Pros and cons of using your surname in your business name

Written By Steps To Faculty Published September 30th, 2010

Starting your own business involves making may tough choices. One topic that many new business owners consider is whether or not to use their surname in the business name. When you are starting your won business you will have to decide whether or not to use your family name or surname as you get a dba license. here are a few factors to ponder before your decide.

Step 1 Live on

One of the greatest benefits of using your surname in your business name is that your name will carry on even when you are no longer involved in your business. This is especially true of you incorporate your business. Your name will be the legacy at the company. Think of Ford. Henry Ford has long since passed, but he began his company back in the early 20th century. Today we still know his last name because of his innovative approach to transportation and of course the famous automaker corporation that bears his name to this day.

Step 2 Diminish your company returns

While having your surname on your company is good for your name longevity, it can also hamper the interest of your company. Take Martha Stewart for instance. Prior to her incarceration, her name Martha Stewart Omnimedia was positive and she was a billionaire. After her prison time for pre-existing knowledge of illegal stock trading, the value of her firm went down to around $200 million at the time of this writing. She had to trade distributors from Kmart and Macy’s to WalMart and sell her products at much lower costs just to make a profit. Her company may never recover as she has diminished as a domestic diva in pop culture. Remember, your name is your company and your company is as good as your name.

Step 3 Consider trademark limitations

If you use your surname in your business name you may not be able to trademark certain ideas or products. The only way to trademark is if no one else has even a resemblance surname to yours, per the Trademark Office. You will need to secure the help of a patent and trademark attorney to ensure your name is not in circulation at any time period to now before proceeding.

Step 4 Carry your family’s brand

Firms such as McDonald’s and Hilton (of Hilton hotel, including Paris Hilton) have established names for over seventy years. For example, Donald Trump carried his grandfather’s business and the family name and it still resonates a positive feeling and staunch business line in the minds of customers.

Step 5 Think of other implications

If you are able to obtain a general trademark, you may want to get a federal trademark or patent associated with your family business. The US Patent and Trademark Office only allows the use of nationwide recognition and grants trademarks and patents accordingly if your surname is unique and is of actual benefit in the minds of consumers versus a regular business name.

Remember, the decision to use a surname in your business name carries a lot of weight. Think it over. Please visit stepsto.com for more great business advice.


Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.