What’s in a name?

It's more important than you think, according to Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of Ovenu.

What’s in a name?

It’s more important than you think, according to Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of Ovenu.

One of the most important aspects to setting up a business – apart from a robust plan – is its name. An effective brand title goes some of the way towards creating a positive perception and will certainly contribute to the company’s overall success. Getting this right is crucial, which is why I’m surprised so many fail to conduct due diligence.

Many are completely unaware of the possible pitfalls of choosing a name. That said, others are simply prepared to ride roughshod over ‘intellectual property rights’ in the hope that they will not be found out.

To give you an example of this particular issue creating a problem: Our solicitors recently contacted a start-up business with a similar name to ours (Ovenu). This company provides an oven valeting service – the same as us, too. It was pointed out to them that they were in breach of Ovenu‘s intellectual property on two counts – its name and trading style. 

The managing director accepted the transgression and within days had replied to say the business had now closed, and its website and social media was completely wiped of content. To be clear, Ovenu only asked for them to select an alternative name which didn’t infringe on our IP. 

My role, as boss of Ovenu, is to protect the livelihoods of our 120-plus franchisees across the UK. These men and women, as well as their families, are dependent upon our brand name. Ovenu is contractually obliged to look after its stakeholders.

There are many oven cleaning firms up and down the country, and I have no interest in shutting any of them down. Having founded my franchise in 1994, I’m totally focused on Ovenu, which is a respected and recognised brand that has earned a reputation for providing a quality service.

Those looking to compete with an established brand must research the Companies House register as soon as possible. It’s completely free and a few minutes of online browsing will easily avoid such issues. Don’t forget, it can be extremely costly if a start-up company needs to change its name and branding.

Anyone looking to piggyback off an established successful business does so at their own significant risk. And it’s the same result even when this error occurs because a business owner has failed to do their checks properly. All businesses should appreciate their IP is vital to protect. Not just in name or idea, but also their long-term viability.

Rik Hellewell
Rik Hellewell