How to Name a Business | PoP 361

How to Name a Business

Are you struggling to name your business? Feeling overwhelmed by all the things it takes to start a private practice? Do you find yourself paralyzed by perfection?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to name a business and not let perfection hold you back!

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In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok will walk you through some techniques he has used with some consulting and mastermind clients to name their businesses.


If you usually brainstorm by using a journal, change it up by doing some audio recordings. And if you are used to using a Tablet, pull out some paper and jot down some ideas. Changing things up a bit may allow you to use a different part of your brain.

What to brainstorm:

  • Your values – what describes you?
  • Outcomes – this might be that people have a better marriage or happier kids.
  • Specialty – what is your specialty and what is that you are really good at?
  • Personality – are you introvert or extrovert? When people describe you as a therapist, person or business owner, how do they describe you?

Unique Names

Brainstorm unique names – what is something that is really personal for you? It’s more important to have a name that you love than to just choose a name that ranks high in Google.

Land on a Few Ideas

Start eliminating some words, put them in a pile. Check if the URL is available for this name.

Play on Words or Find Double Meaning

Think of names with double meaning or something that has a play on words.

Set a Timeline

Do not overthink a practice or business name. You can always file a DBA (doing business as) – consult with an accountant or attorney about your State rules.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK]: When it comes to keeping your practice organized, you want software that’s not only simple but the best. I recommend Therapy Notes. Their platform lets you manage notes, claims, scheduling, and more. Plus, they offer amazing unlimited phone and email support, so when you have a question, they’re there to help. To get two months free of Therapy Notes today, just use promo code [JOE]. That’s ‘Joe’ when you sign up for a free trial at Again, that’s promo code [JOE], when you sign up for a free trial at
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 361. I am Joe Sanok, your host. How are you doing today? Really glad that you’re here. Glad you’re taking time out, those of you that are stuck in traffic or driving across town, thanks so much for taking time to listen to this podcast and fill your brain with helpful things to start growing, scale a practice. Those of you that are working out, waiting to do that. I’ve been doing a little working out myself lately listening to all sorts of different podcasts.
The Bogleheads podcast about investing has been a really good one. I just picked up Jack Bogle’s, book on Hoopla. Hoopla is actually a free audio books service through a library. So, if you have that, they’re not sponsors or anything, but then listening to that for free, that’s all I’m kind of investing in and stuff like that. You know, investing and putting money away in retirement is really important. So, you want to be doing that, as soon as you can and as early as you can compound interest. Holy Cow! Like you want to take advantage of that
And yeah, those of you maybe that are doing dishes or staying home with your kids, if you’re listening to me, all of you, spouses, partners and kids that know the name Joe Sanok, say hi. Oh, that’s one of my consulting clients. Got to go. All right, I’m back. Hey, I left that in there because I wanted to show you how frequently I try to squeeze in extra work. So, I knew that my consulting client was going to be calling me, he was getting his lunch running a little bit late and I knew I could probably squeeze in a little bit. And even though that was just a couple minutes of recording, it got me in the flow so that I can jump right back in now that I’m done with that call. So often we don’t optimize our time and I know that’s not the point of today’s podcast, but want to make sure that when you are working on your business that you are killing it.
You are going forward, you’re running full tilt. But also, I want you, when you’re not working in your business to genuinely slow down and step back because we know that the best ideas, the best way to move forward is to slow down. That’s why we have Slow Down School as one of our conferences we host this year. And then we also have Killin’It Camp. So, two things that kind of may seem like opposites but are actually part of the entire equation it takes to be successful.
So, let’s talk today about how do you name a business? How do you name a private practice? And if you’re listening and you don’t have a private practice and you have some other business, these apply to that as well. I’m going to walk you through some techniques that I’ve used with consulting clients that we’ve used in mastermind groups, we’ve used with people that are naming their consulting businesses, all sorts of different things.
And so, you know, we all want to have a business where the name reflects who we are, that it really feels like, “Yeah, that’s me. That’s what I’m trying to do here.” But sometimes it’s really hard to figure that out. And so, these exercises are exercises that I have used over and over with people that really helped them kind of breakthrough in a systematized way of how to name a business. All right, so, first we’re going to brainstorm in a few different areas. So, however you brainstorm, I would say like do it that way, but I do want to kind of push back on a few things. Some people say I do great brainstorming on a computer. Sometimes doing things different than how you normally brainstorm can be helpful.
So, if you usually will brainstorm on some tablet, maybe it’d be helpful to pull out some three by five cards or some post-it notes. And if you’re normally writing in a journal, you know, maybe it would be good to audio record it. However, you normally brainstorm, maybe try something different because it might use a different part of your brain, or if you feel like you’re stuck with your typical way, maybe then switch it up a little bit. So, the first thing we’re going to brainstorm are your values. So, we want to start by having no judgment around brainstorming. You may remember from elementary school brainstorming, we’re just getting as much information out as possible. Don’t kind of eliminate things yet. So, when you think of your own values, what are values that you know, really describe you? For me, I would say for my values, I value, you know, kind of people that keep their word.
I value kind of speed and imperfection over say, you know, being paralyzed by perfection. I really value having fun. I mean, whether it’s Killin’It Camp or Slow Down School, you know, we have lots of fun and you know, it’s entertaining. For me, it’s also really important to be authentic. So, these would be things that I might start brainstorming. Now that doesn’t mean that any of those are going to make it into my business name, but at least it’s giving me a start. It’s giving me a tone for my values. All right? So, what else are we going to brainstorm? We’re going to brainstorm our values. Then you want to maybe brainstorm some of your outcomes. So, some of the outcomes of therapy, for example, might be that people have a better marriage. It might be that they have happier kids. In consulting with me they’ve started a practice or they have a successful practice.
Some of the other outcomes may feel they feel grounded in their business. So, getting these kind of terms that, you know, I’m not yet saying, “Well, would I want to name my business grounded in my practice? Well probably not,” but we might want to, you know, at least think about what is it about that particular outcome that I like. So, let your brain go a little bit crazy in that area. Next, we want to think about your specialties. You know, are you a specialist with EMDR? You a specialist with Buddhist psychology, are you a specialist with doing marriage work or with helping kids with, you know, off the wall behaviors. What are the things that are specialties that you’re really good at? So, just start brainstorming that and then, you know, if you say, do EMDR, well, you know, what else could that be called?
What else could be synonyms for those words? So, really let’s get as many words out there as possible. And then lastly, what’s your personality like? Are you outgoing? Are you introverted? Are you all kind of bubbly? Are you, you know, pretty stoic and thoughtful? Like when people describe you as a person, as a therapist, as a business owner, how do they describe you? And so, we want to start with that. So, brainstorming those different things that may give us some words that really connect with different aspects. So, for example, you might be a faith-based organization or you might take kind of a Buddhist approach to therapy or you might take a very non-denominational, non-religious. Maybe it’s a secular practice. What are those kind of guiding things for you? And then we can start to brainstorm some different ideas for our practice out of that.
So, first is brainstorm kind in all those ways. So, that was values, outcomes, specialties, and personality. All right, next we’re going to brainstorm unique names. Two of my favorite practice names, a big shout out to Andy Sears. So, Andy Sears has Just a beautiful website. What I love about Andy is he talks through how he’s always loved the color blue. Blue has been this color that for him, he said it just feels different than every other color. And that when he was a kid, when he would go to an amusement park as a little kid, and you know those little ones where they have little like boats that go around in a circle. He would wait for the blue boat, he would let other kids cut in front of him, just waiting to be able to ride on the blue boat.
And he would wait and wait and wait. And he tells this story on the website and for him he equates that back to that. It was the real Andy. Blue Boat Counseling is all about finding the real you. And that’s why blue boat, waiting for that blue boat for him was him being a real person. So, it’s a unique name that stands out that you don’t forget. Another really interesting one is Little Red Telescope Counseling and this is and the other one was Courtland Macpherson, he’s someone that I know as well and he talks about the Little Red Telescope. You know those little ones you had as a toy when you’re a kid. You look at the stars and kind of dream of something bigger and he takes this kind of approach to his therapy. So, having a really unique name can be really helpful.
Also, it helps you stand out, you know, your images and your logo is going to maybe be different than everybody else. And that’s going to be really cool too. It’s more important for you to have a name that you love than a name that you think is going to rank high in Google. First and foremost, you got to love your name. And we also want to think through, if you think this name may go beyond just your practice, maybe you want it to be, you know, consulting or something national. If you do want to trademark something, it’s easier to trademark something that’s more unique. So, for example, Practikat, which is a therapy website for therapists that has resources that you can buy and download and get all sorts of awesome things. It’s like the Amazon of, kind of therapy sites.
And so, they named it Practikat. Practikat is not a name you ever hear. So, it’s super easy to trademark and super easy to say, “This is ours, this is our name.” Versus if it was just like therapy resource website. Well, that for one people will be like, “I’m not going to remember that.” But for two, that’s, you can’t really trademark that. That’s not going to be able to be trademarked. All right, so, first we said, brainstorm your values, outcome, specialties, and personality. Next, brainstorm some unique names. And then third, we want to land on a few ideas. So, this is where we’re going to start eliminating some of those words. There may be words that you’re like, “Okay, even if I feel like I’m a grounded, thoughtful person, I know that I don’t want thoughtful counseling. I know that I don’t want grounded counseling. I know those are words that I just don’t want.”
And, so you’re going to start to eliminate, but then they are ones that kind of rise to the surface a little bit more? There’s a reason that I’m feeling drawn to these words, but I’m not quite sure yet. And so, you’re going to start to kind of put those in a pile. If you’re using post-it notes or three by five cards or maybe you’re going to just retype those or let it sit and kind of dream about it for a little bit. So, we’re going to land on a few and then we’re going to see if the URL is available for those. I recently had a consulting client, had a great name and the website for that name. It was, I don’t know. It was like $1,900 and this person was really kind of sorting through, it was like a good solid name for what they were working on with their consulting.
And they were saying, “Well, what if I had that name plus like the word consulting?” And I said that, “You know, when you name something, so say it’s instead of And the whole time I’m referring to it as Practice of the Practice, Practice of the Practice, Practice of the Practice, but then in my website was That would be really weird. And probably what would happen is I would be accidentally sending people to the real instead of And so, we don’t want to unintentionally give other people traffic. If anything, we want people to unintentionally come to our site for traffic. And so, you really want to make sure that your name and your website line up.
And so, you want to see if the URL is available. You can just go to, kind of type it in there and see if it’s available. So, you land on a few, and then we’re going to see if we can get some names that maybe we can steal some audience from other people. And then fourth, we’re going to look also for some plan words or double meaning. So, you know, if you’re saying “We’re listening.” It could be we’re listening because we’re counselors but also like we’re listening for feedback. So, finding those double meanings or kind of different layers of meaning, that can be really good in the name also.
Next, we want to set a timeline and not overthink our practice name or our business name. You can always file a DBA, doing business later on. Now some states have some pretty strict rules around how your names have to be. It has to have like the words counseling or therapy in it. I know New York and California in particular have quite a few rules around that and there are states, it’s very hard to even get a DBA through. So, you definitely want to consult with an accountant or an attorney before you submit that, especially if you think you might want to do a DBA later on.
But, you know what the real name for mental wellness counseling is? The legal name? It’s Sanok, my last name, if you didn’t know that. Joe Sanok. So, it’s Sanok Counseling, PLLC. That’s the legal name of mental wellness counseling. And then I just filed a DBA doing business as mental wellness counseling. It was, let’s see, probably 2006-ish that I filed my PLLC. My friend Levi Morehouse told me to do that and now he has this great company called Ceterus where he helps with accounting stuff.
So, Levi said, “Yeah, file your PLLC.” So, I filed it and even as a 1099, they had to pay the LLC instead of me. So, I was right away kind of writing things off correctly. And then, oh, it was probably a year later? I was like, “Wait. Mental wellness. That’s a kind of cool thing. Like I feel like wellness is part of what I do, but you know, mental wellness.” And I looked if was available. So, I got, filed the DBA and oh, it was right when we moved back to Traverse City. I remember it came in the mail. So, that would’ve been like 2009. So, a good three years later.
So, it can sometimes be overwhelming to do all the things it takes to start a practice. And I would say I want you to take imperfect action instead of perfect inaction. I’m going to say that again. I want you to take imperfect action instead of perfect inaction. We can be paralyzed by perfection wanting to do it right, which is normal. You’re studying a counseling practice. This is a big deal. When you’re getting going, it’s a really big deal and you want to do it right and you want, there’s a lot of things you definitely need to do, like, you know, liability insurance or you know, having a phone and having a website and email and ways for people to contact you and deciding if you want to do private pay or insurance or both. Those are obviously very important things and some of those things, I want you to do it perfect.
But a lot of private practice is about giving it a whirl and then going back and fixing what’s not working. The amount of blog posts that I have had spelling errors or just wrong, I literally just last night, I posted a picture of, we have these Practice of the Practice beer koozies we got for Slow Down School last year. And I put a beer in it and I thought, “Oh, that’d be kind of like fun to post a picture to Facebook and it said something like, we like to help things last longer, whether it’s your private practice or the coldness of your beer.” And I had also put that on Instagram but had done hashtag beer. And so, on Facebook I deleted the hashtag because that’s not as big a thing on Facebook. But I accidentally deleted the B and so it said, hashtag eer eer. And my wife caught it. She always catches this stuff. But you know, I can go back and I can fix it. Nothing’s ruined by me doing hashtag eer, eer, nothing’s wrong with that.
So, move forward. So, with this podcast and the next one, I’m going to be talking about a couple of things all around starting a practice. Things that are going to help you get going. And that’s because we have just launched and opened up the doors for Next Level Practice. So, Next Level Practice is our membership community. We’re moving towards only opening it four times a year because we’ve noticed that these cohorts, they bond so well. We’re not letting people in, in between. And so, we don’t want you to miss out on that. If you are in the planning stages of starting a practice, so, you’re like ready to go, you’re leaving your fulltime job or maybe you’re just kind of opening one up on the side while you keep your fulltime job. Or maybe you’ve been a stay at home parent for a while and you’re like, you know, I’m want to do a couple of sessions a week.
If you’re in that phase, if you just kind of got going, all the way up to, you know, if you’re busy enough that you’re starting to add clinicians to your practice, then this isn’t for you. And we have lots of other things for you if you’re ready to kind of amp that up. But if you’re in that kind of under $60,000 a year, Next Level Practice really takes the stress away. We really help you know what to do next. We do so many different teachings each month. And so, we’ll do things that we call what’s working, where we get together online and break you up into small groups and kind of, I bounce around and give tips and advice and answer questions. Also, Alison Pigeon and Casey Compton both do some live Q and A’s as well. We have guest experts that come on and talk about networking and, with helping you with your branding.
And we record all of those and put it into teachable. And so, we have over 30 courses within teachable that you can go through. And so, we recommend that people go through one course a month, come to live events once a month, and then post at least three times in Facebook per month. That’s where we see the big results really start to happen. And we’re seeing people, you know, in four to six months going from starting a practice to really being at the point where they’re ready for a group practice. And it’s amazing to see. We also give you tons of tools of the trade, so, free logos, some paperwork, all sorts of things that to us are going to help you grow so much faster and not have to worry about really looking good in private practice.
So, if you’re ready to take that stress away, if you’re ready to join a community of people that can support you, I really you to head on over to if you want to learn more. If you’re ready to jump in and you want to get one of those last spots for this cohort, the next cohort after this one isn’t going to open until June. And so, thinking about if you are three months behind and you could have been having support for three months, what would the difference be at the end? So, if you’re ready, head on over to, that’s going to redirect you right to the PayPal. If you’re like, “I’m in. I’m ready. That $77 a month, that sounds awesome for me. I’m going to jump in.” We would love to have you in there. When you think about the return on investment for that $77, you only need to have one client that comes once to pay for that.
We wanted to set it at a price point that was so reasonable that for you to pay yourself back for all the support we give you, all of the teachings, we give you an all of the tools of the trade, we wanted it to be a no brainer for you. So, make sure you head on over to That’s going to redirect you to our PayPal so that you can jump on in. We would love for you to jump into this next cohort that just opened up yesterday. Also, we’re looking at the pricing and, we’re evaluating whether we’re going to raise the prices later on in 2019.
So, if you want to secure that $77 a month forever, that’s the price you come in at and that’s what you stay at. We would love for you to jump in this cohort and we don’t want you to miss out on all of the kind of extra help that you could be getting. So, thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain.
We can’t thank Therapy Notes enough. They are an amazing sponsor. Head on over to and use promo code ‘Joe’ to get two months for free. It is an amazing product and they are so helpful with their customer service. We absolutely love recommending them. I keep getting emails from people that have had great experiences there. If you’re one of those people, drop me an email. I’d love to hear about that. So, again, that’s and you can just use promo code ‘Joe’ at checkout. Have an awesome week. We’ll talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither the host, publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.
And special thanks to the intro music musicians, Silence is Sexy. We love your music. Have a good one.

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