How Not to Name Your New Consulting Business

ConsultantHandsA year or two ago the Wall Street Journal wrote a good article on why you do not want to name your consulting business Bob Johnson Inc, even if your name is Bob Johnson. They based a lot of their argument not on how hard it was to find a free Bob Johnson domain name, but on how many false hits people would get when trying to find you on the internet, including one Bob Johnson who is on the TSA’s no fly list.

Yes, there is an exception in company naming and trademarks (but not all cases) where you are allowed to use your own name. But how many of you are there? In Ohio alone I once checked the last name Garcia, and there were over 40 incorporated or LLC companies. Plus who knows how many dba’s. Imagine if you checked Garcia in Texas or California!


Athol Foden @namiac Passionate Naming Consultant

There are over 316million people in the USA. Use to see how many people share your first and last name. In my case, there is only one Athol Foden. And I even own the domain name. But even from the beginning I did not want to look like a one man band, and certainly now that we have an international naming team I certainly don’t want to. So we want to look like a serious (albeit still small) business ready to serve other businesses and therefore we give the entity a name. For the few people who know me personally by name, or have heard of my fascination, obsession and skills at naming, they can still find me through direct company web background pages or other sources like LinkedIn.

Don’t use your initials either. They just lead to a lot of confusion with long company names that are being abbreviated and are almost impossible to promote and protect without big dollars and a lot of time. I have espoused this at length in a number of articles in our Namebase of Articles on this website. In particular, please see “Shorter Names Don’t Get Lost in Initial Hell“.

When you are naming a consulting business, you are naming what might one day be a big company. Treat it as such and run a  proper naming project. And notice how most actors who change their names also pick short easy names that are not abbreviated to initials. Getting a small business off the ground is always difficult, so remember your name is your most potent weapon in the battle for the mind. Often it is all you have for initial marketing materials too.


Of course there is always the except that proves the rule. In fact, what first triggered this posting was seeing a name like (I may have forgotten the exact initials, but very similar to these awkward to say ones). If the initials in a name like this are easy to say, then this can be a very meaningful name, just like many people (especially outside the USA) write their name as A. M. Foden for example in my case, rather than Athol Foden. At least in business the do in business and serious personal matters until you are really good friends.

In fact, outside of my naming business I used to consult as (and sometimes still do). The difference here is that the name is easy to say, and in Silicon Valley the initials SV are well-known. So not only does it lead to a unique name and website, it positions me from the get-go as a marketing consultant in Silicon Valley.

(C) Copyright 2013 Brighter Naming ®

Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Name Changes, Name Origins, Naming News, People Names, Trademarks

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See his industry naming commentary (where he takes a critical look at names) via the blog on this site