A right business name can make your brand the talk of the town, the same is possible if you choose a wrong one.
You must have heard about companies like Adidas, IKEA, HP, Rolls Royce, and Revlon. Do you know one thing that all these companies share in common? All of them are named on their founders’ name. While starting a company or business, finding a suitable name is crucial as the business name plays a key role in defining the company’s successful trahectory
A perfect business name has to satisfy so many conditions, such as:
- The business name should be catchy but not hard-to-spell
- The name should be clear and easy to pronounce
- Your business name should be something that stays relevant even when the company grows.
- The business name should be able to convey a company’s motto and offerings to the audience.
- Last but not least, make sure you conduct a comprehensive trademark search or business name availability search to determine if there are any identical or similar names.
Note* When deciding on a business name, dedicate ample time and resources to researching. Using online business name generators and just random name ideas is the worst decision you can make for your company even before starting operations.
Okay, now let’s dive into whether or not you can use your legal name as your business name.
Can I Use My Name As A Business Name?
Yes, you can use your legal name as your business or company’s official name. Decades ago, many people used to name their brands their names. Some personal brand name examples would be:
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Martha Stewart
- Ralph Lauren
- Mrs. Fields
- Calvin Klein
Most of these businesses were named after the last name of their founder, such as Henry Ford (Ford), Henri Nestle (Nestle), Sir Thomas Lipton (Lipton), etc. So, of course, one can use their first name or last name as their business name. Just make sure you get the business name trademarked to prevent others having the same names from using it.
There is no right or wrong way to choose when naming a business, and a personal name can work for someone as their business name but not for others. Most importantly, it depends on understanding when to name a business in your unique name and when to refrain from doing so.
However, naming your business after yourself comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and it can either help your business immensely or hurt it terribly.
Let us discuss them one by one.
Pros of Using Your Personal Name as Business Name
A personal name puts the focus on you, meaning that the brand will be built around your personality. Personal name as business names simply presents your personal ideas and attracts an audience that resonates with your ideas. Here is why you should use your personal name as company’s name
- Human-Touch: A personal name as a brand name puts a human identity to the business making the trust-building smoother due to the transparency involved.
- Better Company-Customer Connection: Let’s be honest; people like to do business with people, not robots or hypothetical names. Using a personal legal name as a brand name is easier to connect with customers due to the personal touch it adds to the business. Further, naming your business your name makes it look more accessible to the customers.
- Build on Existing Reputation: If the founder has already established themselves as an expert or has a favorable market reputation, it gets easier to use a personal name for the business and capitalize upon that. Moreover, it also helps to build personal credibility as the brand or business grows.
- No Hassle of “Doing Business As” form: For people functioning in sole proprietorship form, it is legal to use your name as your business name. But if you plan on using a professional name, it is necessary to file a DBA form with the government authorities.
Note* Sole proprietorship simply means running a business without filing as a limited liability company or corporation.
Cons of Using Your Personal Name as Business Name
- Personal Names Are Risky : First of all, personal name as a brand name mostly fails to convey the brand’s or company’s message. Also, using the personal name as a brand name can send a wrong message to the customers and may not be able to convey your business attributes to the potential customers immediately.
E.g., Suppose you are looking for a new refrigerator and come across 2 brands, Whirlpool and Henry Appliances. Which one would you prefer to buy? Most people would choose Whirlpool as the brand name itself tells about its products.
- Generic: Imagine, how many people in this world share your first or last name? Personal names as brand names are too generic and pose a threat of trademark infringement in the future. If someone else with the same name decides to start a company with the same name, the chances of customers being confused between the 2 companies and losing revenue are high. Moreover, it does not make sense to invest your time and resources in a business name that is too generic and easily forgettable.
- Personal Names Are Hard to Register: Whether registering the company name or company’s trademark, it is tougher when it is a personal name. There are two reasons:
- Personal names are too generic and thus not unique. A fundamental requirement for trademark registration is for the mark to be distinctive, which is defeated when using a personal name as a business name.
- The chances of the personal brand names creating the likelihood of confusion are high. This may cause an another hurdle in the process of trademark registration.
As the intellectual property office of various nations focuses on commercial trade, the trademark laws focus on protecting business names and not personal names.
Thus, trademarking your personal name involves the hassle of finding an evident business usage within the limited array of products and services.
- Personal Name Limits Your Business Growth – Choosing a perfect business name is not easy. While your personal name may be quite famous locally, the scenario on national and international levels may be entirely different. Using your personal name for your company name will be a risky affair if you plan on scaling up your business.
- High Risk-Factor: Naming a business by your first or last name brings you as an individual under the lens. Your action is in the public eye, especially if something goes wrong.
Moreover, using your legal name as a business name can also create inheritance issues and decrease your company’s selling value. People refrain from buying a brand or company that is too personalized as it gets tough for them to expand it further. Well, there is no doubt in the fact that personally-branded businesses are the hardest ones to sell.
When Should I Name My Company After Yourself?
A lot depends on your aspirations for your brand. Factors such as type of brand, geographical extent, the extent of scale, etc., dramatically impact the process of finding a perfect business name.
Quick Checklist To Decide Your Business Name
Use Personal Name For Business If:
- You are the company’s face. If you intend to capitalize on your reputation by creating content or simply by being the face of the business, then it is best to use your name as the business name.
- You want to convey your powerful beliefs, ideas, and philosophies to the audience. People tend to prefer personalized businesses, especially if they strongly connect with the founder’s ideas. A striking example would be people attaching Apple with Steve Jobs as they are influenced by his ideas. Even though the brand is not named on his personal name, the association is mind-blowing.
- You want people to find you on GOOGLE. If you have a rare name that is easy to spell & pronounce, use your name as a business name. It will be easier to trademark your company and you can also ace up your SEO game for your business to appear on the first page of Google.
- You plan on keeping it low-key. If you are a freelancer or someone not planning on not expanding the operations much, a personal name is a best and hassle-free choice for you.
When Should You Go For A Brand Name?
- When you plan on making a brand that is more than just your name. This may involve expanding business in terms of products & services, geographical distributions and team size. Choose a brand name if your plans include making your business more than just a one-man army.
- When you don’t want your name and personality to peek through your company’s name.
- If you want to build a company that can run on its own eventually after some time.
- When your potential customers are more likely to hire a professional firm with a brand name rather than a personalized company.
- If you plan on selling your company in the future, choose a brand name.
- When you plan on securing intellectual property protections for your company.
Business Name Availability Search: A Key Step Before Naming Your Brand
No matter what type of business name you choose, personal or brand name, conducting a thorough business name availability search and trademark search is imperative. Here is why:
- To ensure there are no similar or identical brand names in the market
- To ensure USPTO does not reject your trademark registration application based on the likelihood of confusion.
- Make sure there are no competitors that may impact your brand’s market reputation and revenue growth.
Want A Trademark For Your Business? Choose TMReady
Your trademark speaks a lot about your business. It has the power to make your company’s reputation and help you ace the success game. Having a registered trademark is beneficial as it allows the customers recognize your brand and recall it. However, registering a trademark is a multi-step process that requires extensive knowledge of trademark laws. This is why you need to hire professionals to help you out.
TMReady has been serving our customers for decades for all things trademark. Be it trademark search, trademark monitoring, or docketing services, TMReady has it all.
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