Every business owner goes through the challenge of “what should I call my business” at some stage.
It comes down partly to what industry you operate in, and whether you want what you do to be obvious to all through your name, or whether you have a less than obvious name but a name that can tell a story.
When I set up my business, called Business Changing, I decided I wanted what my business “did” to be obvious. When I saw back in 2010 that I could literally buy the .com I thought, “far out, that is crazy” and just went for it and have never looked back.
My advice here is to make sure that whatever you call your business, it has a great “story” attached to it. When you are talking to customers about why your product or service is the best, the story of how your name came into being – if it comes up – really enhances the overall brand story and feeds into helping a potential customer say yes to you. It’s a good marketing strategy.
Of course with the power of Google these days it can be quite important what you name your company too from an organic search perspective.
But when should you change the name of your business? I’ve had this question asked by a few of my business coaching clients recently. They’ve become unhappy or unsure about the business name they originally chose or the one they inherited.
Re-naming a business comes with considerable cost. It means changing stationery, packaging, logos and website. But in some cases, if you don’t do it, the costs as far as future customers and business could be higher.
So when would you consider changing your business name?
Incompatibility – If it no longer fits with what you are doing or people often mis-spell it or just cannot remember it, no matter how much marketing and branding you do, then it may be worth changing.
Or perhaps it jars with people or has weird connotations that have nothing to do with your business. I definitely come across the odd business where the name makes no sense and sounds strange.
Negative connotations – If something “bad” has been associated with your current name and you think your business and reputation has been tainted as a result. This may not have happened to your business in particular, but to a company or person with a similar name. If your name no longer means good things in your marketplace, it would be worth considering changing it.
Starting afresh – If your company needs a complete re-boot a name change could add impetus to you getting back on track and having a good chance of hitting your full potential. But remember that it is only a change in name, and you would need to make sure that the internal heart of your company (culture, people, customer experience etc) also had a kick-start.
Confusion – People keep muddling up your business with someone else’s? I particularly remember Kmart (big retailer of all sorts) and KMarket (fruit shop) of the 80s.
Not all name changes are going to help your company but history shows it can be beneficial.
Take the 2007 name change of Apple Computers to just Apple. We all know how Apple has gone the past several years and a lot of their success has nothing specifically to do with a stereotypical computer.
Google (which has partly morphed now into the holding company Alphabet) was originally named Back Rub. “I am going to Back Rub it” does not quite sound as compelling as “I am going to Google it!”
Zac de Silva is an award winning business coach and owns www.businesschanging.com, the virtual coaching question software www.accme.co and is co-founder of www.nurturechange.com which operates the Fiji business retreat November 11–15, 2015.
– Sunday Star Times