How to Choose Your Practice Name
When it comes to setting up a new private practice, many people worry about insurance credentialing, which software to use, and when they should build their website. Something that many forget when dealing with all the tasks of establishing a new clinic is the name. Choosing a strong practice name is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a private practice. It’s the first step in developing the mindset that you want patients and the community to have about the services you provide and your clinic. In other words, naming is the first step in developing your brand.
Even without marketing terminology like “brand,” the majority of counselors feel a great deal of pressure when making this decision. After having helped to launch over 20 practices, the GetTherapy.com team can easily say that the majority of them struggle with finding the right name. Hopefully this article can help serve as a guide to streamline the process and produce a lasting and distinctive name for your practice. This is the first thing many clients will see related to your office, so choosing an appealing name is important. In this post, we’ll walk you through choosing a name that sends the right message and brings in clients. At GetTherapy.com, we’re here to help with all of your new practice needs – we can even help you brainstorm some names. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. Our knowledgeable team members are always happy to help.
What’s in a Name?
So, what are some of the reasons why naming is so important?
- The name represents who you are as a provider.
- It represents the direction your clinic is taking in the kind of clients you’re willing or able to see.
- It gives the first impression of your clinic to the greater community.
- Spreads the word to physicians who may be sending clients in your direction.
- You know how important first impressions are, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to make a great one.
Find Local Examples
We recommend that you start by studying the names of other local clinics. There’s a large range of a types and styles for naming a practice, as you’ll see when you take a look. Many are based on the location. Some are based on the style of practice. Others are based on ideas or concepts that the clinicians want to promote, and some take a straightforward approach stating exactly what they do. Probably the most common naming method for solo practice providers is calling the clinic your own name like “John Doe, LLC” or “John Doe Counseling, LLC.” Although, this is not my favorite because it has the potential to limit growth for expanding practices, this is a clear and simple option.
Studying the names of other practices in your area online or anywhere you can get access will give you an idea of some others approaches to naming your office and some of the more creative ways people have used their names as a tool to boost and empower their clinic in basic referrals. Not all names out there are created equal. There are many that are ineffective, but think about what you like about some of your favorites and how you can mimic them.
Answer Some Tough Questions
- After you’ve studied other practice names and styles, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the image or brand you want for your clinic?
- What is the full breadth of clients that you’re willing and able to see?
- What is your specific niche or specialty?
- With the previous questions answered, what is your ideal client? By “ideal client” I mean for you to describe the client that you would do the best with and who is most likely to be seeking out your services in particular.
- It’s also good to ask yourself if there are any unique traits you possess as a counselor, the convenient location of your clinic, or other factors that might stand out?
Have a Business Mindset
Naming the practice is a business decision. What I mean by this is you have to approach it with a certain objectivity and creativity. You have to think about how others are going to perceive your practice and what your name is going to portray. Think about your private practice as if it’s a product that you’re trying to sell or advertise. I think many counselors make the mistake of choosing a name too quickly, and they end up with something generic. Others end up choosing something they like without really considering the impression it makes on others. Take the time to really consider your practice’s name from a business perspective.
Once you’ve given quite a bit of thought to the answering these questions and perhaps reflected on your mission statement as discussed in previous articles, it’s time to start brainstorming. Just make a stream of consciousness list of all the names that come to mind for your practice. They’re not all going to be good names or legitimate options that are going to even make the top five or top 50. You just need options, so start writing down the first names that come to mind. Jot them down quickly. You should come up with at least 10 maybe 20 names. After that, you’re going to want to consider each of the names and whether or not they could possibly fit for a private practice clinic. An easy way to determine this is by adding phrases to the end of the name like “counseling clinic,” “health and wellness center,” “counseling services,” or “counseling center.”
Seek Unbiased Feedback
Next, put the names on a spreadsheet with columns for ratings and notes. Find some family members, friends, and coworkers who will give you honest and objective feedback. Create a 1 to 5 scale at the top and distribute them. Ask your family members and friends to rate each name using the 1 to 5 scale. Then, follow up with each one asking questions like,
“What does this name bring to mind? What did you like about that name?” When this is done, you’ll have some really good ideas about what impressions and associations each of the names provoke for individuals. We recommend seeking feedback from at least five people.
Go to Google
After brainstorming and getting feedback, you should have narrowed your list of potential names down to a few top choices. We recommend having three to five favorites. Now, it’s time to conduct a Google search. Search the names and variations of the names to see if there are domains (or URLs) for similar businesses or other counseling clinics in your area. This can be a little bit of a disappointing task for some, as you’re sure to find that others have come up with similar names and already taken your domain names. You may have to be creative and find ways to alter your name slightly. If all of your top choices are taken, you may need to go back to your list and find some others. Keep in mind, that others in the country may use the same name, but if they’re not in your area or state, the name can still be used.
Making it Legal
Once you’ve decided on a name and checked out the domain names to create a website URL, you’re ready to seek out help from an attorney who will to establish your practice as an LLC (see article for tips: To LLC or Not to LLC: That Is The Question), or whatever business entity you decide to go with. The attorney will verify that no other similar names exist in the state. Once you’ve made your name official, purchase your domain name and start building a stellar website! For more information on establishing business entities, websites, or mission statements, see some of our other articles [GetTherapy.com Clinician Blog] for providers.