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Using Personal or Family Name as Business Name

personal business names There is no single golden rule for finding the right business name. Using your personal name or family name is one of the many ways to do it.

It may seem like a quick and straightforward way. However, such names should be chosen carefully so that your business stands-out in the marketplace and in the target industry.

Here is a quick guide to help you decide if using your personal or family name is right for your new business venture.

When to use Personal for Family Name

Personal or family names are most common and suitable for business professions such as medical, legal and accounting industry. Sole-proprietor businesses, solo-entrepreneurs, freelancers and writers can also use such names.

Using family name as business name is also common for local restaurant or coffee shops in a small town. Use such names if your business will only serve its purpose for the local market.

If your plan is to build an online business via blogging, etc. personal names are best since people seem to connect well with real names. A personal name will assist you quickly build your subject authority. For an online business, authority and connect are of highest importance since most of the times your consumers do not see and meet you in person.

Use your personal or family name if you are some sort of celebrity or your family name is having a great reputation. Since your name is already popular, it will help attraction attention. It will give immediate visibility to your brand and help you quickly build your initial consumer base.

Lastly, use your personal or family name if your business involves use of your personal expertise. Businesses like financial or investment consultancy that requires face-to-face interaction with the clients usually connect better with real names and persons rather than company names.

Advantages of using Personal or Family Names

The biggest advantage in using personal or family name is that it makes your business services appear affordable, transparent and personal.

Compared to design firms, more freelancers are being hired now a days for projects. This is because clients know that they will get better price and personalized services from freelancers.

Another advantage of using your family name as business name is to build a legacy; your family name will carry-on even if you are no longer involved in running the business.

When to Not Use Personal or Family Names

If the name lacks a sense of professionalism or excitement or energy or it is difficult to differentiate it from other businesses, then there would be a strong reason to stay away from using a personal or family name.

Consumers will easily ignore a name that is too common. For instance, surnames like Jones or Smith will not really set your business apart from the others.

It is also not good to use a personal or family name if it causes confusion with any existing name and or trademark.

Not to mention – it would be a bad decision to use personal or family name if the name is not credible or has an unpleasant history.

If you plan to sell your business someday, buyers will hesitate to buy a business that has a personal name associated with it. They will have to spend lot of time and money re-branding the business.


Business names like Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s, Nestle and The Walt Disney Company are personal/family names that have become very successful over time.

In recent times, Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk and Michael Port are examples of successful entrepreneurs who identify themselves by their own names rather than those of their companies.

There have been many successful personal and family business names in history and in present. And I believe this will happen in future as well.

In business naming, there is no one size fits all. The most important factor is that the name should appropriately lend itself to your business in general.

So, if your personal name or family name fits well, and has most characteristics of good business names – go ahead, list it as one of your final potential business names.

… and if you are geared up to finalize the name, you may like reading common mistakes to avoid while naming a business.