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How did you come up with a name?

(18 Posts)
ListWriter Fri 04-Apr-14 07:54:39

I'm about to start up a freelance business in public health research consultancy. Had my first piece of work commissioned last night (yay!) so I need to bite the bullet and get things started. I am totally stuck on a name - how did you come up with yours?

Hoppinggreen Fri 04-Apr-14 17:57:58

My 8 year old suggested it as a joke!!!
I changed it a bit and took some advice from a few people I know who do branding and it seems to a have been a hit.
It has generated some really good imagery on my literature and cards etc and people remember it.

InMySpareTime Sun 06-Apr-14 15:54:44

Mine's a play on my stature and my profession.
Short Story Lady

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 06-Apr-14 17:18:28

I kept mine generic and as a reflection of my personality. Something like Happy Consulting.

It has enabled me to be flexible - ie I do a few things in a few markets. However, I often wonder if it would be better if it was reflective of my main market/skills.

If there is a chance that you will work wider than health it might be worth thinking about something more generic.

Can you think about what it is you deliver? Impact, insight, profit, sustainability. Could that feature?

Once chosen google it for similar companies and check that the domain/Twitter/Facebook page name is available.

Congrats on starting up.

Hoppinggreen Sun 06-Apr-14 20:30:47

As Margo said, it's better to keep it non specific.
I have ended up doing a couple of things that I didn't expect to so my general name xyz communications, rather than training has turned it to be a good choice.

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 09:47:39

Have you thought about just using your own name? Unless you're going to set up a Limited Company (i.e. if you're going to be a sole trader) there's no need to be anything else other than you.

That's what I've used for the last four years. In consultancy, I think reputation and word-of-mouth is really important and for me, has been the primary source of any business - other people have recommended me to people they know who are looking for someone with my expertise. I know something about the research business and I think that personal reputation is even more important here.

It's a personal choice - some people feel more comfortable having an official company name and if you're not feeling confident when you start out then it may make you feel better to appear as more than just an individual. However, you're much easier to find online if you use your own name e.g. is unlikely to be already in use, and because the name is the website address, if people search for my name in Google they're very likely to stumble on that, or my LinkedIn profile in the first 2 or 3 results. Unless your company name is something that is unique and then talked about a lot on your website, you risk being hidden in the depths of search pages.

Also, I agree with hoppinggreen that what you end up doing may evolve. Perhaps start as you, and then review if you need a company identity as you get established?

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 09:51:02

PS. I forgot to say...congratulations! Being freelance is such an amazing, rewarding challenge. And I've found (as evidenced here) that most other freelancers are extremely generous with their time and keen to help each other succeed - so keep asking questions as you go...e.g. if you want to ask what people do about insurance, website hosting, using accountants, etc.

ListWriter Mon 07-Apr-14 15:54:20

Thanks loads for the responses : ) Definitely food for thought - wish my two year old could be even half as useful as Hopping Green's DC!

I guess there is definitely a chance I could do work outside the health field although this is where my main expertise lies. My surname is Italian (quite unusual, similar to Morello, shall we say), so a couple of things I have come up with have been:

Morello analysis
Morello research and analysis
Morello intelligence
MM analysis - my initials are MM.

That's where I have come a bit stuck. I would really like to use my name, as Mystic says, my name is my reputation. I have papers published using it, I kept it after we got married, and I really like it... But it doesn't seem to flow right with anything! Grrr!

Mystic - if you just use your name, is it literally just that e.g. Maria Morello (as an example, that's not my name) with no other word after it? Sorry if I am being dim! I think I am probably going to be a sole trader (I don't mind that being evident from the company name as I'm only looking to do bits and pieces, I would never be behind a whole bid). Although an acquaintance of mine suggests that it is a good idea to be social enterprise (e.g. CIC) as then government agencies feel better about employing you...

I think I am spending a lot of time in this topic as I feel my way through everything!

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 20:30:34

I use my full name as a consultant, so in your case "Maria" I would be Maria Morello. And I would ASAP buy the domain name and use a Wordpress blog to create my basic free website and redirect my domain name to that.

I would suggest that you start out with getting your LinkedIn Profile sorted - get some of your former colleagues to write you recommendations, etc. This is effectively your online CV and a handy place for people to check out your credentials. Plus you can list your publications there.

That doesn't rule out doing something more creative later on but I think you are the brand here so would suggest starting with that.

cheminotte Mon 07-Apr-14 20:37:03

I'm struggling with this at the moment as well. My prospective accountants tell me c h eminotte services ltd is available but I want something original, maybe with a French twist. But I really need to get on with it.
I don't know much in this area but I think you should probably set up a limited company rather than being a sole trader.

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 20:40:47

If you want to have fun too, you can also use social media for that e.g. Create a blog that you use to share your opinions, observations, etc. I'm sure you can have fun with Morello for that smile.

For government contracts I expect they'll be more concerned about value for money than the type of organisation you are. But you would be wise to get professional indemnity insurance too.

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 20:44:40

There's threads on mumsnet about Ltd vs sole trader. My accountant told me not to bother with Ltd given my current turnover - so it depends on your circumstances. It certainly costs more to be Ltd than a sole trader.

cheminotte Mon 07-Apr-14 21:23:52

I used to work as a buyer in a public sector organization and we would not contract with sole traders as we considered them too risky.

InvaderZim Mon 07-Apr-14 21:26:45

I used an anagram of my first + last name, double checked to make sure no one else was using it as a business name. (It wasn't, lucky me!) But I am not in a field where it's important that my real name is known - I produce products, not services.

MissMysticFalls Mon 07-Apr-14 21:34:13

That's useful to know cheminotte For my public sector contracts I've been subcontracted - either gone in on a bid with a company as one of their team or been subcontracted by an organisation that has been awarded funding.

austenozzy Mon 07-Apr-14 21:44:23

Avoid geography - we're moving from suffolk to cornwall, so my business with the local town's name in it is going to have a substantial rebranding!

ListWriter Thu 10-Apr-14 19:27:25

I definitely need to do a LinkedIn profile. One to add to the list! I reckon I could get a few recommendations as well...

Yeah, I need to sort the insurance out. That's on the list.

cheminotte - would that apply to sole traders who were in amongst a group of people bidding for a project? I think the majority of my pieces of work will be as part of a group.

But I guess the other bonus about a limited company is that I can get childcare vouchers...

Geography definitely staying out : ) that would be too restrictive as theoretically I could do analysis for anyone from my desk. I like the idea of an anagram but I think maybe the name thing works best.

cheminotte Thu 10-Apr-14 21:01:37

Listwriter - we only cared about the entity we were contracting with. So in your example it would be a consortium with a prime contractor. So we'd only look at the prime contractor. We wouldn't have lots of contracts with 10 different individuals as that would be a nightmare to manage.

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