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Advice on a new trading name

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by leepaulvickersdesign, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Hi all

    I'm on the brink of setting up as a sole trader and need impartial advice on choosing a trading name...

    I have been using my name plus '~ Graphic Designer' as a freelancing name for a year or two when it was a bit of work on the side. Now it's all going official and I'm setting up my own business I'm having difficulty deciding whether this is the right name to continue with.

    On the plus side having my full name in the business name reflects my personal approach to design, working bespoke with each client which I take a lot of pride in. I don't want to appear to be bigger than I am, and want to attract clients that want to work with a very small, dedicated company.

    On the flip side it's a bit of a mouthful, and not very original.

    What are the forum's thoughts on using real names in business names?

    Yours indecisively, Lee
  2. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    What are your future plans / hopes?
  3. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    I agree it's a bit of a mouthful, and on the long side. Personally i can't stand it when apparently creative people just use their name as their business name. Unless you have a super cool memorable name, it just wouldn't jump out from the crowd to me.
  4. My aim is to provide a straight-talking, no-nonsense, approachable and bespoke design service to Glasgow initially, extending further afield over the next few years. I'm aiming at the new start-ups themselves, small businesses needing cost-effective design and print work, and down the line offering individuals things like wedding stationery. This is why I'm thinking about using my name, as it's a very personal service.

    Isn't Lee Paul Vickers super cool and memorable? :icon_rolleyes: The type of customer I'm chasing wouldn't be looking at a bunch of companies and picking the coolest-looking; They aren't familiar with graphic design, not are they all that interested either, they just want good quality, cost-effective design solutions. I'm not trying, nor do I want, to be something I'm not. For these few reasons I'm guessing that's why so many designers use their own name.
  5. sthomas

    sthomas Member

    I don't think it's a good idea to use your own business name...I think it doesn't show any imagination to potential clients and could also leave them with the notion that you're a bit too self-obsessed.

    What if you decide to take on a business partner in the future? Would they be happy to trade under your name?
  6. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    I think there is much to be said for putting your name to a company. It shows a personal pride in having your name out there.
    When it came to setting up my company I didn't want to suddenly become another 'groovy' named company as I was and am known in my field by my name (funny that!)

    There are many design/architectural companies that use their names or surnames:
    Bartle Bogel Hegarty
    Barber Osgerby
    Paul Priestman Associates
    Fosters and Partners
    Conran Design

    Re. expanding your company...your company name will have some brand presence and authority by the time you come to expand and any partner would put value in that rather than insisting on an immediate name change.

  7. Cheers guys, this seems to have opened up a split between people I have asked. Either they're very for or very against the idea of trading under one's own name.

    I can understand both sides of the argument, maybe it depends on the direction one would take the business, and the market which one would be targeting?

    Still, I have no more to add to the debate and am no closer in deciding! I have brain-stormed a few generic trading names in case I go that way - names which tie in the the time of year I'll launch, past nicknames or quirky oxymorons. I won't post them as I don't want to lose them or put the decision making out in the open. Not that they're that great, I just don't want to use forum members!
  8. JohnRoss

    JohnRoss Member

    There's an economic principle here - individiuals who use a company name like Acme Traders to describe the work they actually do themselves tend not to do very much, they buy and sell or whatever, without offering skills or added value of their own. Plus, transparency is a business virtue, and professionals don't need to shield themselves behind names. In short, if you are the person providing the service and the added value you are offering comes from your skills as opposed to other people's, I would be more likely to do business with you if you used your own name. If there are other people involved, you probably need a collective name, of course, to reflect the group and its directions, rather than your personal ones (unless the group's directions are, in fact, yours - after all, Norman Foster employs hundreds of people, all of whom work under his name, not the other way round).
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010

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