Tips For Naming Your Private Practice
Naming your private practice might seem like one of the easiest tasks you have to do when creating your business, but can actually be quite challenging. It’s one of the most common questions we receive so we brought in an expert, Avivit Fisher of RedD Strategy, to help out.
You can learn about Avivit and her marketing services specifically for therapists here.
The 4 Step Process to Naming Your Private Practice
When I set out to name my own business, I was foolishly confident that it would be a no-brainer task. After all, I had a clear idea of what I was offering and what kind of work I was going to do. In my past, I have worked on naming a number of products and I thought that the process of naming my own brand would be similar.
I was also very naive.
Naming your own business, in which you represent a brand is not an easy process. It takes time, creativity and patience. It’s a process. Skipping this process and going with the first idea that comes to mind may result in re-branding down the road. I want you to avoid that so I will walk you through the process of naming your practice here and now.
1. Before you begin
Before you begin you need to ask yourself one big question. What do you want from your practice? Do you want to stay small or grow? Do you want you sell your practice in the future or keep it as long as you can work and as long as it is profitable? Do you want to be able to pursue another revenue stream under the umbrella of your brand? In other words, spend some time thinking about your vision and the big picture. Answering these questions will help you get a better sense of the direction in which your brand will be growing.
2. Understand who you are and who you serve
What I mean by understanding who you are is analyzing what kind of a clinician you are. Think about the kind of work that you want to do and what kind of experience you are providing. This little exercise can be aspirational as well. If you are starting out, but you want to be known for something specific, it can help you with choosing your name. But we will talk about choosing part in another section. The point of this, you need to understand how you want to present yourself and your business to the world.
It is equally important to define what kind of clients you would like to work with. Knowing who your ideal client is will help you select a name that will sound attractive to them. It’s important to remember that the name of your private practice is not only about you but also about your clients.
3. Choosing a category
Potential names can be divided into several categories. Working with categories can help you organize your brainstorm sessions and test your choices better with your friends or peers. Here are some categories that make sense for naming a private practice:
Personal Name based
This category will not require a brainstorm, because most of us have just one name. Many service providers opt for this category, but it’s important to remember that it’s kind of limiting. It is great if your vision is to develop a strong personal brand, but it’s not ideal to grow your practice and employ other clinicians. It will also be difficult to sell it later if that’s your plan.
If you choose a location name for your practice (a name of your town, your county or neighborhood), it can be a big help in attracting your local community. Additionally, it can help you associate your brand with the personality of the location you choose. And although there are many benefits of being a local practice, try to avoid very specific locations such as street names or landmarks. It can be a barrier to future relocations or expansions to other locations.
This is my personal favorite category. I love metaphors because they allow for the most creativity. A metaphor is poetic and unexpected. It can also create a whole brand vocabulary for your future marketing. A metaphor can evoke a specific feeling and it can describe your own philosophy. It does require a little more soul searching, but it can be a sustainable name for the future.
Process and Expertise Based Names
This is the most pragmatic category of all. This type of name can describe your specific method, work process or outcomes. It is very useful when you are certain about the type of work you want to do (trauma, marriage, etc.) and it will be easy to find for someone who is searching for a specific need.
You don’t need to decide on a category before you start brainstorming all the potential names. You can separate the words into categories later if that’s easier for you. The most important thing is to get as many ideas out on paper as possible. Sit down and start writing everything that comes to your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s silly, repetitive, boring or obscure. Write everything down. I recommend having as many words as you possibly can.
After this initial exercise, try to make word combinations with the words that you’ve written. Write as many of those as you can as well. Then start crossing off the words and word combinations that are completely wrong. Separate what’s left into categories. Take a break. Ideally for a day or two, because you will need to look at the list with fresh eyes so you can continue editing your list.
After you are left with all possible options, check if these names are available to be used online and incorporate. If they are available, you can start soliciting the opinions of others and see what sounds most attractive and what makes no sense.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, naming is a process. An often long and irritating process. When I work with my clients on naming, I let them know that deciding on a name can take a couple of weeks, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it if you want to build a long-lasting brand and a sustainable practice.
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