What’s in a name?
Everything! Your name is the first thing a potential customer sees. You want your name to not only tell him/her what your business is, but also stand out enough and draw them in for more. What you see now is either one of the following:
<Your First and/or Last Name> Photography
Photos by <Your First and/or Last Name>
If you are just entering the market, how are you going to seem any different from the other 10 photographers that are named the same, except for the name? Put yourself in the client’s shoes for just a second…
Are you going to remember any of these businesses if they all seem the same? Your business should different right from the start, beginning with the name of your business.
That being said, if you want your name in the name of your business, then try to spice it up. Maybe you use only your initials or your first and middle name or just your last name. Your goal is to have your photography business stand out from the crowd. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that your name is what will draw in clients. That will be left up to your marketing, advertising, and how well you take photos.
I am completely stuck in a rut! Do you have any tips?
Before I was Live and Love Studios, I was none other than Jackie Boldt Photography. 🙂 I made the change to differentiate myself. I struggled for a while trying to come up with a new name for my business. I brainstormed and wrote down (I’m old school and still love to jot down notes) the characteristics of my business and what separates my business from my competition. Try to play around with the words you came up with to see what comes up! You should have a possible logos in mind while brainstorming. Maybe your logo idea will help you think of a business name!
Once you have a few name options, you’ll want to check to see if they are available. Do an online search for “Secretary of State” followed by the state where your business will operate. You’ll then want to find an option for either “Business Name Availability” or “Name Availability”. Make sure you are searching for name availability vs. searching for active business listings, since there are inactive companies that will not show up in the active business listings. Finally, before you ultimately decide on your business name, you want to make sure you have availability for a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc. See my post on E-communication and signing up for a blogsite and Facebook page for further information.
Finally, I settled on a name. Now what?
If you are certain about your name, make sure you have read my previous blog post on Choosing a Business Entity. Once you have your business entity, you are ready to register your business name. Sole proprietor should only have to file a “Doing Business As (DBS) Name” form if your business name does not contain your first AND last name.
Reasons for filing a DBA with your state:
- You are in compliance with the law.
- For a sole proprietor, a DBA may be required in order to open a bank account and take payments in the business’ name.
- For an LLC, it will let the company open multiple businesses without having to submit another DBA.
You can find more detailed information about that form here at the US Small Business Association. If you are choosing to do an LLC, you will need to register your business with the state agency where your business will operate. The US Small Business Association also has a page that links to all of the state’s secretary of state’s offices to make it easy for you to find what your specific state’s requirements are.