Many businesses are named after the founder. If you’re starting your own business you may be deciding whether or not your name should be part of your business name or even your complete business name.

Should I Use My Name for My Business?

Examples of using your personal name in a business name 

One way to use your name is in place of a business name. Examples include Martha Stewart and Oprah. Many law firms, CPA firms, and medical practices are named after their partners, for example, Goldstein & Finewell.

Or, the business name may feature the principal’s name along with some other words. Examples include business names like Bodwell Design, Anna Wiggins Hypnotherapy, or Smith and Associates.

Naming your business: Boost Your brand by embracing your personal name 

For many small business owners, it’s a good idea to use their name for their business. Use your personal name for your business name when…

  • You plan to stay as a one-person business. Many business models are based on one business owner doing all (or nearly all) of the work. Some common examples include: freelance designers, copywriters, massage therapists, and public speakers. If you have no plans to expand your team or outsource work, using your name makes sense.
  • You may expand your team, but you’ll continue as the most visible leader. You don’t have to stay as a one-person business to keep your name as the business name. You don’t really think Martha Stewart develops every recipe or decorating tip, do you? As long as you plan to stay as the leader, the visionary, or the high-profile personality for your business, it can continue to run under your name. You may want to consider adding something like ‘and associates’ or another way of indicating you have more than just you on the team, depending on the type of business.
  • Personal networking is the most important way you’ll grow your business. Many, many businesses get their first customers from friends or family. But certain types of businesses will always rely on referrals and networking. If you have highly-specific skills or experience and people want your individual attention, you will benefit from running your business under your own name.
  • You want to be seen as an individual rather than a corporation. There are legal and tax implications that are outside of brand building, but some solopreneurs prefer to be seen as independent contractors rather than running a business. In this case, you’ll be building a personal brand when you run your business under your own name and this can be the most authentic way to build your brand.

Branding blunder: Avoid using your personal name in these crucial situations 

There are times when it’s not in your best interest to use your name, and you’d be better served building a brand around a different business name. Avoid using your personal name in your business name when…

  • Your name is difficult to spell. If your name is often misspelled it’s not a good choice because you’ll be using it for your website domain name as well as the handles on your social media channels.
  • Your name is often mispronounced. If your name is difficult to say or often confused with another name it’s not a strong choice for your brand name. You want people to refer business your way easily. If they are afraid they’re saying your name wrong, they may avoid making the referral. Or, if they use the wrong pronunciation, people may get confused.
  • Your name is too common. On the other hand, if you have a very common name you may have trouble finding domain names and social media handles available.
  • You want to appear like a bigger company. Using your name can make your business appear small, or like you are an independent contractor rather than a corporation. This can be a deterrent for working with some larger organizations that prefer larger firms.

3 Reasons why you should build your brand around your personal name 

  1. Keep it simple. You don’t have to find the perfect business name, you just use the name you already have.
  2. Be more memorable. If people already know your name, you don’t have to introduce and have them remember something new.
  3. Getting better reach with personal social media accounts. People connect more frequently with individuals than companies on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. And the algorithms favor personal posts. You can expect to have your posts more visible if they are sent from a personal account.

The vast majority of new businesses start (and stay) as one-person ventures, so you may be considering using your name in your business. Remember to think about your long-term goals and vision for the business when you make this critical decision.