If you're a creative person, like me, you probably spent hours choosing your business name. You probably asked all your friends and relatives, took a poll, made lists, doodled, brainstormed, agonized, called your best friend, agonized some more and FINALLY the big reveal! You created a logo and the perfect font and announced your beautiful business name! And then people gave you "the look." The look that said, "I don't get it. What do you do? What's your business?"
Oh beautiful creative people. WE know the meaning behind all the words and the beautiful journey we took to arrive at this amazing name. But other people don't. Other people (yes, sad, but true) are logical and literal (but don't get down on them too much--they do our bookkeeping and we love them!). They just don't understand our amazing creative ways. (That's why they need us in their lives! To make all the beauty appear!) The problem is when our clients are actually the more left-brained, logical type. They are the ones that need to understand our brand, our logo, and our business name, and yet that's who we are confusing!
Story time: When I named my company a million years ago (OK, 20 years ago. But feels like a million years ago) I agonized over the name. I had lists and ideas and doodles--the whole works. I finally landed on Signature School of Music. Because duh--time signatures and key signatures and just like our signature, we are all unique and individuals. Except all that inference was lost on everyone. So I was continually asked, "Why Signature? What does that mean?" So I would explain and expound they would look at me like, "OK, yeah. Sure." So I finally resorted to saying, "A teacher of mine suggested it. I liked it." Response: "Oh."
Fast forward 15 years. It's time to get serious about growing my little music school. I'm tired of make ZERO money. I'm tired of working super hard but never moving forward. So I hire a business coach. And he -GASP- suggests I change my name to the name of my town. Here's the dialogue that ensues in my (freaking out) mind:
"I can't! I'm so attached! I love my name. I've always been Signature School of Music. I live in ROGERS. Rogers is a terrible name for a music school! I can't do it. I won't do it. I can't do it." Oh the drama.
After a year or two of hemming and hawing, I finally decided that I wanted to be THE music school in my town. I wanted the town to have ownership of my business. I wanted my clients to definitively know where my business is located. I wanted the surrounding areas to know where my school is located. So I did it. I filed a DBA (doing business as) and changed my business name to Rogers School of Music.
No one died. I didn't flip out. I cried a little (and saved the sign in my garage for the next 3 years) but you know what happened? My business GREW. People started exclaiming, "I didn't even know this school was here!" (What?? With all my advertising, you didn't know I existed? But I change my name and NOW you notice??)
Yep. The fall that I changed my name (and made a big to-do about it on Facebook and in our newsletters and emails and even got in the paper and invited the Chamber of Commerce to do a ribbon cutting) we got more noticed than ever before. And we GREW. And I've never looked back. No one (except friends in other parts of the United States) asks me why my company is named Rogers School of Music. Nope. It's clear. It's not clever, it's not beautiful, but it's clear and I've gotten so many new clients because of it!
If I can do it, you can too. Sure, you'll cry a little. But then it won't matter because you'll be so happy about all your new business. (And people will find you more easily online because your city name is in your business name! Boom!)
When I finally threw away my old sign that I had stored in the garage for 3 years, I chuckled a little. Besides the day that it came down, I've never looked back. I've never regretted the decision. I only have one regret--I should have done it sooner.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!