What should I name my business?

One of the first and most exciting things an entrepreneur gets to do is pick the name of their pet sitting business! But as most pet sitters and dog walkers will tell you — the process can quickly turn and become overwhelming and frustrating. Your business name is something you really need to get right the first time. Think about it — your website is based on your business name. Your business cards have your business name. You may even fill out government forms with your business name. Changing it can be a nightmare. Your business name is not something to take lightly but not to worry! We are here to help you pick the perfect name for your pet sitting or dog walking business the first time!

Step 1

Think about what you want your business to be. Are you going to be providing upscale pet care services? Are you going to be the biggest and the best? Do you ever hope to expand to other markets? Do you want your customers to hear your business and think “What a fun company!”? Take notes on the 5–10 things you really want your business to be about. For Time To Pet — we wanted people to know we are in the pet sitting software business and we would save our clients lots of time. Before you ever come up with a idea for a name — think of the feelings you want your business name to evoke in your customers, your potential customers and in your team members.

Step 2

Now come up with a list. Keep in mind your answers to the questions in Step 1. If you want to provide upscale pet care — “Diamond Pet Sitting” is more appropriate than “Goofball and the Gang”.

If you’re having some trouble — come up with some keywords that speak to what you want your business to be. For example — if you plan on doing a lot of dog walking, try “dog walker” or if you live in a dense area, maybe try incorporating the word “city”. After you have some keywords, see what you can work off of those. If you plan on staying small and local, you can even add the location you will be providing services in too.

You’ll want to come up with as many initial name concepts as you. You can then narrow it down to ten or so.

Step 3

Before picking a name off your final list — you need to make sure you can own it. First up — make sure the name is not already trademarked. The US Patent and Trademark Office has a great trademark search tool for you to use. If you plan on incorporating your business — you will need to check with your local state as well.

You’ll also want to make sure the domain name is available. There are a lot of Domain Search tools but this one is really great. If your domain name is taken — you can search for some similar alternatives too. Just remember — .com’s are always king (when available).

Lastly, you will also want to check and make sure the social media properties for your business name are available too. You have a little more flexibility here but it’s still important.

Step 4

Before you make your final decision — it’s important to get some feedback. Ideally, this would be from your current (or potential) customers. If that’s not possible, then try and get some feedback from someone who can be impartial. Your friends and family all love you and that can sometimes cloud their judgment. It’s best to get the honest opinion of someone who you know will be honest with you. Keep in mind that these are just their opinions though. Just because your barista doesn’t like your favorite name — it doesn’t mean you can’t still use it.

Step 5

Finally, you need to make your decision and own your business name. The SBA has a great section on how to Register Your Business Name. You also should buy the domain name and get as many of the social media properties as you can. While you may never plan on using Twitter for your business — it’s important to still get the name so no one else (like a competitor) can use Twitter as your business.

For some more helpful pointers on picking a great business name, check out these resources:

Shopify Business Name Generator

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Naming Your Business

SBA — Choosing Your Business Name