Chances are, before you launched your small business, you spent an almost embarrassing amount of time mulling over a company name until you boiled down the options to the one perfect choice. Or, possibly, you experienced the exact opposite situation; perhaps one name seemed like the only logical choice from the beginning. Either way, it can be difficult to identify when a change of name is a positive, necessary step for your company – and it can be even more challenging to accept that truth once you see it.
There’s very legitimate reason to be off-put by the prospect of switching up your company name; if you went through a laborious selection process the first time, it can feel like that energy was wasted, and if you opted for your current name right away, it can make you question your instincts (which, by the way, is a toxic thing for a small business owner. Confidence is key to good leadership.)
But in truth, changing your company’s name – if it’s really needed – isn’t a sign that you were a bad leader when you first chose it, it’s a sign that you’re a bold, proactive leader right now. And that’s never a bad thing. Besides, it’s possible that, even if you do opt for a name change, your original name was the correct one…at the time. There are a number of reasons why altering your single most powerful branding tool could be a good move – we’ve locked down the top .
1. Your audience has changed
Knowing how to best build your brand and how to best market your product or services hinges on having a thorough working knowledge of who your customers or users are. Over time, this can shift and change significantly. If you realize that your clientele has undergone a substantial, seemingly permanent change, it’s possibly in order to change your name to better market your company to them.
2. Your product/service has changed
For example, maybe your company started out selling air fresheners for cars, but now, 5 years later, you specialize in super high-quality car detailing. Businesses evolve, and often that means they outgrow or move beyond their original name. This is usually a really exciting reason to change your name – embrace it, and give the rest of your branding a sparkly, new facelift to go with it.
3. Your current name doesn’t represent you accurately or favorably
You know how you hear words or phrases sometimes and they, either for obvious or inexplicable reasons, automatically remind you of something bad or unpleasant? It happens all the time in business, those company names where you constantly wonder, “How did they not see what a poor choice that was?” A company name can be like one of those Magic Eye images; you can’t see it clearly when you’re too close to it. If you’ve had your company up on its feet for a good amount of time, and people are constantly telling you about a weird, negative, or simply off-brand association your name conjures, it might be time for a change.
4. Escaping bad press
It happens rarely, but it does happen: company’s go through a situation that results in a lot of negative attention. And occasionally, it becomes impossible to escape your association with that event even well after the storm has passed. ValueJet, anyone? Exactly. Don’t rush to the name change while mid-scandal, or even immediately after. You need to wait months or even a year or more after the dust has settled to accurately determine if a name change is even necessary.
5. Better branding
To be clear, if your reason for changing your company name is to improve your business’ branding, your current name better be really, really detrimental to your branding. Most often, you can still effectively communicate the correct image despite a less-than-ideal name, if the other parts of your branding are on point. If you do decide that your name is genuinely holding back your brand from greatness, then go for it.