Choosing the perfect name for your business is more important and complicated than you might think. There are many factors to consider while selecting your name. Many more than I initially believed when I started my massage practice, that’s for sure.
I picked my business name based on a massage technique that I loved. I didn’t have a website to worry about, and I didn’t think about it for very long before I picked it. I guess I’m dating myself here!
As a new massage therapist, you want to get out in the world as soon as possible in order to help people. Also, if you work for yourself, you need to start building up your clientele base, and this takes some time. Until you have a steady flow of clients, it’s pretty hard to live off doing 1-2 massages per week.
So, the time has come to figure out what to name your business. Naming it for the corporation that you are going to form, (if you were paying close attention to my recommendations!) naming it for the website address you are going to need and making sure that you aren’t competing with any other trademarked names.
So let’s begin at the beginning:
Think of a few names for your business that you like. But don’t get too attached. You never know if someone else has it. This is going to be your corporate name. It’s important that your business name reflect how you want your customer’s to feel after receiving your services. Or how to draw their attention to your services in the first place, using as little words as possible.
To check if your chosen corporate name is being used in your state, contact your state’s Secretary of State website. Plug into their database the first business name that you want to check. You are on a mission to find out if there are any other companies registered in your state with your first pick. If the coast is clear, and all looks good, see if there are any similar names listed with this department as well. The Secretary of State’s office lists corporate names used in your state but not for the 49 other states. It’s important that you bear in mind; this is only the first step. Just because you discover that your selected business name is not being used by anyone registered in your state, does not mean you’re finished with this search.
When you find a name that is unique to your state, you are one step closer to your goal. But we still need to do a few more steps…
It’s time to look for a domain name. In case you have been living under a rock, a domain name is used as your website address. As in www.mywonderfulmassagetherapy.com. Your unique domain name will be used as your web page address and on all future correspondence. You don’t need the absolute carbon copy of your corporate name above, although if you can find it, that would be fabulous.
As an example: maybe I consider My Wonderful Massage Therapy, LLC for my corporate name but I discover that there is already a www.mywonderfulmassagetherapy.com out on the Internet. I have a decision to make. Do I want to keep the corporate name and pick another domain name available such as www.mywonderfulmassagetherapywa.com knowing that it may be confused with www.mywonderfulmassagetherapy.com? Or do I want to find an entirely different corporate name with a domain name that matches? Only you can answer this.
To find domain names on the Internet, type into Google or other search engines: Domain names. You will see that www.godaddy.com, www.name.com, www.namecheap.com, and www.1and1.com are all websites that sell domain names. And I’m sure there are plenty more to choose. When you go into one of these Internet sites, you type into the search engine the name you want to check on. It will tell you if your name is available or not. If it’s available, you will be able to purchase it for a nominal fee.
Professional massage business website with built in appointment booking in minutes! Specifically designed for service professionals. No coding required.
The most important step in this process. It’s the Trademark search. I know this all sounds a little boring to do, and believe me, I am right there with you. The thing is, that eliminating this important step can literally cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. Trademarks are logos, names, symbols, and other designs that businesses use to define themselves and be easily recognized. A federal trademark registration protects trademarks, and you can do a basic search by going to the website www.uspto.gov.
Trademarks usually cost somewhere between $1500 and $3000 to own.
Here’s an example of why doing a trademark search is so important:
Suppose that you have found a corporate name in your chosen state that you love. Let’s say it’s called The Bodyshop of Oregon, LLC. And you have looked up domain names and this one was available: www.thebodyshopoforegon.com Do you think that the corporate chain The Bodyshop, is going to let you keep this name without sending you a Cease and Desist letter? I don’t think so. Your state allowed this name, and you found an appropriate domain name. But if you have eliminated this vital third step, it could potentially cost you $15,000-$20,000 or more. You may have opened up your doors, had signage made, printed business cards, stationary, brochures, and flyers, only to start all over again. Don’t make the grave error of eliminating a thorough search of trademarks.
A trademark has precedence over the corporate name and the domain name. So spend the time needed up front in order to potentially save you time and lots of money later on.