At some point, all of our clients rub up against the difficult choice of whether to use ‘their name’ or whether to choose a separate ‘business name’.
There is no right or wrong answer, but there are a couple of questions I typically ask to help guide that decision:
What does the future look like for your business or organisation?
If you look 10 or 20 years into the future, can you imagine yourself with a large team of associates or team members? If so, you might want to consider a formal business name.
Or is it primarily you, doing your thing, for the people you care about most? If that’s the case, sticking with your own name might be the way to go.
The second question I like to ask is:
How certain are you about your niche, ideal client and product offering?
A dedicated business name can go a long way towards standing out in a crowded niche. But if you are just testing the waters, or worried you might change niches or products down the line, using your own name can give you the freedom to pivot, without undoing all the hard work you’ve put into developing your brand and gaining brand recognition.
There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just something to take into consideration.
Choosing your coaching business name.
Whether you are starting out or thinking about changing the name of your current coaching business, you can narrow down your choices by asking yourself the following:
1. Is it short or clear?
It’s tempting to go for a clever name or a play on words.
When I worked as a consultant, I called my business ‘Not Pretty’ thinking that introducing myself as “I’m Cat Townsend and I’m Not Pretty,” was kind of clever.
It wasn’t, and I soon regretted it.
My advice would be to always choose clear over clever.
2. Is it easy to spell and pronounce?
If it’s short, easy to spell and you can say it quickly ten times, you might have found your name.
However, steer clear of substituting letters and symbols for numbers, ie. Activ8 W8lo55 Coaching.
It’s difficult to spell, pronounce and isn’t clear. Also, making customers type activ8w8lo55coaching.com into a browser isn’t a pleasant experience.
3. Is it memorable?
Does it have:
A great example of one that has all three is Heather Waring’s WomenWalking:WomenTalking.
Not only is it memorable, but it captures Heather’s unique coaching style too.
4. Does it say who you are?
In the above example, Heather’s business name conveys who she targets and what she does – coaching women through walking and talking.
Other coaching business names that capture their niche perfectly include:
- Tracy Danelishen – Hounds and Humanity
- Jo Rawbone – Flourishing Introverts
- Jo Wicks – The Body Coach
- Denise Duffield Thomas – Get Rich, Lucky Bitch
- Sherry Walling – ZenFounder
- Julie Creffield – Too Fat To Run
- Troy Dean – WP Elevation
- Dennis Procopio – Man Up Life Coaching
A name which captures who you are and what you do will resonate with your ideal customers.
5. Can you get a matching domain?
There is nothing worse than coming up with the perfect name and putting the wheels in motion – only to find the domain has been taken.
Once you have a shortlist, check if they are available on domain check websites, like Name.com.
6. Has it been trademarked?
A word, phrase or image can be trademarked, so once you have your name, checking a trademark register in your country of residence is advisable before spending time and money on something you cannot use.
7. Will you love it tomorrow?
Choosing your business name is like choosing a tattoo, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether the name you love now is one you are going to love ten years down the line.
Changing your business name is a huge undertaking (believe me, we’ve done it ourselves, see our What’s in a business name? article).
What happens if you get it wrong?
Even with proper planning and foresight, your business could grow in a different direction to which you originally planned.
When this happens, rebranding may be your best option. But don’t worry. You don’t have to tackle a rebrand alone. Here are just two examples of coaches we’ve helped:
1. Mel Noakes – Business to Personal
Original name: Naked Coaching
The Problem: Mel felt the name was holding her back – not to mention the other connotations it brought to mind.
The Process: Mel contacted The Good Alliance to help rebrand her coaching business.
Like many coaches, Mel is a people person, working one-on-one with her clients. So, to add a human touch, including her name was vital. The tagline also needed to resonate with Mel as an individual, her clients and what she wanted to achieve as a coach.
New name: Mel Noakes: The Self Care Coach
The Result: Mel’s rebranding caught the attention of publishers Penguin, and within 6-months of the name change she was writing a book on ‘Self Care’.
2. Marika Messager – Personal to Business
Original name: Marika Messager
The Problem: Marika had visions of working with organisations, like Financial institutions, but felt a personal brand wouldn’t make the impact she needed.
The Process: Marika contacted The Good Alliance to help rebrand her coaching business.
We worked together on a name which would add gravitas to her business and position her as a thought leader in the emerging field of Conscious Leadership.
New name: ConciousLeadership.org
The Result: The name has become more than a coaching brand, it’s a badge of pride and honour for her many clients and students.
A complete rebrand worked for Mel and Marika but think carefully about the name you want.
What’s in a name?
Hopefully, I’ve inspired a light-bulb moment in your search for a coaching business name. However, if you are still unsure where to start, book a clarity call to see how The Good Alliance can help you find yours.
Want to share your business name story? Then why not tell us in the comments below.
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After more than a decade spent helping big brands sell more stuff, to people that didn’t need it; Cat set a simple intention: To do more work that made a positive difference in the world. And so The Good Alliance was born…