Before you change the name of your entity, there are some things to keep in mind. Not only can it be costly, but it can also disrupt your business activity. For example:
How long has your business been established?
The longer a business has been established, the more disruptive a name change can be. For example, former and existing customers will have to be notified and update their records. Employee email addresses would need to be changed. Printed materials, bank accounts, web sites, etc. would also need to be modified.
Is the name Trademarked?
Using a name that is trademarked by someone else can cost you an enormous amount in legal fees. It’s always a good idea to do an internet search to look for other companies that may have the name trademarked. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has a helpful tool for searches. https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/
Is the domain name available?
You’ll want to make sure the domain isn’t already taken as well as search for variations. For example, it may be available with “.com” at the end, but there may be a company with the same domain but “.net”. This can cause confusion for people searching out your company on the internet.
Is there negative publicity for a company that has the same or very similar name?
Even if a name isn’t trademarked, you’ll want to look for complaints. You don’t want potential customers to think these are about your company.
If you do decide to go through with a name change, here are some additional steps that should be tended to:
- Have a formal meeting to discuss, vote and approve the name change.
- Prepare Minutes and Resolutions
- File an Amendment with the Secretary of State (home state and foreign where registered)
- Notify your bank
- Notify the IRS https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Business-Name-Change
- Notify City, State and County revenue offices
- Notify clients and vendors
- Revise licenses and permits
- File new “DBA”, if/when necessary
- Update business documents (loan, lease, other contracts, etc.)
- Obtain a replacement Record Book with new stock certificates & corporate seal
- Reissue stock certificates under new business name