By Gina Blitstein

Your business’ name has an important task – to be descriptive, appealing, unique and memorable. Some business names are best kept straightforward and utilitarian – just your name and the services you provide, e,g., “Jane Doe, CPA.” With other businesses, you can get a little creative to up the creative quotient, e.g., “Suds and Bubbles” for your business that makes and sells custom soaps. Of course, naming a business something too “out there” may cause confusion and actually work against your desire to get noticed. Yes, naming your business appropriately is quite an art.

But what would you do if you ever need or want to change the name of your business?

Why change the name of a business?

The name may no longer accurately describe your offerings. If our CPA Jane Doe took on a team of bookkeepers, she may want to add something like “Recordkeeping Professionals” to her business name to let clients know hers is more than a one-woman operation and offers additional services. If instead, Jane decided to specialize in a particular type of accounting services, such as for small-to-medium businesses, or for an industry, like food service, she should certainly change her moniker to reflect her specialty.

If “Suds and Bubbles” expanded its offerings to include candles and massage oils, its current name would cease to represent the entire line of products available. In this case, it may make sense to completely rename the business to something more general that would reflect something shared among the products, like “ScentPsychology,” or the like.

The business may need rebranding. Sometimes businesses get stale or outmoded. Their operation, decor, signage – indeed, their entire identity – simply become ineffectual. That’s the time to revamp some fundamental elements of your business from the ground up. Say the sports bar you own is beginning to look and feel like any of a dozen others in the area and is struggling to maintain an edge against the competition. It may be time to rebrand your bar with a fresh theme that will attract customers in a fresh and new way. Goodbye, “Sporty Pete’s” and hello, “Fillin’ Station” – a whole new concept, spelled out in your new name.

The business may have come under new management. When you purchased a business from someone, you may want to be the “new broom that sweeps clean” – and that may include the name. Even if the business’ name is a trusted one, you may feel you want to christen your new venture yourself. Renaming is also a way of demonstrating that the business is, in essence, new, even though it’s technically not. If you purchased a business with an “iffy” reputation, you’ll definitely want to change the name so as to separate yourself as much as possible from the previous operation.

Recommendations for a smooth renaming experience

Make your new name as general as possible, while still aptly describing your business. Ideally, you don’t want to have to change your business name again - so give your new name significant consideration as to its long-term appropriateness.

Rename gradually. A hasty renaming will confuse and irritate customers. Instead, incorporate your new name gradually so as to make a smooth transition to a name with which customers are already familiar. For example, our sports bar could become “Sporty Pete’s Fillin’ Station” while morphing into nostalgic mid-century style. Alternatively, you could use an abbreviation of your former business name, gradually emphasizing the new one while dropping the old one, e.g., “Pete’s Fillin’ Station.” Another way to ease into a new name may be to use initials, for example, “SP’s Fillin’ Station.”

Imprint your new name wherever you can. Have a logo designed for your existing name that incorporates the fresh color palette and style you plan to use for your new name. Customers associate your logo with your name and vice-versa, so making this connection between the old and the new will help them associate your business with its new moniker.

Sometimes a new business name is in order. Renaming can do wonders for making the particular nature of your business easily conveyed – especially when it’s undergone significant change. Clarification, appeal, recognition – that’s what’s in a new business name.

Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.