When it comes to business, your brand is everything. If you started on your entrepreneurial journey with a certain brand vision and quickly realized that a change was needed to be successful in your industry, it’s good to be aware of what you need to know before changing your business name. Change isn’t easy, especially if you have a customer or client base that’s already familiar with your current name. To help you decide whether it’s the right path for your business, take these four things into consideration.
- Weigh the Financial Costs
Although the creative process to come up with a new business name may be free, the process to officially change it isn’t. Although fees vary based on your state, it can cost as little as $20 or as much as $150 just to file a business name change. In addition to this fee, you’ll need to consider other associated expenses such as changing your website or checking for domain availability. It may be well worth the investment in the long run if a name change helps your business grow, but take a look at your business budget and see if a change is something your business can actually afford right now.
- Consider Your Customers or Clientele
If you’re considering a business name change, it’s vital that you think about whether a new name will resonate with your customers or clientele. The last thing you want is for your new name to drive customers away or confuse clients. To ensure that you don’t do this, get your clients or customers involved in the process. Try holding a focus group about whether people are open to a change or even have them participate in a poll to help decide on the new name. This will get your customer base engaged with your business and build trust in your brand.
- Opt to Register as a DBA
If you’re wary about the process of changing your business name, think about using a DBA or “doing business as” name instead. It’s common for sole proprietors and partnerships to use a DBA so that they can conduct business under another name without having to change your business documents or licenses. Be aware that there are still some costs associated with registering a DBA and you don’t get the benefits of legal protection with one. The U.S. Small Business Administration has more information about registering on their site.
If you’ve thought through the above considerations and know that a business name change is the right move for you, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with all the steps to successfully change your name. Check out the infographic below from The Zebra for a business name change checklist and examples of other well-known companies that made a name change for the better.