In this episode of What Would Danielle Say, Lynn wants to know if she should use the word “virtual” in her business name.
My business name is BD Virtual. I read your blog post about What’s In a Name and the part about not having “virtual assistant” or “assistant” in your name. Is it a good idea to have virtual in your name? If not, should I consider admin services consulting like you were talking about. Is BD Virtual okay of a name? —Lynn Smith
If you follow me for long, you will find that I frequently advise/remind people to delete the word “virtual” from their biz vocabulary (among others).
A business is a business. There’s nothing virtual about it.
Is a business more “pretend” or of less quality if it’s run out of a home office or on the road? Is it more of a business if it’s located in a rented office?
Does an attorney who works from home and conducts most of his meetings over the phone have any less of a legal practice?
Is a doctor or accountant or designer or (fill in the blank for whatever other independent service professional comes to mind) “virtual” just because he works from his own location and/or his clients go to him, he doesn’t go to them?
By that logic, then all businesses are “virtual” in that they perform their services from their own place of operation (regardless of where that may be), not the client’s.
But we don’t qualify those businesses like that so why should you qualify yours in that way?
This is why I advise people to stop using the word “virtual.” It’s a silly word and puts a negative, subpar, “less than a real business” spin on things.
One of the challenges of a professional services business like ours (where we do not have physical storefronts that clients can walk into like brick-and-mortar businesses do) is instilling credibility, trustworthiness and rapport.
Therefore, you want your business to present itself in every way you can as no different from any other professional a client would hire to provide some kind of expertise.
Any word that detracts or qualifies your business as something “other than” or “different from” a real business and professional service like any other makes it more difficult to establish that credibility and trustworthiness.
And this is what the word “virtual” does… it says that your business is not a “real” business, it’s something “other than.”
And why do that? Why qualify it in any way except that it is a real business like any other?
This is what I mean by a business is a business. Where the business is located and/or where you work from is of no relevance or importance to the matter.
Regarding your other question, whether you should call it Administrative Consultant, that depends on whether you actually are one or not.
An Administrative Consultant is not the same thing as a virtual assistant. The terms are not interchangeable.
Where “virtual assistant” has become the proverbial junk/miscellaneous drawer of terms of anyone doing anything and everything, which is not a definition or category of anything, it’s just a gopher basically (what Seth Godin would refer to as a meandering generality), an Administrative Consultant is someone who specifically specializes in the business of providing ongoing administrative support (what Seth Godin calls a meaningful specific). That is their business category and their specialty.
The other distinction is that when you are in business, for both legal and practical reasons, you are not anyone’s assistant. Administrative Consultants are independent professionals (in the same way that attorneys, accountants, designers, etc., are independent professionals) who provide clients with the expertise of strategic administrative support. They are not day-to-day substitute employees or “alternative staff.” They are not staff in any way.
So if your specialization and expertise is administrative support and you view yourself as an independent professional (not a staff member, assistant or outsourced worker), then Administrative Consultant would fit you.
Since it sounds like you are just starting your business and still in the naming phase, be sure to also check out the Naming Your Business category of my blog. I have several posts with information and ideas to help you in that process.
Thanks for the question and I hope this provides you with some understanding and clarity. All my best!