Pros and Cons of Using Your Name to Brand Your DBA
This is part two of three of our series, To DBA or Not to DBA? Check out the first post here.
If you’ve made the choice to create a DBA, the next step is deciding what to call your financial firm. Typically, the biggest struggle advisors face when choosing a DBA is whether to name their company after themselves (i.e., Edwards Financial Strategies), or to create a whole new name with a word or phrase (i.e., Prairie Financial Group). There are benefits to both routes, and in this blog, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of using your own name in your DBA.
Myths About Branding with Your Name
Lots of people hesitate to use their own name in their company’s title because they believe it will work against them—they fear they won’t be able to hire someone or bring on a partner because that person won’t want to work under their name. Or they think it will prevent them from selling their business in the future. But this isn’t necessarily the case—for one, if you name your business something like Edwards Financial Group, you have room to add staff or partners under the “group” umbrella later. If you go the law firm style route of “Edwards and Associates,” you can easily add a partner by transitioning the name to something like Edwards, Walker, and Associates. Law firms, CPAs, and other financial firms adopt this method all the time, and it works incredibly well.
People Hire People
The best part about using your own name is that in your industry as a financial advisor, people hire people. Your clients work with you because they like and trust you as a person, and you’re the primary person handling their account, or at least overseeing it. When a friend asks your client who she uses for her investment management, she’s usually going to mention your name, not the name of your practice. That’s why at the end of the day, using your name can be a very simple and effective approach—because people hire people. I’ve even known advisors who named their DBA in memory of a family member, which provides a personal touch but also opens a door for storytelling with new clients and prospects.
Cautions When Branding with Your Name
Despite the benefits of personal name recognition, there are potential disadvantages to using your own name for your DBA. If you have a very common last name, for example, your brand could get lost in a sea of “Smith” financial firms. On the other hand, if your name is very difficult to pronounce or spell, people might have a hard time remembering it or finding it online. Unfortunately, some people also make judgements if your name is associated with a certain ethnicity or religion. It’s not fair, but it happens. It’s good to take these factors into consideration when deciding whether to use your name for your DBA.
It’s also a good idea to search the market in your area to find out if there are any deceptively similar names to your own. You don’t want to try and establish “Edwards Financial Group” if Edward Financial Strategies already has an office in your city.
There are plenty of avenues for adding a personal or creative touch to your DBA, and it’s all about finding the approach that works best for your business. As long as you do your research, using your name can be a great approach—it’s personal, it’s meaningful, and again—people hire people. Using a creative word or phrase is the other common route to naming your business—be sure to come back next week for the last post in our series: Creating a DBA Name Using Words or Phrases.