Changing your company’s business name is a difficult task. Some common reasons why you may want to change your business name include:
- You may decide it is necessary to rebrand your business to better help customers identify with your company.
- You used your name in the company’s name and now want to change the business name to reflect a larger, more corporate brand.
- Someone else has a trademarked name and you have been notified that you must cease using your current name.
If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to do:
Research the availability of the new name
Check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be sure your new name is not already registered by someone else. You also want to verify that another company has not already registered the name with the Secretary of State’s Office. Finally, you will want to find out whether the domain name is available.
File with the Secretary of State
If the name is available, the first step will be to change your business name with the Secretary of State’s Office. Be sure to update filings with any other states where your company is registered to do business.
Check with the IRS
The IRS has different requirements depending on your type of business. Sometimes, the change can be as simple as noting the name change on your next tax return. You will also need to find out whether you are required to obtain a new EIN.
Update financial accounts, including bank accounts, checks, and credit cards. Notify your merchant card provider and the Texas Comptroller.
Change licenses and permits
You will need to check with the offices associated with any licenses or permits your business holds to find out how to change your business name. In most cases you will have to pay a fee.
Update business documents, including contracts, loan agreements, leases and company documents.
Update your website, domain, website content, including company bios, email address and email signature.
Update social media accounts, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and podcasts.
Update marketing materials, including business cards and other printed materials, return address stamp and shipping labels.
Update forms and templates, including forms of contracts, order forms, letterhead, accounting templates and billing software, fax cover templates and forms and internal memo templates.
Notify your phone service provider and update voicemail messages.
Communicate the change of name to employees, clients, companies that sell your products, vendors, mail delivery people, news outlets and the Better Business Bureau.
Registering your business name with the Secretary of State’s Office does not grant you exclusive rights to that name. Once you have a new name and logo, consider protecting them by filing a trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In some cases, you may want to file a trademark registration with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Business legal issues are complex. Business owners should consult with their legal and tax advisers on such matters. For more information on business legal matters, please contact Kathy Tremmel at Tremmel Law, PLLC at (512) 539-0317 or email@example.com.