Many small business owners have more than one business. They may be part-time side hustles or split their time between two or more ventures.

As the owner of multiple businesses, you must decide if they all run under one brand or if each business needs its distinct brand. There are pros and cons to each option.

Why you could have different brands for each of your businesses

A brand should represent what’s unique about a product or service and appeal to your ideal client. If you have more than one business, they will likely offer different things or sell to other people. 

Each brand will be more on target if tailored to each business.

Why you could have one brand if you have multiple businesses

But it’s far easier to have everything under one brand. If there’s just one brand, you can usually have one visual identity, one website, one set of social media accounts, etc. 

You’ll save money and time by consolidating your businesses under one brand. 

How to decide how many brands to create

It comes down to understanding what is more critical to your business success: having a hyper-tailored brand or maximizing your marketing efforts by not splitting your resources.

Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you decide.

How closely aligned are your multiple businesses?

If, for example, you offer nutritional counseling and personal training, they’re pretty closely aligned. But they don’t have much in common if you provide bookkeeping services and also make jewelry.

In the first example, the overall benefits of better health apply to either business. One brand that focuses on these high-level benefits will probably work.

But the benefits of your bookkeeping services—accuracy, thoroughness, etc. probably don’t apply to your jewelry. Your jewelry is more likely focused on aesthetics, design, workmanship, or materials. You’d be better off with two different brands.

Can your customers use both services or products?

You can easily connect your brands if you have two complementary services or products. This can be a great way to ‘upsell’ a customer and grow each client account.

Creating one brand that connects with them will be problematic if your customers are entirely different. 

In our examples above, you can easily imagine someone looking to improve their health or lose weight would be interested in nutritional counseling and personal training. Creating one brand that covers both services is recommended.

The person selling bookkeeping services is trying to attract small business owners. Yet, when she’s selling jewelry, it’s not essential whether or not they are business owners. In this case, separate brands make more sense.

Can you consolidate your businesses under your personal brand?

One way to create a brand that covers all of your businesses is to create a personal brand. You’d use your name as the name of your business and offer different products or services underneath. 

This works particularly well if you are a solopreneur, like a consultant, coach, or other one-person brands. 

When you create a personal brand, you have more flexibility about how connected the businesses are. 

For example, a personal brand could be used for someone who is a Realtor and does home organizing. In this case, they’d focus on their high-level capabilities of creating a perfect home.

Or personal branding could be used by a consultant who writes grants for nonprofits and does executive coaching. In this case, they’d focus on their ability to help people clarify their goals and communicate clearly.

If you’re not sure, create just one brand

Trying to build one successful business is hard enough. Trying to juggle multiple ones is very challenging. Finding ways to streamline your marketing by consolidating everything under one brand will be beneficial. If you can’t decide what’s best, create only one brand and then have different products or services offered under that singular brand.