7 Things You Must Consider Before Choosing A Business Name
Probably the most frustrating time I have as a local marketing consultant here in Jamaica, is when I ask clients for their business names.
I am almost sure to hear a name that is already in use. It is very surprising when I hear an original name. This is especially true in the fashion and beauty industry, but also pervades in other niches as well.
We tend to go with what we have heard, what is popular, or what is trendy. The result is, we may end up choosing a name that is already in use, usually in the USA. How important is this? Very…Very.
1 The World Is Now One Global Village
The internet has reduced the world to one global community. If you use a name that is already in use, worst case is, you could be hit with a trademark claim resulting in a lawsuit. This will depend on how aggressively a particular firm works to protect its brand. It is quite unpredictable. The other disadvantages will be listed below.
2 Your Perfect Business Name Domain May Already Be Taken
If you copy an established name, you may find it difficult to buy a .com domain name with ‘your’ business name, as it is already taken. Now there are many other extensions apart from .com. However, if the business name you choose before the DOT SOMETHING is the same as that of another website, then it will become confusing. “GuitarStrings.net” competing against GuitarStrings.com will cause confusion to visitors as to which website they want tovisit.
You may also want to check with the Jamaica Registrar of Business to see if the business name you chose is not already being used. This means, you have to check both locally and internationally. The order is to check internationally first (through a search of the world wide web), then search Registrar of Business locally. This is because a local business may already have your name, but not yet have a website.
3 You May Have Difficulty Ranking Your Website
Another problem is the difficulty to rank your website for your domain name in search results. Google and other search engines rank through the authority of your website. One of the variables that determine the authority of your website, is its age. If your website is new and has the same name as another that has already been established on the ‘net, then you will have a hard time ranking for that name. Google will take the established site as the authority over yours.
4 Avoid Confusion
In addition, persons searching for your website will be confused if you offer a similar service as an established competitor with the same name. Avoid confusion by choosing an original name
5 You May Be Viewed As a Copycat
If the competing website with the business name you copied is well known and established, you will simply appear to be a ‘knock-off,” a “copycat” who is seeking to get popularity from an already established name. You will have a hard time building a strong online reputation.
6 The Future Growth of your Business is at Risk
Your business will start out at a big disadvantage and its future growth will be stifled, living under the shadow of the more established site whose name you knowingly or unknowingly copied. If you get too big, then the established site may take legal action.
7 Google Loves Branding
Not too long ago, people used to rank exact match keywords at ease. For example, to rank for a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, one would just buy “mexicanrestaurantinmanhattan.com.” Google got wary of this strategy and put out an update that destroyed most of these sites.
Google starting showing preference for brand names that has no bearing on the nature of your business. It is therefore now much easier to choose a unique business name and rank for your keyword. That is what we did with Yahjam.
Case Study: Yahjam
Let’s take the case study of Yahjam. I originally chose JamYah as the business name. On checking Google, I realized that there was a JamYah News site. They already had the JamYah.com and took up the first 5 places of Google. I therefore switched it around and came up with Yahjam.
On checking Google again , I found that there was only one Facebook personal page with the word “Yahjam” in it. That means I can dominate Google’s first page with different Yahjam pages. This will show my brand as having clout.
That, I did, and now we totally dominate the first page of Google. Had I kept the name JamYah, I would have to spend time, money and effort to try and battle the already established JamYah News site.
Conclusion & Recommendations
The moral of our story is today, you cannot just accept any business name. You have to first research the internet to see what else is out there that may be similar. Create your own brand name so that you can gradually build your own unique brand. You may then dominate search results for your chosen business name.
Whenever I am told the name of a local business and I research it, I wish I could tell the business owner to change it. Too late most times, as the name has been registered here in Jamaica and the business is already established in that name.
The bottom line is: don’t choose a name because you heard it before and like it; don’t choose a name because you like the sound of it; choose a name that is ORIGINAL. It may be the best thing you can do for the future of your business.