When starting up I had to think hard about what my new venture should be called. I knew I would probably end up with “Name” Architects, but I thought I should think about it a bit first. One thing my research told me (thanks Su Butcher) is that you need a name that works well as a web domain and as an email address and ideally tells people what you do. This sounds obvious I know but it seemed quite insightful at the time.
I thought long and hard – and came up with yes, you guessed it, my name plus Architects. I’m pretty happy with it but I do still wish the email address that was a bit less of a mouthful.
Choosing the practice name is linked, to a degree with a decision on what sort of company formation you go for and there are some other issues worth thinking about too: If you have a surname as your practice name, what happens when you start employing hundreds of people and later on down the line you find yourself selling stakes in the company to your partners and co-directors? Will the name need to change when you leave or sell out? The name practice name idea does seem a bit tame, but I don’t think it will go out of fashion for a few years yet. However, I do have a nagging feeling that a descriptive word might have been better – it might tell people just a little bit more about me and what I am into. If I do come across something that is cooler, less personal but at the same time more personable I will give it a go.
I had a good look at the RIBA Guide to Setting up a Practice for some thoughts on what company type and I would go for. I had a feeling that as a sole practitioner (for the moment at least) the safety and simplicity of being a limited company seemed very appealing. Setting up a limited company is a very straightforward process and my accountant seemed to like it, so I went with that.
Having been through the process of writing all this down I came back to the question that prompted the writing of this starting-up-a-practice journal, which is: Why set up on my own?
I still don’t have a definitive answer for this. My favorite aspect of being an architect is the fact that you have to get along with such a wide variety of people. That is true for architects in most offices, so that can’t really be the reason for being a sole practitioner. Maybe that is just a good reason to be an architect.