Just Married: Will Changing Your Name Impact Your Business?

There is no shortage of decisions to be made leading up to and following a wedding, but few have become as fraught in recent years as how or whether to combine or change your name. Most women choose the traditional route, with only 20% of women opting to keep their last name after marrying, and even fewer opting to hyphenate.

The trend is, however, shifting as more women are reporting that they would consider keeping their last name. Many express concern over the impact a name change might have on their business, network, and other professional and personal aspects of their lives. For those who run a business or who have built a strong personal brand, the biggest question is whether changing one’s name will have a negative impact on all her hard work.

Business Considerations

There are many factors that influence this decision, including tradition, values and beliefs, and the significance of your name to you and your family. Several alternatives to changing your name have become popular since the 1970s:

  • Hyphenating the couples’ names;
  • Using the maiden name as a middle name;
  • Keeping the name; and
  • Combining the names into a new name

These are all viable options when trying to decide how to tackle a complicated issue that can have such a wide-ranging impact on your life. But if you are also a business owner, there are additional factors to keep in mind, such as:

  • Is your name part of your business? If your business name is based on your personal name, a change could mean wide-ranging impacts on how you do business. You need to consider whether a business name change could cause a disconnect between your personal and professional brands.
  • Networking connections and branding – your existing brand efforts on social media, professional networks, and publications will be altered to some degree if you change your name. These efforts can be revised to reflect a name change, but the changes must be clearly communicated or people may not recognize you.
  • Books and written materials – if you’ve written a book or other published materials based on your brand, a name change could have an impact on not only how people find that material but also on your brand.
  • Logistical and legal implications – you’ll need to deal with the legalities of updates to forms and contracts, bank accounts, and other materials bearing your maiden name. 

Only you can determine how much of an impact one or more of these factors will have on your business. For many small business owners, it is simply a matter of taking the time to change profiles and documents and to revise your contacts to reflect your new name. For others, however, the change can represent a major shift in how you present yourself to would-be clients, requiring additional effort.

When the question arises, take the time to determine what’s best for you and have an honest conversation with your husband. Whether you choose one of the options listed above or to keep your maiden name, make sure your decision fits the values and needs of your new family as well as your business.

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