Your Business Name is Everything

Hello 2013!

What a great year it’s going to be. I can feel it!

I’m excited to share with you a major change that JumpSTART Marketing has been undergoing and I can’t think of a better time than right now with the fresh start to the New Year!

….We’ve changed our company name!

Everyone, say goodbye to JumpSTART Marketing and hello to LizBESocial!

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Woo hoo!

We had to do this for some very good reasons and I’d like to share them and our process with you.

If you happen to be considering the same move, the critical steps and tips I will soon share with you will save you time, money, and most of all stress!

But first, let me tell you why we needed to change our name. The company name was determined before I came on board the LizBESocial team. Therefore, Liz shared with me the story behind the creation of JumpSTART Marketing and I would love to share it with all of you.

Liz always knew her main focus would be on Social Media and Email Marketing. In 2009 when Liz decided on the name “JumpSTART Marketing” for her business, she wanted her call-to-action slogan to be “JumpSTART your marketing with Social Media and Email Marketing”.  Liz wanted to convey the notion of making businesses successful by ‘jumping them forward very quickly and easily into web-based marketing.   Also, at the time, she was working with a number of small businesses to help them advertise on the web through print advertising, which made the title “marketing” seem fitting.

In planning her new business website and searching for a domain name, Liz ran into a small bump in the road; the name ‘Jumpstart Marketing’ was taken by someone else whose work differed slightly from hers. Although the two overlapped somewhat, Liz believed it wasn’t an issue as she would be the only local ‘Jumpstart Marketing’ business in her area. Therefore, she went ahead and purchased ‘JumpSTART Marketing LLC’ for a business and domain name. After acquiring the domain, Liz proceeded to have her website created.

Liz set up Google Alerts on “Jumpstart Facebook” and “Jumpstart Email” to track how often these phrases were being used. She was receiving alerts constantly notifying her that these phrases were showing up on various sites which made her think, ‘yeah, this might be a problem’. Ranking in the search engines became her biggest concern as she would never rank any higher than she currently was.

One option Liz had was to trademark her business name, but would it even be worth it?  was her question.

Liz obtained a legal opinion on her chosen name, and the questions that were asked included: ‘Would there be even the slightest confusion if someone was to look at your company and the other company?’  ‘Would questions arise because of this and would you end up needing to explain the difference between the two of you? The legal counsel was right; it wouldn’t be worth it. It would be too hard to manage, especially with established customers, which leads you to why we decided to change our name.

One more consideration about established customers came to our attention.   Among all the social networks, Facebook is the most difficult when it comes to changing your company name. This is because they firmly believe you shouldn’t change your name on Facebook after acquiring over 200 likes because you have already established your brand and identity with a large number of people.

In addition to Liz’s story, there are more legitimate reasons why it would be best for a company to change their name,  and no- thinking of a more clever name for your business while singing in the shower isn’t one of them! Don’t get me wrong, I come up with some of my best ideas in the shower but leave it up to the reasons below to determine if your business really needs a name change.

4 Reasons to Change Your Business Name:

1.  Rejuvenate an old brand, product, or service to give it a fresh new look and feel: There are two examples of this, your business could be looking to move to a more upscale look while still offering the same product or service or you could be intentionally planning to distance your company from its previous identity with a totally different name.

2.  Update your name to reflect your business focus and product:   Possibly you have grown out of what your business used to do and are looking to take another avenue.

3.  Make your solution, brand, or product even more distinct in market: This is the main reason we are choosing to make a change. We felt our name was no longer unique. It was being seen everywhere and it just wouldn’t be possible to rank any higher in the search engines, ever.

4.  Remove geographic references in name or brand: This is quite common where a company will name themselves something like Fairhaven Plumbing or Dentistry. What happens when your business begins to grow and you want to open up new locations in other towns or cities? It’s always best to choose a name that can grow with the company.

Changing your company name is huge and it can really be difficult if you are not ready for all the things that need to be done in your business when you change your company name.

Don’t just dive into the name change – Be prepared. Use this checklist to make sure everything is covered.

  • ____ Check Trademark: Use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Search Tool  to see if a similar name is trademarked.
  • ____ Check available domains: Before taking any other steps to changing your name, make sure it’s available to claim online. You can use the WHOIS database to find out if your desired domain is available. Also, here is a guide to registering a domain.
  • ____ Notify the state Secretary of State’s office: file a ‘Certificate of Amendment to your original state business certificate. Every state will have their own online form for this. If you are a resident of Massachusetts click here for the required form.
  • ____ Notify tax authorities: The IRS and your state and local revenue agencies will need to be notified of any change of business name. You will need to send a signed letter notifying the IRS of the business name change to the same address where you file your return. Get more information about process on the IRS Business Name Change page.
  • ____ New print and online marketing materials
  • ____ Make appropriate changes to bank accounts
  • ____ Website adjustments
  • ____ Register new domain
  • ____ Update email addresses
  • ____ Update all social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.)
  • ____ Develop a plan to notify customers of changes

It’s a lot of work! Think carefully before changing your name. It requires a well thought out reason and carefully implemented steps to avoid creating major confusion for your audience.

I also want to leave you with a great little bonus – Starting A Business Checklist (I wish I knew about this when I was first starting up) 

Share with us – What are your thoughts on our name change? Have you ever thought about changing your business name? If so, what was the reason?

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