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How to change a business name, stress-free

Here are the reasons why to change your business name and the how-to steps, based on my recent, surprisingly stress-free, business name change from BenMcAdam.me to Profits Collective (.com).

Why change the name of an existing business?

Here are a handful of reasons why you might want to:

  • change in focus, direction, niche, services/products, location, etc
  • the name is too generic, or there are too many similar business names out there
  • using your own name is no longer appropriate, or you want to move on from the business some day
  • the name isn’t easy to remember, spell, pronounce, or find online
  • you can’t copyright or trademark the name
  • when you first named your business, you settled for something that was ‘good enough’, but never felt quite right
  • your current name was trendy and quirky at the time, but now feels outdated
  • you need a rebirth, to make big changes or to reignite your motivation. However, if you feel this way, there might be bigger issues that need to be worked through; a name change isn’t a silver bullet.

These were my reasons:

  • change from .me to .com, because so many people asked about that.
  • there are too many variations on my name: Mac vs Mc, ‘s’ at the end, double ‘d’ in the middle, calling me “Adam” for my first name.
  • change from my name, about me, to something that is more about my clients and audience.
  • something that suggests a group, as I have been refining my programs for a year now (new version launching soon), and I believe groups are the best way for me to impact as many business owners as possible.
  • the new name must have the right nuance; the goal of profits for me isn’t to compete with or take from others, but to allow more time to see the world, to contribute, to learn and grow, to indulge hobbies, and to be with friends and family. Hence the “Collective” part of the name, suggestive of groups banding together to help one another in a way that will benefit their businesses and lifestyles.

Stress-free steps

Here’s what worked for me. You will need to tweak to your situation, but the common basics are here.

1. Brainstorm the name

Search “business name generator” and you’ll find some that make great suggestions and also check if the domain name and social media profiles are also available. I had help at this step from a lot of people, but the particular name I chose came from a brainstorming session with one of my coaches.

Whatever you do, don’t get stuck forever on this step. A name feels more perfect and more familiar the more you actually use it, and the more your clients/customers or audience say they like it.

2. Buy the domain

Got a great name you might use? Reserve the domain now; it doesn’t cost much, and you can always not-renew next year.

3. Let it settle

At this point, I occasionally thought about the name change, but didn’t move forward with it mostly due to other priorities.

This is an optional step, or maybe don’t think about it for quite as long as I did!

The name felt right through all that time, so thankfully I didn’t get stuck at step 1 forever.

4. Get a logo designed

For simplicity, I asked my graphic designer for a text-only logo using the colours from my recent website revamp by Mel Richards and her team at Modern Traction. So many big brands have a text-only logo, and it makes the logo design process much faster, with fewer decisions.

The arrow in the logo was added on the initiative of my brilliant graphic designer Colleen Keith.

I’m not going to go through a full branding and logo design process for another year or two, as I’m tweaking my marketing approach, but I thought it was important to have something that looked professional. Colleen also updated my free PDF download to have the new logo and the new website link.

5. Set up new email addresses

In my case, I set up 3 email addresses, to make it easier to delegate some of my emails in the next few months. Two of the addresses go to my existing Gmail account, so I can still use my usual labels and filters, while the third (which will be delegated later) needs to be logged into separately and can’t see my older emails.

6. Move to the new domain

I organised help to migrate my site to the new domain name, and set up a redirect from the old domain. I didn’t want to change anything about the site because I loved the recent revamp, so I just needed a simple move.

Or maybe the move wasn’t simple, but it seemed that way because Mel and her team handled it all for me seamlessly.

7. Update personal social media profiles

Once the website was moved, I quietly updated my social media profiles to the new website address. I wasn’t ready for an official announcement, so I deleted any updates from my timelines.

8. Update business social media profiles

This means just a Facebook Page for me, but you might have multiple accounts.

I tried to update the name of the Page, but it was automatically rejected because the name wasn’t similar enough. However, there was a button to appeal the decision, so I used that to explain that I had moved my site and there was a redirection in place.

While they were thinking about it, I created a new Facebook Page with the new name, just in case that helped my appeal and so that I had a backup plan in case the appeal failed; I could post to the new page and share it to the old one, plus post on the old one to get people across to the new one.

9. Finally, the announcement

For that, I decided to explain the name change process in a way that would benefit the reader, instead of a relatively-selfish-sounding “look at my new name!” press release type announcement. And here we are.

The result

Just like with my recent website revamp, this name change makes my business feel much more professional, and the larger vision it represents is really compelling to me.

Both the name itself and the change have boosted my motivation from ‘moderate-high’ to ‘off the charts’, which has increased my productivity (i.e. one of the not-so-obvious drivers behind profits).

So I’m more confident and driven to help as many business owners as possible with their profits and to get back to sharing helpful content shortly.

What about you?

Have you thought about changing your name? If so, what’s stopping you?

If you have changed your name, do you have any tips or war stories to help others?

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Ben McAdam

Hi, I'm Ben. I uncover hidden profit opportunities for small business owners. I've been advising business owners in Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and Asia for over a decade on how to grow their business, and their profits, faster. Book a free call to see if we're a fit, or see here for different ways we can work together...
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