When it comes time to form a Limited Company, undoubtedly the biggest hurdle will be choosing a Company name. Company names are like URLs – they have to be unique – and with over 1,000 companies formed every day in the UK, the number of available company names is decreasing rapidly.

When choosing a company name, you also have to take into account existing companies and trademarks. While Star Bucks Ltd. may be technically unique, you’d likely attract some unwanted attention from a certain Seattle-based coffee outlet, and Companies House may deny your application right off the bat for being too similar to an existing name.

Many people wonder about the difference between “Limited” and “Ltd.” – the rather dull truth is that there is no difference. The choice between suffixing your company name with “Limited”, “Ltd”, “Ltd.”, or “LTD” is purely an aesthetic one. They are just used to signify your status as a Limited Company as opposed to, for instance, a Limited Liability Partnership.

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If you can only secure a vaguely-interesting company name, like “Generic Consultancy Firm GB 2011 Limited”, all is not lost. Although this will be the official name of your Limited Company, used in all formal correspondence, paperwork and Companies House and HMRC submissions, you can still operate under a Trading Name to keep your brand interesting.

So, how do you create a Trading name? Well, it’s really as simple as just dreaming one up. Obviously taking care to not infringe anyone else’s trademark, you simply invent a Trading name and use it as you wish. You need to make sure all your paperwork (invoices etc.) state your proper Limited Company name – usually in the form “Awesome Consultancy is a trading name of Generic Consultancy Firm GB 2011 Limited”.