Happy Photog Friday, friends! Something we’ve encountered twice now over the last few months is how very crucial it is to do research before naming a business. Your business’ name has the ability to confer an enormous amount of meaning as your work & abilities become synonymous with the name. All I have to say is “Justin & Mary,” and what immediately comes to most of your minds? Elegant work, incredible lighting, class, and sophistication.
Your business’ name can have a huge impact on your business’ success, both positively & negatively.
Don’t believe me? Just ask any photographer who’s named their business one thing, gotten three years deep into photography, and realized they needed to change. Re-naming your business can take a long time to recover from (not to say it’s impossible, just difficult), and it’s better to be SMART at the beginning so you’re not FORCED to make a change later on!
So, without delay, here are THE top three things to consider before you name your business:
1. Is the business name already in use or trademarked?
This one is absolutely critical. You CANNOT name your company the same name as another established photography business, especially if said established business owns the trademark. Doing so could mean you get slapped with a cease-and-desist letter, or worse, a lawsuit. Just don’t do it!
Start by checking the US Patent & Trademark Office’s database HERE. That’s the most straightforward way to see if your name is already reserved! After that, BE SURE to also perform a Google search of the business name you plan on using- you never know what might pop up.
And if you haven’t already considered trademarking YOUR business name, I strongly suggest it! We did so back in 2013 and it has most definitely come in handy. Using an attorney ensures you’re doing it right the FIRST time you file- my trademark attorney Josh Gerben is the best in the business (AND he serves all 50 states!).
2. What do the Google searches look like for my business name?
Always perform a search before officially naming your business. How awful would it be to buy your website, file a business license, and order branded stationery, only to find out there’s a celebrity with a similar name in a TOTALLY different industry that’s dominating your search engine results?
It can take a while to climb the Google ranks, so if there’s another well-known, non-wedding company/individual that has a similar name, you may want to rethink your choice (for example, “Mandy Moore Wedding Photographers, Inc.” probably isn’t a wise move, even IF your name is actually Mandy Moore. Unless you’re the real Mandy Moore- then… you do you, Mandy)
3. Can the business name stand the test of time?
This one’s a little bit harder- I’m asking you to look into the future and anticipate where you’ll be 2, 5, and 10 years from now. Will you still be doing the same type of photography? Are you dating yourself with your business name?
How you name your business can restrict the type of people you’re able to reach. Call it “Angela’s Joyful Wedding Photography Emporium?” That means you’re going to have a hard time reaching anyone other than engaged couples, in the event that you ever decide to pursue something like newborn or motherhood photography.
Call it “On Fleek Senior Photography” and you’re dating yourself to 2016, without a doubt. That business name will be passé before you can say “all that and a bag of chips.”
Give yourself some room to grow- you never know where you may be 5-10 years down the road, so a somewhat-ambiguous business name can help you out a LOT in the long run.
Go get ’em, friends!
Want more? See past Photog Friday posts HERE!