Ultimately when making a decision about what to name your business consider the big factors:

  • your audience
  • how well do they know your product or service
  • how you will your market your business
  • if you plan to eventually sell the organization

Naming a business after yourself doesn’t mean you’re all about you; it can be a good decision for your business in many cases.  Don’t shy away from it because you think it’s too prideful or too simple.

Who is your audience?

Is a creative name right for you and your business, or are you a good candidate for naming your business after yourself?  Creative names are fun, they offer a personality to the business that a name can’t often portray.  They can be more descriptive, offering information about location, services or competitive advantages.  A creative name can be great fodder for effective branding campaigns.  It can also make transferring a business from one owner to another a seamless activity; the public often never notices the switch. 

No matter what you name your business people associate you with it.

If you are well known in your peer group or community you may lend credibility to your business by naming it after yourself.  If in you ARE your business and don’t plan to sell the company to another individual in the future naming your business after yourself may make branding and recognition easier.

How will you market your product or service?

Many lawyers, accountants and therapists use their names as the name of their business. Audiences recognize these businesses; they don’t need a lot of explaining to tell others what they do.   The founder’s name is often used to start the company.  As the firm ages and more people are taken on as partners more names are added to the name of the business.  As people retire their names are often removed from the business name.  The general public isn’t generally confused when a name is taken away, it’s as if you had a logo with 4 boxes and then shifted to three, just so long as the colors and fonts are the same they still associate it with the same company.

For example a fictitious law firm could be originally named Pitts Law Firm.  They plan to bring in partners Schumacher and Goebel.  Those two partners were able to borrow on the already established name recognition of Pitts to build their practices.  The name became Pitts, Schumacher and Goebel Law Firm.  If Schumacher moves on to start her own firm she can take the name recognition from the former name and use it to build her own practice, Schumacher Agricultural Law.

How well does your audience know your product or service?

Often people use their names and pair them with a descriptive word to let others know what the business does.  Maye (my middle name) Create (we’re creatives) Design.  MayeCreate Design.  Pitts Law Firm.  See?  It clears up the mystery of what the business is.  Simply using the name Maye, wouldn’t tell you what we do.  And honestly MayeCreate Design is still fairly vague.  When we do trade shows and advertise in new markets we call ourselves MayeCreate Web Design to clear up confusion.  Really designers do all kinds of things, interiors, bridges, landscaping while we’re graphic and web design.

Back to the law firm example, they may not want to use a set of descriptive words; it may limit the firms branding efforts as more services are added to a practice.  If each service is added to the name the practice they may end up with a name a mile long.  If Schumacher ever wants to expand her practice from Agricultural Law she’ll need to change the name of her business.  If she plans on adding those services within the first few years of her business it may make more sense to simply call the practice Schumacher Law Firm and describe the services offered through the marketing materials and website.

If a few words won’t describe what you do, or what you do is less tangible consider using a tagline.

I once had a person come to me with the business name Precision.
I asked, “What do you do?”
He replied, “I get that question all the time.”
Go figure, a business could do a multitude of things with the name Precision.  It could be a shooting range, a sales training facility or a personal trainer.  This person was a painter. He didn’t like the name Precision Painting so in my opinion he needs a tagline.  I don’t know what he ultimately choose but even something as simple as “Precision – Painting with an Edge” would do.

Another example that conveys a less tangible product: Global First Responders.com – Listening to the World Ready to Respond.  That’s a website for medical professionals who volunteer in humanitarian efforts throughout the world.

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