I am getting married in September and wish to change my last name … for me, I’m torn about what this means for me as I begin to take over my family’s business. I feel a little bit guilty about changing my name because this means people lose that instant recognition of who I am in relation to the company if my last name no longer matches the name on the building. Any stories about how other “daughters in charge” have handled this?
I certainly respect your question and appreciate the implications of whatever choice you make. Here are a few thoughts based on my work with daughters who’ve had similar concerns. After marrying, some women who want to take on their husband’s name refer to themselves with their first name, then their family name, and then their married name. Many women who want to preserve their family name for other reasons do this as well. It’s a pretty simple way to make sure that customers, clients, vendors, and others know that you are clearly part of the family business.
Other daughters change their name, without the family name evident, but the story of the family (usual on the “about” or “our team” sections of the website) makes it obvious that they are family members.
You may be concerned that you will lose credibility if you change your name, and I can understand that. I know some daughters who take their husband’s name legally, but in business situations continue to use their family name. It can be confusing at times, but for the most part, this approach works well.
I do know of a few daughters who find that they learn more about how customers and
clients view the business when they don’t know that they are family members. These daughters find it a great learning experience and discover new insights about the family business that they might never have learned before.
My suggestion is to do what feels right to you. I doubt that it will hurt the business if you decide to take on your husband’s name. Your name matters, but your comfort and confidence matter more.
Hope this helps!