Thoughts on Naming Your Practice
Your business name is your firm’s first impression to the public and potential clients. Choosing a name is a critically important decision and choosing a good one drives revenue. Choosing a confusing name or one that is hard to understand will lead to spending as much time explaining your company name as in finding new clients.
A business name made up of your family name and the industry you work in can be just as effective as any other. For example, if your name is John Smith and you want to start a financial advisory firm, then calling your company “John Smith Financial” can be extremely effective.
You can also play off the meaning of your first name as well. A client of mine was starting her own wealth management firm and had worked through several options for a company name. By searching the meaning of her first name– Lori– we found that it means laurel tree, or sweet bay tree, which are symbols of honor and victory. She ended up using this information and choosing “Laurel Wealth Management” for her company name. It was a perfect mix of personal meaning and symbolism for a successful business name.
One problem with naming the business after yourself is that it can be difficult to sell the business to someone else when you try to retire. This may be a problem down the road, but it is something to consider when creating your name.
Geographic names can sound professional and give the impression that your company is the official business in your industry for that area. For example, if you have a financial firm located in Lockport, NY that you call “Wealth Advisors of Lockport,” that can sound as though your company is the primary financial firm for the area. That perception can create instant credibility with prospective customers, vendors, and financial lenders.
This has a few drawbacks. It will be very difficult to relocate your business should the need ever arise. Using your city/location in your name may also deter any non-local potential clients from seeking out your business for services. This may not matter to some types of companies but with the use of the internet, potential clients can search you from across the street or across the globe. Don’t let your name be a reason someone doesn’t contact you.
Some company names act as riddles that require solving. But as long as the name contains enough pertinent information, then a slightly special name can be an engaging marketing tool. If you want to start a firm and your favorite color is green, then you can call your company “Green Financial Planning.” An entrepreneur looking to start an office may like the beach or sun and decide to call his business “Sun Wealth Management.” The names are effective because they identify the company’s industry. They also act as ways of opening up a discussion with a prospective customer.
There can be a temptation to take it too far. Your customer base has to be able to draw a clear line between your business name and what it is that you provide. You also don’t want to turn off any potential clients with a poor name choice. Think “Fast Money” for someone who likes fast cars and works in finance. This may not be the best association for a financial firm that wants to instill trust and loyalty in clients.
If you are really stuck for a business name, then use a creative approach. Write a series of random words on small pieces of paper, put them in a box, and then draw two or three of them out. Place the words on a table and start putting them together to make phrases. Write down 10 phrases that you find, and then do it again. Once you have a list of around 50 possible names, start narrowing them down to the top five. Then have your friends and business associates let you know which one is best.
It can seem like a careless way to name your company, but when you are stuck for inspiration, it can be the best way to break through that creative block. You may also surprise yourself with the variety of interesting names you come up with. Some options can be strange, but the process can also bring forth some very exciting marketing ideas.
Chose a name that endures
A business name should be planned out and have significance for you. The name you give your organization will be the cornerstone of your company logo development, the inspiration for your company tagline and the front-end of most of your marketing.
If you choose unwisely it can become a very costly mistake. More money will have to be invested into impressive marketing campaigns and even expensive name changes in the future. Think about everything that has your company name printed on it from business cards to building signage.
Spend time working through your options and choose a name that will stand the test of time.
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