I intend starting a business, and it seems all the domain names I love are unavailable. Not seems, they are not available for registration or for resale. There is a belief .coms are essentials for business. Must I get a name that is not what I want just because .coms are popular and ‘standard’?
This is a very tricky question and a common dilemma.
But the short answer is there is no rule that says .com or nothing else. Your location (country) dynamics can help you sort this. If you are not in the US, it eases things for you. If a major share of your traffic is local, it further eases it.
Why? Your country TLD may be ok for you. For instance .co.uk is certainly well accepted in UK.
I’ll come back with better (and longer) insights to the .com domain alternatives discussion.