Time to Change Your Company Name?

As of today, November 14th, I’m officially announcing that the name of my company has changed from Accelerated Growth Consulting to Wired to Grow (i.e. the name of this blog has now become the official name of my company). And if you’ve been paying attention to the navigation and sidebars, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of content has been added over the past two weeks (feel free to poke around this site as there’s a lot of free content for you to consume).

But the bigger question, and the one more interesting to you may be, why make a name change? What would cause someone to want to change a business name? And, even more interesting, should you consider it?

That said, here are a few questions that might help you decide if it might be time for a name change

I. Has Your Strategy Changed?

In other words, one of the main reasons why a business may want to change their name is because their strategy has changed. For example, a few years ago, Apple Computer dropped the word Computer from their name. Why? Because their strategy had changed. Most of their revenue and where they were headed wasn’t related to building computers. So, the name change made complete sense.

I know companies that need to change their name because technology has changed (e.g. Microfiche anyone). I know other companies that need to change their name because they’ve changed their geographical market (e.g. “The First Bank of Germantown” (fictional bank) doesn’t make sense when their market has expanded to the DC Metro market or the East Coast). By the way, I’ve always thought this way about The Southern Baptist Church with locations in Maine, Minnesota and Washington State 🙂

In other words, when a strategic change has taken place, it’s often a good time to make a name change to signify that change. In my case, I’ve decided that I want to move to a more virtual model where location is irrelevant to what I do. In addition, while I love consulting, it’s only one of my five revenue streams (consulting, coaching, speaking, writing and product sales). While the name is appropriate to my consulting engagements, it’s not to the other four streams. So, dropping consulting made sense.

II. Is Your Name Too Ordinary?

In other words, when someone hears the name of your company do they say, “Wow! That sounds interesting?” As you know, we all live in a world with attention deficit disorder. In general, most people can’t remember the name of a company they’ve just heard about … unless there’s something interesting or different about it.

For example, “Joe’s Burgers” isn’t that memorable, but “Five Guys” is! Believe it or not, the original name for Google was “Back Rub.” Think they made a wise name change? Can you imagine saying to someone today, “Hey, give me a minute and I’ll back rub that for you?”

In my case, the phrase “accelerated growth” was descriptive of what I do but it was also pretty ordinary. You can find lots of consultants, business coaches, etc. who all talk about accelerated growth.

Moreover, in the past few years of mentioning the name of my company, “Accelerated Growth,” no one has said to my face, “I love that name.” Yet, in just the past few months of blogging at “Wired To Grow,” I frequently have people say, “I love that name.”

Wired To Grow has the cool factor. It’s interesting. It causes people to say, “Tell me more.” Unfortunately, Accelerated Growth Consulting didn’t.

III. Does Your Name Have Any Negative Connections Or Connotations?

For example, back in 2001, Anderson Consulting made a wise change amid the accounting scandals of that day and changed their name to Accenture. It cost them $100M. Was it worth it? Absolutely. ValueJet had a bad crash in the Everglades of Florida back in ’96. To get out from under the negative press, they changed their name to AirTran. Again, another good move.

In my case, the word “consulting” (IMHO) has a negative connotation (please, no haters. I love consulting. I’m talking about potential buyers/leads/prospects and their perspective). Enter a conversation with someone and when they ask you what you do say, “I’m a consultant,” and watch what happens. The conversation ends. Note: the same thing usually happens when someone says, “I’m a lawyer.”

In light of the above, removing the word “consulting” from my company name was and is a strategic choice. Even though I’m doing the same work, when I say I’m the President of Wired To Grow it’s a whole different conversation. There’s no negative baggage assigned to it.

IV. Does Your Name Fit What You Do—As Well As Your Brand?

A little while ago I met someone and asked them what they do. They said that they owned a consulting company. Being a consultant (who doesn’t carry any negative baggage about the profession :-), I asked her about what kind of consulting her company did. She then said, “We do placement for programmers.” Immediately I said, “Have you thought about changing your name?” No one in their right mind would ever think that XYZ Consulting equals placement for programmers.

In my case, “accelerated growth” was in the ball park, but what I really love doing is helping owners, CEOs and service professionals design and then execute businesses that grow faster. I’m all about intentionality and planning. In addition, since I can’t control client behavior, I can’t guarantee accelerated growth. I have clients who listen and execute and are growing like weeds. I also have clients who don’t take action and aren’t growing like weeds. However, I can guarantee that I can help someone “Wire” their business for growth—which is another reason why I decided to change my company name to Wired To Grow.

Now, while there are several other reasons why I wanted to change the name of my company (like, most people can’t spell “Accelerated” (unbelievable) and I wanted to have a .com), this post is already getting too long and the more important question for today is …

Is it time for you to change the name of your company?

So, is it?

To your accelerated success!

P.S. A few other name changes you might enjoy learning about.

  • Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (Sony)
  • Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web (Yahoo)
  • Brad’s Drink (Pepsi)
  • Matsushita Electric Corporation of America (Panasonic)
  • Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (IBM)
  • Diet Deluxe (Healthy Choice)
  • AuctionWeb (Ebay)
  • DrivUrSelf (Hertz)
  • Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike)
  • Confinity (Paypal)
  • Peter’s Super Submarines (Subway)
  • Sound of Music (Best Buy)

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