Michelle Fitzgerald – Practice Development Consultant with Waddell & Reed, Inc.
Great Practice Solutions
Whether you are a solo advisor or have a 10-person team, marketing your business is imperative. Independent advisors have the advantage of marketing their brand identity through a DBA, which is an acronym for “Doing Business As.” There are many benefits to a DBA, such as creating a brand true to your unique style, bringing uniformity to your team, or simply setting your business up for the future.
However, deciding on a DBA name – one that will be a significant and impactful marketing tool for your business – can be a challenge. I recently spoke with an advisor who spent months deciding on her name because she wanted it to represent her niche market and show what she was passionate about. Many advisors are trying to achieve the same result but are struggling to find the perfect name.
If you’re thinking about forming a DBA, here are some creative techniques to help you choose a personal and meaningful business name:
- Brainstorm with a mind map.
Write a central theme on a sheet of paper, then draw lines from your central theme and connect them to words that are associated to the theme. Continue adding more lines and words associated to the connected word. When you have many layers, circle words that resonate with you. Look up synonyms to those words if you want different options. For example:
- Use your client base.
How your clients perceive you, your team and your business is your brand. So why not ask some of your top clients to help you create a name? For example, narrow down your choices first and then ask them for input; or select some long-time clients to share what your services mean to them. Regardless of your process, you will be able to leverage your perceived brand into your real brand. As a bonus, those clients will have early buy in and less confusion when you launch your DBA.
- Find your story.
Think about some of your favorite client meetings: what your clients said about you or how they made you feel about your service. Think about your hobbies: why you entered the field and where you want to go. There’s a story that you can convey with your name.
- Make a list.
Review your mission statement and unique value proposition. Write down all of the reasons you are an advisor. Ask your team to do the same. Share the lists and look for common themes.
These methods will help you get the creative juices flowing. When you have narrowed down a few options, run them through a series of tests. A few examples of tests include pretending to answer the phone using the potential name, spelling it out loud, explaining why it’s your business name and typing it quickly without errors. Ask your team, family, friends and clients to help. When you’re comfortable with your choice, it’s time to start the process of establishing your DBA.
Keep in mind that regulatory bodies have some specific guidelines around business names in the financial services industry.
Choose a DBA name you're proud of.
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