Naming Your Business: What’s in a name?

In the days before the internet took over the world the main directory for finding businesses was the yellow pages. The yellow pages listed businesses alphabetically by type and you can still find businesses named AAA Company because they wanted their business at the top of the list. With the advent of the internet search, keywords are more important than alphabetical order!

When brainstorming your business name consider words and images that evoke your business philosophy, your market, your location, and your specialty. The three characteristics of a good business or program name are: Short, Searchable, and Evocative of your business. Take a moment to consider your long-term goals for your business and what kind of name will work best. Changing a business name later is a complicated process once you have established your business. All of your marketing materials and your business reputation are tied to your business name. Keep these things in mind as you choose your business name.

In today’s market search-ability is one of the most important factors when naming your business.

When considering search-ability there are a few things to consider:

  1. Does your business name use key search words? One of the main things you can do to make your business searchable is to use keywords related to your business type and specialty in your business name. However, this is a balancing act because you don’t want the name to be too long or clunky. Some examples of keywords for coaching might be: life coaching and business coaching.
  2. Is the name of my business easy to spell? Words and names that are not spelled the way they sound may make it more difficult for people to search for your business.
  3. Is the name of my business unique? Try searching the business names you brainstormed to see what comes up. You don’t want to have the same business name as another company and depending on the type of business structure you choose it may even be illegal.
  4. Is your domain name available? The domain name for your website does not have to be the same as your business name but it increases your client’s ability to find you if it is the same or similar and emails from your business will be clearly understood to be from you. Use a domain search tool to discover if your domain name is available.
  5. What does your business name mean to others? First impressions are important especially in business, so it is important to get feedback from other people. Ask family and friends what your business name means to them, their perception about your business based on the name, and what emotions it might evoke. Consider what type of image you are trying to portray with your name? For example, you may want your name to clearly communicate what your business offers and come across as warm or fun.

Should I use my name or location in my business name?

The decision to use your name or location in your business name is influenced by a few different decisions you will make about your business such as if you will work alone or with partners; work with local clients, distance clients, or both; and your future plans for expansion.

Using your personal name.

Using your name as your business name will make it searchable if a client is looking for you and using your name simplifies the paperwork for starting your business.

There are a few reasons not to use your personal name as your business name. If you have a very common name or you share a name with a celebrity (for example my name Angela Hayes has both of those problems!) then using your personal name will make it harder for clients to find your business.  If you plan to have partners in your business or to hire additional coaches then using your name as the business name may not be the best idea. Also, consider that the actions of the business and the reputation of the business will be tied up with your name and vice versa.

Using your location in your business name. Using your city or state in your business name can be very helpful in making your business searchable. Consider if you were looking for a lawn care service you might search for “lawn care city name” helping to narrow the results to companies that are local. So if the business’s name was Austin Lawn and Landscaping then they are probably going to come up on a search for a lawn business in Austin. If the owner of Austin Lawn and Landscaping were to move to Phenoix, Arizona they might have difficulty taking their business name and reputation with them.  That being said there are other ways to make sure your business comes up for local clients through the keywords you use on your website, having a Google+ account and verifying your business.

There are a few reasons not to use your location in your business name. If your city name is difficult to spell or say then it may not be a good idea to use it. If you plan to work with client nationally or globally rather than just local clients the physical location of your business will not help people find you. If you may want to move your business to a new location you might want to skip using local specific names.

Helpful Tip: You can combine your personal name or location with your primary type of coaching to create a unique and searchable business name! For example: Jane Doe Business Coaching

Take Note: If you use a business name other than your personal name then you will need to register it by filling out a “Doing Business As” or DBA form. This is usually done in the county or counties you plan to operate your business in and there is usually a small fee for filing.

Happy Building and Best Wishes,

Angela Hayes, BS, Master Certified Life Coach

Life Coach Round Rock

I am a life and relationship coach in the Austin area of Texas. I started my own life coaching business, from scratch, and have more than doubled my revenue every year. I love what I do and I really enjoy mentoring others and helping them find a way to do what they love as well.