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The Ellipses Blog . . .

Everything you don't know about editing but are afraid to ask*

*And some other helpful stuff, too

  • Writer's pictureJennifer Walker

Time to rename/rebrand your business? Small business 101

A business name is a bigger decision than ever in the 21st century.

Are you worried your business's name isn't working for you anymore? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a business with the wrong or an uninspired name may struggle to succeed.

Maybe your business has moved in a new direction. Maybe your industry has evolved. Maybe your name simply feels outdated. If that's the case, now could be the time to rebrand.

Nowadays of course your business name selection should go hand in hand with your website domain name choice. You may want to call your bakery Bobbi’s Brownies, but if you can’t secure that as a web address, you may want to go back to the drawing board.

Cute and clever or basic and boring?

Another decision to make is whether to choose a name that has a literal meaning, or not.

It’s safe to assume that a business named “Yoga with Yasmine,” for example, offers yoga classes with a female instructor. But what if Yasmine wanted a more metaphorical or creative name? Maybe she’d call her yoga studio something like “Stretch” or “Moments of Zen,” in which case what she does isn’t immediately obvious.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; there are thousands of companies whose name doesn’t precisely tell you what they do (Amazon and Apple spring to mind). While the non-literal name obligates you to provide some additional explanation - Stretch: Yoga for Body and Mind – it also gives you some creative leeway.

Don't always stick with your first choice.

My initial name for my website design business was The Website Janitor: I would "clean up your website" for you. I showed it to a friend (later a client) and she immediately said, "No. You need a different name. The word 'janitor' has negative connotations." (Apologies to janitors everywhere.) I'm forever grateful she pushed me to come up with a better name!

Unsure about starting over with a new name? You're not alone.

AOL, Pepsi, Hertz, Nike, eBay, IBM, Subway, and even Playboy all began with different names and obviously managed to navigate the change successfully.

My favorite example of a super-successful rebrand, though, is from Google - it used to be called "BackRub." Imagine walking around talking about "backrubbing" everything!

website editor
Credit to Garrison Everest for this lovely graphic

Where does a website editor fit in?

There are a lot of decisions to make when creating or overhauling your business website (What about a logo? How about a tagline? Should I have a blog? Do I need a new name?). As a website editor, I can help you identify and address most of them.

Jennifer Walker Editor

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