When you first start a small business, you create your brand based on your hopes and plans for the future of the company. Sometimes this is based on experience, but more often than not it's based on a guess.

Then once you actually start doing business, you may find that your business isn't following the same path you set out on.

And now for something completely different

Just like in Monty Python, everything can shift and change in your business. It may even take a whole new direction.

But changing everything in your brand isn't a matter to be taken lightly. Redesigning a brand requires a solid business reason.

What "solid business reason" can cause a brand change?

Even though I believe that it's important for a small business to design their logo for life, there are occasionally big reasons for a business to redesign their logo—and even rename—their businesses.

What kinds of change are big enough?

Company name. This seems obvious, but if you change your company name, it's important to redesign your logo and marketing materials to signal the change. Don't just put the new name with the old logo and hope that no one notices. If you don't redesign the logo, it can seem a bit "fishy" to attentive customers—why did the name suddenly change? Changing your brand design will also make the change more noticeable. You'll be less likely to receive checks made out to the old company name (and that you can't deposit in your new bank account).

The structure or way you work. If you've gone from personally serving each and every one of your clients to having more staff members that work on accounts, a brand change can ease the transition. The new brand can help reset service expectations. For example, a move from being Jennifer Perkins Consulting where Jennifer herself works solely on all accounts to being the Rocket Process Consulting Group where a team of consultants who all report to Jennifer work on the account makes perfect sense.

Drastically changing services. If you were an interior designer and now you're going into staging, you might be able to keep your logo and just rewrite the copy on your marketing pieces to reflect the change. But if you're growing your company into an architectural redesign and interior remodeling company, a redesign of your brand may make more sense. It will show the change in your business. This can also make your existing clients more open-minded about hiring you for projects in your new area of expertise.

New target audience. If you're going from consulting with hospital staff members to consulting with government agencies, it may be appropriate to change your brand to better appeal to your new clients.

You offer different benefits to your clients. If you've refocused your business to create different results for your clients or to solve a different problem then a brand change may help.

If your business has changed in any of these major ways, it's time for you to re-examine and redesign your brand. The new brand will perfectly fit in with your "now completely different" business.