It wasn’t an easy decision and was months, even years in the making. But after 6 years, it took 2 phone calls for me to finally make the decision to change my business name.
In 2010, I started my own little freelance business and called it Spark Up Arts.
I was mainly doing graphic design gigs I found on Craigslist. I landed a small job doing a poster of a candidate running for city council. She said she couldn’t write a check to me personally, it had to be to a business – something about how campaign contributions are used.
So out of necessity, I filed the paperwork and registered my sole proprietorship, and then opened a business checking account. Now I could deposit my $50 check written out to Spark Up Arts.
Now after 6 years, I’m changing the name and domain. Spark Up Arts is now SparkFlow. The domains & social media changed as well:
Reasons Why I Changed My Business Name
The primary reason is how people were reading it when it was all lowercase, such as in the domain, email address, and social media handles. Instead of seeing it as “Spark Up Arts,” they saw it as “Spark U Parts.”
This happened multiple times over the years, and it kept me mulling over the idea. I’ve been mistaken for an auto repair shop a few times.
This past week, 2 phone calls cemented the change for me. A potential client called me back asking for Steven from “Spark U Parts” with uncertainty in his voice. A support tech guy also said he would email me at my “Spark U Parts” address.
With these 2 phone calls, it made me think of all the other people who were misreading my business name that I didn’t know about. I also thought about how much potential business I could be losing because people didn’t want to work with “Spark U Parts” because they thought it was a different industry or a cheesy name (which if read like that, kind of is).
A second reason is that the business name didn’t really reflect what I was doing anymore. When I started with mainly graphic design, Spark Up Arts made sense. But then I added building websites and now I do a lot of online marketing and consulting, so Spark Up Arts doesn’t go as well anymore.
Doubts On Changing a Business Name
Of course, changing your brand after 6 years is a difficult decision. First, there’s the tedious technical side of it. I had to duplicate and copy my site, change all the internal links, redirect the domain, change all the social media, change all the links in my email automation series, change my email and all the accounts associated, and attempt to change all the random links out there.
It wouldn’t be as big of a deal if this was sooner and I had less of an audience. But traffic to my website has been growing month-to-month over the past year.
And though my email list is by no means huge, I had spent a lot of work over the past year in creating good optins and automation series, and was also seeing good growth month-to-month.
My fear was the interruption in all the processes going on. My fear was broken links all over the place that would turn visitors away. My fear was the loss or confusion of my brand name.
What I Was Looking For in a New Business Name
Before I jump in, keep in mind that these are my personal preferences, but they could have application for you too if you’re looking to rebrand your business or you’re starting a new business.
First, I wanted to address the primary issue. My new business name had to be easily recognizable when in all lowercase and strung together like a domain or email address. It also had to be easily spell-able – another company I have is Intrinsic, and I’m surprised at how many people I’ve met that don’t know how to spell it.
Next, I wanted something of the same length or shorter. I’ve had some fairly lengthy email addresses with other companies that were always annoying to type. Not only did it have to be short in the number of letters, but also in the number or syllables so that it was easy to say. I was always drawn to short, catchy company names like Hubspot, Dropbox or Evernote.
On the technical, marketing side, that name had to be available in the same form in all social channels. The name “sparkflow” is already taken, but “sparkflowco” is the name for Twitter, Instagram and as the URL for Facebook, LinkedIn & Google Plus. Namecheckr is a great website that can check across domains and social media platforms for availability.
Finally, I wanted my business name to be a little clearer about what I did, but also convey some sort of meaning. I went from trying to keep it as closely aligned with my original name as possible, like Spark Up Marketing (sparkup.marketing), to changing it completely and making it super obvious, like Business Growth Online (businessgrowth.online)
In the end, I arrived at SparkFlow, and here’s why.
Where “SparkFlow” Came From
I wanted to keep the “Spark” part. I love that word and the idea that something small can be essential to starting something big. In a lot of businesses, it often takes a small spark of hope, creativity, and risk to launch that business to new levels.
The term “Flow” comes from an opposite angle. It’s slow, it’s steady, it’s ongoing. It’s also an opposing element (spark goes with fire, flow goes with water). But it’s often overlooked and necessary in business. Flow comes from having systems setup and working efficiently. It’s the dependability you need to have a steady flow of visitors, leads, and customers. It’s what keeps your business afloat. And having good Flow frees you up to have those moments of Spark.
So I picked that name primarily to communicate the philosophy of my business. To grow, you need to take risks and try new things, but at the same time, setting up systems that keep you steadily growing.
So what do you think? Was the business name change a good choice? Let me know in the comments.
Are you in a place of changing your business name, or forming a new business? Need help with creating a brand that reaches the right audience. Contact me to see how we can work together.