By: Abby Salameh, Chief Marketing Officer
Published May 23, 2018
What’s in a name? Specifically, your firm name?
The truth is, quite a bit. As independent financial advisors, when you start your new firm you have an incredible opportunity to begin fresh. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to branding your new firm, choosing an office, finding software and technology, hiring employees, and deciding how you will run your practice. It’s all very exciting! But before you can do anything, you have one big decision to make: what to name your firm. How do you decide something so monumental and influential? Before you go any further, finish this guide.
The Best Firm Names Meet These Qualifications
Every firm name for a financial advisor business (and really any business) should meet these qualifications:
- It must be memorable and simple. Some things just “stick” with people and you want your firm name to be one of them. Get creative, but make sure it isn’t too complex or kitschy, or you risk losing your audience.
- Your name should make a statement about who you are or what your values are. This is really the starting point for naming your firm. What is it you want to convey? How do you want your clients to feel? What message do you want to send? Decide what you want to communicate, and choose a name that accomplishes your goals.
- It should be meaningful. The most effective brands tell a story. Communicating the logic behind your identity helps cultivate trust and credibility right at the foundation. Choose a name that is meaningful to you and build on the story.
Cautionary Tips for Choosing an Advisory Firm Name
For advisors trying to choose and develop a brand, there are a few steps you need to consider.
Avoid too many Cooks in the Kitchen. It is tempting to want everyone’s feedback on each aspect of your new practice from your mother-in-law to your current clients. But be wary of getting too many opinions, which can prolong the process and keep you stuck, paralyzed by indecision. Keep things under wraps until you have it narrowed down to a few options. Then ask a few select, trusted friends or family to give their honest opinion. Gauge their perception of the name, their connotations, and then make your decision and stick to it.
Don’t forget to check Google. This step should be a part of the process early on. One time I worked with an individual who chose a name and as they were building their website, they discovered YouTube dominated the first page of the search results! A rap star had a similar name. Yikes! Take the time to Google different variations of your chosen name, Google your potential names with your city to see what comes up in local search results, and make sure that nobody is pushing a current online strategy with a similar brand potentially causing confusion or diluting your results. If you want to be sure you own your name, consider hiring an attorney to avoid any lawsuits for infringing trademarked materials.
Check your domain. A website is essential to your marketing strategy, and a domain that doesn’t align with your firm name can be a recipe for disaster. Conduct a domain name search with a tool like GoDaddy Domain Name Search to see what is available. There are loads of options other than .coms today, but keep in mind this is still the default for most consumers. Our advice? If you do choose to go with something other than the .com extension for your web address, try to purchase the .com iteration as well. It can be extremely confusing and land your users on the wrong website if someone else has theslatefirm.com and you are trying to direct users to theslatefirm.info.
Don’t forget to look forward to the future. Are you building a brand that will be bigger than yourself? Consider options other than your name. Will you expand into different cities? Avoid a geographic focus. A business plan can be incredibly helpful to define your goals and align your strategy accordingly as you begin.
Lastly, don’t stress too much about naming your firm. While it is important, building an identity for your business is an opportunity to display your personality and relate to your clients. Remove the pressure and allow yourself to be inspired. Think about your audience and put yourself in their shoes. Build something authentic, and if you need to get an expert’s help, go for it. Any name can be successful if paired with a well-executed marketing strategy. As an independent advisor, you have clear skies ahead.