Should Tim drop his business name?

Tim Read, from 5 Fingers Creative, is considering getting rid of his current business name, and going with his own name instead. On the Creative Freelancer Conference LinkedIn Group, he posed this question:

Tim ReadI’m thinking of dropping my company name and marketing through my name instead. Pros and Cons of using your own name in marketing?

Tim is getting quite a lot of responses – on both sides of the issue. Here are a few:

Kirk Roberts says: “I decided on using my own name because I knew my plan did not include hiring staff or partnering full-time (and still doesn’t): I *am* the business. I can simply answer the phone, ‘Hello, this is Kirk.’ My unofficial business title is The Kirk at Kirk Roberts Design. When prompted, I tell people I work at Kirk Roberts Design. I *want* people to know it’s just me, no need to hide behind a company name that feels a little, well, less than representative of the true state of things. That, and everything Neil wrote above in his last sentence: warmer, more personable, less sales-ey.”

Tad Dobbs of Creative Squall says: “I played with using my own name, however when I looked at my business plan it made more sense to not use my name. I plan to hire employees, build equity in my company and eventually sell it when I’m ready to retire. Having my name attached to the company would only hinder these long-term goals. I’ve worked with a few design firms that had a person’s name as the firm name, and it devalued the other employees that were on staff in most cases. Often, many of the partners weren’t involved in the creative side of the business, but many long-term clients refused to work with anyone but the partners despite the fact that the partners continually praised how great the rest of the team was to the client.”

What do you think?  Join the conversation (and the LinkedIn Group) here.

5 thoughts on “Should Tim drop his business name?

  1. Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

    Years ago I attempted to rebrand my business with the name Logo Motive, after almost ten years as Jeff Fisher Design. I wasn’t prepared for the backlash from friends, family, clients and vendors. All felt I was throwing away a decade of business investment in my own name. Anyone considering a business name needs to give that fact some consideration. The Logo Motive logo was used once and then shelved. Revisiting the Logo Motive idea another decade later, I added “Jeff Fisher” to “LogoMotives” and it all fell into place – an identity that said who I was and what I did. It has served me well since 1997.

  2. Alisa Bonsignore

    I opted against my name as my URL and using my tagline — clarifying complex ideas — in both my URL and logo.

    Why? Because no one can remember how to spell my name. Is there one S or two in Alisa? Does it begin with an E or an A? How do you spell Bonsignore? For me, my tagline explains what I do using words that people can both remember and spell. It’s worked well for me, but I might feel differently if I had a more conventional name.

  3. Kenn Schroder

    Few questions

    1 – What are you hoping to attain from this change?

    2 – Why not start another site/brand with your name in addition to this one, and just focus on promoting that? This way you’re current “stuff” with 5 fingers is still there.

    My take, on a bigger level, is to do neither and take the emphasis off of your personal name, and off of your 5 fingers name and create a biz around a solution for a market. Sort of honing in services to a select kind of client.

    Kenn Schroder
    Learn how to Get Web Design Clients

  4. Tyler

    I have thought of a similar idea in trying to re-focus on more illustration or logo work. To me a name for an artist or illustrator does seem more personable.

    One thing that hasn’t been offered as a solution is a “DBA” or “Doing Business As”. If your already incorporated, it’s probably a lot less money in your state to append an “DBA” unto your existing LLC/INC./etc., and might just save you a lot in refiling expenses. So you could still be “5 Fingers Creative” for some projects and “Tim Read” for more specific.

    I’m not exactly sure of the legal specifics of doing this, but would love feedback on whether this is a viable alternative.

  5. Shawn Stoddard

    I kind of like the idea of a company name. But I can also see how impersonal that could be to potential clients wanting a more ‘hands on’ relationship. I would try to strike a balance between the two and include my last name in the business name. Perhaps a bit cliche and even ambitious, but it is simple and says two important things: That I am a business, and a person, at the same time.
    Most people tend to reject change at first, and a business name change is certainly something that some folks might not warm up to.