Genevieve Dennis, founder of Easy Name Change tells us about its name-change services.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Genevieve Dennis: As Australians living in Queensland, we have been very fortunate throughout 2020 and into 2021 with the government’s incredible handling of Covid. Aside from the initial six weeks of lockdown, there has not been too much disruption to the work routine or daily life.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Easy Name Change.
Genevieve Dennis: My husband and I started this business in 2008. We had just been married, and I was surprised there was no business providing personalized name change forms, so we launched Easy Name Change. I came from FMCG brand management, and my husband is a web developer with online music retailing background. We were the perfect blend of talent to start this business from scratch. We worked part-time on the business for the first two years, then relocated overseas to work on the business full time.
How does Easy Name Change innovate?
Genevieve Dennis: We like to continually revisit the process as a customer. If we provide information that can be automated, then we set about removing a manual process and streamlining it into our service. This perspective has seen our service continually innovate and stay ahead of our competitors. We find that once we launch a feature, within 6 to 12 months, all our competitors are offering a similar solution. The other great source of innovation comes through customer service. What are customers not happy about, then what can we do to change that for all future customers?
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Genevieve Dennis: It’s like we’ve been in training for covid since we launched in 2008! There was no change to the business at all. Sales were initially sluggish during the initial six weeks when the world shut down, then as people were stuck home, they spent more time online and got ahead with a lot of life administration, so we picked up again. Our team have always worked remotely, so there was really no change at all in the day to day life, except we had to be mindful of staff who were also homeschooling their children.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Genevieve Dennis: Covid did not really present too many difficult choices. We initially panicked as we imagined no one getting married in the year ahead, so we pivoted our business model into a new industry, but development work on that has been slow. The most difficult choice is how to prioritise workload so that we continue to support Easy Name Change whilst still spending enough time developing our new business to get it to the launch stage. That still proves difficult. The other important consideration is how we structured our business. There were many grants and programs on offer through the Australian government, so it was of critical importance our company was correctly structured, and our accounting and business processes are up to date.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Genevieve Dennis: Easy Name Change is a contact-free business, and we do not have any shop fronts. We are also fortunate to have great staff who have been working from home for years. We are fortunate to not have needed to change any part of our business in response to the pandemic. We have had to critically review our site and service and ensure it is still cutting edge, though, so we have embarked on some front-end upgrades.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Genevieve Dennis: We are the leading service in smaller regional markets. We believe providing hard-to-find content and the very best service keeps us ahead of competitors. We have struggled to make a dent in the US market. Becoming a major player, there requires some fresh eyes and a boost of capital. The US market is more sophisticated, with market-leading wedding websites dominating search results and taking massive chunks of commission. We are currently formulating some new plans for the USA, so watch this space!
Your final thoughts?
Genevieve Dennis: I cannot imagine a world without smartphones and the internet! The world’s response to the pandemic would have been so unimaginably different if this happened pre-2000. We are just so fortunate to be working in the tech industry with reliable mail and supply chains to keep e-commerce moving. My heart really goes out to all the customer-facing businesses where closures have decimated entire industries.