The Pitfalls And Potential Behind Changing Your Company’s Name: Cautionary Tales

Once a company has chosen its name, there is only one good reason for changing it. The truth is, it’s rarely a good idea to change a company name if it’s at all avoidable. It’s difficult to rename or re brand a company without causing any ripples in business. It can be very expensive and downright dangerous. Vince Bridgman from naming expert bond-branding.com tells us why!

It will take some time and some money in order to come up with the new identity. The best case scenario is reinventing the company and the worst case scenario is risking the entire business in order to change things around.

Rose By Any Other Name

Think back to companies you know well. Let’s take a look at Radio Shack and Pizza Hut. When they both tried to change their names to “The Shack” and “The Hut” respectively, it was met with ridicule from the public and scorn. Eventually, both companies gave up the attempt to rename their businesses and remained as they were. BT and Abbey both kept their names in line with customers desire to have them remain the same. They managed to avoid this public scorn and ridicule.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest killers of business names was Britain’s much loved Post Office’s attempt at changing the household name to “Consignia”. Although they had a solid reason to change the name, it wasn’t met with open arms and in time, it was phased out and the original name remained.

Reputation Shot?

Some companies, such as Blackwater, A US Security Firm, have tried to change their names not once, but in fact, twice in order to remove themselves from reputational issues after many high profile shootings such as the one that left 17 Iraqis deceased in Nisoor Square in Baghdad. This initial name change was to Xe and made in an effort to save a badly tarnished reputation. HOwever, this wasn’t working to distance them from problematic issues. In 2011, the new owners formed a board of directors and again attempted to rename the company. This time, they called it Adademi. In spite of this, experts weren’t sure and it wasn’t moving the company forward. No one is yet sure if renaming the company a third time will help move the company forward or not.

The company could recover form their PR disaster and regain their former fortunes via distancing themselves with a name change. Ratners, at the tiem, head of the company, reported at a business conference that the companies offerings were feeble at best and as short lived as prawn sandwiches. The shares in this company plummeted and they had to close over 300 shops within two short years as a step in financial restructuring. The jewelry chain was thus renamed Signet Grou PLC and at long last, is the largest jewelry retailer in both the US and the UK.

Occasionally, a name change is fortuitous. Andersen Consulting, for example, changed their name in 2001 to Accenture. This was in part due to a legal agreement regarding the split with the parent company, Arthur Andersen. Later, it was determined to be a very shrewd move when he became embroiled in the widely scandalous Enron scandal. His name was then drug through the mud nad 85,000 jobs were lost while Accenture remained steady and unscathed.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin , on a lighter note, originally adopted googol (ie. the number 1 followed by one hundred zeroes) for their little fledging company. They wanted to introduce the sheer numbers of information available in the online search engines. In time, it was changed to the now famous Google when an investor accidentally misspelled the name on a check.

So, it all goes to show, it doesn’t matter what the reason is for a name change, if it’s to remove oneself from a PR disaster, for a legal reason or for simple convenience, nothing will ever completely remove a tarnished name except time and diligence and cleaning up your act. Memories remain long and in the digital age, the reminders are ever present. It only takes a minute for a bad story to spread.

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Amy Rice enjoys writing about business startup, when not writing she enjoys horse riding with her daughter.

Why You Should Take a Short Course to Certify Your Skills

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Most people have a certain set of skills that can be applied towards their career. Some are handy with a wrench, while others are a prodigy in the kitchen. There are also those that can diagnose a computer problem without having to seek out an IT specialist, and those that can look under the hood of a car and make repairs on the spot without needing a mechanic.

Having a skillset is one thing, but you also need to have the skill certified with a piece of paper in order to make your specialty stand out to employers. Skill certification is important to turn your talent into a legitimate and sustainable means of employment.

Why You Should Get Certified

Some people hone their craft through self-taught lessons, others learn from their parents, friends, or coworkers. While these types of informal training are extremely useful and can even be included in a resume, employers are typically not impressed unless they can see that you have some form of formal education. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to go back to school, at least not in the traditional sense.

Earning a Certificate in Lieu of a Degree

The predominant thinking appears to be that unless you have a four-year degree, you have very little chances of making your resume stand out. Yes, a degree obtained from a formal academic institution is a wonderful advantage. However, attending a university – even online – is simply too time consuming and cost prohibitive for many of us. A certificate, on the other hand, is far more practically achieved, and the courses for such often allow for greater flexibility.

Benefits of a Certification

Yes, some employers may give a degree more precedence, but most care more about the skills you have and how you can apply them in a real world setting. A degree says that you successfully completed some lecture courses centered on theory, satisfactorily completed a written exam or two, and that’s about it. A certification, on the other hand, is often more indicative having learned learning a skill directly and is ultimately what most employers care about.

A Certificate is More Feasible to Obtain

To earn a degree, you are often relegated to a time frame and have to complete additional courses hardly related to your field to fulfill some general education requirements. That is additional time and fees towards courses that have nothing to do with the skills you are trying to learn. With certification courses, you learn exactly what it is you need without tacking extra, unrelated studies to your schedule.

While there may be some Web conferences you are required to attend, the bulk of the material can be absorbed at your own pace without any stringent deadlines. Depending on the specific course and field, most certificate programs can be completed in as little as a month or two and nearly all can be completed in under a year.

A Certificate is Like a Shortcut to a Degree

A certificate is a means to an end to make yourself a greater prospect to employers that are comparing your resume with dozens of others. Even if you make it known on your CV that you are versed in a specific skill, employers still want validation, and a certificate is a great way to show that without having to put your career on hold for up to four years to obtain a degree.

Online short courses are the most valid way to obtain a certificate without wasting unnecessary time and money. Any investment made towards obtaining a certificate will pay dividends for the career-driven job seeker.

 

Audrey Thompson is a freelance blogger with an interest in business topics related to HR, management best practices and employee motivation. She is currently writing on behalf of mytraining.net, a site specializing in training courses.

 

6 Simple Ways To Speed Up Your Cloud Backups

Backing up your computer to a cloud storage account makes an awful lot of sense but if there’s one complaint we hear again and again it’s just how slow the backup process can be.

Fortunately there’s no need to cancel your storage account or stop backing up. Here we’ll present six simple tips that will speed up your backups and keep you from tearing your hair out while you’re waiting for the process to complete.

Throttling

Many popular pieces of online backup software have a “throttling” setting that you can alter. In essence this controls the amount of your computer’s power that goes into backing up your files and how much is invested in other things like you surfing the internet or checking your emails.

The fact is that searching your computer for new or modified files and then uploading these to the internet can take a fair amount of memory and, if you’re unlucky, considerably slow down your computer.

So to speed up the backing up process, try altering the throttling to find the perfect solution for your needs. Some people like to set it nice and low, and let it run in the background while they’re doing other things. Other people would rather set it to “maximum” and find something else to do while their backups are happening.

Stopping/Starting

Many of the more popular online backup applications can be set to run automatically – either every x number of days or alternatively every time you start up your computer. Some will Livedrive will even run continuously in the background with little or no impact on your computer speed.

But one useful tip if you’re finding that your backups are slowing down your computer is to find a provider whose software stops and starts in an instant.

Therefore if you stop working on your computer for a while to go and make a cup of tea, answer the phone or whatever your online backup software kicks into life and begins backing up your files.

Then, as soon as your computer senses you’ve starting working again – such as by typing on your keyboard or opening up a new document – it shuts down your backup software in an instant.

In this way your cloud storage can stay up to date by using the tiny periods of time where your computer is on but idle, while eliminating the problems of backup software running while you’re trying to complete other tasks.

Back Up Before/After Use

Another easy way to speed up your computer while backing up to the cloud is to simply pick a time for your computer to back up, set your upload speeds on maximum and simply leave it to it.

While I’ve used Sugarsync for many years and love their service, I have found that their software can have a serious impact on my computer speed. Infact, that’s a major reason why I moved over to a faster service. However I found the best solution was simply to turn my computer on and leave it running for a while as I got on with other tasks, during which the software could run at full speed.

Then, by the time I was actually ready to start my work, all the backing up was complete and my computer was running at full speed. Of course this suggestion depends on your circumstances; for some people this may well be a perfectly viable option, though for others it may be a constant source of annoyance.

Eliminate Unwanted Files

The larger your hard drive is and the more files you have on it, the longer your backups are likely to take. This is because your backup software will be searching through your computer for new or modified files and the more files you have the longer this process will take.

You can speed up the process of backing up your hard drive to the cloud therefore by limiting the files and folders that your backup software is set to check.

There are two alternatives; either spend some time deleting old and unused files from your hard drive or modify the settings of your backup software to only monitor specific folders on your computer while ignoring other, less important, files.

Local Servers

When your computer files are being backed up to the cloud they’re sent from your computer to a server at your cloud storage company. Understandably the further they have to travel, the longer this process takes so the longer your backup takes.

If you’re based in the USA this is unlikely to be too much of a problem because the majority of well-known online backup providers are based there. However for those based outside the US you might want to consider looking for companies that base their servers in your home country.

Examples of such companies include Mozy with it’s UK-based servers and Livedrive which serves not just the US but also much of Europe too.

De-Duplication

Many computer users have duplicate (or near duplicate) files on their computer. Furthermore most reliable cloud storage companies will back up everything on your hard drive, thus also wasting time and storage space on storing these unneecessary duplicate files.

However another way to speed up your backup process is to select a storage company that actively de-duplicates files, thus minimizing the number of files sent to the cloud and in doing so saving you time.

Ben Rutherford is a blogger and technology-freak who teaches others how to start and build their own blogging empire at http://www.TechToucan.com