Coming up with a business name can be a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, one of my favorite ways to name your business is to simply use your own name. This has become an increasingly popular answer to the naming challenge.
When you use your name as your business name, your personal branding is more streamlined.
You have the most flexibility as your business grows and develops, allowing you to rebrand and repackage your services more easily than if you are tied to a business name. That means you can save a lot of time and money when it comes to your website, domain, logo, business cards, etc. If you use a business name, everything needs to be redone!
Your Name: A Flexible Fit
Often, business owners feel like they need to name their businesses after their service or product, somehow incorporating it into their name. Just look at McDonald’s, Nike, Oprah, Calvin Klein, Dr. Phil and other businesses and you’ll know this is just not true. Kate Spade made a huge name for herself in the fashion industry and even sold her business--that’s named after herself (more on this later)!
I say, be careful about tying your name to what you do. Look at Burger King, for example. Sure, Burger King is wildly successful, but it’s pretty well tied to just that: burgers. McDonald’s was able to take advantage of the big coffee craze with the McCafe, upleveling its brand. But Burger King’s name and branding kept it tied to fast food because of the way it was named.
Perfect for Networking Intros
Other business owners tend to feel “stuck” when attending networking events. Our old school selves tend to think we need to introduce ourselves as, “Hi, my name is _____ from _____.” This works great in the corporate world. But in the online entrepreneurial world where most of us work, this doesn’t tell much about our businesses.
I like to guide clients to a different approach. “Hi, I’m _____ and I help _____ (who you help) _____ (what you help them accomplish).” People ask what you “do,” and answering with a business name doesn’t tell them much.
When You DO Need a Business Name
Of course, there are some times when using your own name in your small business just doesn’t work. Here are some of those exceptions:
If you’re planning to hire on staff to provide direct client-facing services in your business, you might consider not using your own name as your business name. It would be confusing for clients and customers who work directly with those employees.
You plan to sell your business and go on to open another business. Looking back at Kate Spade, it would be difficult for her to open a new business without a personal rebrand.
Of course, there are ways around this too. If you are a service-based business owner using your name as your business name, you can sell your “book of business” but retain your own name as the brand. You can also sell the business and retain royalties for use of your name.
Naming your business is not something that should be taken lightly, but it also shouldn’t paralyze you into not moving forward.
Take the time to think it through and work with a coach if you’re stuck. You can also get started using your name...See how it feels and go from there. You never know. You might love it or hate it, but at least you gave it a try!
Here's a bit of my business naming story. Enjoy it!