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10 Pros & Cons of Naming Your Business After Yourself

Hello, my name is text written on typewriter

Whether to name your business after yourself is a hotly debated topic.

And that’s because there is no right or wrong answer.

It depends on your situation and that’s why you need to consider our 10 pros and cons (in table format) so that you can make an ‘informed’ decision.

Pros of Naming Your Business After Yourself

# Factor Analysis

1.

Can be Easier

You forgo the step of having to come up with a great business name that will differentiate yourself from the competition. This step can be ‘stressful’ because you may slowly work your way through a list of free business name generators with the feeling you’re making no progress. And doing business in your own name can provide clarity to your clients – simply they know who they’re working with and who they should submit payment to.

2.

Can Establish Authenticity

Authenticity is developed through being honest, engaging with other people, treating everyone with respect, testing yourself and looking at others. And when you do business in your own name, that authenticity is hard to beat. Why? Because nothing is more authentic than you – and provided you’re comfortable using your name – it can more easily capture your brand’s values and deliver what your clients want with authenticity.

3.

Can Earn More Credibility

Any business can earn more credibility in their industry (here are 10 powerful ways according to Inc) but when you are the face of your brand you are solely accountable for your decisions and actions. And this ‘accountability’ can quickly earn you the respect of clients (a key component of credibility) that makes them more confident in doing business with you. But only when you ‘consistently’ show yourself as an expert in your field.

4.

Can Build More Trust

People do business with people they know, like and trust. And so, when you do business in your own name, you’re immediately being transparent by letting clients know who they’re interacting with. This builds ‘trust’ as clients make purchasing decisions based off professional relationships (built through trust) rather than the product or service you offer. But you’ll only build this ‘trust’ when you talk to your prospects like people, not a business.

5.

Can Be More Humanised

We just mentioned people do business with people they know, like and trust. And this is because us humans require a ‘humanised’ approach that triggers our emotions and allows us to justify with logic. Doing business in your own name can trigger a more ‘humanised’ approach from the moment you’re first approached by a client. But only (as we mentioned in 4.) if you personalise your approach to treat all your clients like people, not a business.

6.

Can Establish an Emotional Connection

We just spoke about being more ‘humanised’ by doing business in your own name (5). And this ‘humanised approach’ can trigger a deeper emotional connection to your brand (and you as the face of it). This is important because decisions are largely emotional, not logical. So when you do business in your own name and follow a ‘personalised marketing strategy’ you can establish an emotional connection with your prospect that wins them over.

7.

Can Differentiate You from the Competition

The world’s most valuable brands invested heavily in brand research to formulate a brand name to differentiate themselves from their competition. But let’s face it, not all of us can ‘invest money’ into brand research to differentiate. And therefore, when you have a unique name, it can make it easier for your clients to differentiate you. However, if you have a ‘common’ name like ‘John Smith’, then differentiation may be hard to achieve.

8.

Can Win More Business Being the Face of the Brand

Personalisation is key to driving success and when you do business in your own name (and as face of the brand) you can have a ‘jumpstart’ on all your competition (that has a business name not in their name) because personalisation should be at the heart of what you do. And this means personalisation should be included comprehensively in your marketing strategy to stand out from crowd (through differentiation – 5.) and win more business.

9.

Can Improve Your Online Presence

Provided you’ve got a ‘unique’ name then clients may be able to find you more easily in search engines (like Google). This is because when your name is ‘unique’ it’s likely you will rank prominently online with little competition. And if you don’t have a unique name? All is not lost because if you implement some SEO fundamentals then you can outrank your competition, improve your presence online and be found by your target audience.

10.

Can Be Easier to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

Thought leaders tend to be recognised more as ‘people’ than brands. So for example, Bill Gates, is recognised as a thought leader rather than Microsoft (which he is co-founder of). Therefore, when you do business in your own name, it can be easier to establish yourself as a thought leader. But only when you understand the 6 tips to establish yourself as a thought leader. Because the benefits of becoming a thought leader are significant, read 8 of them here.

Cons of Naming Your Business After Yourself

# Factor Analysis

1.

Your Name Might Not be Unique

If you have a common name, then you’ll need to think carefully about whether to do business in your own name or not. Because a common reason for using your full name for your business is to differentiate yourself from your competition and stand out. But before you decide, do your homework (by researching online) because maybe your name is not as common as you think.

2.

Your Name Could Change

As much as you like to think it, no name is ‘permanent.’ People get married and your situation in life may change (prompting a name change). So if you decide you want to do business in your own name you need to be confident your name will be your name for the rest of the existence of your business. And no person can be 100% sure, so take the time to think, because there is nothing ‘temporary’ about naming a business after yourself.

3.

Your Name Might be Hard to Say & Spell

When choosing a domain name, it’s a deal breaker if your domain is hard to say and spell. So the same goes for using your name as your brand name. Because it’s fine to be ‘memorable’ but even if only a small minority of your target audience are ‘misspelling’ or ‘mispronouncing’ your name, then you’re destined to fail. The test: Get 10 complete strangers to spell and say your name out loud (you’ll soon find out). And if you don’t want to find 10 strangers then just be realistic about your name (reflecting on experiences to date with your name).

4.

Maybe You Don’t Like Your Name

Do you always cringe when you hear your name out loud? Or is that just that you’re not in love with your name and would prefer something different? We’ll if that’s the case and you choose to do business in your own name, then your stuck with it. So think carefully because you’ll be hearing your name a lot!

5.

Could Limit Your Growth

So you start out as face of your brand and as a one-person show. But what happens with growth? What about if you want to hire team members? You can do that but your target audience (as you operate in your own name) may always have the perception you’re just a one-person show. Therefore, put all short-term thinking aside and invest in the long-term before making the best decision.

6.

Maybe Your Employees Won’t Be Trusted as Much as You

You want to do business in your own name but you’re ready to grow and hire employees too. But you can’t expect your clients to have the same trust in employees as they do you. This is because you’re still perceived as the face of your brand and a one-person show. So introducing your client to an employee of your business, is a bit like introducing an employee from another company.

7.

Your Target Audience May Be Looking for Firms Not People

Not all your target audience ‘value’ a business that does business in their own name. For example, one of their goals may be to improve ‘innovation’ within their company and their perception is that they can only achieve that by hiring a business with many ‘team members’ and not a sole entrepreneur. So (and as we mentioned in 5.) only think long-term when making the decision on your business name.

8.

People May Develop a Relationship with You, Not Your Business

So you set out with good intentions and ‘personalise’ your marketing approach to form great professional relationships with your clients. But wait. Because unfortunately some clients may fail to distinguish between the relationship between ‘you’ and ‘your business.’ And this is as personalisation can blur the lines/boundaries between a business relationship and one with just you.

9.

Maybe You Want to Reserve Your Name or Personal Brand for Something Else

Maybe you’re an aspiring singer? Or you have a personal hobby outside your business that you’re passionate about? Well, if that’s the case, you need to think carefully whether to ‘claim’ your name for business use because it may override, your personal ambitions that you’re strongly invested in. So think carefully when you link your business to your name, because you’re linking the reputations of the two, for better or worse.

10.

Maybe You Don’t Want to be Inherently Linked to Your Brand

You need to be 100% confident that you want to be the face of your brand through both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ times. Because you will be under constant scrutiny to perform and your clients will expect you to be an exceptional leader in all marketing and sales campaigns for your brand. Therefore, think carefully of whether you want to do business in your own name, because it’s no place for the shy.

Conceptual illustration of a business man standing on a high altitude platform looking through a telescope

Conclusion

When deciding whether to name your business after yourself, you need to go beyond the question:

Does it feel right for your business?

Because what feels right now for your business may not suit your plans for the future.

So after carefully analyse the pros and cons of naming your business after yourself – remember as published author, songwriter and poet Steven Redhead once said: “Always ask yourself what will make you happy over the long term.”

Over to You…

Do you agree with 10 Pros & Cons of Naming Your Business After Yourself? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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