You’ve had the same company name since you started out of your home’s garage. It’s been years. You’re not even selling the original product anymore. The scope of your business is now completely different to those early days.
It may be time to register a new business name.
Before you start registering a new domain name and designing a cool logo, consider the following points. They all form integral parts of changing the name of your business.
Can I change my Australian business name?
In short, no you can’t. ASIC does not allow you to change a registered business name.
Should you wish to trade under a different business name then you must submit a new application to register a new business name. You can later apply to cancel the existing business name.
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Done Your Research?
You’ve come up with something new and catchy. You want to change your business name, just get it done. I get your enthusiasm. But hold your horses and do a little bit of research first:
For example, can you actually use it? You need to ensure the name is available. You also want to double check that you’ll be able to register the name online: the domain name (with different tlds), the Facebook Page, Twitter handle, you name it. If the .com.au isn’t available, for example, it may be time to rethink.
You also want to make sure that your name isn’t attached to some scandal or other unsavoury event. Search around to verify that your chosen name is ‘clean’ and won’t be confused with something else.
Ask others what they think, including trusted customers. Use something like Survey Monkey to collect opinions from a wide range of people. They may come up with something (perhaps a problem?) you haven’t thought of.
Is It Worth It?
Before you proceed, ask yourself if changing your business name is actually necessary. Is it adding anything to your business, or is it just a vanity thing? It’s an expensive and arduous process, one you’ll most definitely underestimate. Only do it if it will add something to your long-term bottom line.
Update Your Business ‘Stuff’
Okay, a bit of a primitive name, but ‘stuff’ encompasses pretty much everything that has your branding or name on it. You may think it’s obvious, but there are a lot of places where your business name is shown or listed:
● Google My Business. This one is key. When someone does a targeted search for a business on Google, the search engine lists your chosen Google My Business name.
● Citations. These are business links to your websites. Directories like Yell, for example. Use a service like BrightLocal to change these in a quick and systematic way.
● Your old school print products. I’m talking business cards, letterheads, invoices, stationary, that kind of thing. They’re still very much relevant.
● Bank account. This one speaks for itself.
And Finally, Tell Your Customers!
Telling your customers about your new business name requires a careful approach, but it’ll be an exciting experience.
If you have the budget, I recommend crafting a cool intro video for your new name to explain why it’s happening, what’s inspired the new name, and how it reflects your core values and ambitions for the future.
Put a huge effort into the big sites; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. But don’t forget the ‘smaller’ social networks either. They may be the main hangouts for your target customers.
And there you have it. Your complete checklist that you need to get through if you’re thinking of changing your business name. It’s not going to be simple or quick, but if you’ve picked the right name, it can only help your business forward.