Part 1: Your business name starts your company's story
What was the first gift given to us when we were born into this world?...Our NAME.
When you introduce yourself to other people, how do you start?...My name is _________.
Our name identifies us from the crowd. When our name is called, we start to listen. We start to engage. We start to care. And, this is exactly what you want your business name to do. Announce to world that you are present. You are here to be of service. You are here to shine.
Let your business name introduce other people to your story. Let it be the spark to the fire in which you plan to blaze new trails and bring your unique business spice blend to the world.
Your #BusinessName will be your 1st creative gift to your company. It should help illustrate your business' mission and purpose. So, it would be wise to take some time and put a little thought into your gift-giving. I've compiled a few tips below to help as you formulate the name of your business.
Tip #1: Start with 5 - 10 possible business names
Don't limit yourself to only 1 name in the beginning. Think of several names that emulate your business' mission and purpose. *Note: When you decide on one overall business name, you can use the other names as possible DBAs (doing business as) if/when you decide to incorporate your business (of which we will discuss the benefits in a different session). Also, those DBAs can be used to gather additional domains to link to your business' website.
Tip #2: Obtain your .com domain name
Your domain name is used to find and identify your business' website on the Internet. It is the name of your website. Since the majority of people (and your customers) are online, your domain name is your business' #eAddress. Think about it. If you invited friends to your new house warming party, then how would they know to find your home without an address? Just the same, without a domain name, people cannot find you. If customers cannot find you, then they will not know about your unique business spice blend nor services. Your business will be non-existent, at least online.
Now, this is where the multiple business names will come in handy. Once you start searching to purchase domains from a Domain Name Registrar, like Google Domains or GoDaddy, you will quickly find that the .com domain is more difficult to obtain. Especially if you are trying to go with a more general name, you will also find that domains containing key words with high #SEO rankings are taken or more expensive to purchase. Despite this, still try to acquire the .com domain name for your business. .Com is the most commonly used top-level domains (TLDs) and one of the first TLDs utilized when the Domain Name System (DNS) was implemented in 1985. The .com domains stand for commercial websites; however, if you are starting an organization, like a school or non-profit, then try to obtain the .com AND the .org versions. The .org domains are most commonly used to identify NGOs (non-government entities).
*Note: If you have a patented product or authoring a book (a mistake that I made), then let your .com domain name guide your product name or book's name. It will save you many future headaches.
Here are a few extra tips on choosing a domain name.
Your domain name should at least hint at what type of product or service that your business provides. Ex. If your business focuses on making handmade jewelry, then consider a name like "Ashley Jewelry." If you provide plumbing services in a specific area, like Seattle, then consider "Seattle Plumbing." If you decide to create a buzz name that is totally irrelevant to your business type, then you will have to perform more branding to educate customers on your business. Ex. Google had to perform an incredible amount of marketing & advertising, so customers could tie their name to an Internet search engine.
Make your domain name memorable. Use less words/letters as possible in your name. Choose a name that is interesting but also speaks to your unique customer base. This will make it easier for people to memorize your domain. *Note: Domains containing 5 letters or less are very difficult to find available and usually come with a high price tag to purchase.
Consider domain name alternatives. You can utilize one of your DBAs or add some words in front or to the back of your business name in order to obtain your .com domain name. Ex. FreshChip.com is not available; however, FreshChipShop.com is available. When using alternatives, make it very distinguishable to avoid customers typing in the shortened domain name version, which can result in directing customers to another website.
Try to avoid #DomainNames with words that repeat the same letter, unless it is a part of your unique business name. Ex. Your business is based on helping women making healthier food choices and name is She Eats Healthy. Choosing the domain name, sheeatshealthy.com, your customer may mistakenly type in only one "e." The double "ee" can be confusing to type, which can result in sending your customer to another business' website.
Avoid domain names with a plural. Especially when people are typing in a hurry, they can frequently misspell your domain name. Ex. Your business name is Fresh Chips. If you choose the domain name, freshchips.com, then your customers may mistakenly type in freshchip.com. *Note: Some businesses will purchase name variations and/or different #TLDs (like, .biz, .net, .info, etc) to avoid their competitors from purchasing that domain and redirecting customers to that competitor's website.
Obtain your personal name.com, especially if you are self-employed or your services/products are directly tied to your name. You will see that most celebrities or professional athletes own their .com domain name, or they risk paying a hefty price to a domain name broker or seller. Don't let someone buy your name and then sell it later to you at an increased price. Also, you want to control what your personal name is tied to, especially online. If your first and last name is taken (many people have the same names), then consider a .com domain name alternative, that contains your first name, middle name initial, and last name.
6 Business Action Steps
1) Describe and write down the mission and purpose of your business.
2) Come up with at least 10 names for your business and write down on paper.
3) Type those names into a Domain Name Registrar's domain search box. Circle the business names with the .com domain name available. Try name alternatives, if none of your names are available.
4) Choose at least 3 .com domain names.
5) Purchase your PersonalName.com domain name.
6) Bring at least 3 .com domain names for your business to our next Entrepreneur Basics - Think Tank session: Naming Your Business Part 2 session