Should You Name Your Business After Yourself?
What’s in a name? According to Willy Shakespeare, not a whole lot. But since we aren’t in the habit of taking business advice from Bards of yore, we feel pretty confident in expressing our profound disagreement with his sentiments - especially when it comes to selecting a name for your business.
For many people, the go-to move is to name their baby biz after themselves: Joe’s Plumbing. Trevor’s Gym. Cindy’s Dance Studio. They’re not particularly creative, but they get the job done. And who doesn’t want their name to be synonymous with success, right? However, as much as you might want to see your name in shining lights, putting your name on your business could cause problems down the road.
Before you slap your name on the front door, here are five things to consider before naming a business after yourself.
- Limited scalability: If you name your business after yourself, expanding beyond your personal brand can be difficult. This might work well for small, boutique-style businesses but can limit your ability to scale down the road. Your business will also be associated with your personal reputation, which could make it harder to pivot your business strategy or add new products or services.
- It could make it more difficult to sell: If you decide to retire or sell your business in the future, a potential buyer might not be interested in buying a business that's named after someone else. A business with a personal name attached to it might also be less attractive to investors.
- Lack of differentiation: Unless you have a unique or memorable name, it might be difficult to stand out from the crowd. A common name is easily lost in a sea of similarly named businesses. Did I want to call Billy’s Electric, Bobby’s Electric, or was it Bradon’s Electric? On the flip side, if it’s so unique in that’s it difficult to spell or pronounce, it could make it harder for them to find your business online or recommend it to others.
- It might not reflect your brand: Your personal name might not accurately reflect your brand or what you offer. This could lead to confusion or misaligned expectations from potential customers.
- Personal risk: When you name your business after yourself, you’re putting your brand at risk. If shit hits the fan and you experience any negative publicity or backlash, it can quickly spill over into your personal life. This can damage your reputation and make it difficult to move on to new ventures in the future.
While it might seem like a good idea at the time - and everybody’s long-term goals or objectives are different - in our humble opinion, it’s definitely worth considering these five potential downsides. If you’re looking to build a scalable, differentiated, and transferable business, it might be better to leave your name out of it.