You have done your market research and determined what your new venture legal entity should be. Now it is time to choose a names for the company, domain, and social media. Do you really need this many names? The answer is yes if you are going to establish an internet presence or write content to promote your product and services.
Choosing a New Venture (Company) Name
When you set up your new venture you are asked to name the business entity. The name may be a corporate name, a partnership name or a fictitious DBA name used for your sole proprietorship. You may name your new ventures’s legal entity almost anything you want, but the name should be part of your overall marketing strategy. There are no absolute rules for naming your company but it general you will want to make sure that you:
- Choose a name that is distinctive in other words a name that will be easy to remember.
- Choose a name that is not Trademarked by another company or is otherwise protected as IP. Defending your name or being forced to change it can be expensive.
- Choose a name that fits with your business description or innovation if possible. Be sure to keep your name short, 2-3 words maximum as your name is likely to be abbreviated by directories, search engines, internet inquiries. A short name will lead to fewer typos when searching (see domain names below).
- Avoid using your entire personal name is you are setting up a corporation. This helps to separate between business and personal life should a personal issue arise. In addition, if after several rounds of fund raising, you are no longer the majority owner, expect the name to be changed which can be expensive.
- Use of your own name is acceptable when setting up a partnership especially a professional practice as it leads to name and image branding.
- The abbreviation DBA means Doing Business As. It is very common for sole proprietorships or micro-enterprises to have a legal name and also a trade name. You see DBA names everyday such Joe’s Garage or XYZ cleaners etc. Your trade name (DBA) should reflect the type of business that is being conducted.
Selecting Domain Names for Entrepreneurial Ventures
A domain name is the internet address that potential customers go to in order to find out more information about your business. It may be the location of your web page or blog page or both. Selecting the right domain name is the most important of the 4 types of names you will be choosing. The reason is once you have purchased and registered a domain name it becomes a permanent marker for the new venture and is critical to the success of establishing a web presence. The wrong name can steer customers away or cause potential customers to continue searching. Careful attention should be paid to selecting a name. Tips include:
- The shorter the better. The longer the name the more difficult it is to remember and the more likely someone one will type in the wrong address. I can speak from experience on this as a mistake that I personally have made because I did not know better. A long name will result in a long URL, for example: http://www.joesgarageintampahasgreatservice.com versus http://joesgarage.com.
- Choose a name the identifies your business if possible. This can be the same as your company name. Choosing your corporate or DBA name is not always possible because many names have already been reserved. To find out if your name has been taken or is available go to and click on the godaddy icon on upper right of this page, then follow the instructions to enter in the name you are looking for.
- Common domain extensions include .com, .org, .info,and .net. Dot com (.com) extensions are the most popular but you will also want to reserve the .org and/or extensions so your competition can not steal your traffic. Another reason is that someone with the same name but different extension may be an undesirable business that people may think is you.
- Reserve common misspellings of your name if they are available especially if one of the words is commonly misspelled such as been/bean, there/their and so on. These are called sub-domains or error domains.
Special Note! It is common for a new company to have several to a dozen or more domain names. Having multiple domain names does not require a website for each. Error domains or sub-domains can all be pointed to the main domain (Website) using a 301 redirect command. For example, disruptivetechconsulting.com, entreprueradvisor.com and theentrepreneursadvisor.net are just three of the domains pointed to http://blog.theentrepreneursadvisor.com/ . Choosing a host company (the server where your actual domain/website resides will be discussed in the 5th post of The Ultimate Checklist of Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises titled when you choose what you are going to do with your website.
Reserving Your Social Media Profile Names
You may wonder why we have placed reserving your place in Social Media before discussing what type of web presence is best for your company. The reason is, by taking a look at the various social media sites you will have a better understanding of what type of web presence is needed to bring web traffic to your site. It is important that you go through this process yourself and not rely on others to understand where your market is located on the internet. If you want to outsource the mechanics later on that is your choice, but doing this exercise will ensure you know what you are paying for and help avoid fraudulent advisors.
What is a Social Media Profile
People constantly use the term Social Media without understanding what it means. Simply put, Social Media is media used for social interaction. It can be for communication such as a blog, Facebook, Twitter or collaboration such as news sharing or social bookmarking on sites like Wikimedia, Stumbleupon, Google Reader, Digg etc. Social media may also be used to share photos or reviews or other information. There are hundreds of social media sites with specialties in almost everything.
Why Do I Need Social Media Profiles and How are They Used
Each of these sites requires a username, email and password to access. Once accessed you are able to share information, promote your work, link to your site, get involved and establish yourself as an authority on a subject and so on. The key word here is share. When you access these sites to promote your work it is great business to review the work of others, comment or pass along. Therefore, choosing a name, especially one that is promotes your website or products should be thought out carefully. For example:
- Entrepreneurs may choose to promote your business with a Facebook Fan page, publish the latest news about your business, post your latest video (YouTube) or share photos (Flicker). There are hundreds of social media outlets, it is important to select profiles that can help attract traffic to your website.
- You may want to Twitter about the latest products news or blog post or retweet a good article you have found. The Entrepreneur’s Advisor uses the Twitter name theresource. This name matches the intent of the website and is of course much shorter in name.
- Your website may have a blog to demonstrate your knowledge, products or services. Blogs are fantastic places to find great information and build links to your products. The importance of links and other SEO optimization techniques will be discussed in Part 6 of The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneurs.
Hopefully, you have noticed that many of the social networking sites are short or have easy to remember names. Remember, we are still in the planning stage of business launch but you can reserve these names now on the major social media sites. Many people find it helpful to create a spreadsheet that contains the site, username, email and password. You do not need to have a different password for every site but it is good to keep the password different from critical logins. Organization is crucial to using social media effectively. For example a blog post can be promoted to 20 or more social media sites in less than a half hour if you are organized.
The Next Post for The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises
Articles 1-3 have covered the basic of performing market research into thinking through your idea. The steps and suggestions offered here are valid for any type of business from a new technology to a purely e-commerce business venture. They can be used even if you have already started your business or have a website because change is how an entrepreneur thrives. The next set of posts will outline why and how to determine the type of web presence needed for your business venture as well as how to choose and set up a website.
We welcome your feedback and tips that you have to offer entrepreneurs, professional practices and micro-enterprises so that they may be successful. If you liked this article you may also enjoy reading:
- Measuring Blogging and Inbound Marketing
- Assessing Technology and Market Opportunities
- High Value Ventures