You’ve decided to start your own RIA firm! One of the most difficult and immediate choices you’ll be faced with is deciding on the name of your new business. The name represents your business values and ethics and is the beginning of the reputation you’ll build in the financial services marketplace. That said, how do you choose a name for your RIA firm?
Here, we’re delving into what you should consider before choosing a name for your RIA firm. You need to think about everything from the website domain to pronounceability. These are our tips and recommendations for choosing a RIA firm name that represents your business and helps you stand out from other RIAs.
1. Stray From Using Your Personal Name or Location
It’s important to think long-term when selecting a name for your new RIA firm. You don’t want a name that could limit your company’s growth, be difficult to spell, or challenging to market. It’s generally ill-advised to use your personal name or location as the business name. There are two main reasons why you should choose a broad yet memorable name for your new RIA firm.
First, you want a name that ages well as the business and its team grows. You might not start with a large team of people, but if this is a long-term goal, you want a name they would be happy to represent. Likewise, avoiding your personal name gives you greater freedom to choose a name that properly represents your company’s mission. The same sentiment can’t be accomplished if the business has the same name as the owner. Naming a business after the business owner is overdone and should be avoided if you want to stand out from competitors.
Second, avoid using a location identifier as it will make it difficult to expand to other locations. Calling your business “Registered Investment Advisors of Dallas, Texas” will make it difficult to set up a branch of your practice in Washington D.C. At the same time, if you eventually want to sell your business, you might struggle to find a buyer for a business that is under your name and location.
2. Research Competing Company Names
The last thing you want is to decide on a business name you love only to find out a competitor has a.) the same name, or b.) a name that is very similar. If this ends up being the case, it’s back to the drawing board. It’s crucial that your business name stands out among competitors. As a new business in the field, this is important to build a client base and reputation.
Start by making a list of RIA firms in your niche that you consider competitors. What is unique about their names? What is consistent about their names? Use this research to guide your decision for naming your RIA firm. Take this a step further by conducting a Secretary of State search. This will generate a list of all registered businesses and LLCs in the country so you can make sure you’re not choosing a name similar to a business that already exists.
3. Think About Branding and Marketing in Relation to Your Name
Ask yourself what you want your company to represent. What is the message you want to send potential clients when they’re first learning about you and your services? How do you want to be remembered by people who mention your name? What are your core values and how will they be shown in your work? You want a business name that is catchy without being too hard to say or remember. It should convey meaning and evoke a memorable feeling for your clients without confusing them.
Search volume for keywords should also be considered. Using your personal name likely won’t have as much search as something that contains words like “registered investment advisor” or “RIA firm”. Think about what potential clients might be typing into their search engine to find an RIA firm. Conduct keyword research beforehand to see what words are ranking well and build a word cloud with these terms. Try combining them in unique patterns or working them into names you already have jotted down. Optimizing your business name around keywords will help streamline your marketing strategies. It will make your business name memorable to clients and Google’s search algorithm.
4. Take Domain Name Into Account
You will need a unique domain name for your company’s website. Ideally, this domain name is the name of your company without any strange characters or rearranged words. You want to secure the .com domain name for your business as opposed to the .net or .org. Potential clients associate a domain ending in .com with a business that is established in their industry. It often feels more reliable and trustworthy to a customer. To check the availability of your desired domain name, visit GoDaddy.com or NetworkSolutions.com. It’s also important to make sure you can have your domain name as usernames across social media sites. Keep all these names as consistent as possible.
Pro tip: Consider purchasing similar domain names to your main domain and linking them to your website. For example, if your domain is “RIA Northwest.com”, consider purchasing “RIA NW.com” as well.
5. Get Feedback From People You Trust
One of the best things you can do for your business name is to ask people you trust for their opinions. Several creative brains working together are better than one. Offer up some business name ideas that you’ve personally already vetted and determined viable. Next, ask your trusted friends and family for their thoughts to see if they have any fresh ideas themselves. Professional connections who have worked for an RIA firm could be an excellent resource. They already understand the work you’ll be doing and can provide quality feedback on your business ideas. Asking a wide range of people for their ideas will most likely leave you with a long list of potential business names that you can consider and explore.
6. Make Sure You Like the Name
At the end of the day, you are the business owner. You’re the person working behind the scenes day after day to get your RIA firm off the ground and running. The last thing you need is a firm with a name you don’t like. After all your research has been completed and feedback received, ask yourself if you would be proud to tell people the name of your business. Starting your own RIA firm is a huge accomplishment. You should be proud of everything from getting your first client to establishing an LLC in your company’s name.
The name of your business is the beginning of a vision. It represents everything your company stands for from its partnerships with its clients to the exceptional work it performs. Choosing a name for your new RIA firm isn’t easy, but if you conduct thorough research and have effective brainstorming, you’ll have an excellent name in no time.