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Creating an online presence should be part of any business plan

With the technological advances of the past couple of decades, people spend more time shopping for goods and services online then at any other time in history. Thus, in order for a new -- or existing -- Maryland business to thrive, it would most likely need to take advantage of being online. This is why creating an online presence should be part of any business plan.

When most Maryland businesses think about being online, they think about web content, search engine optimization and sending the right message to prospective customers and/or clients. They focus on whether to have a mobile app, to be on social media such as Facebook or Twitter and even how to monitor the online presence of the competition. However, there is more to being online than just what will attract traffic.

As the internet has grown and more companies are online (some exclusively), legalities have become an important part of the process. Just as is the case offline, choosing the right name is essential. If one company's name is substantially similar to the name of another company, the one that had the name first could file litigation to have the other company change its name.

Therefore, as part of a business plan, it will be necessary to outline the steps that need to be taken in order to create a presence online. Otherwise, the company could be opening itself up for lawsuits. A lawsuit over a name or some other perceived slight could have a detrimental effect on the financial stability of a company, especially a new small business. It would be better to take more time, effort and funds up front to ensure that this does not happen somewhere down the road.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Essentials of Building an Online Presence for Your New Business", Carmelo Hannity, March 25, 2016

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