|Posted on January 10, 2019 at 8:00 AM|
This past year I transitioned my business model by aquiring a colleagues dog walking business and selling my vacation clients. I went from pet sitting to just dog walking and boarding. My business name, Pet Sitters Plus, did not reflect my new business model. I decided to rebrand my business and change my business name, also because people who where looking for a dog walker would more likely pick someone who specializes in dogs. I wanted to use Walk N' Dogs. The first step was to see if a name I liked was available in my state so I went on the Department of States website for NY, https://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/faq_availability.page.asp, and looked up how to search if a new name is available. All I had to do was print the form, fill it out and mail it in with $5.00. Once they said the name was availalbe then I had to file a Certificate of Amendment with $60. Make sure to fill in your old business name exactly or they will reject the request because you forgot a comma or space, yes they are that picky. They also said the computer was thinking Walk N' Dogs was too similar to Walking Dogs so they suggesting taking the apostrophy out, which I did and it was approved. The approval takes several weeks.
Here is a great resource for doing a name change and also for those who want to start an LLC, https://www.llcuniversity.com/change-ny-llc-name-certificate-of-amendment/, if you go to the home page you can pick your own state. While you are waiting for the name change to be approved start making a list of everyone that needs to know about your name change like banks, payroll company, everything online (my old email address was tied to all my user ID's). Start checking for a new domain name for your website. Unfortunately someone already took walkndogs.com so I went with walk-n-dogs.com which was available. Once you have the new domain name you need to have it attached to your website (check with the domain provider and your website company on how to do that). Keep your old domain name, depending on how much longer it is active so that it will redirtect to the new name for those clients who may forget you changed the name (make sure to email all your clients about the change). Then set up a new email address based on the domain name i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Now comes the daunting task of changing the new email everywhere online, for me as I mentioned it was my user ID so I had to change it for my pet sitting softeware, website builder, credit card processing company, online banking, paypal, Vista Print (I ordered new business cards), the Nextdoor site, the free online calendar I use for my boarding to show availability: Brolmo, and finally Facebook. Face book originally rejected my request to change the name of my page because it did not match my services but I appealed and they said that if I submit proof of the name change, which I did, they would approve it.
If you use a logo for your business part of rebranding could include getting a new logo. My old logo was a nice picture I took of a cat licking a dog sitting on a couch. Since I don't sit cats anymore I wanted a logo that fit my new business model and I went to an online company fiverr.com and hired one of their artists to design a new logo for me, it only cost $50 and came out nice. I put that on my facebook page, website and new business cards. If you go to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/walkndogsllc/ you can view my new logo.