Choosing a company name: Ideas to get you started

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Build up a brand concept: Smiling businessman building the word brand along with construction machines, isolated on white background.

When you're starting a business in Malaysia, it's important to think about more than just the products or services you'll offer. One of the most important decisions you'll make is what to name your company. A good name can help prospective customers remember your business, and it can also convey the image and message you want to project. A poorly picked name – or even a taboo one – can otherwise hurt your image and limit your potential. 

With that in mind, it's essential to spend some time selecting a strong, memorable business name that is compliant with the law.

What is a taboo name?

If you are using a trade name, it will need to be approved by the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) – especially as certain words and combinations of letters are considered taboo in Malaysia. When you are choosing a company name, bear in mind that it should not consist of obscene words that resemble elements of religion. Gazette words such as “Imperial”, “Crown” and “Royal” are also not permitted unless a letter of authorisation is obtained. Additionally, the name of your business should not be blasphemous or viewed as offensive to members of the public. 

By taking note of these guidelines, it can speed up the process of getting your business name approved before proceeding with your company registration. Here are some ideas on how you can go about deciding on a name for your new company.

How to choose a name for your business

1. Keep it simple 

The best names are easy to pronounce and spell. Avoid complex words or unusual spellings. When potential customers are searching for your products or services online, they're more likely to find your business if your company name is simple to recall. To kickstart your brainstorming session, you can easily search online and generate brand name ideas that can inspire your own. 

2. Make it unique

You want your customers to be able to easily distinguish you from the competition. Picking the right name is essential for branding and marketing your company in the long haul. Do note that if you are incorporating words that are not in Malay or English, the meaning of these words must be provided in order to get your company name approved by the SSM. Your company name may also include the name of the directors who incorporated the company. That said, any other names used will require a proof of family relationship or a consent letter. 

Here are some other important considerations to take note of before settling on the company name that best represents your business. 

  • Acronyms may be used, provided that they are not similar to names of institutions of higher learning and state or federal government agencies  – in order to avoid confusion. 

  • Use of symbols like the hyphen and apostrophe is allowed.

  • Your company name should not be similar to the word ‘company’ as it will be added to it. For instance, avoid using Sendirian/Sdn, Corporation and Co in your business name.

  • Words that associate your company to regulated activities under various laws in Malaysia are prohibited. For example, it is against the law to use “merchant bank”, “money broker” and “finance” – just to name a few – pursuant to the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989. Should you wish to use these words, you will need to have the necessary written approval from the relevant agency to be submitted with your name application.

For more information, do check the guidelines for naming a company in Malaysia to ensure a smooth registration process.

3. Check its availability

Additionally, avoid choosing a name that's already taken by another existing business entity. As such, be prepared to have a few ideas in mind and confirm their availability using either SSM eInfo or MYDATA database. Through these name search portals, you can get verification if the name is available for use.

As an extra tip, plan ahead and check if your chosen company name is available as a domain and on social media handles. Moving forward, it will be easier for your business to create a strong online presence by using platforms like TikTok to reach new customers.  

Ready to name your business?

Once you’re confident with your name of choice, remember to reserve the name with SSM and apply for its approval before going ahead with the rest of the company incorporation procedure. To help you get your business off the ground and onto the path to success, learn how you can improve your website’s bounce rate and start shipping to customers overseas.