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There’s much more to deciding on a name for your interior design business than first meets the eye. As Abigail Bright’s experience shows, it can be a journey of many twists and turns. Of setbacks and rethinks. Also, it requires financial investment, not least to ensure your business name can’t be used by others. But if got right, it’s a sound investment of both time and money. That will only need to be done once
Interior Design Business Name Convention
Interior designers often name their business after themselves. Sure, there’s an appeal to having your name ‘in lights’. But is this the right thing to do? Will it convey the right message to your potential clients? Even if not misleading, Ramsbottom’s Interiors could result in some sniggering! Although Abigail Bright Design is unlikely to trigger childish giggles, it could still pose problems
What if, like Abigail, you’ve aspirations to grow your practice beyond just you. Then to name your interior design business after yourself could cause problems with your clients. Their disappointment when they realise the designer for their project isn’t Abigail Bright. However, those feelings of disappointment could surface even if ‘their’ designer was another Abigail. Even if it’s the same Abigail. Now married, or perhaps divorced. And disappointment isn’t a good way to start a new client project
In the modern world, your interior design clients are most likely to contact you by email. As a result, her clients would need to send emails to ‘email@example.com’. And that’s a lot of typing, and it’s easy to make a mistake. Of course, shortening her email to firstname.lastname@example.org helps. But what happens if she employs someone else called Abigail?
Needless to say, naming your interior design firm after yourself isn’t the panacea that industry practice suggests. However, Abigail’s surname, Bright, does have positive vibes. Projecting thoughts of natural light, sunny days could well help with her marketing. So we decided to include ‘Bright’ in the name. And limit email addresses to first names only
Describe Your Business With Its Name
Embracing the importance of niching, concentrating on one type of client, can result in long-winded names. Abigail’s design business provides interior design and consultancy services to private residential clients. Therefore, she started with Bright’s Residential Interior Consultancy and Design Services. But this name fails the first, and most important, test. In short, it’s difficult to remember
You should only have to say your business name once for someone to remember it. Therefore, it needs to be short and punchy. Hers was neither. After several iterations, she whittled her name down to ‘Bright’s Interior Design’. Abigail liked it. Her name and what she does described in her firm’s name. However, the apostrophe after Bright signified its owner. More importantly, it described the process. And clients don’t care about the process. They care about the outcome. And what that outcome gives them
So, Abigail agreed to drop the apostrophe. And the next version became ‘Bright Interior Design’. But the description of the process remained. Instead, when she thought about it from her clients’ perspective, the design process gives them the interior they desire. That’s to say, the outcome is the interior. In this case, a ‘Bright Interior’. As such, the name became ‘Bright Interiors’. Now it’s ticking the right boxes. It’s short and memorable, gave out positive vibes and an outcome from the clients’ perspective. However, the job’s not finished yet
Stand the Test of Time
What if Abigail later wants to branch out into, say, garden design. Will ‘Bright Interiors’ create barriers in the future? Accordingly, we experimented with some alternatives. But Bright Homes and Bright Houses felt more like names property developers than an interior design practice. Although better, ‘Bright Designs’ didn’t resonate with our client base. Hence, all things considered, Bright Interiors was our best option. And Abigail can always launch ‘Brighter Gardens’ in the future
Your Interior Design Business Domain Name
Or put another way, your website address. Some business, including interior design practices, operate without a website. Of course, it’s possible to do. In the same way, it’s possible to light a fire by rubbing 2 sticks together. But it’s far from easy. As a consequence, I strongly advise any interior design business to have a website. And next’s months Business Success Blog explores why. Subscribe so you don’t miss it
Let’s start at the end. The domain extension: ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.org’ and so on. Once conventional wisdom was to choose ‘.com’. Because it gave the impression of a ‘proper business’. Personal websites often use the extension ‘.net’, ‘.biz’ can be spammy, and Government departments often use ‘.org’. Now we’ve had Brexit and COVID. And the associated import taxes and supply disruptions. For UK customers, ‘.co.uk’ just feels a bit safer. So, if you’re a UK interior design firm with UK clients, choose ‘.co.uk’. And it’s often cheaper than ‘.com’
Next, the bit before the extension. This part of your domain name should exactly match your business name. But without spaces. Don’t use hyphens or underscores. They just create confusion. And this means your business is less likely to be found in a Google search. Similarly, potential clients are more likely to mistype your email addresses
Therefore, following this advice, Abigail’s practice will have the website address brightinteriors.co.uk. If the domain is available, she can turn her interior design business name into a real interior design business. But, you’ve guessed it, brightinteriors.co.uk has already been registered by someone else. So, now what?
Abigail starts again. This time using the YourCoachApproach interior design business name checklist
Interior Design Business Name Checklist
- Come up with a few names. Ensure they’re short and punchy, memorable, give positive vibes, and describe your clients’ outcome. Avoid self-flattery. Ideally 2 words, maximum 3
- Try them out. Say them out loud. Write them down. It’s crucial to get others’ views. And a social media poll is a great way to gather feedback. Especially if you poll your potential clients
- Consider email addresses. First and last name, or first only? How easy are they to type? More importantly, how easy are they to mistype?
- Google them. Please do this. I recently Googled the name of a recently launched firm to find out what it meant. And the search returned porn. As you’ll probably run this check several times, use private/incognito browsing. This way you’ll see what everyone else sees
- Check the domain is available. Fasthosts, Godaddy and 123-reg are popular domain service providers. Expect to pay around £10-12 per year, excluding VAT, if the domain is available. But huge amounts more if it isn’t. If the domain name of you want isn’t available, there’s a few things to consider. Change the extension, vary your domain name from your domain name or approach whoever has registered it. But for the reasons already highlighted, I recommend tweaking your business name. And for this reason, Bright Interiors became Brighter Interiors
- Check social media. Can you set up a Facebook and LinkedIn Business page in your business name? And create an Insta, Twitter and Pinterest account? Also, conduct a hashtag search on Twitter and Insta. Like Google, if a hashtag search returns things you don’t want to be associated with, then tweak your business name. And do the same if social media pages or accounts aren’t available
- Check that your business name is not already a registered trademark. Do this for free via the Government’s Intellectual Property Office website. If already registered, you can’t use the business name. In fact, it’s illegal to do so.
- Register your business name as a trademark to stop anyone else from using it. The Government’s online filing service costs £170. And it costs up to £300 if you employ someone to do it for you. Either way, expect the process to take at least 6 months. Fortunately, the Brighter Interiors trademark is available
- Decide if you’re a company. Isn’t that the same as a business? No, we could operate as a sole trader (or business partnership). That’s to say, as a person, not as a company. Or we could operate as a limited company (or limited liability partnership). The advantages and disadvantages of sole trader vs. limited company are a whole other Business Success Blog. To summarise, the more business earns, the greater advantage of it being a company
- Abigail will operate her business as a company, not as herself. Therefore, we need to register Abigail’s company name with Companies House. A simple process that costs £12 a year. Assuming that Brighter Interiors Limited doesn’t already exist. Which, of course, it does! But this doesn’t matter. As she simply chose another name. She can still trade as Brighter Interiors. Because Abigail’s, albeit differently named, company has registered the Brighter Interiors trademark and domain name. And it’s set up her social media as Brighter Interiors
Name Your Firm for Interior Design Business Success
Interior design business success needs more than just great design. Your interior design practice’s lifeblood is its clients. That’s to say, without clients, your business will fail. So choose a name that resonates with them. And there’s only one way to find if it does. Ask them. In the same vein, once you’ve got a great name, make sure others can’t take it from you. Register the trademark and the domain name
Next month’s Business Success Blog, Why You Need a Website for Interior Design Success. Where we explore why a website is critical for your practice. Make sure you don’t miss out. And subscribe to the YourCoachApproach Business Success Blog
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