Solo Entrepreneurs

Should I Use My Name or a Company Name?

So you’ve got a great idea that you really think is going to work. You’ve asked the right questions, connected with the right people. Now you need a name! Well, you already have a name. And it’s what you’re already building your personal brand around anyways. So why bother with coming up with a company name? It depends on a number of factors

What do I need to consider?

Do you plan to expand your business beyond yourself? Would you ever consider selling your business? You will probably want to go with a unique company name.

The future

Try some reverse “visioneering” – where do you want your business to be in 25 years? If that vision clearly involves you being directly involved in every client relationship, then you can consider using your name. Otherwise, let’s get creative!

Rebranding

This does not mean that you can never rebrand – plenty of companies go through name changes to better reflect their values and goals – but this process will be extremely costly and could hurt your business, at least in the short term. So think very carefully about your business name – you’ll have to live with it for a long time!

Should I use my personal name?

Is your name easy to spell? Great – that will make it easier for people to find you. Is your name extremely common? You’ll probably lose the SEO battle. Ideally, your business name will thread the needle between ease of spelling and pronunciation, and uniqueness. If your name already does that (and you’ve worked through the other potential issues), then great!

Check domain availability

By the way, If you can find a great domain name that matches your company name, do it! A great domain can work wonders for your business. But don’t let that be a major deciding factor for your business name. It’s not as important as it used to be for SEO.

What should I do if I don’t want to use my personal name?

What do you want to communicate?

Unless your personal name somehow matches the work you do (which happens – it’s called an aptronym), you’ll have much more ability to display your work in a creative company name. With some careful creativity, you can tell potential clients a lot about your business in just a couple syllables – e.g. “Reddit” or “StitchFix”.

Consider the gap between your personal brand and the company brand.

If your business is centered around your direct communication skills and content – i.e. if you are a personal coach or public speaker – your personal brand and company brand will be nearly one and the same. For most businesses, there will be some distance between the two. You’ll need to take this gap into consideration with your business name, thinking about the future as well – do you always want to be synonymous with your company brand?

Once I have my name chosen, what are my next steps?

You’ll need to confirm with your state’s Secretary of State office that the company name you’ve chosen is available. If your name is common enough, it may already be reserved in your state. Even if it is available, you will want to do your research to make sure that there are not other businesses that have very similar names. This could create a number of issues and even set you up for legal trouble down the road.

You’ve got a lot of work to do, and you want to do it well. This is not an area where you’ll want to cut corners. Consider your business name carefully, get creative, and then build an amazing brand that will connect emotionally with your consumers!

Headshot of Mark Barneycastle

Post Written By:

Mark Barneycastle