Most professional advisory firms are simply named after their founders. Some retain the names of just the first two or 3 partners, Others might extend to 4, 5 or 6 names. The longest I have found, unless you know better, was a small Los Angeles entertainment firm, once known as: Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf. I pity the receptionists required to reel that off when answering the phone!
Firms often combine their names when they merge. By way of example, the firm I trained with, named after the founding partner Mr Wood, was Wood & Co. Then it became Wood King, next Chantrey Wood King, then Chantrey Vellacott and now it has been absorbed by Moore Stephens. None of these iterations tell anyone anything about the nature of the business.
It remains the norm for smaller professional firms to be named after the founder(s), possibly with the addition of: “and associates” or “& Co” (even when they work alone). If your name is sufficiently distinct and memorable this may work fine. And there’s nothing wrong with this approach in any event.
But a firm named after an individual will rarely STAND OUT from the crowd. This may not matter if you have a strong tag-line or if you and your practice STAND OUT for other reasons. But why not also consider choosing a distinct STAND OUT name for the business?
Many historical restrictions by professional bodies on the naming options available to their members ended long ago. Some people have chosen one-word business names that STAND OUT as they are distinct. Sometimes the word is one that is favoured by the founder. There may or may not be a simple story that explains the choice of word and how it links to the business of the firm. Told well such stories can help the business name to be better remembered than might otherwise be the case.
The largest professional firms have all retained elements of their traditional names even if now limited to just one word/name or a set of initials (eg: Deloitte, KPMG, Linklaters, Baker & McKenzie). I suspect that some people running their own practices want to give the impression that they are bigger than perhaps is really the case. Perhaps this is the reason for retaining the same naming convention as the larger firms in your profession.
Some of the STAND OUT business names for professional firms I have encountered recently include:
Numbers + Beyond – Chartered Accountancy and Virtual FD practice run by Linda Foster
Virtuoso Legal – Law firm specialising in intellectual property
Grow Smart Finance – Chartered management accountancy practice run by Liesl Davis
The Will Bureau – a will writing practice led by Andrew Edwards
Signature Litigation – Law firm specialising in litigation work
Simply bookkeeping – Bookkeeping(!) practice run by Coral Hamze
The Tax Guys – Tax and accountancy practice run by Jonathan Amponsah
Cheap Accounting – Accountancy franchise established by Elaine Clark
I assume that some experts believe that the best business names are abstract words – as there are so many of these around. My preference, if you want to STAND OUT is to adopt a name that makes clear what your business is. For the same reason I’m not a fan of coined names (that come from made-up words) as, in the absence of a large marketing budget, these are unlikely to be as memorable as real words.
Finding a business name that is simple enough and easy to recall and spell isn’t always easy. Unusual words may STAND OUT for the wrong reasons as they may be hard to recall and tough to find on line if people cannot recall the spelling.
Regardless of whether you use your name, a real word, a made up word or a combination of words, do not make a final decision until you have checked what shows up when you search for that name online, that you can obtain the domain name and that can register it at Companies House (even if your company/LLP is to be dormant if you operate as a sole practitioner).
Do you have or do you know of any other STAND OUT business names for professional firms? Please share them below as comments on this post.