Are you struggling with naming your business? Should I use my personal name for my business name or use a company name? There are no “rules” written in stone, but there are several factors that can help you decide which way to go. Naming your business can be one of the most stressful and exciting parts of starting your business. It all comes down to what type of business you have and your long term vision for your company.
Using your name for your company name gives your business a more personal and artsy touch. Using a company name can make the business come across more professional and allows room for growth. Some people choose to use both, their personal names and a company name for their product lines and this is fine too.
If you plan on teaching, writing books and being an expert in your industry, then you are the commodity and you should think about name the business after yourself. If your goals are to have a product(s) or service that can be sold one day, then you should consider choosing a company name.
Naming your business after yourself vs a company name:
1. You are selling your knowledge and expertise. Using your name maximizes your credibility, respected and reputable authority.
2. Builds trust with customers. Customers like to know they are buying from the actual person.
3. Helps people remember your business name and separates you from others in your industry.
1. Change in ownership. Can the business carry on without the main principal running it?
(There have been many successful businesses named after their founders that have successfully carried on after they have been sold. Ex: Donna Karen, Calvin Klein)
2. Lack of clarity on what your business does. Does, MarySmith.com tell you what the company is about if you did not know this person?
Things to consider when choosing a name:
1. A good name will reflect you and your niche market. It will tell who you are and what you do. Adopt a name that gives a clue and an imagery of what you do.
•If you are a jewelry designer and wanting to use your name then consider using, Mary Smith Designs, Creations by Mary Smith instead of just MarySmith.com. This tells the customers that you are the person who is creating the items.
•Customers should get a mental picture of what you do just from hearing or reading your name.
2. Is the name easy to spell and pronounce? Does it have a negative meaning in a foreign language?
•Avoid using cutesy or funny spellings of words, such as “desznr” for designer. Customers are less likely to remember the odd spelling of the word, especially when searching for you on the internet. This may lead your customer to another company.
•Whether you are considering using your personal name or a company name, you should make sure it is easy to spell and pronounce. This may be hard to avoid, especially if you have a personal name that is often misspelled or pronounced. As with my last name: “Jimenez”. This is a Spanish name and in the Spanish language the “J” is pronounced as an “H”. In the English language the “J” would be pronounced like in jam. Therefore my last name, even though it is a common Spanish name is often pronounced incorrectly. For me this is a minor problem, when using my own name.
•If you plan to use foreign language in your company name, make sure there is no negative meaning in any language. Examples, if you are using “Bella”, are you sure you know what this word means in all languages? Don’t assume what a foreign word means, always do your research.
•When using the word “and”, “&”, “n” and ‘n, can also be confusing. Make sure your customers will know exactly how to spell your name. Is it “Leather and Lace” or “Leather n Lace”?
3. Is the name easy to remember?
•You want people to find you quickly online, so the name shouldn’t be too long. Choosing a name like, Victorian Handmade Jewelry Creations by Mary Smith, is long and would not be easily remembered.
•Keep in mind how many characters your customers will have to type to get to your domain name.
4. Your name should be future friendly? Will the name still sound right if you change your course? Does the name limit you? Think into the feature, when choosing a name.
•Today your designing passion is boho style jewelry and you name your company, “Boho Chic Designs”. Next year you find your passion is Victorian style jewelry and are now designing all Victorian jewelry. The company name, Boho Chic Designs, no longer reflects what you do. This name was not future friendly.
5. Is the domain name you want available?
•Check to make sure the domain name you want is available. Your customers will always assume that that the company URL is a .com. Pick a new company name rather than settling for a URL with .net or .info extension.
6. Is the company name available on Social Media?
•Check all social media platforms to make sure the name if available. You may find that they name may be taken on several of the platforms. You may be able to do a variation of the name. Say your company name is Designs by Mary and you find that is it taken on Facebook and Instagram. Try using Designs_By_Mary.
•Try to keep your user names on all Social Media platforms the same. This gives you unity and makes it easy for your customers to find you. If you can’t keep your user names the same on most of your social media accounts, you may consider another name.
7. Has the name been registered as a trademark?
•You can find this information on your countries trademark data base. Doing a search does not mean the name is not registered. (this does not replace the advice of an attorney regarding trademarked names and trademark searches) The USA trademark database can be found here.
•Don’t use an incorrect legal title for your business. If your business is not a corporation or Limited Liability Corporation, then don’t use the abbreviations in your company name. Example: “Inc” or “LLC”.
How to start the process of choosing a name for your business:
•List keywords that identify you, your company, what you do and what you stand for.
•Consult a thesaurus on alternative words that might work for you.
•Use a foreign dictionary to find words that could be used.
•Carry a notebook with you daily. If you think of a name, write it down immediately.
•Don’t enlist in family and friends help at first.
•Only the decision makers should be involved in brainstorming for the company name. It can become confusing if too many people are involved and presenting names to you.
•When you have the choices down to 5 or less; then ask family and friends to choose their favorite one.
•Take your time
•Don’t rush this process. Choosing a company name does not have to be done in one day. Take your time, relax and keep track of your ideas.
Choosing a name for your business is a very important part of starting your company. In the end you are the one who has to be completely satisfied with what you have chosen to name your business. Remember there are no rules set in stone regarding using your personal name for your business or choosing a company name. That decision lies with you, the business owner and what you feel is right for your business. Choosing a name is not a race, take your time; be patient, the right name will prevail. In the end choosing a name that will last and embody both your values and your company’s distinguished characteristics is your ultimate goal.
Thank you for reading my article and I hope you found it helpful to you!
*The materials available in this post are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any aspect of naming your company.