Just as some grown-up people find it necessary to change their name, a business may have one reason or another to change their business name, too.
Changing the business name can have either a negative or a positive effect – that is why it has to be done with care.
On the negative side, the popularity of your name and business might shrink, customers may be confused and you may even end up losing some old customers.
In addition, virtually all the promotions you did using the old name will become kind-of useless and you would have to put in some work and funds to run new marketing campaigns.
On the positive side, changing a business name can help boost your company’s popularity if it is done right. It can also give you the opportunity to expand your business, explore new markets and inspire your employees to work better.
Here in this post, our intention is to help you achieve success by changing your business name. And to bring that goal to reality, here’s a list of things you need to pay attention to.
1. Availability of the Name
You have to ensure that another business is not using the name already and that you’re not trying to infringe on another company’s trademark.
Choosing a name that is similar to another business can cause confusion, leave your company at a position of disadvantage among the competition, and can ultimately result in a legal battle in which case the original company will most likely win.
2. Availability of the Domain Name
Just like point #1 above, you have to be sure that the domain name is available. Moreover, it is important that you do this even before you announce the new name.
Making the announcement first before checking the domain availability can lead to a situation where your customers are misdirected to another person’s website. That alone can lead to loss of opportunities, decline in sales and confusion among your customers.
SIDE TIP: Configure your old web address to automatically redirect customers to your new website.
Equally, you have to check and secure the new name on social networks and other online platforms your business is currently using.
Changing your business name can take up some expenses and so, you have to set some funds aside for it.
Here are some of the things that would usually need funding:
- Changing of marketing materials like ads
- Changing of printed materials like business cards
- Legal changes like registering a new name
- Online changes e.g. new domain name, new email, new web design etc.
4. Updating your Business Documents and Accounts
When planning to change your business name, you have to be ready to change or update your company documents and accounts.
It is just so important that you make these changes and updates otherwise your business activities and transactions will be adversely affected.
Here are some documents and accounts to work on:
- Accounting templates
- Bank account
- Collateral/company handouts
- Business cards and other printed collateral
- Social media accounts
- Credit cards with the business name
- Email addresses
- Fax cover templates
- Letterhead and envelope templates
- Email signature file
- Online accounts e.g on Dropbox, Skype, Freshbook, MailChimp etc.
- Internal memo template
Some of these documents and accounts can take some time to change or update, thus it might be better to start working on them early.
Tips for Changing Business Name Successfully
Here are some general tips to help you pick the right new business name:
1. Think of who your customers are
Your new business name should appeal to the people that matter most to your business – your customers. A name that reflects those things that your customers are interested in has a better chance and can outperform a name that your customers cannot relate to.
2. Pick a name that will allow you to expand your business
To do this, don’t limit your new business name to your current location, to a product or services, or even to your current offerings. Think of the future. It wouldn’t make sense if you decide to change your company name again next year when you might have added four new services to your service list.
3. Choose a name that encapsulates the distinctive features of your business
Don’t pick a name that focuses on only one of your offerings, your new business name should capture those unique features of your business and its products as a whole.
For instance, if you run a creative business where your personal skills and ability are used, then it might make sense to use your own name as part of your business name.
4. Choose a name that is unique, memorable and easy to spell
Allocate plenty of time and effort to create a list of attention-grabbing and catchy business names. Carefully choose appealing words to create new names that will develop quick brand awareness and enable you to accomplish a successful business name change over a short period time.
5. Get feedback on your new business name
If you like the name, it doesn’t mean others like it, too. So, get feedback from your friends, family and select customers. They may see hidden problems with the name or have ideas on how you can improve it further.
From whom you get feedback is as important as the feedback itself. You shouldn’t test it out on just your mom and your cat. As a matter of fact, the right and most qualified set of people to get feedback from is, well you guessed it right, your select customers. This is very important.
Companies that Changed their Names
To further help you to change a business name successfully, here’s a list of some famous companies that ever changed their names. We hope you find inspiration here to do the same:
Naming a business is like naming a newborn child – the name will stick with it for long. Everybody will recognize it by that same name from the time it was given. If you do not have it right the first time it becomes so critical to get it right the second time.
A business name change doesn’t have to be done in just one hour or in a day. It doesn’t have to be done in one sitting either. You will have to take time to dig really deep. Ideas might come to you even while doing minor tasks like showering, driving etc. Make sure you note them down.
Spend sufficient time on research and feedback as this change can affect your business either negatively or positively, depending on what you pay attention to when changing the name.
Outlined above where some of the right things you need to pay attention to while changing a business name.
You may further like reading Common Mistakes to Avoid When Naming a Business.