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Choosing a Name for Your Business and Five Essential Next Steps

Read on for more business name inspiration. Finding the right name for your business is an important first step toward turning your dream business into a reality.

While many entrepreneurs are eager to begin creating a brand, they may be unfamiliar with the steps necessary to establish their businesses on digital platforms. These early stages of starting a business involve a number of technical, legal, and strategic considerations too important to ignore.

Having a website for your business with a URL that’s distinct yet easy to remember is critical to your online success. Consequently, the domain name you’re able to secure could be a major factor in deciding on your business’s legal name. In fact, many entrepreneurs seek out their domain name first and then base their business’s legal name on that domain name.

Below, we’ll provide several essential tips for choosing a business name and bringing it to life online. As you get inspired, be sure to try the domain name checker tool on this page to show you a list of available domain names and position yourself for success.

How to Choose a Name for Your Business

In some cases, a great name may reflect the spirit of a local community. In others, business owners want a name that will resonate with customers worldwide. Sometimes, simplicity seems best; other businesses call for an elegant title.

We can’t provide hard and fast rules for picking a great name. However, we can offer several general tips to help you assess the possibilities you have in mind — or inspire a few new options.

Perhaps our domain name checker showed that your preferred domain is available, and you just want to confirm it’s the right call. Maybe the name you want to use is taken, and you need to do some brainstorming. Wherever your name search stands, you’ll benefit from keeping these tips in mind:

Be distinctive but descriptive: You want your business to create a favorable impression on potential customers. That means choosing a name that will prove “sticky,” creating a distinct and memorable impression with your target audience. However, don’t get so creative that your name becomes confusing. It’s great for consumers to remember your name — but only if they recall what you do.

Contrast with competitors: In choosing a name, it’s essential to analyze other businesses within your chosen market. If you select a name that’s too close to a competitor’s, you’ll struggle to differentiate yourself in customers’ minds. Plus, you could encounter marketing and branding issues later. For example, your advertising efforts could unwittingly drive customers to your competitor, or people may struggle to find you online.

Stay flexible for the future: Once you select a business name, it can be tough to change. So much of your marketing and brand value will be inextricably linked to the original name you choose. Accordingly, don’t select a narrowly specific name if you plan to expand your focus later. For example, the name “Sensational Socks” may not serve you well if you hope to develop a line of shoes later. Similarly, avoid overly local names: “Macon’s Best T-Shirt Printing” might not make sense if you hope to develop an e-commerce business reaching customers beyond just Georgia.

Consider your customers: Put yourself in the shoes of a theoretical customer, imagining a situation that would cause them to seek your business. What sort of preferences and attitudes would likely inform their search? Which name would inspire confidence as opposed to causing hesitation? Which name would they feel proud to recommend to a friend?

Choose something you can live with: Puns or gimmicky names can be incredibly effective, instantly endearing your business to potential customers. Remember that you’ll need to repeat this name thousands of times in the coming months and years. If you choose a name that will quickly feel corny or obnoxious, you’ll be stuck with it long after the joke has gotten old.

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How to Reserve Your Business Name in Your State

Once you settle on a name, you may want to ensure that another business can’t swoop in and take it before you launch your company. Thankfully, states typically maintain systems for reserving business names, allowing entrepreneurs to lock down a name before officially forming a new entity.

While name reservation processes differ slightly by state, they generally proceed as follows. First, aspiring business owners use a Secretary of State database to see if the name they’d like to use is available in their state. If the search shows that the name is available, it’s best to call the Secretary of State to confirm that the name is available, as search engines aren’t foolproof.

If a business with a similar name exists, future business owners can review state regulations to ensure their chosen name is sufficiently differentiated. At the same time, they can review the other pertinent naming rules in the state to make sure their desired name complies with the law and doesn’t have any prohibited words.

Business entities like LLCs and corporations are almost always required to have a “designator” as part of their legal name. The designator indicates the business entity type. For example, a limited liability company might need to include a designator like “LLC” at the end of its name, while a corporation might have “Incorporated” or “Inc.” The allowed designators and their abbreviations vary by state, so you’ll need to check your state’s laws.

Next, future business owners have the option to submit a name reservation form designating their preferred name and pay an associated fee. In most states, this process can be completed online or by mail. If approved, this name reservation secures the name for a specified period (such as 120 days). Business owners can then use this time to complete the state’s business formation process.

However, if you’re looking to reserve a name without these administrative hassles, ZenBusiness can help. Our name reservation service is a stress-free and speedy way to lock down the name you’d like to use for your business. We’ll handle all the research and paperwork and get your name reserved as quickly as possible.

Better yet, we can manage every aspect of the business formation process on your behalf. Our comprehensive business filing services cover everything from reserving a name to officially launching your corporation or LLC.

How to Register a Web Domain for Your Business

Once you reserve a business name in your state, you’ll need to secure its online equivalent. That means registering a web domain name for your business.

Perhaps you’ll use the domain name that you entered into our domain name checker above. Maybe you realized that your first choice is taken, and you need to explore other options. In either case, getting a great domain name is an essential component of launching your business in the digital era.

For those unfamiliar with the internet’s inner workings, there’s no need to sweat the technical details. Simply put, domain names are the web addresses that people use to visit websites. For example, you’re currently on “www.ZenBusiness.com”: That’s our web domain.

To obtain a specific web domain, you’ll typically need to purchase (or “register” it) from a domain registrar company. If someone owns the domain name you want, you can also attempt to contact the owner and purchase it. Unfortunately, these negotiations can prove expensive, so it may be best to look for an available alternative instead. Once you do purchase a domain name, you’ll need to pay an annual fee to maintain your ownership.

If navigating these details sounds unappealing, we’d be happy to save you the hassle. ZenBusiness’s domain registration service is a straightforward and affordable solution: Our experts deal with the domain registrar, and you get the name you need. Plus, we’ll keep an eye on your domain’s status moving forward, so you’ll never need to worry about letting your registration lapse.

How to Add Privacy to Your Business’s Web Domain

Once you register a domain for your business, there is one potential downside to keep in mind. As part of the registration process, you’ll be asked to provide contact information associated with ownership, such as a name and email address.

After you publicly register your domain name, that information will be publicly accessible via certain search tools. And while your contact details may not seem particularly sensitive, they’re of great interest to one group: spammers and marketers.

Once you register publicly, you’ll quickly get inundated with unwanted solicitations. These emails can be obnoxious and distract your attention from communication with real customers.

To prevent spammers from overwhelming your inbox, consider ZenBusiness’s domain name privacy option. For a small annual fee, we’ll protect your personal contact information, allowing you to register your domain without exposing yourself to a flood of spam.

How to Create a Website for Your Business

In virtually any industry, your website will be an essential tool for engaging your intended audience. When modern consumers evaluate a business, they often form their initial impressions online.

Accordingly, having a functional and polished website for your business is an absolute necessity in establishing credibility with potential customers. After all, you’ve selected your name and domain so that customers can find you, and you want to create a good impression once they do.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs assume they won’t have the technical skills to build a site themselves. Short of hiring an expensive web developer, what can they do to launch an impressive site — and quickly?

Here’s where ZenBusiness’s business website service can come in handy. For an affordable price, our platform allows you to customize a website for your business quickly. Best of all, you don’t need any technical expertise: It’s powerfully intuitive for any entrepreneur.

If you choose to build your website with our service, here are some of the perks you can expect:

Automation: Our platform can automatically translate the information you provide about your business into the content of your website. That saves you time and effort in building key pages.

Convenient customization: Arrange your site how you choose, either by customizing one of our convenient templates or designing your pages from scratch.

Mobile-friendly design: Contemporary consumers are more likely to access your site on their phones than on a traditional desktop, meaning your site must function beautifully across devices. Thankfully, our platform is built for mobile compatibility, so your site will look great on phones, tablets, and laptops.

Reach out to us today to learn how we can pair our website builder with our other business formation services, allowing you to launch your business and website simultaneously.

How to Secure an Email Address for Your Business

Dog with letter

In addition to your website, your email address provides another key signal of credibility. If you engage customers with a generic email address (such as a one ending in “gmail.com”), many will question your professionalism.

Instead, you’ll want your email address to use the domain you selected for your business website. By unifying these elements of your digital presence, you’ll project competence to customers, vendors, and other contacts.

If you don’t know where to start in establishing your business email, we’re happy to save you the trouble. Our business email address service can quickly elevate your business’s digital communication, using the same domain as your site.

Better still, when you choose our business email address service, you can immediately access the following features:

  • 5 gigabytes of storage: You won’t have to worry about space in your inbox.
  • Address book features: Store and manage customer and vendor contact information.
  • Calendar coordination: Instantly schedule appointments from your email inbox and share your schedule with customers and colleagues.

Get Your Business Going With ZenBusiness

As you begin the journey of launching a business, we hope you’ll benefit from the advice provided on this page. Forming a new company involves so many interconnected decisions, from picking a name to selecting a domain and launching a website.

While it’s easy to get overwhelmed, it’s best to consider each of these elements in advance and plan strategically. Once you do, you can take a holistic approach, establishing a solid foundation for your business’s future.

ZenBusiness is ready to assist you in every stage of starting your business. With our comprehensive business formation and support services, you can count on having our team of experts in your corner.

Whether you’re still deciding on a name or have your business up and running, reach out to learn how we can help. Entrepreneurship is rarely easy, but we’re here to help things go smoothly as you build your dream business.

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