Should I rename my business?


S.L. writes:

I'm considering changing my business name. I have had my current name for only a few months (not even 6) and have not booked any clients under this name or built much of a following. My branding is solid but the name just feels wrong for what I'm pursuing, my short and long term goals, and what I want my clients to feel when we work together. I'm thinking of this new name as my business name and keeping my current name for my shop I'm opening in a few months. Other than refining my design elements, my brand would remain pretty much the same (colors, photography, etc.). Would this be bad for my overall brand for my business? 

The short answer is: yes. If you feel like the name doesn't match what you are trying to pursue, what your goals are, and how you want your clients to think and feel about you, then you probably should rename your business.

The long answer is a little more nuanced.

(A note to the general readership, I'm going to comment on some specifics here that you won't have context for, but if the original letter-writer wants to post in the comments and get some more feedback, she's welcome to do so!) 

It sounds like you feel like a lot of things do work with the branding -- and for what it's worth, when I look at your website and Instagram, I think you've done a fine job at creating a really consistent look and feel for your brand, overall, really strong! I do agree that there's a slight tonal mismatch between the name and the branding though, so that could be one possibility. However, I have to wonder how much you've done to properly communicate all that your business does and can do -- a name could be a barrier, but I'm doubtful it's the sole reason for any stalled momentum.

I'm not sure how your business before the current name was, and I don't know what the name you'll be switching to, so I can't speak to how much better this is going to be than the last one. But no matter what, I think there needs to be a very intentional push at this point on making yourself more visible and known. You have a beautiful brand. You provide a very valuable set of services. And from what I can see, you are a really lovely, sweet person. I think that anyone can pull together an amazing brand and set up the foundation for an amazing company, but if no one knows you, then it's a bit like the philosophical question of, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?If a beautifully branded business comes into the existence but no one knows it's there, can it actually be successful? 

It's very possible that you've done quite a bit of work toward building brand awareness, so please take my comments with a grain of salt as I only have so much information to go on, but in case you've been holding back at all, consider this a moment of permission to engage more, speak out more, and build those relationships that will echo and magnify all of the good things your business can provide to others. I know that social media and these online communities make everything feel like they move at warp speed, so this might still take more time than you'd want it to (especially if you are going to be renaming your business again), but good things do take time.

We're circling back to last week's question in a way, and my advice on marketing / self-promotion mindset make a good follow-up to the thoughts I laid out here. No matter what, I hope you move forward with a bit more confidence and I can't wait to see what you do next!