Transforming Your LLC Name From Ordinary to Extraordinary
A company’s name might need to change for a variety of reasons. Maybe the business has grown into new markets and the old name doesn’t fit anymore. Or perhaps a founding member has died or left the business.
Whatever the reason, changing an LLC name can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also affect existing contracts, bank accounts, and business swag.
1. Do Your Research
Choosing an LLC name is one of the most important steps you’ll take to create a new business. It establishes legitimacy and legally separates you as the owner from your company, protecting your personal assets in the event of legal action.
It can also be one of the most fun—try rhymes or alliteration, for instance, to set your business apart. However, it’s important to understand that the legal name your LLC registers with your state doesn’t necessarily match its brand name or trademark.
For example, you might register your LLC as “Jimenez Consulting Ltd.”, while promoting it under the name “Grow with Fran.” If this is the case for your business, you can register a DBA (doing business as) name that allows you to use the brand name in legal documents and on your products or services. This can make things easier down the road if you decide to expand or sell your business. This is also an important step if you plan to work with other businesses or contractors under the same name.
2. Make Sure It’s Available
The naming process can be one of the most fun parts of starting an LLC, but it’s also important to make sure that the name you choose is available. A good way to do this is to check with the state department that handles business name registrations. You can do this by searching for your proposed name in the state database or looking for a DBA (doing business as) name.
You also want to be sure that the name is Internet-optimized, and you can do this by searching on sites like GoDaddy. Finally, you want to make sure that the name doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s trademark rights.
Additionally, many states require that you be a licensed professional such as an attorney, engineer, or doctor if you’re using certain words in your company name. You can do this by checking the database in your state to see if any businesses already use those words or are too similar to them.
3. Make the Changes
Sometimes, a business finds that its current name is no longer working for it. This can be due to a number of reasons. Maybe there was a mistake in the original filing process, or the LLC name contains the name of a former partner who has since retired. Perhaps the company has expanded into new products and services and the old name doesn’t reflect that.
You may be able to change your LLC’s name by submitting a DBA (filing for a fictitious business name) or an amendment request. This process can be complicated and requires the help of an expert. CorpNet’s experts will help you submit your forms correctly and on time.
Keep in mind that your new name must conform to state business naming laws, and it must include “LLC” or “Limited Liability Company.” You’ll also have to update your stationery, logos, social media handles and other branding assets, as well as re-register any licenses and permits that you held under the old name.
4. Make the Notifications
Changing your LLC name is a big deal. You must do it correctly and officially to avoid any legal complications. This includes changing any contracts, files, agreements, and more. You also need to inform the IRS, your bank, and any government agencies that have issued permits under your original business name.
Your LLC’s owners, or members, should formally approve the name change. This may require a formal meeting or a written resolution that can be kept in the company’s official records. Then, your state’s business filing agency will process your articles of amendment to change the LLC name. This will typically include a fee.
In addition, you’ll need to update your marketing materials such as letterheads, signage, and business cards. You’ll also want to notify existing customers, vendors, and suppliers of the new business name. Lastly, you’ll need to get a new EIN from the IRS if your current one is on file. This may take up to two weeks or more.