Life after Endeavour, Part 3: How to choose the right name for your business

Written by Dannielle Illingworth | 16 May, 2022

As a brand new naturopath, I was so excited to create a unique business name. I spent hours playing with words, researching tips online, and checking URL availability for all of my ideas.

Now, six years later, I have been through four different business names and am now operating under my full name only – nothing fancy. I remember this topic being a big discussion back in the Endeavour classrooms: do you get a business name, or just use your own name? Here’s what I’ve learnt over the years.

There are pros and cons for both, of course - and it really depends on what your big vision is for your practice. A business name is a great idea if you’re creating a multi-modality clinic, or if you want the option to sell your business one day. A business name, when chosen well, can also help to attract your ideal clients – for example, “Brisbane Natural Fertility” tells prospective clients exactly what you can help them with, as well as where you are located. A business name like this also ranks really well in a Google search, which is super helpful for bringing in new clients.

If you’re deciding on a business name, the most important things to do are:

  1. Check trademarks on that name (you can do this through the Australian Government website)
  2. Check URL availability (you can do this through any website that sells domain names, a quick google search will bring up some options for you)
  3. Make sure your business name is simple enough to remember, and easy to spell

One of the biggest downfalls of having a business name is that it can keep you stuck in a certain field or niche, particularly if you name your business something specific like “Brisbane Natural Fertility”. Choosing a niche-specific name for your business really is a big leap into that area, and can make it tricky if you decide to branch out or change specialties later in your career. Changing business names can be very confusing to your clients and prospective clients (trust me, I know!) and usually means buying new domain names for your websites, updating business cards and brochures, and so on.

One thing that doesn’t change is your name – and this is a big reason why some naturopaths will simply practice under their own name rather than a business name. The other big benefit to this choice is that it is not specific to any niche, so as you grow and evolve as a practitioner, you won’t be held back by a business name. I waited until after our wedding to practice under my full name, but plenty of female naturopaths continue to practice under their maiden name too.

The most obvious downfall of practicing under your full name is that it doesn’t naturally rank in a Google search, and your name doesn’t give prospective clients any indication as to what you can help them with. It’s also not something you can sell on, without changing the business name.

One thing I really recommend, whether you’re building a scalable, sellable business or operating as yourself under your own name, is to put yourself front and centre of your brand. Get a professional photoshoot done, and share photos of yourself on your website and social media. Share your name, share your story and why you’re so passionate about what you do. We live in an age of connection, and your prospective clients want to connect with you as a person, not just your business or your qualifications. I know it can feel scary to share photos of yourself, but all you need is 1-2 decent headshot images so that when someone comes across your website, they can see your face and know who you are behind the website and the words. It brings a human element into the online world, and makes your website stand out amongst all of the other Google listings.

So, if you’re currently at the point of deciding on a business name versus your name, ask yourself what the big long-term vision is. Do you want a big clinic, and/or a sellable business? Or do you want freedom to change directions in your work, and a more personal approach? There is no right or wrong – it’s really about finding what works for you and your business. And either way, get some photos of yourself on your website! Your clients will be much more likely to reach out to you when they know who they’re talking to behind the phone or computer.

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Dannielle Illingworth

Dannielle Illingworth is a kinesiologist, naturopath + author. Whether it’s in business, relationships, weight loss, career, health, or just general happiness – Danni helps her clients identify and let go of any fears, limiting beliefs + memories that are holding them back from what they truly desire. You can find out more at her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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