Updated: Apr 13, 2021
As many of you know I recently when through a huge re-brand including my business name. I didn't talk about it as the process wasn't easy and having to change my name really broke my heart but it was something I was forced to do. That being said this turned out to be a blessing in disguise I'll tell you why below....
Digital Main Street FutureProof Program
Covid has really taken a toll on small businesses as we were forced to shutdown numerous times. Being self employed meant no salon income and although I have an online store even that slowed to a snail pace as nail technicians all across Ontario were also shut down.
The shutdown time for me became a time to really focus on my online business, websites, classes and re-design the salon. My online store needed some serious help. The website was ugly and very difficult to navigate so I began searching online for help. I'm not even sure how I found this website but I came across the Digital Main Street FutureProof Program and applied. As a side note everyone should look into this program if you need help with your online business.
This program offers a team of 5 who help with advertising, website support, copywriting and logo design. It's a 4 week long program and in order to really reap the benefits of it you need to allow them to take control of all your online platforms. It's worth it in the end. I have to admit the beginning of this program was a little overwhelming. Our initial zoom meeting was set to go and my internet went out so I had to join via phone. I wasn't off to a good start. To determine your business needs the team asks millions of questions the 45 min meeting flew by. After that we had regular weekly zoom meetings some with the entire team and some with individual team members.
The program is designed so they create a website for you from scratch but because my business was already established with a store and it's own domain name etc.... the team had to work with the platform I had in place. Believe me when I say it's not an easy platform to navigate. I'm pretty tech savvy for my age but I really struggle with this platform. I was so grateful for a team willing to work with it.
Bad News Hits Like a Brick
We were nearing the end of the program when I woke up to a message that crushed my spirit. The message stated that I was infringing on someone's registered trademark name I was being forced to change my business name or risk being sued. I felt sick to my stomach. I loved my business name it had been my identity since I opened my own salon. I spent a lot of time coming up with my business name and made sure at the time I was the only one registered in Canada with that name. I didn't want to change it so I sought legal counsel but unfortunately it was determined that I should change my name. I was beyond devastated...this could crush my business entirely. I'm a very small business in a very small rural town and I was really just beginning to become known in the online world as an educator. Apparently I had made enough of an impact to catch this person's attention which is both good and bad.
Change Your Name or Else
Due to the international copyright rules I was being forced to change my business name or risk being sued. To make things worse they accused me of copying them. Up until the moment I received the message I had no idea anyone else with my business name even existed. I had never heard of them so how could I copy them!!! When I started my salon November 10, 2012, I did everything I knew to do to register my business name. The only thing I didn't do was check internationally. I didn't think that was necessary. At that time I did not have any online presence I was focused on building my salon. Who knew not dreaming big enough would cost me.
Emotionally I was a mess and not working due to the covid shutdown meant no income to make changes. Adding salt to an open wound my 4 weeks with the future proof team was coming to an end. Everything from logos to redesign was done but with a name I could no longer use. All their work had to be changed and I really thought I was going to have to figure out how to do it on my own. I contacted the team to have a meeting and through a stream of tears let them know what happened. Everything had to be changed! All the work they did.....everything......but our time was up.
The wonderful team members decided to extend the deadline by a week and worked hard to change my name on literally everything. My online nail supply store had to be completely shut down while they changed over to the new domain name and linked the old domain name to the new one. This meant no one would have access to my store for 2 days. This could be detrimental to my store as not only was my domain name being changed but I was going to disappear online for 2 days. The website designer was amazing and put up a notice that we were under construction. So everyone could still find me and so my old business name wasn't at a complete loss the team members were able to link my old domain name (which I owned) to the new one. Everyone who types my old website name will be automatically redirected to the new site. Unfortunately all existing members need to create a new login to the new website but at least I can still be found through my old domain name.
The Future Proof team was AMAZING!! I can't thank them enough for what they did for me. At any moment during the program I was still able to go online and check on the progress the team was making but I tried to let them do their work. I was working on many other projects.
That last week was a hectic one. I created and designed a new online appointment booking system with its own website for the salon. Creating my own booking system would cut my costs in half. The other booking system I was using was expensive. I do have some computer skills LOL! The salon was also undergoing a makeover. My oldest son bought his own condo in Windsor which is an hour away so I was also traveling there to help paint his place and install new floor etc etc etc. Then when I came back home I was working on painting my salon. We decided to expand the salon into my son's old bedroom which was off the salon but that room also needed new floor and paint. I felt like I was being pulled in every direction but at the same time it kept me focused and I didn't have much time to worry about everything going on with my online business.
My extra week with the Future Proof team was over it was time for them to hand everything over to me. We had a reveal meeting and I really saw everything this team did. I truly wasn't prepared for everything they did it was such a huge transformation. As I said although I was able to check their progress I was very busy and didn't. The changes were drastic and wonderful! All the issues my old website had were gone. My old website was difficult to navigate, search options didn't work properly. It was ugly and in desperate need of a complete overhaul. What you see now is the new website re-designed by the Future Proof team. They unified the look of my online platforms from instagram to YouTube, my salon, online school, store and even this blog are all linked on the beautiful new site. It was a big job for them. My business has 3 websites - a salon, online classes and online store.
I can't say enough about the work the Future Proof team did. My name change crisis could not have happened at a better time. The team supported me and just plowed though all the name change issues. It truly was a blessing in disguise and I am so very grateful to them and the work they did.
I cannot stress enough that if you are planning on doing any business online register your name internationally!!! The costs of changing my website domain, custom email and everything else was outrageous!! I had to buy a new domain name still pay to keep my old one, buy a new business email, business cards, business sign etc etc etc. It was expensive especially during a time when I was not working and no incoming funds. Fortunately my husband has a good job and was still working...many of the expenses for this came out of the family budget.
I hope you all enjoy the beautiful new website. Take a look around read the blogs and if you have any questions or have ideas of what you'd like me to write about send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!