Why and How to Rename Your Business

Why and How to Rename Your Business

Related: Get Over the Business-Naming Hump With These 5 Strategies While it's unwise to change your business name just because you’re in the mood for something new, there are times when a change is in your business’s best interest. Businesses grow and change over time. Generic names like “Publishing Services” or “Professional Tax Accountants” don’t differentiate you from the competition. Your business, your brand and your customers will all benefit if you switch to a more unique name that really embodies your brand. If your business name is confusing or hard to spell, customers may be unable to find you. A business name that doesn’t make sense and confuses consumers won’t be remembered. Once you’ve defined your new brand, brainstorm names that support the most important elements. have a focus so narrow that they preclude future evolution (i.e., “Just Cabinets”) contain geographical references that may make your business irrelevant in a broader market so broad or generic without personality that they don’t tell consumers anything about your brand Wolfson noted that a name should be able to embrace eventual product extensions. Here are the logistical and legal chores you'll need to complete: Ensure the name is available to trademark (Check the Trademark Electronic Search System [TESS] on the USPTO website). Make sure to complete the transformation your name change will start throughout your brand.

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A rose by any name would smell as sweet. But when you’re renaming your business, watch out for the thorns.

Why and How to Rename Your Business
Randy’s Donuts, formerly known as Big Do-Nut Drive In.

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A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. — William Shakespeare

A strong business name identifies your business, tells customers and prospects something meaningful about your brand and helps to differentiate your business from your competition. But what should you do when the name you’ve been using isn’t effective at achieving those goals?

Related: Get Over the Business-Naming Hump With These 5 Strategies

While it’s unwise to change your business name just because you’re in the mood for something new, there are times when a change is in your business’s best interest. Here are four reasons when a new name truly is the best choice, and seven tips to help you pull it off successfully.

1.Trademark issues

Occasionally more than one company has the same name. Or, the names are so similar that they may as well be the same. When this occurs, there’s a good chance that one company will get a cease-and-desist letter requesting that the other stop using that name.

And there’s no surprise there: Your business could lose money if someone else operates under the same name as yours.

This actually happened to Jacob Childrey and his established food spice company. He received a cease-and-desist letter from a much larger competitor. That’s how Childrey came to leverage (my employer) Crowdspring’s global community of 210,000-plus creatives to create a fresh, powerful new name for his company.

Scandal. You are at a big disadvantage too if another business with your name is caught up in a scandal. The resulting reputational blow will affect your business as well! So, it’s important to protect your business name to control your brand’s message and ensure that you’re not sharing your profits with a competitor. (For information on how to properly register and protect your business name, check out “What Small Businesses Need to Know about Trademarks.”)

2. Your name no longer reflects your business.

Businesses grow and change over time. Some business names are adaptable enough to survive this growth, some not. If your business has outgrown its name, it may be time to think about renaming.

Nellie Akalp, entrepreneur, author and small-business expert, has written on SmallBizTrends, “It’s only natural for a business to grow, evolve or change direction over the course of its lifetime. The name you hatched in the early days may no longer fit your business’s market, activities or brand personality now.” Questions to ask yourself include:

  • Have you recently switched to a new product or service?
  • Did your business merge with another?
  • Has your business philosophy or mission changed significantly?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, a new name may better reflect your brand’s current identity.

3. Your name is not unique.

Your business name needs to stand out. It needs to be unique and support your business’s overall brand identity. Generic names like “Publishing Services” or “Professional Tax Accountants” don’t differentiate you from the competition. And they certainly aren’t memorable.

So, even if you deliver fantastic service, well-meaning customers may get your name wrong when they’re asked for referrals. Or they may not remember it at all. That means your word-of-mouth marketing will suffer. And so will your web marketing. If yours is one of 10 variations of the same generic business name, you will find it nearly impossible for customers to find you on the web. You don’t want them to sift through a full page of search results to find just the right “ABC Plumbing.”

Not to mention that no one really wants to do business with a generic, lackluster company.

Your business, your brand and your customers will all benefit if you switch to a more unique name that really embodies your brand.

4. Your name is confusing or hard to spell.

If your business name is confusing or hard to spell, customers may be unable to find you. It’s that simple. A business name that doesn’t make sense and confuses consumers won’t be remembered.

In fact, there are aspects of brain science to consider here: Mariano…

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