What’s in a name? If we’re talking business names, then your name is your brand – the symbol of your reputation. As a business owner you should always have your eye on growth. Growth of your customer base, growth of your bottom line and perhaps most importantly growth of your reputation.
What if that reputation has seen better days? Whether you’re currently a business owner who is considering selling or a buyer looking at businesses to purchase a very important consideration is whether a rebranding is in order.
One of the first things a prospective buyer will do is pop your business name into an internet search engine and see what comes up. If you are thinking about selling your business, then this is something you should do for yourself long before you list your business for sale. What does your reputation look like? What does the community at large think of your business?
If your reputation isn’t the greatest (but is salvageable), then you need to work on changing that perception of your business. Take reviews and comments from former customers and try to make the changes that would turn any bad reviews into good ones. Many review sites will let you respond to reviews, and you should – to both the good and the bad. Customers want to know that their thoughts are being heard, so acknowledge anyone who took the time to review your business. Don’t attack customers with complaints – instead let them know they were heard and that you’ve made changes that would result in a better experience if they give you another chance.
If your reputation is atrocious – then maybe a rebranding is in order. This might be the path you need to take if you’ve lost the majority of your customer base. However, renaming and relaunching your business only works if you make major changes. A new name on the sign and business as usual isn’t going to help. Update menus or inventory, swap out staff, change operating procedures – you get the idea. Revamp your business and then let your new, improved numbers shine when you list your business for sale.
If you are a buyer, then you have to decide whether or not your will keep the business name when you take over. If the business has a good reputation within the community and you won’t be making any major changes (like turning a pizza place into a fine dining seafood restaurant), then you really should consider keeping the name so you can continue the brand presence within the community.
If the business isn’t well liked, then a name change is a great way to let the community at large know that big changes have taken place and create some curiosity that may bring customers back in the door. Just be careful with the name you choose. Your business name should make it clear what the business does, as well as give a good impression of the business at first glance.
Are you a business seller who wants advice about improving the reputation of your brand before you sell? Are you a buyer who wants to change the name of a business you are considering? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we would be happy to help!
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