10 Tips on Changing Your Business Name

change business name

Rebranding – A checklist of actions when changing your business name

You choose a name for your business after putting much thought and time into it. Or sometimes you just scribble down a few words you can think of, some made up ones as well, and then choose the one you think is the best for your business and simply go with it. Whether you fall in the first category or the second, there might come a time when you think of changing your business name.

While naming a business for the first time requires quite a bit of thinking on your part, changing it requires a whole lot more. When it’s the second time, you have to consider a lot of other additional factors that you didn’t need to take into account before. You have to take a number of steps to make sure that the transition from your old name to the new business name is a smooth one. Take a look at the 10 tips below to know exactly what we are talking about:

  1. Choose and check

The first thing to do is to choose a new name for your business. The best decision here would be to not repeat the same errors you might have done during your first business naming process. You can try out these tips on how to choose a great business name, so that this time you end up with the most appropriate and unique name for your business.

Choosing a business name isn’t enough in today’s world where most of the names have already been taken by some other company or entity.  So you should also check if the name you have selected is available or not, so that later you do not end up being tangled in any legal issues due to unintentional trademark infringement.

  1. Register and redirect

As soon as you get your hands on a great business name that is still available and has not been trademarked already, don’t wait for someone else to take that name away too. Run to register as quickly as you can! Even go ahead and trademark it!

Register your new website URL as well as other similar URLs while creating a website redirect from you old one to new one.  In short, register anything that you can think of relating to your new business name, so that later another company does not even think of claiming any of those elements as being their own.

  1. Design

When you opt for a new business name, it is not only the name that you change for the business but also the other elements germane to it. For example: logo, stationary, website, Facebook, Twitter and so on. This is why while going for a new name for your business, you also have to go for new designs for elements such as the ones mentioned. You don’t always have to start from scratch though. Try using freelance marketplaces such as Elance which can make the whole designing process much easier for you.

  1. Consider and switch

You will need to consider any and every naming issues that might be related even remotely to IT. For instance, if you do utilize a VPN, which is short for Virtual Private Network, then do remember to update its name as you shift from your old business name to the new one. Also make sure you switch your email address too to a new one as well as make changes in the contact details in the email footer.

  1. Communicate

It is important to communicate the changing of your business name to your stakeholders – your employees, suppliers, customers, relevant authorities and everyone else that matters to the business in some way or the other. You can use big tools such as PR (public relations) or even smaller ones such as blogging to let everyone know about the new business name.

  1. Continue

This one is optional – you can either choose to continue using your old business name along with your new name or not. The former is done so that it is easier for the stakeholders to shift from one name to the other and get used to it gradually instead of jumping to it in an instant.

  1. Discuss

Make sure you discuss about the changes required with significant institutions such as the bank and other financial bodies. You might need to make a few necessary changes such as changing your account name and so on.

  1. Change and Update

You have to also make a lot of other necessary changes and updates that might slip out of your mind but are indeed essential to carry out the same name and message throughout your entire business. Remember to change your  website content as well as signage or livery on your premises and vehicles and update your stationary, cards and invoices as well as social media profiles with links to your new websites.

  1. Refresh

You also are required to refresh your marketing literature. So whatever promotion you are running out there, make sure they contain your new business name and designs. Also make sure you inform the directories you are a part of.

10. Review

Lastly do a review of your entire internal documentation. This includes all your contracts of employment. Make changes and updates as necessary and recheck if you have missed anything.

As you can see there are many things to consider when changing your business name, this list just barely scratches the surface, especially if you’re a larger entity or have been around for some time. Do you have any other advice to business owners on rebranding? Please share them in the comments.