You have been operating the company under one name – the name that you originally picked and put in the company’s Articles or other organizational documents. But now it just isn’t as good of a name. How hard is it to change and what do you have to do? That depends…. of course!
You can change the actual company name. Typically, that has to be done by amending the company’s Articles and filing those with the state offices. The amendment has to be properly approved as well. Once that name has been changed you need to notify everyone that you work with as soon as possible – all suppliers, all customers, the IRS, and… and … and ….
If you have bank loans you almost certainly have to tell the lender so that the lender can refile to protect their security interests (and if you don’t, you likely are in breach of your loan agreements). You have to tell the building where your offices are located to change the signage. You have to tell the phone company to change your phone listings.
You will need to change letterhead, your website, your business cards, and your marketing materials. And the list goes on.
If you want the easy way out, you can also just adopt a tradename for the company and keep the original name too. You should file that tradename with the state offices. However, since the original name is still the company’s name there is less need to notify everyone. And you don’t have to act as quickly – you can take your time.
When you adopt a tradename, tell your customers - you want them to get used to the name and you should use this as a marketing opportunity. Tell the building if you want all of the signage changed. You certainly want to change letterhead, your website, your business cards, and your marketing materials. Is there more? Sure, but again you have more time.
This information is for general purposes only and is not intended to constitute any specific legal advice of any type.