Business - Starting Or Developing a Private Practice For Solo Professionals - What's in a Name?

Dr. Linda Hancock Business Business_Solo Professionals iStock

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One of the most important things that each of us has is our name. Frequently, I ask groups of people to tell the 'story' of how they were given their first, middle and surnames and the feelings that they have about this. Deciding on a name for your business is also very important and there are a number of things to consider before you settle on one. Some of these include:

1. The type of business that you have established - If you incorporate or register a limited company, you may wish to indicate that in the name of the business. For example, my business is Dr. Linda Hancock Inc.

2. Whether you want your own name included in the business name - Some professionals use their full name in the title or use initials and their surname. Paul Jerry Consulting or P.A. Jerry Consulting are examples.

3. If you want to expand your business in the future you might want to choose a name that will allow for this. I have set up a speaking and product business named Hancock and Associates which leaves room for other people without naming them.

4. When you want to name the business after a city or region - Medicine Hat Dental Clinic allows the client to know where the practice is located.

5. Perhaps you would like to include a symbolic word or descriptive term - For example, Phoenix Safe House was created by individuals who wanted to offer encouragement to abuse victims as the Phoenix is a bird that, according to legend, rises from the ashes.

The name that you have for your business likely offers the client a first impression of you. It therefore should be easy to remember, offer meaning and be one that you will display with pride on your office door, business card and letterhead. The adventure that you and your client begin together usually starts with them knowing your name and the name you have given your business. It is therefore important that you use the same thought and care that you would when naming your children.

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email

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