When it comes to business, change is inevitable. Trends and markets shift and evolve, and your business must be able to adapt to the times. If you find that your current company brand isn’t working for you, it may be in your best interest to go ahead changing your business name. Although switching up your brand name may seem like a risk, it’s important to know that even big companies like Google and Nike had to do this before they made it big.
To help make the process a little less daunting, this article breaks down exactly what steps you need to take for a smooth transition.
1. Look into available names
After deciding to change your business name, you’ll need to come up with a new name that perfectly captures your brand and will also help your business grow. Approach this step with creativity and try coming up with a cool acronym or something short and catchy that rolls off the tongue and you can always try using Squadhelp’s tool. Once you have a new name in mind, you’ll need to check that it’s not already taken by another business. To see if your potential name is available, search for it in the Secretary of State’s database.
2. Notify your local government when you are changing your business name
If your new name is available, the next step will be to notify the local government. If you’re an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file a name amendment in any states that your business operates in. If you’re a sole proprietor or have a business partnership, you can look into creating a DBA or a name that you’d like to ”do business as.”
3. Submit the change to the IRS
Next, it’s necessary to submit an official change with the IRS so that your federal tax documents are up-to-date. The process to notify the IRS varies based on what kind of business entity you are so take a look at the breakdown of what to do based on your business below:
- Sole proprietorship: Use the same address you used to file your tax return to contact the IRS about your business name change.
- Partnership: File the change on your federal tax return using Form 1065. If your return has already been filed, contact them using the same address you used to file your tax return.
- LLC: If you’re the only member of your LLC, go ahead and use the same process as sole proprietors, and if you’re a part of a multi-member LLC, follow the instructions listed for partnerships above.
- Corporation: Notify the IRS using Form 1120 when filing your federal tax return. If your return has already been mailed, use the same address you sent your return to get in touch about the name change.
4. Update business permits or licenses
Depending on what business permits and licenses you have, you’ll need to update them at the local, state, or federal levels. Building permits typically only need updating at the local level, while sales tax permits should be updated with the state. To be thorough, reach out to the corresponding agencies for any permits or licenses you have to notify them of the name change and inquire about any processes that must be done to update them.
5. Revise company logos and documents
Once your name change has been approved and all-important permits and licenses have been updated, it will be time to rebrand your company logo and revise company documents. You’ll want to switch out the old name with the new name on any marketing materials, merchandise, invoices, and your website. This can be a lengthy process, so be patient and make sure you set a budget aside for things like a website redesign or orders of new business materials.
6. Communicate the change to customers or clients
Finally, your last step after all changes have been filed and your business has been revamped, is to communicate it to your customers and clients. Make sure you notify your base through multiple channels like email, text, social media, and via your website so that everyone is aware of the change. Additionally, be patient with clients or customers if they still refer to you as the old name. The change will take time for people to adjust to, so remember to be friendly about reminding others.
Now that you know what steps to take to ensure a smooth company name change, you can feel confident about your new direction and focus on growing your business. For additional inspiration and tips for changing your business name, check out the infographic from The Zebra below, which features a checklist to see whether your business name is good or bad.
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Mike Gaudreau is the owner of The Wealthy Boomers, a site devoted to helping seniors make money online. Mike resides in Montreal Canada.
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