11 Easy Strategies to Choose the Perfect Private Practice Name
Congratulations! You’ve decided to spread your professional wings and start your own private practice. It’s an exciting time, and you’ve got many decisions to make and tasks to accomplish.
There’s plenty to wrestle through: Will you practice from home or from a multi-disciplinary clinic? What are your short- and long-term goals for your practice? Will you start off on your own, or will you be building a team immediately? Will you have a specialty focus or aim for a broader demographic? What about branding and color scheme?
The most important question of all is what you will name your private practice. The name you choose is one you’ll repeat every day of your practice life – you’ll share it at networking events; you’ll use in your logo and to stamp your marketing; your family, friends, and clients will mention it when they talk about what you do. It’s the watchword you’ll live by. What you name your practice matters!
But how do you actually land on the perfect private practice name?
Let’s dive into some of the dos and don’ts, tips and tricks, and free online tools that can help.
Jot down a list of ideas as you go – we have some tips for whittling down your options as well. Keep your pen busy, and by the end of this article, who knows? You might have crafted that perfect name, or at least be well on your way.
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Brainstorming is a great way to start your process. In the brainstorming phase of any planning process, there are no bad ideas. Write down everything you think of; you can always cross things off your list later. Here are some initial questions to get your juices flowing:
- What words do you love?
- What phrases best represent what you do?
- Why should people choose you? What – and how – do you help people change? What challenges do you help people overcome?
- Are there ideas about growth, change, humanity, or the self that fundamentally inform your practice?
- Are there businesses or practices you’ve noticed just because of their name? Why? What captured your attention? Is there something in that name you could imitate, perhaps structure feeling, or imagery?
2. Use the internet to expand your list of possibilities.
- Google a term like “practice name ideas.”
- Use synonym search tools such as RhymeZone.com or WordHippo.com to discover different options for words you love.
- Head to www.leandomainsearch.com. Pop in a word you’d like to include and see what comes up.
3. Identify Your Keywords
Your practice website will live in cyberspace; use this to your advantage. People search Google, Bing, and Yahoo every day looking for the kind of help and expertise you offer. If you give some thought to your keywords, you can be who they find.
Every single word used in a search is called a keyword, and each whole search term is called a keyword phrase. If you specialize in a specific condition or concern, such as depression, consider incorporating this into your practice name and URL.
How might this look?
It’s worth spending some time playing around with different options to see if you can craft a practice name that has a keyword or two. Add whatever you come up with to your list.
4. Consider the Type(s) of Therapy You Offer
If you offer a specific form of therapy that is well sought after, it may be worth including this in your private practice name. For example, you may use CBT, brainspotting, play therapy, or a holistic approach. These kinds of specialties could yield private practice names such as
- CBT Trauma Recovery Center
- Healing Spring Brainspotting Clinic
- Oak Ridge Play Therapy Center
- Holistic Therapy and Wellness
The drawback of this course of action is that it will limit your ability to alter your therapeutic approach in the future.
5. Factor in the Populations You Treat
If you predominantly work with people in a particular population or within specific contexts, consider how you might get at that in your practice name. Here are a couple of examples:
- Family therapy – Transformative Family Therapy Clinic
- Couples – Couples Connection Refresh of Pittsburg
6. Borrow Inspiration
No one said you have to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of tools available online to fire up your creativity. Here’s a list of 10 free business name generators. See what sparks!
7. Puff Up Your Chest and Brand Big
People trust large business and educational institutions. Why not harness this tendency to give your fledgling (and future) practice a boost?
Like fish growing to fit their aquarium, appearing bigger can help you grow bigger. If that’s your aim, think strategically about how to factor this into your practice name. Showing your practice to be a local, regional, or even national resource attracts looking for large, stable, and established. Check out these examples:
- The American Stress Relief Institute
- The USA Relationships Center
- The National Depression Clinic
- Addiction Therapy of Utah
- The NW Arkansas Center for Jungian Analysis
- St. Louis Psychology
On the critical topic of branding, our article Your Therapy Brand Matters: A Powerful, Profitable and Heartfelt Strategy is a must-read.
“Whether you are deliberately constructing or practicing without brand awareness, you are actively building your brand.”
8. Keep It Professional
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You are a mental health professional. You have to build trust from the get-go with clients. Know your client demographics and what will read as unprofessional, flippant, irreverent, or dismissive – and don’t go there.
9. The Nevers
1. Don’t Name a Practice After Yourself
Many people consider this; after all, it’s great for the ego. But what does it tell a potential client about how you can help them? Is that scalable? And how much effort and money will you need to spend to become a household name? (Spoiler alert: A lot!)
And what happens if and when you want to sell your practice? Just imagine: a caller says, “I’d like to book an appointment with Dr. X, please.” The receptionist replies, “I’m sorry, she doesn’t work here, but I can book you in with…” If the practice doesn’t lose that potential client, you’ve at least lost an element of trust and rapport right at the beginning.
You must start with your end goals in mind.
2. Keep It Simple
If there are various spellings of a potential business name you like, move on. If a name includes words that are commonly misspelled, cross it off your list. A practice name needs to be memorable and unique, true, but it also needs to be easy to spell so it can be easy to find.
3. Dodge Potential Misunderstandings
It might seem like a good idea to come up with something clever, embedded with a little secret sauce. Consider what this will mean to those looking for your professional services and how it will – or won’t – help your practice bloom.
It’s also wise to consider any potential for misunderstanding. It’s best to leave no room for misinterpretation. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do the initials or obvious abbreviations undermine your intentions?
- Does it make plain, straightforward sense?
- Do any of these words have a meaning that could be misconstrued to have silly, sexual, or unethical undertones?
- Does it dovetail with your aim and therapeutic approaches?
North Atlanta Schema Therapy for Youth – or N.A.S.T.Y. – is a no-go.
Horned Toad Sex Therapy might suggest something other than your proximity to TCU.
Feedback from friends and family can also help you catch unintentional missteps.
4. If You Can’t Match It, Ditch It
If you fall for a name only to learn that the domain is already taken, you might be tempted to try to shoehorn in a solution. It’s fine, you tell yourself. I’ll just tweak the URL a little. Brain Pain can become brain-pain.com, right? Hold up.
Your URL, or domain name, needs to be both memorable and unique. If BrainPain.com already exists, you can bet your bottom dollar that those who hear your name audibly will head there. Been advertising on TV or radio? Yep, they have, too. Has someone mentioned your practice to a friend who happens to be your perfect client… only they forgot the dash in brain-pain.com?
While BrainPain.com will LOVE you driving leads their way, there’s a good reason you should forget your workaround: people won’t remember the dash. The same thing goes for .nets, .orgs, and .sites. Better to move on; cut your losses rather than continually count them.
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10. Whittling Down Your List
1. Is It a Mouthful?
If “The United States National Happy Couples Relationship Clinic” is on your list, think of how it will sound when spoken. How will it work in a logo? How will it look on an email header or business card?
2. Does It Make a Loooooong URL?
If your potential URL is going to require a lot of typing, you probably need to rethink what you’ve got.
3. Is It Taken?
The URL is an important factor in your choice, but there are other places you’ll need to check to be sure you’re not choosing a name that’s already taken. Check with your state for already-registered business names; check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for existing trademarks; and so forth.
11. Check That Your Options Are Representative
Decide on several possible practice names and ask around for feedback. Family and friends will provide great insight into how well these options suit you… and whether they imply anything you might have missed.
If the people you consult begin to giggle, your name might have an underlying, unwanted, unconsidered meaning. Accept any feedback with good grace and consider it carefully.
While many a private practice founder doesn’t give much consideration to their practice name – really, their brand name – this choice is critical in establishing your private practice. The right name can tell the world who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help. Spend some constructive time selecting the right name for your private practice name. It’ll allow you to sync your brand and practice, to build congruency and integrity from day one, and potentially create a shortcut to your success.
Decided on yours (and secured it already)? Share it with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!
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