When I was first thinking of starting a business I had the hardest time thinking of a name. It was almost as hard, if not harder, than coming up with a name for my baby. It can be tough, you need to make sure that someone else doesn’t already have the name, that the URL for the name is available, that it fits your brand and the vision you have for your company. You need to think long term and how the name will fit years to come. Do you want to expand your business to other markets? You may not be thinking that far or big now but if there is a possibility of you expanding outside your area in the future you will want to see if the name is taken in other markets.
These were all things I didn’t realize I’d need to consider before starting a business. And you can’t really dive in to creating a business without a name. You need to register that name as a business, get a URL with that name, have business cards made up, social media accounts and more. Without the name you can’t move forward. And you don’t want to invest all the time and money on creating all these things just to decide to change your name later. It needs to fit and feel right. When I started out I loved the name Talking Hands. There was a company in the US that had the name Talking Hands. I emailed the person who owned Talking Hands and explained that I lived in Canada and really loved the name and asked if she minded if I used the name in Canada. She said that it was fine that I could use the name. After thinking about it for a little while I realized, as a business, that it is never a good idea to have the same name as someone else. What if this person wanted to expand into Canada? What if I wanted to expand in the US, she may fight me on the name then. I knew the importance of developing a recognizable brand so I didn’t want to invest all the time and energy into creating that brand only to have to change it in the future.
I decided on Smart Hands instead. I bought the URL smarthands.ca, marketing material, registered the name, had a logo created, set up a You Tube account and got the ball rolling. After I posed my first video to You Tube I had someone contact me from California asking about becoming a Smart Hands instructor. This was when I realized my company could be so much larger than just me. I also realized that someone in the US would not want to be listed as an instructor under a Canadian URL. Then I tried to buy the URL smarthands.com and was sad to find it was already taken. I love the name, had everything set up with that name on it but now I couldn’t have a .com with the same name. That was when I started using My Smart Hands instead of just Smart Hands.
I know a woman who started her company in Canada and never imagined it would blow up into what it has. She recently started expanding into the US and found out there was already a company that had a similar product as hers with the same name. That company fought her on bringing her business to the US. She had to then decide to change her name in order to do business in the US. It was hard for her because she had created a brand with a recognizable name and now had to start from scratch somewhat.
So when you are thinking of starting a business make sure to put a lot of thought into the name. Do your research! See if the name is taken in other countries, that the URL is available and especially that is available on social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Pintrest etc).
It’s hard sometimes to spend so much time on something that seems so little. I understand the feeling of just wanting to dive in and get things underway. But trust me, it’s worth spending the extra time on finding that perfect name!