worldwide. Bradley has not just fostered good products but also good business, winning the awards including 2008 Exporter of the Year, 2003 Fastest Growing Hunter Wholesaler and in 2004 Trainer of the Year in Logistics. In 2004, 2006 & 2008 Bradley was elected as a Director of the Hunter Business Chamber by the 1000 member companies of that organisation. He is Senior Vice President, Chair of the Executive, Audit, Business Development and Education Committees. In 2005 fellow board members elected him as a Councillor of NSW Business Chamber (previously Australian Business Ltd) - one of Australia’s largest business lobby groups. Bradley was a Councillor for 3 years. Respected enough to work with other prominent industry professionals throughout the world, he has developed a business model that allows his customers the advantage of the world’s best product and technological information unchallenged by their competitors.

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