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Podcast

Naming Your Coaching Business

May 21, 2020

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-coach and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Are you stuck trying to choose a business name?

I work with a lot of new coaches and this is one business task that I see SO many of them get stuck on.

This one decision has the ability to stop you in your tracks. It’s hard to move forward until you have made a decision on your business name.

So if this is you, if you’re stuck on choosing a business name, then keep reading because we are going to get you unstuck today. I’m also going to show you how to legally protect your name and the 4 basic steps you need to take right now to make sure you’re protected for the future. 

By the way, if you’d rather listen than read, here’s where you can tune in to this episode:


As I said, deciding what to name your coaching business can be a huge obstacle for many new coaches. In fact, it can block some coaches from even launching their business.

So let’s take care of this issue for you today.

TWO KEY CHOICES

To break things down as simply as possible, you really only have two main options for naming your business.

  1. A Personal Brand
  2. A Business Name

Let’s take a look at both of these choices.

First, a personal brand — so this means you simply use your own name to represent your business. Like me, Kim Foster. This is what I have done. I use my name as my business name. 

Now there are several Pros to this approach including first of all building a really close connection with your audience. When you work with me you don’t work with a corporate entity or a large faceless consulting group, you work with me. 

Another key advantage to using a personal brand, using your own name, is that it’s flexible. It will always be your name, no matter what direction your business takes. You can pivot, you can change your niche, you can specialize in something different, you can build in additional services … and you can do it all under the umbrella of your name.

It also gives you the opportunity to build your own platform. This is something unique to you, that nobody else can lay claim to.

Another benefit is that your name can’t be copied. You are who you are. 

Now there are also some disadvantages to using your own name and creating a personal brand. 

The main one is that when someone new encounters your business, your name alone doesn’t tell a prospective client anything about you, your business, or what you do. So you have to do more work, perhaps, in the beginning of building your platform, to show and demonstrate what you’re all about.

Now let’s take a look at option #2, which is choosing a business name.

A business name is where you come up with a creative name for your business, something other than your own name. Some examples: For example: That Clean Life, Gorgeous Gut, and Healthful Elements.

A business name gives you a chance for self-expression, and it becomes part of your brand. It often describes what you do in a nice, concise way. 

A business name can be very creative, it can be clever, it can be fun, and also unique. It can really stand out if you’re choosing the right name. 

That’s if it’s not generic, if it’s something that’s unique and uniquely you. 

When choosing a business name based on what it is that you’re doing, and who you help, it can actually help people remember you and recognize you. If the name is chosen in the right way and if it makes sense for you. 

THE DISADVANTAGES OF A BUSINESS NAME

One is that there will be no flexibility, and you may be boxing yourself in. You won’t be able to pivot, so you want to be really confident that this is the business or niche you really are committed to building for the long term.

Another disadvantage to choosing a business name that is not your name is the issue of building an invisible shield between you and your client. It creates a little bit of a distance so the relationship is not as warm not as personal in my opinion and it’s a little more professional and business-y. 

Also, people may not necessarily be able to find you. You may be hard to find. Depending on how well known you are they may be looking for your name but they may not actually  be able to find your website. 

One problem I have seen happen often with new coaches is that they choose a name that is very generic and it really doesn’t set them apart. You could go on Google and find hundreds and hundreds of blogs and pages and websites that all sound kind of the same, and you do not want to be one of them. 

So if you decide to choose a business name that is not your name you want to make sure it’s Unique, that it stands out and it communicates very clearly what you do as a coach. 

Another really important thing that you want to keep in mind when choosing a business name is to not hide behind your name. If you choose to select a business name that is not your own name make sure that you’re really communicating what you’re all about and let your personality shine through. It’s really important for your success as a coach to build a relationship and show people who you are. 

People work with us coaches because of our personalities, our values, what we stand for and the people we really are. It’s all about building trust, building relationships and helping your clients to achieve results. 

And, another pitfall to keep in mind is that your system can always be copied. It’s a little alarming, but it’s true. Your method, your system, your coaching strategies, your recipes….all the tangible things in your process or your curriculum can be copied by other people. But what can never be copied is who you truly are. What you stand for, and the value that you bring to the market, that can never be copied. 

MY RECOMMENDATION

So my recommendation to you is to be who you are, choose your name as your business name, no matter how hard it is to pronounce or spell, and just go out there and really own who you are and what you do.

My bottom line, especially for most new coaches, is to go with a personal brand (and use your own name) to get started. 

Again, the main benefit is flexibility. What I have found is that health coaches tend to evolve over time. If you name your business using the words “digestive health” but you realize after 2 or 3 years that your true passion has evolved into more of a spiritual mind-body wellness focus…you’ll need to rebrand and start over. Simply using your own name means you want have to scrap your whole business and start over.

The most important thing is to not let this decision be an obstacle for you getting out there.

I have seen many coaches get really blocked by this, so do not let that happen. When you’re setting up your business, there are a lot of decisions to be made. Don’t let this decision stop your forward progress. 

That’s another one of the reasons why I personally prefer using your own name. It’s simple, it’s not going to change, and it lets you get on with the business of building and growing your business. 

Now here are a couple of questions my clients have asked me in the past about their business name: 

SHOULD MY SITE URL MATCH MY BUSINESS NAME?

Generally, yes, it’s best if your website URL is the same as your business name, or is a close approximation. There’s no requirement for this to be the case, but I recommend it. People sometimes forget URLs. The more similar your website URL is to your business name, the better. People will be able to find you that much easier.

DO I OWN THE BUSINESS NAME IF I PURCHASE THE DOMAIN?

Sadly, it doesn’t. Purchasing the domain only means you own the website url, and nobody else can use that exact same domain. Which is great, but it does not ensure that someone else can use the business name. 

HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS CHOSEN THE NAME I WANT? 

This is really important, so let’s walk through the 4-step process to figure this out, and then protect the name you’ve chosen.

So let’s talk about how to actually legally protect your name. I’ve got four important steps to take to research your name before you fully commit. 

Step one is to go to the US patent and trademark office. www.uspto.gov. Obviously, this is if you are in the US. Different countries will have their own trademark office. But at this site you can search and see if anybody has your business name, see if anybody owns your business name already or if anybody has chosen a similar name that might be in competition with yours. Businesses are typically registered with the state/province in which you are located. Every state and province is organized a little differently, so you’ll want to research the database for your particular state or province. If the business name you desire is already trademarked by someone else, that means they have legal protection of the name. If you work in the same or similar field, you will want to select a different name so you don’t infringe on their registered trademark.

Step number two is go to Google. Naturally,  you want to make sure that nobody has actually claimed your name so look for domains, or websites, or articles, taglines, any marketing materials or things that could be construed as the same name…just go to Google and also look it up on social media while you’re at it,, plug in your chosen business name and see what comes up. Make sure no one else is running a similar business with that name. 

The third step is to go to Amazon. I think it’s really important to see if anybody has written a book with your name or if anybody has used your chosen business name in any way on Amazon for any sort of publication that might prevent you from choosing that name. 

The last strategy is to Simply go to godaddy.com or host gator, and purchase your domain name. And while you’re at it, consider purchasing any variation of your business name and even the misspellings. 

Once you’ve taken all four steps to do the research and you’re convinced you have the right business name I suggest you actually go and claim it and register it with the patent office for your country. You can get a lawyer to help you with this, or go to a site like legalzoom.com and let them do the work for you.

It’s important to realize that you don’t own your business name until you actually register your business. Again, depending on your country/state/province, you can usually register your business as a Sole Proprietor or form a corporate entity, like an LLC or S-Corp. 


RECAP

When it comes to selecting a business name, you’ve got two basic choices: a personal brand, which is basically using your own name, or a business name. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and you want to carefully consider all the factors that relate to you, but for most coaches, what I usually recommend is choosing your own name, creating a personal brand, and then going forward from there. 

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope it helped give you some ideas for how to name your business, and most importantly I hope it helped you simply make a decision and get on with the project of building and growing your business.

And now I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line on Facebook or IG to let me know what you think of this topic, and what your ideas are for naming your business.

And like I said, if you’re ready to take the next step in building and growing your business, and you want a proven framework and step-by-step method, and you don’t want to do it alone, then I invite you to consider joining my program Business Academy for Coaches, let’s get on a call and talk about whether it’s right for you!


Are you ready to build your coaching business, get a framework for enrolling consistent monthly clients, and finally achieve the success you desire?

My flagship group program, Business Academy for Coaches, is now open for enrollment!

Head over here to read about all the details, and either enroll or book a call to chat with me personally about whether this program is a good fit for you.


Resources & Links:

Come chat to me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know how you’re going to stand out in the coaching market—let’s have a conversation!

LET’S HOP ON A CONSULTATION CALL! LEARN MORE HERE: https://drkimfoster.com/consultation

N.B. some links are affiliate links.


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  1. Katia says:

    Hi Kim!

    Thank you for the tips, I truly needed these right now! But.. I’m still stuck and I hope you can help me with what to do here. My name is Katia, but I’ve always been called “kattija” as a nickname (like for 10 years now, oh.. and I’m 26 btw and live in Denmark) – my original and real name is Katia Mølmann. So I’m actually sitting with this problem right now:

    I am going to be a certified health coach in September. I’m already trying to use social media etc to build up something, so I can later get clients. But.. I’m having real issues with what to call my business.

    I was/am originally a yoga teacher, so I just put up my website with “kattija.com”, but now I am developing into more and unsure of what to do. Should I just keep “kattija” even if it doesn’t say anything about what I’m about with health coaching etc? It’s definitely unique.. But I’m not going to use my real name, as I want to get married to my boyfriend someday and take his name, so in the future I will be “Katia Kerr”, which sounds a lot easier and better to pronounce for everyone (I will be moving to the UK where my boyfriend lives and have international and English clients).. So.. what would you tell me to do? Kattija is unique, but doesn’t say what I am about.. Katia Mølmann is something no-one can pronounce and I’m not going to be forever, and Katia Kerr is still waiting in the future.. what to do… Come up with another business name?

    Thank you so much.
    – Katia

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