21 Steps: 5 - Who are you Known As?
Names that you use in your business are HUGE. Now is the time that we are going to look at the various names you use and decide if they are the ones you use going forward.
Your Name Online
Now is the time to decide what name you will be known by in business. I recommend that you choose a name that is honest and resonates with you. Ideally you'll be using this name for many, many years to come. Is this your full name, or is it a nickname? Some women I know choose to go by their maiden name online. I personally use a 'nickname' in business. Allie Atkinson is my business persona, but not the name on my Birth Certificate. However, I am called Allie and go by that day-to-day, so it doesn't feel like an 'act' or false in any way. It resonates more strongly with who I am now. I have only been called Allie for the last 5-6 years and I have been building my online businesses for much of that time. What name do you wish to be known as in business? This will be the name that you introduce yourself as at any business event, sign off as online etc. Changing it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Some people might have a name that is laughed at/not taken seriously and you may wish to have a different name online. Have a chat with your colleagues and see what they think if you cannot make up your mind. If you have the same name as a fraudster or a serial killer for example, it would probably be in your best interest to go by a different name online.
Domain names are a crucial part of online business. This is the www.com address that your business 'lives' at. Ideally they should sum up what your business is about and what benefits you have, or what problem you solve. If you were to read the address written on a piece of paper, can you tell what your business is about? If not, then perhaps we could do some brainstorming.
If you were to tell your 'ideal client' the name of your website, would it peak their interest? Does it speak directly to their problem? Write down a few possible ideas on what your domain name could be.
The domain name rises how easily you are to find when searched for online
You are doing business in a world market. If you are selling anything online, then you should be using a .com address. The ONLY time that you should use a local address, such as .co.nz or .com.au is if you are only doing in personal coaching sessions and you never plan on expanding to online. So, in other words, none of you. If the .com address you want is taken, getting the .com.au one is not a good idea, all it will do is cause confusion and lose you customers down the road. Planning ahead here is important.
If you come up with a potential domain name. Write it down. Go to a domain-buying site such as GoDaddy.com and see if it's available. If not, move on. If it is, I want you to open another browser window and Google that name. It might already be a business that doesn't have the Domain Name. Search keywords, does anything similar come up?
The more succinct, the better. A long web address is hard to remember. A couple of words or a short phrase is going to be a long more memorable than a sentence. Now is not the time to be 'cute' and misspell words. Do not use 'y' for 'why' 'u' for 'you' etc. It will only cause confusion and you will lose a large part of your potential client base. If you use a word that is often misspelled, or has a British/American variation, I recommend that you purchase it spelled correctly and incorrectly. Use the correct one for your website and direct traffic from the other one. For example, if you had 'colour' in your web address, buy the domain names for both colour and color.
Domain names are cheap. I buy them from $10 a year, so buy several if needed. Ensure that you purchase your own name if it's available and/or yournameCoach. This allows you leverage for down the road.
If you don't think that your Domain name/web address is a good fit. I highly recommend that you change it now, ready for the next steps that we will cover.
Your Business' Name
What is the name of your business currently? Do you have a name yet?
I want you to reread your 'Perfect Customer' description. Does your business' name speak to that person? Does the name clearly sum up what your benefits are?
You do not need to have a Business Name at this stage. You may be doing business as a Sole Trader. Please refer to your country's guidelines on what is needed. Your Business Name does not need to be the same as your Domain name/web address though.
I chose to have the Business Name of Heartfelt Group Ltd. I am registered as a Limited Liability Company, after discussion with a Charted Accountant. The reason I went with Heartfelt Group, is that I envision a group of 'businesses/enterprises' all with the theme of being Heartfelt, or being important to me and from the heart. My company is able to trade in the areas of Coaching and Art, as well as products to do with either. As my business grows, I will probably set up other companies for various things, but I will get the advice of an accountant and a lawyer when I am heading in that direction. Everything doesn't need to be fully set up at the beginning.
Determine what name you will use in business. Your name unless there is strong reason not to use it.
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