When starting a business many of us are faced with the dilemma whether we should use a personal name for our business or create a business name.
In other words, should we build a Personal Brand or a Business Brand?
I can completely understand how hard this decision is to make, as I too had to spend a lot of time thinking about which route to take before launching my business.
It can take weeks before you make a decision and even then you might continue to think it over, wondering whether or not you made the right choice.
In this post I am going to share with you everything I’ve learnt in the process of making my decision in order to make it as easy as possible for you to make yours, but first let’s quickly discuss the differences between a personal name and a business name.
A Personal Name is built around your personality and the business is usually branded with your name.
In addition, people are attracted to you because of who you are.
A Business Name on the other hand is a brand built around an identity you create for your business.
People are attracted to the business because of the identity you create for it.
Using A Personal Name
To build a personal brand you need to brand yourself as the ‘expert’ in your field, an authority figure that people can trust and look to for solutions.
As technology continues to evolve, personal brands are becoming more and more popular because the truth is people like to do business with people and if your customers can put a face to your business rather then just a logo then you already have the advantage.
Advantages of using a Personal Name
- Easier to build trust as customers can put a face to the business.
- Allows you to appear affordable.
- Makes your business transparent and personal.
- People prefer to do business with real people.
- Allows your message to grow and develop as you do.
- Allows you to build personal credibility.
- Great way to tell your customers that you are always going to be available for them, unlike with large businesses that often make it hard to get a hold of the person they need.
If your personal brand fails then you can still use it in your CV to help you find a job, new opportunities or even make a connection with an investor who is willing to back you up on a new venture.
Disadvantages of using a Personal Name
- It’s difficult to sell a personally-branded business.
- You are the face of your business and your actions are publicly available. If you are a private person then a personal brand might not be for you.
- You may seem inexperienced at first.
- It may create some confusion in future if you begin to hire employees. In saying this, personal brands have successfully hired employees in the past.
- People will not be able to indicate what you do by looking at your business name, instead, they will associate your name with what you have become known for.
- Your customers will most likely want to have direct contact with you which means it may become challenging as your business grows.
- If you receive negative publicity and fail to handle it well, there will be no where to hide and it will continue to follow you around.
- If your name is difficult to spell, it may be hard for people to find you online.
A Personal Name can work well for
Great Examples of Successful Personal Brands:
Using A Business Name
Business brands take much more effort to create because rather then simply using the name you were born with you need to come up with a meaningful name that is relevant to your business and it’s products.
As your company grows, using a business name will allow you to have much more flexibility in future.
Advantages of using a Business Name
- Using a business name usually allows you to charge more as it makes you look like more than a one-man show.
- A business name can make you look more experienced and well-established.
- Allows you to separate your personal life from your professional life.
- Allows room for growth and makes it easy to hire employees in future.
- Using a business name makes it easier to sell your company down the track.
- People will be able to tell what you do just by looking at your business name.
- If you fail and receive negative press, it is easier to try-again by using a different business name.
Disadvantages of using a Business Name
- A business name can make the relationship with your customers seem cold and impersonal.
- Using a business name can make you seem more expensive.
- Trust is harder to build compared to a personal brand.
- If your business fails your corporate CV will still be blank.
- People can instantly understand and relate with people down to an emotional level but they cannot do the same with a business name.
The Importance Of Getting Right The First Time
It is very important that you take the time to really think your decision through.
It may take a few days or it may take a few weeks but in the end you need to be confident with your decision.
The reason why it is so important is because if you begin building your brand and a few years later you decide you want to change it, you will lose a lot of the momentum you have already created and this will result in a loss of traffic and customers.
Of course you will be able to maintain the majority of your loyal fans, however, there will definitely be a large number of people who will stop supporting you.
Why? Because people do not like change and want to have their expectations met.
For example, imagine if you visit my blog a few times a week and then I suddenly changed it from PeterStavrou.com to PSOnlineServices.com.
The first time that you are redirected from my blog to PSOnlnineServices.com you will be surprised because your expectations were to see my personal blog and not some company website.
If you are a loyal fan then there is a chance that I will not lose you just yet, however, out of habit it is likely that you will continue to visit PeterStavrou.com and depending on how important my blog is to you, will determine whether or not you will make that extra effort to visit PSOnlnineServices.com in future.
I know it may not sound like a big deal but it is just as easy to move to someone else’s personal blog as it is to move to my new web address.
In addition, there will certainly be old articles and videos out there driving traffic to PeterStavrou.com.
If a new user clicks on a link to visit PeterStavrou.com and is instead redirected to PSOnlineServices.com, there is a high chance that they will close or navigate away from the page.
Why? Because they are expecting to visit PeterStavrou.com not PSOnlineServices.com.
I know for a fact that whenever I’m redirected to an unexpected website, I always close the page before it even gets the chance to load.
Do you do the same?
Personal Name or Business Name – Which One Is For You?
If you are planning to sell your business in future , it is probably better to go with a Business name.
Also, if you are someone who likes privacy and prefers not to have your life all over social media, then it is another indicator that a business name will be more suitable for you.
However, if you are a professional and would like to be considered as an expert on a particular topic, it may be better to use your personal name for your branding.
Keep in mind that if your real name is too difficult to spell or remember then it may be a good to use an abbreviated version of it or to simply use a nickname that you would like to be known as.
I personally decided to go with a personal brand as I consider myself as an expert in Internet Marketing and love to interact and build relationships with other people.
I also like to speak, coach and inspire others who dream of having a successful online business and there is definitely no better way to do this than being the average person who worked hard achieve his dream.
Are you using a personal or business name for your brand and what is the reason behind your decision?
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Thanks for this article. It’s well written and lays out the necessary considerations.
Not sure how my personal name would make my business more “attractive,” though. When I’m in the market as a buyer, I don’t care what the businessperson’s actual name is. I’m not “attracted” to “who they are.” I care about what service(s) they offer and whether they’re good at it. Their personal name doesn’t, to me, make their business “more attractive.”
Using your own writing as an example: you’re a good writer and appear (from my novice perspective) to offer sound advice. It doesn’t matter to me that your name is Peter Stavrou, however. 🙂
Great article! I have to say that your pros and cons are spot on. Right now I am tasked to build the brand for someone as a favor and this article has helped in deciding to go with his name. Not because you convinced me, but you enlightened me to do some critical thought and ask the right questions. Thanks.
Many thanks Phil!
I’m glad this article was helpful to you.
You’re welcome. This article finally helped me make a decision I am confident in. I am up late working on my business and now have more of a vision for where I plan to take my business and I am much clearer on my brand.
Great article Peter! Just the information I was looking for. Greatly appreciated and I hope to follow your blog and see new content.
Thanks Tennille 🙂
I appreciate your comment!