In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.
~ Erik Erikson
As you decide which business structure is right for you and what business name to use, you need to also consider if someone else has gotten there first.
And by there, I mean the internet.
Your website is going to be your primary marketing tool, and online search is going to be how most of your clients find you. It is an important piece to consider before moving forward with finalizing your business name and structure.
1) Google your name and any other business name you are considering to see what comes up.
Personally, the reason I go by Constance Lynn Hummel and Constance Lynn Counselling, Coaching & Consulting instead of just Constance Hummel or a variation of, is because there is a woman in the states who has the same name that was already taking up the first few pages of google when my name was searched. Different industry, but it could get easily switched. I needed to have my business name be something slightly different so people wouldn’t get confused and could still find me.
Also make sure there is nothing unsavoury attached to your potential business names online, or you may end up in a situation like THIS. (warning it’s definitely unsavoury). No matter how much you love a name, sometimes it would be an uphill battle to change public connotations, so do your homework first.
2) Next, make sure the website for that name is available.
Ideally you want the .com for your website domain, but in Canada the .ca also has dominance. I recommend getting both if you are able. You can have them both directed to the same website.
If you are using the word “Counselling” in your website URL, make sure you purchase the Canadian and the American spellings of the word. Even if you’re not going to practice under your personal name, try to purchase the .com and .ca of your name to avoid brand confusion (we’ll go into that in greater detail in the branding modules).
If you change your mind about which domain you are going to use you can always give it up later, but grab them if they are available so no one else swoops in while you are making up your mind. Having to start over again down the road can be a frustrating experience.
Tips for a Website Domain:
- Keep it as short as possible. It doesn’t need to contain your entire business name.
- Make sure it is easy to spell and reads well without spaces.
- If you can’t get your name or business name, consider using a short phrase
- If you already have a website domain / website, post it in the group. It’s ok if the site isn’t ready yet.
- If you are trying to decide between a few domain options, post those and ask for feedback to see what resonates with others.