What’s in a name? It turns out that names are very powerful, especially when you’re selecting a name for your practice. Your practice name is how patients will share recommendations with friends and family. It’s how people will find you online, and it’s the cornerstone of your medical practice’s identity.
Whether you’re just starting your own practice, partnering with another physician, or want to update your practice’s name, it can be difficult to pin down a name you’re satisfied with. Since choosing the right name is such a critical step, here are a few tips to get you started.
9 Tips on How to Select a Name for Your Medical Practice
1. Understand Your Target
Who is your target audience for your practice?
Niche - Does your practice cater to women, seniors, children, or patients with specific conditions?
Relevance - Think about the interests and needs of the audience you want to reach with your medical practice. Words that work well for a geriatric practice may not work as well for a pediatric practice.
2. Gather Competitive Intel
It’s also important to know who you’re competing within your area. Has your competition recently made naming or branding changes to better target their ideal patients? Do they go by a nickname for their practice? How do they position their name online?
3. Aim for Quick Recognition
Many physician owners choose their own names as their practice name. However, this can backfire if your name is long or complicated.
In most cases, a physician’s last name doesn’t mean a lot in a community that may not know them well. It’s very rare for practitioners to have a name that generates enough recognition with prospective patients to be useful as a part of your practice’s moniker.
4. Memorable Means Short & Sweet
When naming a medical practice, avoid names that are tough to say or hard to spell. Make sure it’s a distinctive enough name that it makes a good impression and is easy to remember.
Being brief is also helpful. While a shorter, direct name may be more challenging for you to create, it’s easier for individuals in the community to remember.
Bonus: this will help when you create a website URL. Shorter URLs are easier to type & remember.
5. Professional Trumps Clever*
*For most practices. If your practice’s identity is purposefully fun or unconventional, you can be more flexible.
You don’t necessarily need a name that’s cute, clever, or trendy, but you do need a name that’s descriptive of your specialty and immediately shows your expertise.
6. Keep It Unique
Make sure it’s nothing like the name of your competition so prospective patients don’t get confused. This will also help later in the process when registering and trademarking your business name.
7. Define Your Identity
As you’re selecting a name for your practice, think about your marketing identity, which includes your name, a tagline, and potentially a practice logo.
You want to send out one specific message to patients, so it’s important to make sure the elements of your marketing identity support each other. It’s one of the quickest ways to communicate what you do, who you are, and how you can help your target audience.
8. Plan for Future Success
The name you choose for your medical practice can set the tone for your future success. What’s your long-term vision for your practice? Do you want to be a small, locally owned practice? Or are you aiming for nationwide reach with multiple practices? This can help guide you to a more satisfying name.
9. Register Your Brand
Once you’ve selected a good name, it’s time to talk to the appropriate parties about legally claiming your name.
You’ll need to register your name with your state’s agencies - for a Texas medical practice, you can find guidelines on the TX Secretary of State website.
For additional protection, you can hire an attorney to trademark and legally protect the new name you’ve chosen for your business.
Want to know more about starting a new practice? Check out this article on Starting a Medical Practice in Texas.