He leaned in and squinted at the name badge stuck to my lapel, clutching a glass of chardonnay in one hand and plate of meatballs in the other.
“What is your firm’s name?”
In order to fit ‘Transformative Financial Planning’ onto one of those name badge stickers they give you at networking events, the letters have to be approximately 0.0003” in height. The name badges were printed, obviously. I can’t write that small with a Sharpie.
“It’s Transformative Financial Planning,” I replied.
At that precise moment, all doubts I’d carried about changing the name of my firm evaporated. I wondered how many people out there thought my firm was named “Trans Am Financial”.
This kind of thing had happened before. In fact, I’d even fumbled the name once myself.
That happened on a random morning when I decided to work at the Buckhead Club for a change of scenery. I met another financial advisor at the coffee station. He asked what my firm was named during the inevitable ‘who-do-you-clear-through?’ conversation that happens with brokers.
I think I said something like, “Transfarmative Financial,” but I’m not really sure. I am certain that some of the sounds that came out of my mouth are not used in the English language.
In my defense, it was awfully early and I still hadn’t had that first cup of coffee.
The truth was glaringly obvious: I didn’t know how to choose a company’s name.
Time For A Change
I needed a shorter name for my firm and, I realized, one that told the full story. Yes, financial planning is a transformative process, but when I thought about it, that was pretty clinical and it didn’t speak to the firm’s ethos, or mine. I needed to work out how to choose a company’s name.
At the same time, I was fed up with my firm’s website. I was putting it together myself and it just never looked right. In particular, I was getting frustrated with the fonts more than anything else and found myself completely preoccupied with trying to get it right.
Was hand-wringing over website typography the highest and best use of my time? The answer was a big-ol’ Century Gothic Bold ‘NO’.
And I can’t repeat some of the comments about my old logo in polite company.
Know When It’s Time To Seek Help
It was definitely time to “turn pro” as Steven Pressfield says. So I hired the best website designer and branding firm for independent financial advisors that I knew, Further Bound. It was an opportunity to start with a fresh slate for the firm’s identity and branding.
Around the same time as starting the website redesign project, I found myself at another professional networking event watching someone strain his eyes in order to read the nanoscopic print on my name badge.
This was happening. The old name had to go.
How To Choose A Company’s Name
First, write anything down. Anything at all. I promise, it will get the ball rolling.
My first list of new names sounded like I’d had a brainstorming session with Ron Burgundy. I threw them out. I wrote a new list. The search was on for a name that was simultaneously authentic and simple – but the biggest challenge was finding something unique. Some of the names I had on the list were shared, with some permutation, by up to four other firms.
But there was one name that stayed on the list as the others were all being crossed off.
Choose A Name That Embodies Your Brand
“Prana” is a Sanskrit word and it’s defined as breath or life force, or even “vital principle”. It exists in everything, even inanimate objects. So it’s a perfect way to think about how money works in our life when it’s effectively and positively integrated. It’s also a yoga thing, which really speaks to me.
Keep It Simple
Doing the opposite of this is what got me here in the first place. When it comes to creating a powerful name for your business, simplicity is key.
Think of some of the biggest brand names you can – Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber, Twitter.
What do they have in common? They are all simple. They’re two-syllable words with simple sounds. The words are easy to spell and they’re easy to say. Some of them go further than that – they’re actually somehow quite pleasing to say. And I think I’ve found their match with Prana.
Do Some Online Research
Check no-one is already using the name. Google will be a good first port of call but don’t forget to do a quick trademark search as well – you don’t want to land yourself in any trouble or waste a whole heap of time. You might want to go further and do a ‘Secretary of State’ search (sometimes called a Business Search) to make sure no one has registered the name already.
I found no similar names being used and, best of all, the URL I needed wasn’t taken. I bought it right away. If you find that the URL is taken, see if it’s active. You might be able to buy it off the owner if they’re not using it. Otherwise, think around the name for some alternatives that still say what you want them to. Prana Wealth could have been Prana Finance, for example.
Prana Wealth: Be Authentic
So this was my second go at a company’s name and brand. I don’t believe there are any books or Harvard Business Review papers written about changing the name of your firm because that’s probably not what sane business owners do.
It’s really not easy to know how to choose a company’s name, but with a bit of careful thought and especially with some professional help, I found a name I love and a brand that really feels authentic. I feel like it’s the one word that truly describes who we are and what we do.
Ironically, you could say that the whole process of the rebranding has been, well, transformative. But if you’d like us to breathe new life into your finances, learn more about who we do our best work with, and then reach out to Prana Wealth today for a free consultation.