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Can I change my stupid business name after I’ve spent a mint on marketing?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 | By Adam Ferrier

I chose a name for my business and did all my marketing material, advertising, etc. I now hate it and have had it pointed out to me that it sounds slightly seedy. What do I do? Plough on regardless or start from scratch again?


As someone who has started a number of businesses I can empathise with the difficult task of naming – it's extremely difficult.


However, and this is not an exaggeration, it is the single most important decision for your business that you'll ever make.


No other thing you ever do will ever communicate as much about your business as your name will.


A good name will inspire people, creating energy and opportunity. A bad name will confuse, or limit your businesses potential.


So, in a word, change it. If you're not completely happy with it then change it, the cost of doing so will soon be forgotten.


Two friends and I owned a music business for several years. None of us liked the name, and the business never flourished – I think the bad name was one of the reasons why.


So here are some rules to choosing a good name:


  1. You need to like it
  2. Ensure it communicates something about your brand (e.g. Naked says transparency, Google comes from a word for a very, very big number, Boost says energy), but try not to make this too obvious (keep it interesting).
  3. Ensure your name is not limiting your business by talking about a product or place if you have plans to stretch into other businesses or locations. The Virgin empire was going to be called Slipped Disk Records when it started as a record shop. How different their fortunes would have been.
  4. Ensure it has good search engine optimisation. A made up word, or an unusual word is often good – Guzman y Gomez Mexican food anyone?


Take the time to get this right. To generate and consider thousands of names before settling on the right one is not unusual.