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Choosing a Business Name and Knowing When to Pivot

What the heck happened to Operation Transformation? Wait, what even is Operation Transformation? you may be asking. When I originally created my business, I wanted a fun and catchy name that would describe what I do - help people make life transformation. It also fit well with my first children’s book, Hope Is a Butterfly, If You Don’t Squish the Caterpillar (transformation). At the time, I loved it and conducted a preliminary trademark search so that I wouldn’t impinge upon another’s trademarked business name. Not all businesses trademark their names, but I wanted to have that extra protection and avoid any potential legal issues.

I found a weight loss company with a TV show in Ireland that trademarked the name, but since we are in different countries and offer different services, my trademark application stood a good chance of being approved. I hired an attorney to do the complicated work (trademarks are very specific, complex, and also quite fascinating!) and so began the lengthy process of a trademark application.

Recently, I was informed that the initial application was not approved due to the Ireland based company, and would need a revised application with modifications. This, of course, meant $$$$. I had the following choices: pay the attorney to make the recommended modifications and re-apply, continue to use the name without trademarking and risk the other company filing a complaint (which may never happen, but didn’t align with my integrity ), or not use the name at all.

I decided to drop the name, Operation Transformation in all marketing and branding and go with my personal name and credentials, Cristal Cook, LCSW. Interestingly enough, recently I was having doubts about the name, Operation Transformation anyway for the following reasons:

  1. It seemed confusing to people - People often asked what Operation Transformation was and what it meant. People had associated me, not the business name, with my services: mental health, coaching, speaking, articles and children’s books.

  2. There was an interesting experience with a book customer that had purchased some books. After the online purchase, he noticed a “strange” transaction with a company he did not recognize, Operation Transformation, as he associated the books with my name. He immediately contacted his credit card company and they informed him that Operation Transformation was a surgical clinic that provides sex reassignment surgery - who knew that would be a mistake in identity?! He proceeded to cancel his credit card, which is a time consuming and painstaking process. We did have a laugh about it and he re-ordered his books. But, this was a powerful message to me and how my business name could be misinterpreted.

  3. I don’t have intentions of hiring additional service providers, so there isn’t a need for a separate entity name and using my personal name makes it easier to locate me online.

  4. My tagline is, “simple strategies to navigate a complex world”, which is how I like to live my life - simplifying as much as possible. Therefore, this was a no-brainer, keep things simple and use my own name for my business name.

Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t choose this path to begin with, but strategies change and I am flexible enough to pivot as needed. The past two years have been filled with many learning opportunities. All of the lessons have been incredibly valuable and I plan to continue to share these hard earned lessons knowledge with others through my blogs and workshops. Speaking of which, keep your eyes open for my free monthly workshops!


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