One of my responsibilities as Director of Membership for Professional Organizers in Canada was ordering the name badges. I was amazed at how many members ordered a replacement name badge within their first year or two – not because they’d lost theirs (they are organizers, after all), but because they changed the name of their business.
I suppose I really shouldn’t have been surprised, as I did the same thing myself. When I started my business, my goal was to use my training in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help others make career choices and develop organizing strategies based on their individual personality types. Not being terribly imaginative, I came up with the name “Barclay Career and Organizing Solutions.” Although it was too long and uninteresting to be memorable, that wasn’t what motivated the change.
When I added website design and virtual assistance to my service offerings, I knew I had to let something else go, so I decided to drop residential organizing and career services and focus on the small business market. Sensing that I might eventually wish to streamline even further, and not wanting to go through another name change, I brainstormed ideas for names that would apply whether I was an office organizer or a virtual assistant, and came up with “Organized Assistant.” (Eventually it stopped being a good fit, but that’s not the point of this post.)
I’m sure that many of the other organizers who needed new name badges had also changed their focus or specialty, but that’s not the only reason for changing a business name.
I suspect that some of them may have realized their selected name was too much like that of another organizing business, an issue that can be avoided by doing thorough research right from the start. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when choosing your business name. Perhaps another organizer is using a name you like, and you figure there’s no conflict because you’re thousands of miles away from each other and therefore not targeting the same clients. But what happens if down the road one of you starts offering virtual organizing, teleclasses, or digital products?
Others may have realized their original name choice wasn’t all that great from a branding standpoint. For example, I’ve seen business names that were foreign or made up words. Though they may have sounded elegant or clever, it’s hard for people to remember unfamiliar words. Furthermore, these names didn’t clearly articulate what type of business it was.
The New York Times published some interesting stories last year which demonstrated other factors that led to business name changes.
Whether you’re trying to pick a name for your new organizing business, or are planning to make a change, here are a few thoughts to consider:
Peter Urs Bender and George Torok, co-authors of Secrets of Power Marketing, recommend that if you have a one-person service business, you should use your own name in the company name. Not only does it reinforce your personal brand, people are more likely to give you repeat business and/or referrals if they only have to remember one thing instead of two. I gave similar advice in my recent post about choosing a domain name, and it’s echoed by many others.'If you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur, naming your business after yourself feels a little more personable and familial. It’s a reminder that you aren’t just a money-making machine — you’re also a real person who cares about doing good work.'
— Kat BoogaardClick To Tweet
You can use:
- your full name (as in Jean Linder Organizing)
- your first name (as in Amber’s Organizing, LLC)
- your last name (as in SkillSet Organizing)
IKEA is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad (the founder, who passed away earlier this week), Elmtaryd (the farm where he grew up) and Agunnaryd (the village in which he grew up).
Some of the cleverest business names I’ve come across involve a play on words, where the consultant’s name is linked to the services they offer, such as:
- Julie Bestry: Best Results Organizing
- Ann Max: Productive to the Max
- Kathy Paauw: Paauwerfully Organized
Your name may not lend itself to be used this way, but don’t rule it out too quickly! It’s amazing what a little creativity can do.
For more insight on this topic, check out Clicked Studio’s How to Create an Amazing Brand Name: The Definitive Guide.
Hearpreneur has a regular feature where different entrepreneurs answer the question, How did you come up with your business name?. I recommend reading the wide variety of answers; something just may provide the inspiration you need.
How did you choose the name for your business? Do you ever wish you’d chosen something different?
This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated.