Chances are, when you first filled out the paperwork for your business, you felt it was the perfect name. Unfortunately, business names can be a bit like clothes in your wardrobe. Something that looked perfect when you bought it a few years ago may suddenly fit wrong or seem totally unappealing. Regardless of your reason for wanting to change the name of your business, there are some things you should consider before doing so.
Impact on Existing Customers
It is not always easy to determine exactly how a new name will impact existing customers. Without a question, however, all the branding work you did under the old name will be undermined as people struggle to pair the new name with old information. This can lead no mistakes when passing information about your business to others, as well as at other critical times. Here are some other places were making a business name change can have a less than positive impact:
• When you change the name of your business, there may also be an expectation that your services, products, or prices will change. Regardless of the satisfaction level your customers already have, changing one thing can easily lead to expectations that other things will change. While some may hope for constructive changes, others may fear that something they value right now may no longer be available.
• During the process of naming your company, you were more than likely tempted to try and find something that was as trendy as it was descriptive. Unfortunately, if you tipped the scales more towards trendy, the name you chose may well be out of fashion. Even though changing the name of your company to something more updated may seem like it would have a positive impact, your clients may still prefer the nostalgic feel of your current company name. This disruption will also pose a serious problem when it comes to the mindset people are in when they think about your products and the role they play in their lives.
How a New Name Will Affect Existing Brands
When it comes to branding, you more than likely did a lot of marketing research to find out what would make your products most palatable to your clients. Before you change the name of your company, you will be best served by redoing all those studies in order to make sure you will not wind up losing brand credibility. It is also very important to make sure that you do these studies on prospective customers as well as existing ones.
Unless you are doing business in a rare or highly specific niche, there is every chance that you have one or more competitors. If your products are more popular, or just beginning to become more competitive, changing the name may make your competitor look more stable simply because they aren’t making drastic changes. Remember, in most people’s minds, you only make changes if something is wrong. Therefore, when you make changes to the company name, people may automatically start wondering if there is something else wrong that they didn’t see before. In the arena of competition, this may be just enough to cause clients to see what others have to offer.
Benefits You Expect to Gain
If you have ever gone to a doctor and received medication with cumbersome side effects, you have probably heard the phrase “benefits outweigh the risks”. In a sense, an analysis of the impact of a business name change will not be complete unless you also weight the advantages. Here are a few times when you may gain more from changing a company name than what you would lose in terms of branding and perception of stability:
• a business partner that may have steered the company in the wrong direction has been bought out or removed. Under these circumstances, clients that were dissatisfied with your products or services may wonder if something better will result from the administrative changes.
• Marketing related errors or production problems have already given your product or services have already had a negative impact. While a name change won’t fix all of these problems, it may be enough to ensure new customers aren’t excessively swayed by old problems. As long as you make a concerted effort to fix the problems that led to a negative image, the name change may be just what your company needs.
• Your product lines or services have changed considerably since opening the business, or you are expanding well beyond the expectations of an existing product line. Consider a situation where you started a business around making fuzzy or furry character pens, and named the company ABC Fuzzy Pens. Now let’s say you want to expand into making paper clips. Since your business name doesn’t really allow for this expansion, it may be better to change the name to something more inclusive.
• You bought our or merged with another company and need to capture both client bases for the benefit of the new business structure. In these situations, clients of both establishments are bound to feel a bit concerned about the changes that will come. Starting off with a new name effectively helps to reset the clock and the expectations of consumers that are wondering how the changes will affect the products and services they have come to rely on.
Legal Complications that Can Arise
Chances are, you already know that you must exercise caution when choosing a company name so that you don’t violate someone else’s trademark or intellectual property rights. If you have already done this research for the intended new name, then you may not realize that there are still some legal problems that can occur. Here are some important ones that you must consider:
• at first glance, the forms required for making legal changes to your business name may not seem that complicated. That all being said, do not forget that you may have to file more than one set of forms with different government agencies at the federal, territory, and local levels. This process can be even more complicated if your business headquarters are located in a major city, or some other place that has its own unique set of reporting requirements.
• If your business has been in operation for some time, there is a good chance that you have opened various kinds of banking, merchant, and debt related accounts. While your creditors aren’t about to sue you for changing the name of your company, invoicing from them under the old name can still pose a series of problems. This may include discrepancies that will need to be explained to auditors as well as anyone else that looks at these invoices to determine the financial status of your business.
How to Facilitate the Process
Here at (name), we believe that every business should have all the best tools for success. This includes making sure that a change in business name goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Rather than take a chance on your legal business name change filings going astray or awry, you can use our services instead. Have a look at some of the reasons why business owners just like you don’t regret having chosen us to do the paperwork on their behalf:
• our state of the art website makes it very easy to get the process started. Just supply us with a few basic pieces of information, pay for our service, and we will take care of the rest.
• As soon as we receive your information, we will have one of our experienced, highly trained staff members file the name change forms. No matter what forms need to be filed, we will get the job done and make sure all the details are correct.
• Even though there are other business name registrars that can do this job, we offer the most extensive number of gateways and payment options. If you want to pay via check, debit card, or even Bitcoins, we can easily meet your payment choice needs. Since we only hire the best in terms of IT, web security, and website developers, you can also have peace of mind knowing that your information will always be safe and secure.
• Because we enjoy a good connection with local, state, and federal agencies, we have access to a range of tools that can be used to expedite the filing process. Rather than wait for weeks on end to receive validation, we can complete the entire process in just a few days.
Over time, business partners may come and go, and other things may happen that require a change to your company’s name. Before you go ahead and make these changes, it is extremely important to make sure you understand the impact it will have on current and potential customers. Even if there are more than a few people that will view the change with an open mind, there are just as many others that may feel concerned enough to break the connection you have been cultivating with branding and marketing efforts.