Dental and Medical Counsel Blog

How to Name Your Optometry Practice

February 23, 2021
Optometry Lawyers

There are many things to consider when starting a new optometry practice. One of the first, and possibly most important, is the name you choose. If you're purchasing an existing optometric practice, you need to decide whether you want to keep the existing name or change the branding completely. This is a good question and the answer largely depends on the success and focus of the practice you're buying. For example, if the practice has a strong and loyal patient base that's still growing, you might want to keep the name. This is especially true if you share the values and mission of the existing practice.

The practice you're buying may be healthy but you might want to take your own practice in a fresh direction. Rebranding might offer you new tools to grow and will give you the opportunity to make the business more personal to you. If you're starting an optometry practice, the name you choose should represent and go along with the branding of the business. 

Branding and Strategy in the Name

If you've never named an optometry practice before, you might not realize how many considerations there are. Today's optometry practice name needs to help with the branding. If you're using the internet to market your practice, which is a wise idea, you'll also need to consider how the name works in your online strategy. 

Here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Do You Want to Make Your Own Name the Brand Name? In most cases, you should not name the practice after yourself. It limits your possibilities for retiring, selling, and adding new associates. You can take on new associates with a practice name that is your own legal name, but new customers will often request to see the optometrist on the practice name. Making the practice name separate can be the best solution to grow the business over the extended future.
  • Does Your Business Name Use the Word, 'Optometry'? This can be an excellent idea if you're considering an internet search. New customers will often find you online, and they'll be looking for common search terms. You can research SEO (search engine optimization) keywords that score well among your target audience to help you determine a good practice name. 
  • Research Other Optometry Businesses in Your Area. You can't use the same name as another business entity, for obvious reasons. It's important to see what other optometry practices are named in your area and nationally. You don't want to find a name and start investing money in the process only to discover that name has already been taken. You should also research domain names during this process to make sure yours is available.
  • Keep It Simple and Easy to Remember. Complicated names seem like they would grab attention, but they're often hard to remember. The best names are often simple and to the point. Someone unfamiliar with your practice will know that you're an optometrist simply by seeing the business name.
  • Think Ahead. Don't pick a name that only makes sense for a new practice. Pick a name that will make sense for what you envision your practice to be in five or ten years. For instance, if you think your optometry practice might grow to multiple locations, you don't want to pick a name that's associated with local landmarks. If you want your practice to include many optometrists, naming it “Father and Son” gives the wrong impression. Think ahead and make sure that the name you choose will fit you tomorrow as well as it does today.
  • Consider Acronyms. If all the names that you're coming up with are longer, you might consider acronyms instead. Can you work with the placement of the words so that the acronym makes a memorable word? This can be an excellent tool to help people remember your branding.

What Is Your Market Positioning?

Choosing your name is much more about strategy than anything else. That doesn't mean it needs to be a difficult process. Sometimes the best business names are the simplest and most straight forward. When choosing your market positioning, look at the competition in your area. Why would your patient choose your optometry practice above all the others?

In other words, what makes your practice stand out? The answer to this question might be something really simple. Maybe you cater to families or a certain segment of the population. Your practice might cater to older or younger patients. You might offer cutting edge technology or really great service. Maybe your positioning is just about the values that you want to bring forward. If you want to be known as a practice that is dependable and authentic, those should be qualities that are present in your branding. 

When you decide what your market positioning is, it can impact the way that you name the practice. What do you want the population to feel when they think of your practice? Do you want them to view you as professional or caring? These things can influence a good name. There will be industry terms that can be useful to help get you found, as well. Vision, eye care, optometry, lens, or lenses are all words that people might search when looking for an optometrist.

Your Intellectual Property and Legal Considerations

You can create your business identity as your brand name or you can use a “doing business as” name (DBA) for your branding. Essentially the difference here is that your DBA will be the name that the public knows, but the business identity will be used for tax purposes. 

Once you've decided on your name, you'll want to make sure that it's trademarked properly. Once you trademark your name, no other business can use the same name. During the process of creating a trademark, your attorney will verify that no other business currently has the same name. This way, you'll never run the risk of having another business demand that you change your name. That can easily happen if you accidentally choose the same name or a similar name as an existing business.

You can trademark images, designs, logos, and your name. This is an important step in protecting the branding and identity of your business. This might not seem important when you first create an optometry practice but consider the long term. What if you spend years building a successful practice and then another business opens and uses similar phrasing and designs? The similarity could easily confuse patients who are actually looking for your optometry practice. It's not an unheard-of business practice, even if it is a less than scrupulous one.

Your federally registered trademark lasts for ten years, so you will need to renew it periodically.

Do You Need Legal Counsel to Help with Naming Your Practice?

You may choose the name on your own, or with the help of a marketing team. But a great legal team can verify that the name hasn't been used and conduct all the work needed to register your trademark and make sure your DBA or business structure is properly set up.

At Dental & Medical Counsel, we can assess your business and help with any of your legal needs. For our optometry clients, we specialize in trademark and intellectual property issues, leasing issues, practice purchases, and other aspects of protecting a thriving practice. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with attorney Ali Oromchian.

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