Whether you’re changing your industry, moving locations, or just think it’s time for a change, changing your business’s name could be the right move for you.
Changing your business name can be a daunting decision to make. You’ll have to almost completely rebrand, and you don’t want to end up choosing a name that you’ll regret. Not only do you have to consider your own opinions about your business and its name, you also have to take your customer’s thoughts into account.
To help you with the process of changing your business name, we’ve compiled a list of some tips that you’ll find useful.
Things To Consider First
There are a number of things you should consider first before changing your business name.
- It can be costly: There is a fee to change your business name in most states. This fee varies depending on your state, but the normal range for this fee is $20 to $150.
- Take your clients’ and customers’ opinions into account: One of the most important factors when it comes to your business and its name is how your clients or customers perceive it. Consult with them and take their opinions into account, you won’t regret it.
- You can register a DBA instead: A DBA, “doing business as”, is what you use when you want to do business under a different name. With no official business name change, you won’t have to make the large number of changes that you would otherwise.
- If your new name is available: Whatever name you end up choosing for your business may not be available. Before picking a name, check to see if it is available first. You will not be able to register a business under a name that is already taken.
Changing Your Business Name
Depending on the type of business that you have, along with which state you live in, the process for changing your business name can differ. Taking the right steps when changing your name will save you time and headaches in the future.
- Inform the state in which you operate: If you are a sole proprietor doing business under a DBA, contact your local government office to find the steps you must take to update your DBA.
For a corporation or LLC, you will likely have to file a name amendment with your state. If your business operates in multiple states, you will have to file a name amendment in each of these states.
- File your name change with the IRS: You must file your business name change with the IRS for federal tax purposes. The process for doing so depends on what type of business you operate.
- For a partnership: Notify the IRS when filing your tax return on Form 1065. Contact the IRS using your address from where you filed your return if you’ve already filed that year.
- For a single-member LLC or sole proprietor: Contact the IRS using the address you last filed your tax return from.
- For a corporation: Notify the IRS when filing your tax return on Form 1120. Contact the IRS using your address from where you filed your return if you’ve already filed that year.
- Figure out if you need a new EIN: Most of the time, changing your business name does not require a new employer identification number. If your business structure or ownership changes, then you should read the IRS EIN document to determine if you need a new one or not.
- Update your licenses and permits: Contact each government agency associated with each of your business licenses and permits and have them updated accordingly.
- Inform employees of the change: Make sure that all of your employees are aware of the business name change before the public is aware. Inform them of the reasons behind the name change as well. Communication is extremely important.
- Inform your customers and clients: After your employees have been informed of the change, make sure that all of your customers and clients are aware of it as well. Make this change through an announcement via email, social media, a website change, or something else.
- Update your company information: Once your business name change has been approved and is official, you’ll want to update all of your company information to have consistent branding. Remember to update your company’s website, social media accounts, business cards, and anything else that carries your branding.
Changing your business name can be difficult, but with these tips and steps, you have a clear path to success. This process can be one that will lead your business to new heights and open doors that you thought would always be closed. Just remember to follow these steps and find out any necessary additional information from your local government offices.
For more information about business name changes and some real-world examples of them, we’ve included this infographic from The Zebra below.