The Top 5 Reasons To Change Your Limited Company Name

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A good business name should be memorable, show people who you are and encourage customers or clients to trust you over your competitors.

That’s a lot of pressure to get right, and you might find that the name you started out with doesn’t hit the mark. Or, as you’ve grown, it’s not right for your business. 

One of the benefits of having a limited company is that it’s possible to change your name and carry on trading. This means you can have a second (or third, or fourth) chance at getting the perfect name for your company. 

Changing your name doesn’t come without its risks, though. To ensure that you make the right decision, we’ll go through the top reasons to change your limited company name and why it might be time to do so – and the risks involved.

The benefits of a business name change 

Changing a business name can be like giving your business a fresh start, or a way to celebrate growth and changes. For example, a new name could symbolise a journey into new products or services, a physical move into a new location, or even branching out into new audiences. 

Alternatively, changing your name could be a practical way to avoid confusion, help secure trademarks, or even future-proof your business for years to come. 

Not sure if a change is right for you? Take a look at our top 5 reasons to change your limited company name below to see if any of these fit your current situation…

Top 5 reasons to change your limited company name

A new business name could be the key change you need to propel your business forward. If you’re still on the fence, here are the top 5 reasons why changing your business name might be the key to unlocking a new era of growth and success. 

1. You’ve outgrown it

Businesses change and adapt over time – it’s a natural part of their life cycle. Although you could have started with one core product or service, you might have expanded to a vast range.

Although some people like to keep a reminder of their humble beginnings, if your name doesn’t reflect the business you are today, it might be time for a change. 

When changing your name, you don’t have to make a dramatic change from what you currently are. For example, Apple started as Apple Computers. But as they advanced to a wide range of products from Phones, iPods, Tablets, Watches and so on, they decided to drop the ‘Computers’ part from their name. They had outgrown that caveat, so the name reflected that growth.

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2. You’ve expanded regions or changed owners

Similar to outgrowing your name in terms of product, you could have also expanded into new geographical regions or even changed owners.

So if your business was named after the area you served, or the owner, it might be time to change your name to reflect this growth.

For example, ‘Manchester Carpet Cleaning Co.’ could be renamed to just ‘The Carpet Cleaning Co’ (assuming the name is available) to reflect your move out of the region. 

Likewise, if your business was named after its owner, who is no longer part of the company, or if you want to promote yourself as a bigger brand, you might want to drop your name. 

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3. Your name isn’t standing out 

If your business is being confused with another business, or if customers fail to remember your name, it might be time for a change.

Your company name needs to stick in your customers’ minds – so that when they need your services, they know exactly who to go to. 

4. Your name is causing confusion 

Great business names should be easy to remember, pronounce, and understand. If customers forget your name, struggle to understand what you do, or even get mixed up with other businesses, it’s not working for you. 

If your name causes confusion in any way, it’s not working for your business. Rather than associating your business with a great experience, your potential customers will just remember being confused by the name.

That’s not what you want your business to be remembered for. 

Changing your company name is the only solution to removing this confusion before it does any lasting damage to your business.

5. You are being forced to change your name 

Lastly, you could be legally forced to change your name. This could happen if you receive a demand from another company for breaking their trademark or registering a name that is too similar to their own.

If this is the case, make sure you spend extra time making sure your new name is allowed before you register a change. 

Recommended Company Name Change Service:

If you’re looking for an affordable way to change your company name without having to complete lots of complex forms yourself, we recommend using the 1st Formations ‘Change of Company Name’ service.

For a very reasonable fee, they’ll complete and file the NM01 form at Companies House and also provide all related documents such as a resolution, minutes, and certificate of name change.

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Is changing your business name a risk? 

Changing your business name can be a risk, particularly if you’ve already built a lot of brand awareness and recognition.

Changing your name can risk losing the loyalty that you’ve built up, as customers might think that you’ve stopped trading or have been replaced by someone else. 

Changing your name is a strategic decision with potential benefits and significant risks that you should be aware of, including: 

  • Brand Equity Loss: An established name carries brand recognition and customer trust. Switching names can potentially harm this trust. 
  • Reduced Brand Awareness: Customers who have grown familiar with your current name might struggle to find you under a new one.
  • SEO Impact: A change can affect the search engine optimisation (SEO) value built under the old name, making it harder for people to find your business on search engines. 
  • Confusion: During the transition period, customers, employees, and investors may experience confusion. 
  • Potential Backlash: Change can be unsettling. Some stakeholders might not agree with the new name.
  • Trademark Issues: Potential trademark conflicts can lead to legal trouble and force you to rebrand again.

Brands that have made name changes a success story 

Don't forget to change your business cards after you change your company's name.

There are risks involved with every aspect of business. Before you get caught up in wondering what could go wrong, we should bring up some of the most famous (and successful) name changes in history to keep you inspired. 

Google

The tech behemoth is the world’s most used search engine. But it didn’t always have this name and actually started out as ‘BackRub’. I’m not sure about you, but ”BackRubbing’ an answer when you don’t know it doesn’t have the same ring to it… 

Amazon

One of Amazon’s early names was Relentless. But eventually, it was renamed because Relentless sounded too intense for an online book retailer. Personally, Relentless makes me think of an energy drink rammed full of caffeine, which doesn’t work for the brand. 

Sony 

When Sony created the first transistor radio in 1955, it did so under the name Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. But they wanted a name that Americans could easily pronounce, so instead renamed it to Sony. 

Yahoo

Yahoo was created by Jerry Yang and David Filo, two PhD students at Stanford. Although the pair were able to build a search engine to rival Google – they weren’t as great with names.

Their first one was a very humble name of ‘Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web’. Yahoo is much catchier (even if it does stand for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle). 

A new name could be the best decision for your business

While changing your business name isn’t a decision to take lightly, the potential benefits can outweigh the risks. A clear, memorable, and suitable name can be a powerful tool for growth. 

Your business name is the first impression customers have of your business. It helps attract new customers, strengthens brand identity, and positions your business for future success.

And if your name isn’t fit for purpose any more, changing it could be the spark you need to ignite a new era of growth. 

Need help coming up with the perfect name? Have a look at our guide on how to come up with a catchy business name here. Already have the name in mind?

Find out how to make the change yourself with our guide to changing your limited company name. Or, save yourself the hassle and explore our top-rated company formation agents to handle the name change process for you – and you’ll be ready to trade under our brand-new name in as little as 3 working days.

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Author
Business4Beginners has been advising new businesses owners since 2013. The founder, Paul Bryant, has created, grown and sold several successful businesses and remains the editor and fact-checker of all content published on the site.
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