Why Does Growth Have to HURT so Much?

Watch out. Growth ahead!

In the last 3 years we’ve hired 2 separate consultants to help us position and write the brand strategy for K9. I know what you’re thinking — this is what we do for a living! But don’t you find that it’s very hard to look at yourself objectively, articulate what makes you great and then transfer that knowledge to everything you do and want to say? Well we were struggling too and because we know the benefit of bringing in outside help, we practiced what we preach.

When you take the time to anticipate growth and ponder the great challenge before you, hard decisions sometimes need to be made. Which is exactly what happened to us. Both our consultants told us the same thing:

If you want to grow — you’ve got to change your name!

I’m sure you can imagine how we felt when we were told this, not once but twice, and at first time we completely ignored the advice. Our response was, — ‘what do you mean we have to change our name? We are successful, people know us by that name, and people have told us they love our name. It’s a conversation piece after all. If it sparks so many great conversations how can it be bad?’

The name K9 is steeped in history. Our founder named it after his beloved dog Caesar, as it was only the two of them toiling away in the early days and late nights of K9. It had meaning and soul for us. We were adamantly against changing it. The reality is it doesn’t matter what it means to us or how we came to it. It’s holding us back.

So when a second consultant told us to change the name, we knew we had to listen. One of the 4 key strategies identified as necessary for us to reach the goals we were mapping out in our 10 year strategic plan, was to ‘revisit K9 brand, offering and target’ — why? Because everybody thinks you are in the dog business. Gulp!

We couldn’t avoid it any more. It was standing in the way of our goals. You see sometimes the right thing to do is not the same as the thing you want to do and sometimes it is very uncomfortable. The truth was that if we really wanted to grow and introduce our company to a new set of targets and markets across Canada, the name could potentially hold us back.

So we had a decision to make. We could stick to our guns and decide that the name didn’t matter, or we could listen to the consultant’s advice on how to grow our company and our brand and reach our goals.

Whether it is a name or a logo or even terminating a person that isn’t a fit as you move forward, we as business owners must challenge ourselves to question. And we can get quite cranky about it. But cranky or not there are still decisions to be made that will affect the future of your business, the difference between staying under the radar maybe or coming out loud and proud. The difference between playing small and playing the potential you know is there.

So I’m happy to report that in 2017 we will announce a new name, a new position and a new brand. One that, with much consideration and perspiration, we have come to objectively and strategically (but not easily) and I have to say I’m in love with.

This new name and brand is strategic and intentional. It’s a name that explains what we do, what we are about and what we are challenging our clients to do with their own brands. It didn’t come easily and it didn’t come over night. But now that the work is done and the new launch is upon us, I can’t believe it took us this long to get here. The future is bright and we have a bigger game to play.

Doing the right thing by your brand is not always the comfortable thing. If we really want to grow our businesses and our brands, sometimes we have to do the thing that hurts us the most.

Published by: Jennifer Neal

Entrepreneur. Owner of The Creative Agency for Entrepreneurs.