Setting Up Shop Step Two: Naming the Business
June 27, 2014 § 1 Comment
After you’ve invested the time and done the soul work to discover what your calling is, it’s time to get to work. This next part could either be really tedious to you, or really fun depending on your personality. But no matter your perspective, this step is critical to your success. It’s time to determine your name.
To me, the naming process has three steps:
- Decide your name
- Register a domain name
- Begin the trademarking process
Decide Your Name
Coming up with a name sounds so easy when you are just starting to think about building a business. But most often, it’s much harder than expected. When you begin actually thinking about what the name of “it” will be, you realize that it’s a lot like naming a child. The responsibility of giving something a name that it will be called for the remainder of its life is overwhelming and scary. You don’t want choose the wrong one. After all, a name is a massive part of a brand, whether its a person or a business. Would we find Anthropologie as cool if they had named it Jenny’s Closet? I really don’t think so.
A name should evoke feelings that you want others to have when first coming into contact with your business. I recommend thinking about the purpose of your business, the adjectives that describe your product and the type of individual you hope to be your customer one day. Spend some time mapping this out on paper and then think of names that reflect your answers.
For me, I knew I wanted my business to be a place that encouraged others through uplifting words set to beautiful type. I wanted the items I created to bring beauty to ordinary days, and hopefully to help others cultivate a spirit of wonder towards life. I imagined a guest of a wedding opening an envelope to a gorgeous invitation and being so excited to post it to their refrigerator. Or a girl going through a tough season putting a scripture print into a frame and looking at it every night as she passed by it in the hall. Then I thought about the adjectives that I wanted to describe my products: bright, clean, colorful, whimsical, and inviting. Finally, I hoped that my target customer would be a female 18-50 years old, a bride, hostess, mom-to-be, or grandmom-to-be, who appreciates beautiful things and probably shops often at Target, but loves to buy the occasional lovely in Anthro or J Crew.
When I added all of this together, giving my purpose statement the most weight, I realized that I wanted to really hone in on living life with a whimsical spirit. My blog name, With Whimsy, had really resonated with me, even after almost a full year of writing. I loved that it encouraged living life looking for not only the beauty in creation around us, but also the specifically whimsical things that God placed in this world. Like crazy awesome fish in the ocean, birds of practically every color, trees that blow in the wind, stars that twinkle at night and sunrises and sunsets that daily look like works of art created just for our enjoyment.
As I thought about that name for a paper business though, I had to be realistic. If people saw With Whimsy Paper in a Google search, my concern was that they would start to think of Curlz font (oh you remember it!), bad clip art, and girly colors… at best. But I still loved the true meaning behind With Whimsy. So I searched for synonyms that might still evoke the same feelings but with a more conducive title for a paper design business. With Wonder quickly came to mind. And after several weeks of really chewing it over, I realized that it was really a perfect fit. Wonder seemed more mature, while still referencing living this life that searches for beauty and is in awe of creation. After asking friends that I trusted what they thought and receiving their blessing, I took the leap and officially decided it would be the name of my sweet little business!
Register A Domain Name
So now that you’ve done the difficult, but ultimately fun part of naming, it’s time for the boring, but critical, part. Once you’ve decided on your perfect name, you’re going to immediately want to register the domain name. What’s that? A domain name is the website URL that you type into your internet browser. You can register your domain name at GoDaddy.com, SquareSpace.com, and other sites.
You will need to perform a quick search to see if the domain is available before you can acquire it (on GoDaddy.com, it’s just at the top of the page as seen in the image above). Don’t be discouraged if your exact title has already been taken though! Much of the reading I’ve been doing has reiterated that as long as the product you’re looking to make is in a totally different industry, you’re probably ok. For example, if WithWonder.com had been taken, but it was a site that was used for making children’s clothes, then I would probably have felt ok registering WithWonderPaper.com. Our clientele might have overlapped here and there, but for the most part, we wouldn’t be competing for business.
Thankfully, WithWonderPaper.com was free! So I scooped it up, along with the .net, .org, and .info sites, just to be safe, for a very minimal yearly fee. Even though I’m not ready to create a full-blown website, reserving the name for when I am ready to grow my business in that way is a good idea. Now, if and when the business grows, I won’t have to fight a custody battle almost over getting it. (Be sure to check out Lara Casey’s story about that here!)
If, for whatever reason, your exact name is taken and the company who occupies the site is in your industry, then perhaps consider choosing a different name that still achieves your criteria in step one. If that does happen though, I give you full permission to mourn the loss of your original business name. It would be a super big bummer!
Finally, Begin the Trademarking Process
So confession: I have not actually attempted this step yet. However! I fully believe in its importance and I plan to start ASAP.
Trademarking is your way of protecting your now and future business. Similar to a domain name, registering a trademark is another protection that gives you ownership of your business name.
Since I am not an expert on trademarking, I’m going to redirect you to this awesome blog post written by Emily Ley on Oh My! Handmade. It is SUPER helpful in helping you navigate!
One thing to note is you do not have to trademark your business if you decide to use your name as your business name. This is also a great idea as you probably won’t waver over your love for your name for the rest of your business’ life. It’s yours and it’s not going anywhere – so why not have it be the name of your business? The only downside I see to this system is that if you’re not married yet, you’ll have to deal with what you’ll call it after you’re married if you take your significant others’ name. Or potentially it won’t be descriptive about the business you’re creating, so the immediate association won’t be there as it would with a title that includes your industry in it.
So those are my thoughts on developing a name! I think this naming step is crucial to take on first as the process of determining it will help guide all of your future decisions as a business owner. Your business name is the lens that people will see your brand through. So take the time to do it right and make sure that you love it!
If you’ve created your own business name, let us know what you decided on and how you came to that decision!