It’s marketing day, today. In a previous post, Let’s Talk Marketing, we looked at the importance of what you want to achieve in your business so you’ll know how you want to present yourself. With that in mind now, let’s name your pet sitting business.
A few things come into play when naming your business:
- Making the name recognizable
- Allowing room for growth
- Ensuring the name is properly registered
- Choosing a domain name to match
Of the four…in my own pet sitting business I managed to mess-up with two of these and as a marketing writer I knew better! After reading this article, I know you’ll be in good shape in all areas.
Making the Your Pet Sitting Business Name Recognizable
Think of someone searching for a pet sitter. If it’s through a search engine, they’ll key-in a word or two and up will pop several names. If they scan the classifieds in the newspaper, their eyes will snag on a word or logo. If they browse the community bulletin boards, they’ll be scanning for “pet” or an image to catch their attention.
Would they choose your company? Would the search engines even find, “Little Cuties” or “Mighty Walkers”? Probably not. Sometimes a tagline gets picked-up by search engines, so if you have “pets” or “dog walking” in it, you have a chance there. The trouble with naming your company, of course, is that here are just so many pet sitting companies out there!
You want to represent what you do – without taking anyone else’s name. And you want it to sound catchy! You want to love it.
For our company I felt I’d covered what we intended to do in the name, but I made a not-so-terrible mistake of making it too long: In Your Home Pet Sitters. It covered what we did. It had great key words for search engines…but it has been a bit unwieldy for many things from banking to social media. In fairness…I was warned by another pet sitter who’d been struggling with a long business name for 18 years!
Allowing Room for Growth
Consider also that you might change your focus down the road. Here is the second, and more critical, mistake I made. When we started the company we still had one of our beautiful Golden Retriever rescues living with us. He didn’t like other dogs and we wouldn’t push him on it. He’d been through enough already. Like any other pet owner, we didn’t want to admit there would come a day when he wasn’t with us any longer…but sadly it happened much sooner than we could imagine. It was very lonely around the house and after a few months we considered doing a little boarding.
Oooooops! Years of plugging our business as In YOUR Home suddenly became In OUR Home, too. We’ve tried to show the additional service in a light-hearted way…but people assume we don’t board. I messed up.
Another colleague was adamant about looking after cats only and named her business to reflect this. She now looks after small dogs too. Tricky.
Ensuring the Name is Properly Registered
We live in Canada and our legislation is different to that of the USA, the UK, Australia, or any other country when it comes to registering a business. But you must ensure you do this properly by whatever means your law requires. This generally involves checking to see if any other business or corporation already uses that name and paying a fee to register it. Consult with a lawyer if you feel more comfortable doing so. In Canada, for anything other than forming a corporation, our registering process is fairly easily done online and it allows us to search for names used as well.
You’ll also want to look for identical and even similar trademarks for your country. Don’t even think that your play-on-words for a huge corporation’s slogan or logo will be allowed.
You might not need a business licenses or special tax agreements – but you might. Find out! This is a subject for setting up a business and outside the marketing work we’re doing here. Just be sure you’re covered!
Pet Sitting Licenses and Certifications
NOTE: In North America at least, there is no such thing as a pet sitters license, at this point. Some associations offer certification, but they do not give any special powers or legalities to the holders over other pet sitters. Many newbie pet sitters put “Licensed” in their advertising. I’ve yet to figure out what they mean and no one has ever replied to me.
Choosing a Domain Name to Match Your Pet Sitting Business Name
While you’re in the process of choosing a company name, check to see if a web domain name (URL) is available as well. I tend to check by punching the names right into the search engines (Google, Bing) as a search to see what comes up rather than checking with any of the name registration companies, until the last minute. Unfortunately, quite often if they see you are looking at certain combinations of a name, they snap them up themselves and it will cost you more to buy them later. When I was trying to name a range of books I was developing, I wanted them all under one banner. I came up with a name that I thought was brilliant and very unusual and sure enough, the name was available for the web. I checked it through the web hosting company where I was going to buy it. The next morning – the name was suddenly taken – but it was mysteriously held by the company! If I wanted it, I’d have to pay a lot more. Guess what? I came up with another name and bought it somewhere else! This is not unusual and I’ve been warned about it since then.
Well – now that you have your plan in mind of where you’ll target and what services you’ll offer, and you’ve named your business, you’re ready to start marketing it to the public.
Until next time…have fun out there!