How to Name Your Business

Sat, Oct 23, 2010

Small Business How To's, Videos

Hi Everyone!  In today’s video, I am sharing with you specific steps to help you name your real estate investing business.

When you are starting a new real estate investing business, there are 4 main tasks you must complete to create your business’s foundation.  If you are already an established investor, you may also need to complete one or more of these tasks if you are expanding your business or rebranding or just want to tighten up some of your operations like email for example.

The 4 main tasks you will need to complete to create your business include:

1)   Picking a Company Name

2)   Getting a Domain & Setting Up Professional Company Email (Hooray!  You can stop using your yahoo account!)

3)   Getting a Company Phone Number & Address

4)   Getting a Logo – fun part!

I have prepared 4 video messages, 1 on each of these steps.

Here is STEP 1 – picking a name for your real estate investing business.  (If you prefer to read, the written content can be found below the video! :)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y13fec0J38[/youtube]

When you get set up in this business, you need to feel very good about the company you have created – you need to feel that essential ownership.  Creating a business can start with naming it as it builds excitement and you can have some fun with this.

How to Pick the Right Company Name:

You’re going to need to do some brainstorming, so if you don’t consider yourself to be creative, then ask someone for help that is.  Start with 5 ideas and you can further refine them…

Now, take the 5 ideas and ask yourself the following about each:

–       What does the name make you think of? Commercial or residential?  Does the name suggest that you are a hobby investor or emerging real estate investing business?  Maybe you like dogs, but if you named your business “Black Dog Properties” for example, it has a much less professional tone and it could backfire and make people think you sell dog houses or are a dog sitter for example, not that you buy/sell residential homes.

–       Are you stating the nature of your business in the company name? Does it contain the word “homes,” “properties,” or “investors” in it?   An example of business name that does not state the nature of your business would be “Lakeside Investments” or “Smith Holdings”.  Neither one gives a seller or buyer a clear idea that real estate is your core business.  I personally had a hard time with this because I wanted to get really creative but realized that the further I went, I was no longer explaining what the company did in the title.  You want to be easily remembered and a good way to do that is name your company something people think of and relate to without any doubts on what your core business is.

–       Is the name specific enough? Add descriptive words so you get, “Wholesale Property Store” or “Best Deal Homes in MI”…those words can work well in a business name.

–       Is it too broad or generic? A name that is too generic may be “Texas Properties”…this will lead you to have all kinds of Google results that won’t take people right to your business  “Texas Properties” is a generic search term like “Italian food”.

  • Another problem with names that are too general is that the domains are usually not available any longer or you have to buy them from the domain owner for sometimes thousands of dollars (if it’s really popular).

–       Is your own name included? Some people jump to include their personal name –first, last, or both – in their real estate investing business name.  It makes sense, it is your company, your time and energy behind it, your future real estate investing empire…right?  No…not necessarily…I received some great advice that you actually do not want to include your personal name in your business for a few reasons.  You don’t necessarily want to be that visible.  Having your personal name in your business name could potentially make you more vulnerable to liabilities (tax, insurance, lawsuits).  Also, in some cases you can risk seeming like you have an inflated sense of “self-importance” even when that is certainly unfounded.

–       Other helpful considerations: Something to keep in mind that helped me through this process of naming my business was planning for consistency through my domains. I wanted my main website and my squeeze page domains to be uniform to again make it easy for people to know what I do.  (Just a reminder, “squeeze pages” are the sites that are designed to build your buyers and sellers list by offering visitors a free download – usually a report or eBook – in exchange for the visitor’s name and email address.)   An example of consistency through your main site domain and your squeeze pages would be “Wholesale Property Shop” as your business name, then getting the domain “wholesalepropertyshop.com” for your main site well as “sellatwholesaleshop.com” and “buyatwholesaleshop.com” for squeeze pages.

Now that you’ve brainstormed and have some solid candidates, you should do the following:

  • Visit your State’s Secretary of State website – This will give you a way to check whether or not someone in your state has already filed a business under that name…essentially whether or not the name is taken.   Some states Secretary of State websites are not the exact place to check this – so I suggest you Google “business entity search, MI” or the state that you live in.
  • Visit the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website – this link will be sure you are not infringing on any other business’s federally trademarked rights to a specific name.
    • http://www.uspto.gov/
    • Click “Search Marks” under the “trademarks” box
    • Under “Select a Search Option” click “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)”
    • You will see the box to enter your desired business name and then hit “submit query”
  • Google & Other Search Engines – Google your proposed business name – see what comes up.  Sometimes people don’t register their business before starting a website, so it’s a good way to check and get an idea of what is already out there around the names you’ve brainstormed about.  There are tools to search for available domains like “domainsearch.com” and “bustaname.com” but I recommend going right to GoDaddy where you can see what’s available and then be able to purchase the domain all in one place.

At this point, you should have narrowed down your options and be all set with a winning choice!

Please let me know if you have any questions on this process and I would be happy to help.   So what name did you come up with?

Leave me a comment with your new business name – would love to be introduced!

To Your Real Estate Investing Success!

~Emily A. Hay

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7 Responses to “How to Name Your Business”

  1. Gabriel Says:

    Hey there Emily. Great information. I enjoyed this training vid – love learning new things. I’ll definitely refer to this video in the future.

    If I had a real estate biz I think I would name it … hmm, maybe I shouldn’t post it. I’m afraid someone in my state will take it. (o; I’ll put down a second choice. How about ‘Five Star Investment Properties.’ Yes? No?

  2. emilyahay Says:

    Hi Gabriel – I am happy to hear the video helped you, thank you for your comment! When I hear “Five Star Investment Properties” I think of larger-scale, commercial investments as opposed to single family homes for wholesaling and/or rehabbing (which is good if single family is not your focus). Also, for domains, you might want to shorten it to “Five Star Properties”…gabriel@fivestarproperties.com for example. Next week’s video shows you how to get domains and how to set up these professional email accounts.
    Definitely keep “Properties” in the name and you will really be able to have some cool logo options for this company name (which is the final video in the 4 part series :) )
    Seems like you had some successful brainstorming, keep up the good work! ~Emily

  3. Robin Says:

    Hi Emily,
    Great content. You’ve definitely provided some important considerations when starting your business.

  4. Gabriel Says:

    Thank you, Emily.

  5. James Says:

    Hey Emily!

    Great post! I must highlight the fact that you talked about keeping things congruent. Congruency is a MAJOR key to keep throughout all of the parts of your business… i.e. websites, squeeze pages, sales pages, business name, business cards, logos, etc… pretty much anything you do within or for your business should have a level of congruency to it.

    I’m going to fb share and re-tweet this one right away – valuable content girl! Keep it up!

    James

  6. Teresa Says:

    I want to name my business “Ibuyhouses24/7”. What is the best way to find out if that name has been taken? I know that there is already a business named “Webuyhouses24/7”. I’m having a really difficult time coming up with a business name. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  7. emilyahay Says:

    Hi Teresa!

    My very first litmus test to see if a business name is taken is to simply type the domain into my address bar. In other words, try “ibuyhouses24/7.com” as a web address and see what comes up. (I don’t think I’ve seen a “/” in a website domain before but it might be perfectly fine.)

    If you don’t see any company listed at this web address, I would recommend hopping over to GoDaddy.com and buying the domain so its yours for when you want to use it.

    You can also see if a business name has been taken by going to your state’s business registrar website. I do that often and it is the best way to find out if a current LLC has been filed in that name for example.

    Finally, there is always the US Patent and Trade Office website (uspto.gov) and click on “Search Marks” for any registered trademarks of a business name.

    Hope this helps, I like the simplicity of your suggested business name…descriptive and easy to remember.

    ~Emily :)

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