I chose my business name on the back of a particularly shitty day at an old office job. The owner of the company had a knack for belittling the efforts of his employees, reducing their role and contribution to something that sounded insignificant.
Mine was ‘tippity tap’. Apparently, that’s the sound of a writer doing their job. And no, it’s not terribly offensive but it didn’t make me feel like what I did really mattered. So, I decided that I wanted to change its meaning. The owner wasn’t going to change his attitude and turning it into something I could see as positive felt like a productive way to deal with the situation.
That’s a terrible reason to choose a name. And I hung onto it for five years, growing increasingly dissatisfied with it to the point where now it is somewhat embarrassing. Both the origin story and the actual phrase itself.
“But the words and their origin haven’t changed. Why now are you making a change?” I hear you ask.
Well, I always found a reason to hang on to it:
- I have paid for the domain name for another six months.
- I made business cards for that name.
- I don’t want to start again.
- I can’t think of a better one.
None of those reasons mentions clients or the brand. Despite my reluctance to get rid of it, I was never fully behind the name. The website, the business cards, the lack of motivation to think of a new name. Clients tend to know me just by my actual name and Tippity Tap remains some strange part of my email address.
Should you change your business name?
If it isn’t working now and you can see it, then probably.
There are always going to be stories of businesses who stuck with their terrible name and still became wildly successful. However, if like me, the name starts to grate on you and becomes an obstacle, then change it. Sure, you might have to throw out the few hundred business cards you bought with good intentions, but that’s a small price to pay for not cringing every time you have to tell someone the name of your business.
Your business isn’t your name, it is what you provide, and if the name saps your energy to shout about your services and products, then change it. I don’t know what my new name will be just yet and while I am steering clear of reappropriating another insult, I have some ideas. Besides, finding something inspiring and memorable is half the fun.