Tesla Motors and (Your Business Name Here)

One of the first things prospective business owners do is come up with a business name they like. What they may not consider are the ramifications once it’s chosen, such as not being able to obtain the url of their choice. Ask Tesla Motors, who recently came into possession of tesla.com after years of waiting. Click on it and you’ll be redirected to their bulkier url: teslamotors.com. Years ago, Elon Musk hinted at changing the company name if he came into possession of the shortened domain.

The fellow who owned tesla.com, Mr. Grossman, picked it out 24 years ago because he was a fan of the futuristic inventor, Nikola Tesla. He let the site go fallow, but no matter, he wasn’t about it give it up. Though the terms were unannounced, it makes you wonder whether Mr. Grossman will be driving a new car soon. You don’t ask, you don’t get.

Selecting a business name can be a fun exercise, but the wrong name can hamper your accessibility. Here are some important tips to remember when it’s time to name—or rename—your business.

When a person hears your business name, do they have some idea of what your business is about? Your given name and made-up names are fine; however, avoid tricky spellings. Include descriptive words, like “cabinetry,” “nail stylist,” “manufacturers,” or “shoe repair,” even if they don’t seem all that original. Specifics minimize guesswork. That doesn’t make your name boring. Get too creative and people become confused.

On the other hand, word play is catchy—great if you’re a hair stylist. Your name should be simple, not a drawn-out pun, and may reflect your values or attitude. Trendy names can become dated in a few years and you should consider whether your offerings may expand over time. It’s great if you can come up with a creative name that’s memorable and encompasses all the work you perform. Otherwise, use your creativity for your product marketing and sales.

Compare these business names for a gift gallery: Kelly’s Place, Kelly’s Klever Krafts, and Kelly’s Gift Gallery. The first name tells us Kelly has a storefront and is providing what…sandwiches maybe? The second tells us Kelly likes fancy names that we will probably misspell, we’re not sure what she provides, and may not take the time to find out it isn’t crocheted swim shorts. In addition, her business initials spell disaster! The third tells us exactly what Kelly is up to and the word “Gallery” hints at artistic wares.

All businesses need an online presence and that means a website and social media accounts. Research your preferred urls and names found on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. The last thing you want is for potential customers to end up on a similar-sounding competing site. Tesla Motors went ahead without securing their number one url choice, and you may do the same. The .com ending is still preferred. Newer endings like dot biz (.biz) and dot me (.me) are less memorable. Remember, consumers do not like long domains.

Check with the county or area in which you plan to conduct business to see if your business name exists before you file a fictitious business name statement. San Diego county residents can check here: https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/fictitious.aspx. If the name exists, select a new name.

Small businesses with the same name in other parts of the nation won’t create a problem for filing, but you still want to avoid customer confusion. However; if the name is national and the company name is trademarked or there is overlap in product or service, you could find yourself in trouble. Does anyone remember the litigation between Domino’s Pizza and Domino’s Sugar? Who do you suppose owns dominos.com? You can bet the competition wishes they owned the site.

Janet F. Williams is an oral and written communications specialist offering sales training, presentations, writing, editing, and coaching for personal and professional development. Her award-winning book “You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get” shows readers how to ask for what they want and increase their chances of getting it. Contact Janet: info – at – GoodDayMedia.com.

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