OperationsRebranding your business, the do’s and don’ts

These steps mentioned below are things you should consider, some may be applicable to you, some are probably not, but they will provide you with support for tackling this process.

My story

Since the start of my career in business, I never thought that I would become part of a software company with one of my best friends. After my trip to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I helped Miyagi (the previous name of Miyagami) with their financial structure. I was impressed by the fact that people without any experience just started their own company. Because I was taught the old-fashioned way: start your career at a big corporation, learn the basics, make extensive use of the stability and mentorship, and maybe start for yourself when you have enough experience. While at Miyagi, I started to apply for finance traineeships at big corporations. This led to endless meetings and tests, within the end, not the desired result. During these months, the team of Miyagi changed and Dale needed someone who could assist him with the process of professionalizing the business. Now, since July, I am responsible for both growing the business and to a certain extent the ongoing operations of the business. In the last three months, we have made some serious progress in rebranding the company. So, from my own experience, what are the do’s and don’ts in rebranding your business.

Structure your process

At the start of my job, Dale and I had no guidance in how to structure this process. We knew we needed a new name, new website, change of the company’s legal structure, lawyer, accountant. Actually, it came down to starting all over again. But where do you start? The best way to proceed is to break down the process into small parts and put them in the correct order.

Step 1. Setting up a work management platform

At Miyagami, we started working with Trello because it was free. Trello is an easy and ready-to-use work management platform with limited features. After a substantial amount of time, we shifted to the bigger brother of Trello: Atlassian (Jira). The work management board of Jira is specifically designed for software companies. We were not very happy because it was limited to software development. We changed to Monday, which is in our opinion the best work management system. Furthermore, we have multiple boards not only including software development projects but marketing, sales, and operations. The other big advantage is that it can be connected with Mailchimp, Gmail, Typeform, LinkedIn, Google agenda, etc. From here, you can put every task for the rebranding strategy in a nice overview. So, work with a good work management system that suits your business.

Step 2: Identity

Creating a new identity should start by asking yourself the following questions: What am I going to sell, to whom, and where. Additionally, connect these answers to your new vision, mission, and values. Creating a new vision, mission and values is a challenging and time-consuming process. We did multiple design sprints with the guidance of Charlotte Hoekstra, a strategic design graduate, who had the right tools and insight to guide us during this process. So use these tools, ask for help from people who have experience with product design. They use effective frameworks such as the value proposition canvas and techniques that can lead to successfully creating a new identity. It saves time and by doing these structured sprints, you will really get a better understanding of your business.

Step 3: Visualize your new identity

Create your own logo and name with the help of your refined vision, mission, and values. The most important lesson from this process is to register your name and logo. Check at the BOIP database if your name is already registered. If your name is already registered by another entity, you should immediately change your name to avoid any lawsuits. This sounds strange, but these situations occur and can have large financial consequences for your business. An extra option is to register your logo plus name, with the help of a lawyer who is specialized in protecting your trademarks and designs. Important to mention is that this registration will take around 3 months before your name and logo are officially valid.

Step 4. Changing the legal structure

This is a very straightforward process. Like us, you may have an accountant, notary, and lawyer at hand. Make sure all the stakeholders are informed about the process, and ask yourself the question of where you want your company to be in five years. Therefore, connect your milestone plan towards your business goals and change to the legal structure, which serves you and your business best for the coming years. Set up new bank accounts with your local bank. Keep in mind that this process can take up to three months due to the fact that you are working with different stakeholders.

Step 5. Create a well-defined legal landscape for our business

In cooperation with our lawyer, we constructed new general terms and conditions, privacy policy, a service lease agreement for our maintenance, employee contracts, and processor agreement. First, the documents we used were outdated and scrambled from the internet. The internet is a great source of information and an easy and convenient way of creating these documents. However, with the help of proper legal documentation, future disputes can be avoided which will have a positive impact on the relationship between you and your clients, suppliers, and employees. Our advice is to invest in an experienced and practical lawyer, who is able to understand the products you are selling and the way you do business. For instance, your ethical standards in carrying out your business should be translated into legal but understandable language in these documents. This will provide your clients, suppliers, and employees with a good understanding of how you conduct your business and what they can expect when doing business with you or working with you. Keep in mind that this process can be quite costly in terms of money and time. This process may take up to 5 months and could cost several thousands of Euros, including the translation of your documents into correct business English. Make use of a specialized agency for translation services.

Step 6. Setting up a new financial department

At the start, there was no accountant and Dale was doing the finance with the help of Moneybird. With the foundation of Miyagami B.V., an accountant was needed to help with our annual accounts, VAT declaration, and income taxes. Further, the accountant assists our business with advice on the implementation of the new legal structure and helps us with setting up a new online accounting system. There is a large variety of accounting systems on the market, although most accountants prefer to work with only one system, so keep this in mind.

Step 7. Create your online presence

At last, in your design sprints in step 1, you visualized a new mission, vision, values and translated this into clear language on your new website. Keep in mind that people who visit your website, whether they are potential clients or just visitors, should be able to gather the following information from your website: what do you do/sell, to whom, what is your business history, and why are you selling these products or services. During this process, ask friends for feedback, which can be helpful. This process can take up to two or three months depending on whether you are going to make it in-house or outsource this task.

Connecting the dots

With the help of all the team members, we were able to pull this off. These last three months were hectic, however, and gave us valuable lessons for the future. We finally came up with the answer, who really are we, what the problems or “pain points” of our customers are, how can we solve these, and what are our values in carrying out our business. If your company is thinking about doing a rebranding strategy, take your time, find the right accountant, lawyer, and notary, that can guide you through this process. These steps mentioned above are things you should consider, some may be applicable to you, some are probably not, but they will provide you with support for tackling this process. And, in the end, for your new website or new name, ask for feedback from friends, families, and existing business relations: “is the message clear“? That is the most important question!

Roderick van Boetzelaer

Head of Growth & Operations

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