Friday, 20 June 2014

Warning: Protect Your Brand!

Since the moment you first decided to start a business you start to think about a name. Sometimes you've had a name, a great name on your mind for a long time. The rest of the time you agonise and research and finally decide on the name that you will over time, build your brand around. 

What you call your business has a huge impact on the kind of first impression you make with potential customers. If all they see or hear is a name it can be the difference between them passing you by or taking a closer look. 

A name to entice, represent, rally the fans. A name to be the leader of your brand, to speak for you when you can't, to let people know what your business is, and what you stand for. 

I've seen some great names out there. Some really clever and quirky names. Names that you remember. What I've  never understood is how, once having chosen that awesome name, why you wouldn't do everything possible to protect it?

So let me break this down for you. In Australia if you are trading under a name other than your legal name you MUST register your business name with ASIC. 

Now, registering your business name doesn't make that name exclusive yours. I know! Crazy right? Only a  trademark will provide that protection. But there are some other ways for you to protect your name and by extension your brand. 

I'll just say this again in case you didn't catch it the first time REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME WITH ASIC. 

Get an email address. Personally I would go with gmail or some other email that is not dependant on your internet provider. Should I ever get another internet provider I will need to get new email addresses.  Thankfully, I learnt my lesson and opened a gmail account for The Handmade Business Mentor but all my personal email accounts will be lost. *sigh*

Register domain names. As many variations and extensions you can afford. Do it. Claim them and keep them safe. Oh and the added bonus? You get email addresses with your domain! Much more professional. In the interest of full disclosure I did not do this personally. I only registered my .com and thought that the legality of would protect me until I was financial enough to register more. 

Create a Facebook page and get your vanity URL set. Sometimes you can do this immediately and other times you need a set number of likes to set the URL. Get your family and friends to like the page so you can set your URL and then unpublished your page if your not ready to be out and about. Sometimes you can do this immediately and other times not so give it a go straight away and see if Mr FB will play nice for you.

Sign up for all other social media as your business and create your profiles. Even if you feel you might not use them immediately set them up. You can link your Twitter account to Pinterest and Facebook so that when you're active in either you will tweet too. If Instagram is not something you find suits your business you can use it to share snippets from your life that you're willing to share and to follow and support your customers and peers. 

Consider the benefit of having a blog associated with your business. A place to communicate in more detail with your customers. If you're ever likely to start one set it up now. 

The final area I would ask you to consider is community selling sites, if you plan to use one or all of them, register and reserve your shop name. 

There are a LOT of handmade businesses out there that haven't even registered their business name and I have seen instances of the name being registered by other people and the only person you can blame in this situation is yourself.  

So, honestly, have you registered your business name? 

Have you registered your business everywhere you can?

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