Naming your business is one of the most important business decisions a professional organizer or productivity consultant will make. Like naming a dog or a baby, it’s a little more complicated than just selecting a name you like. There are a number of factors to be considered when selecting a business name.
Tell It Like It Is
Does the name of your business convey the obvious? I have to admit, sadly, that my own company’s name, Metropolitan Organizing, doesn’t. I could be organizing political parties or anything else. Because Metropolitan Organizing doesn’t state exactly what I’m organizing, I’ve had to put a lot of extra effort into conveying that online, in print, in social media, etc. If your business name is “Kitchens Decluttered” or “Digital Data Organized”, it’s pretty obvious exactly what you’re organizing niche is.
Spell Out the Benefits Of Working Together
I advise new organizers against intentionally misspelling words (“Krafty Solutionz”), inserting numbers in place of letters (“Declutter 4 Ever”), or trying too hard (“Oar Deal Organizing ~ Ship Shaping Homes in Shreveport”). Instead, aim for a business name that conveys the benefit the client receives. An excellent example comes from my friend Janine Adams. She is the owner of Peace of Mind Organizing® in St. Louis. The benefit of working with her is right there in her business name. Isn’t that clever?
Is the name of your business easy to spell? Using my own company, Metropolitan Organizing, as an example, I can tell you that a lot of people ask for a spell-check when writing checks or emailing me. I happen to work with several clients with dyslexia and for them, it’s especially difficult.
It’s also worth thinking about the number of characters in the name of your business; size matters – especially when creating an email address, filling in forms, and creating social media accounts. Less is more.
Forget Me Not
Is your business name memorable? Many organizing business names tend to blend together in people’s minds. Creating a meaningful, memorable business name can be really beneficial, but it may not be enough. Many clients or prospective clients may be more likely to remember your first and last name. For that reason, I advise each and every pro organizer or productivity pro I consult with to purchase a domain of their own name (for example, geralinthomas.com) and link that domain to their website.
I am fortunate to have an unusual name but I always have to explain that it rhymes with Carolyn and Marilyn — Geralin with a G. There’s an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’ at the end. It takes people a couple of minutes to process that information but most end up saying, “Carolyn, Marilyn, Geralin,” and then like magic, it sticks. They actually end up remembering my first name and NOT my business name. Another example of why having a domain with your name, in addition to your business name, can be so helpful.
Present + Future
If there’s any chance that you’ll be expanding your business and serving a wider variety of clients, pick a business name with a little ‘stretch’ to it. For example, several professional organizers start their businesses organizing residential clients only. After a few years they decide to transition and serve business clients. When that’s the case, a business name like “A+ Home Organizer” isn’t going to do well in searches for small business productivity.
Do not use a name that’s already in use — even if the other business is located in another state. If Sue Osborn Sullivan lives in Hawaii and wants to start SOS Organizing but Samantha O’Hare Snyder lives in Nashville and is the owner of SOS Organizing, my advice is to skip the name SOS altogether — even if the domain name is available as .net. Do not try to be clever by using SOS-Hi (for Hawaii). In short, create a unique name. You can check name availability on: Google.com, WHOis.net, and USPTO.gov.
Once you create a unique business name, consider trademarking it. Trademarking is an investment — it means that no one else in this country, in the organizing industry, can legally use your business name. However, other industries may use the SOS name: SOS Plumbing, SOS Insurance, SOS Dog Training, etc. could all exist in Nashville right alongside SOS Organizing.
The ® is a mark indicating that you’ve cleared the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The process can take up to 18 months (mine took 14 months). Do not use the ® symbol until you’ve received the proper documentation stating that you are ‘officially’ permitted to use the symbol. During the pending period you may use the ™ symbol for trademark. Never, ever select a business name that another organizer has trademarked. You will be forced to change it.
Putting the PRO in Professional Organizer
Hiring an attorney that specializes in small business consulting in the city where you live is the best way to make sure you’re creating an appropriate name and a sound business structure that’s in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. Procedures, licensing and other necessities are going to depend on how your business is structured in the city and state where you live. You want to project professionalism and do things the best way.
To learn more about naming your business and avoiding common mistakes, check out this article from Entrepreneur.com.