So you’re ready to start your new business, congrats! Before you buy a domain, before you set up your LLC, before you start a cute little Etsy store, read this article.
Why should I worry about Branding, if I’m just starting out?
This is the best time to think about creating a great business name and branding it! If you are diligent in your preliminary research, you’ll thank yourself later. Let me explain. You want to brand it without spending hours, weeks, years of your life and then suddenly running into a wall and getting a cease & desist letter from a lawyer. Follow these steps to protect yourself. These are the main considerations for your new business name:
- Unique – Your business name must be unique in the marketplace. Given that 10,000 new websites are purchased every hour, that can be a daunting task. You should spend a bit of time researching if your name is taken in any marketplace, not just a domain. For example, we print business cards for 3 different companies that are all named “Tucson Garage Doors”. This creates a problem with customers calling the right company, as well as serious legal hurdles. A quick google search will rule out a lot of possible business names. If you don’t find your proposed name in google, proceed to check the following sites next
- whois.com – put the domain in the upper right, for example, parsonslandscaping.com. If it says, register now! Then that name is available as a domain. That’s great news, but don’t buy it just yet. If it shows a registered date, and a bunch of data, that means it’s taken, and you need to think up another name.
- uspto.gov – Use TESS to search for your desired name. Try variations
- Now go to every online marketplace and check there: Amazon, ebay, etsy, zazzle, redbubble, etc. (Google for the rest of them)
- Now go to every social media and check there: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, Quora, Linked-in
- If you create a business name that is already in use (online or in your town), it can be deemed a copyright and/or trademark infringement. The company who had the name first can sue you for your domain, and business name itself. This could put you out of business, and worse, a judgement in court could cost you everything.
- Memorable – that is easily spelled and pronounced, but not easily confused with another concept.
- Relevant – It’s important to create a business name Your business name should include at least one word that applies to your industry.
- DON’T – Don’t include contractions, like “don’t” “ain’t”, etc.
- Don’t use initials that are hard to read like, ilji1.com.
- Don’t use the word “and”, because when telling people your business name they will confuse and for an, or n, or &.
- Don’t use someone else’s domain name with a word before or after it, and think that’s ok. That’s a copyright violation. For example, a website already exists called bestprinting.com, and I think I’m being clever by buying thebestprinting.com or bestprintingever.com. It will take about 3 months before I hear from their lawyer, and not much longer before they own my domain and my house and car. Don’t do it.
I’m not ready to start my business yet, so I’ll just wait.
No! The older your site is, the better it will rank and be trusted by search engines! Plus, what if someone else has your brilliant idea! Go get it now, or hire us to do it. The fee is $15 for the domain, and $25 for us to procure it and protect it. Please call us if you want that service.
OK, I’m convinced. How can I do it myself?
Just go to namecheap and create an account, and buy it! I don’t recommend using namecheap for hosting, but you can.
What exactly do you mean by branding?
Once you’ve cleared your name as unique, memorable and relevant, and bought your domain, it’s time for branding. We’ll want to create a logo for you, and supporting graphics, font and color scheme that is consistent throughout all your marketing materials. This means your website, business cards, t-shirts, vehicle graphics and then on social media and online marketplaces if you have products to sell. Your unique brand can and should be spread far and wide for the maximum reach and exposure in the marketplace to give your business the best chance of being found, and used.