Just like many other aspects of life, investors might want to change their business at some point.
The name that seemed perfect when you were forming your LLC may not feel right anymore. Maybe the name doesn't contain your current branding or business strategy. Or it includes the name of your previous business partner who is no longer in the business. Or you want to try a new name altogether. We answered the all familiar question "What should I name my business?" earlier.
Whichever your reason is, you can change your business name using an effortless and straightforward process. Ensure you file all the necessary paperwork with the relevant state agency. Find a Registered Agent Service or an LLC formation service to help you.
Things to Consider Before Changing Your LLC Name
If changing your LLC business name is not essential, you can opt to use a DBA (Doing Business As). By using a DBA, you can run your business using your preferred name without changing your legal name. To use a fictitious name, you need to file a basic form with the secretary of state in your state and pay a fee.
If you want to change your legal business name, you should first check the voting requirements for a name change in your operating agreement. If you don't have an operating agreement for your business, you should know what your state's LLC laws say about changing the legal business name and all the requirements. Additionally, you should ensure you get the approval of all the members.
You should form a written resolution that contains the signatures of each member. Then make changes to the articles of the organization within 30 days.
If you want to change your LLC name, here are the steps you should follow:
Check If Your Preferred Name Is Available
Before you can start the process of changing your LLC's name, you should first check if the name is available in your state. You can check the secretary of state's website in your state to search, or you can search in other business filing agencies.
Ensure you choose a different name from that of any other corporation or a limited liability company in your state.
Approve a Resolution to Change the Name
Before you can change the name, the business owners or members must formally approve the name change. You should look at your LLC operating agreement to see how your limited company decides essential matters.
You may have to hold a formal meeting of all the members of the LLC.
Ensure you write up the resolution to change the name of the business and keep it with your company's official records.
Amend the Articles of Organization
Articles of organization refer to the official documents that establish your LLC as a legal entity. When forming your LLC, you filed the articles of organization with the secretary of state.
If you want to change the LLC name, you have to amend the articles of the organization.
Each state has its exclusive amendment form that you need to fill to change your LLC's name. You can contact the business filing agency in your state to determine which form you need to use to change the name. Alternatively, you can search "change name of LLC" on the business filing agency's website.
When you are done filling the necessary forms, you should submit them to the state. You should also include any filing fee required for the name change.
Amend the Operating Agreement
It's not mandatory to include an operating system when filing your articles of organization with the state. An operating agreement isn't a legal requirement while starting an LLC in most states.
However, it's a vital document in the running of the LLC.
For instance, an operating system outlines the rights and responsibilities of each member. If it is a manager-led company, the agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of the managers and of the owners. This helps to avoid conflicts in the running of the company.
If you change the name of your LLC, you should also amend your operating agreement to reflect the new name of the company.
Notify the Taxing and Licensing Agencies
Apart from the articles of organization, your business may require other licenses depending on the nature of the business and its location.
If you have business licenses that reflect the original name of the business, you need to change them to reflect the new LLC name. Ensure you notify the agencies that offered the licenses so that they can update your records.
You will have to show the agencies a certificate of amendment from the state that approves your LLC's name change.
Additionally, you should notify the taxing, federal, and local taxing authorities.
Change the LLC Name on Your Business Accounts
When you start a limited liability company or a corporation, you need to have a separate business account.
One reason for having a separate business account is to separate your business income from your personal funds.
Additionally, a separate business account will help you to prove that you are a separate legal entity from your business. It helps to protect the liability of the members in case there is a lawsuit. If your company is sued and you can't prove the separation between your personal and financial finances, the members can be held responsible for the company's debts and liabilities.
A separate business account for your company also makes it effortless to calculate your taxes.
If you change your LLC's name, ensure you also change it on your business account. Additionally, you should order new credit cards and checks.
It will also be best to notify the people you transact with, including suppliers, vendors, landlords, insurance agents, and lenders.
In some instances, you may have to amend your contracts to reflect the new name of your LLC.
If you use estimate forms, invoices, contract forms, or purchase orders, ensure they reflect your new business name.
Change the Business Name on Everything Else
When the state approves your name change, you can begin letting everybody know about the change.
For instance, you can advertise the name change so that your customers and prospects know you are dealing with the same company.
You can also change the name on your brochures, business signage, business cards, stationery, website, and any other area that uses the old business name.
Changing your business name is an effortless and straightforward process that involves filling out and filing a form. However, before you can carry out the name change, you should ensure it makes business sense.
Note, after the name change, you'll spend time and money changing your marketing materials, business licenses, bank accounts, etc. Therefore, ensure the name change is worth all the trouble.
Reasons For an LLC Name Change
You can change your LLC name for various reasons, including:
Avoiding confusion: if your customers and investors confuse your business name with that of another company, it can hinder your sales and growth. In such circumstances, you can consider using a new name to avoid the confusion
Updating a name: maybe your old business name references a person who passed away or is no longer a member of the company. If the name doesn't properly reflect the business at the moment, then you can consider changing it
Rebranding: sometimes, you may find it necessary to rebrand your business. For instance, if your name sounds very generic, you can consider changing it to a more memorable name to help you enhance your brand awareness, which is really important when it comes to designing things like clothing, as explained here. If you believe rebranding will enhance your company's performance, you can go ahead and change the name
Trademark issues: sometimes, you may have to change your business name due to trademark issues. For example, if your business name resembles that of another company operating in the same industry, the court can order you to change your business name
Making a correction: if there is a typographical error on your business registration form, you can change the name to correct the error
Supporting growth: sometimes, you can notice that your initial business name is limiting your business operations. As your business grows and you deal with more and broader products or services, a broader business name may be more appropriate. You can also consider changing your business name if you move into a new industry. Additionally, if your business name references your local area, you can change it if you want to expand to other towns, cities, or regions.
Changing your LLC's name can be essential for your business to grow. You can change your business name for various reasons, including expansion, avoiding trademark issues, rebranding, etc.
Above are the steps you can follow to change the name of your limited liability company.