Changing a business name is not out of place. The truth is that there are several reasons why a company owner may choose to change the name of their LLC. It could be that they have fallen out with the business partners that they started the company with or they just acquired the business and would want a new name for the company, or they just want to change the name of the company as they no longer feel comfortable with the old name.

Please note that your LLC name does not necessarily need to be the same as your business name or same as your website name. Your LLC name is your company’s legal entity name while your business name is your brand name to market to your customers.

The bottom line here is that irrespective of the reason why you want to change your business name, the plain truth is that changing a business name is affordable and relatively simple to do and interestingly, there won’t be many changes in the way you operate your company. If indeed you have made up your mind to change your company name, then you would find these steps outlined below very useful.

How to Change the Name of Your LLC

STEP 1: Make Sure Your Business Name is Available in Your State

You must make sure that the name you want to use is not already taken. You can check if the name is unique by searching the name on your State Website. Also, make sure your business can use the name as a web domain. Even though creating a business website is not on your plan, it is best you purchase the URL to stop others from using it.

After you have registered a domain name, consider creating a professional email account. A professional email that makes use of your domain name is vital to establishing trust between your business and its customers. In this modern era where scam is on a high, companies need to make use of a professional email address to provide a sense of professionalism and credibility.

When you choose your name, then you must reserve the name. You can reserve the name by filing a Name Reservation form. To check the availability of a name, you can contact your state’s secretary of state office (some states offer an online searchable database). Another option is to have an online legal filing service do the search for you – and many sites will offer this basic search for free.

STEP 2: Approve a Resolution to Change Business Name

Another important fact to consider when it comes to changing your business name is to be certain that all local, state, and federal laws are complied with regarding the change of name; the dues process must be followed, or else it will be illegal.

In essence, the owners of the company (LLC), should formally approve the name change. As a matter of fact, you would be required to check your LLC operating agreement to know if there is any room for the business name change and the requirements to follow.

Most often than not, you may be required to have a formal meeting of the board members of the company, or you may be able to reach a more informal agreement. Thereafter, you can draft a resolution approving the name change and keep it with your LLC’s official records.

STEP 3: Amend Your Articles of Organization 

In the United States, one of the requirements of forming your LLC is to file your articles of organization with the state with the name of the company you are proposing to form. This is why, if you choose to change the name of your LLC, you will be required to amend your articles of organization to reflect the new name.

Please note that in the United States of America, each state has its own amendment form. Hence it is advisable to contact your state’s business filing agency or search “change name of LLC” on their website to find out which form you need to use, the fee to be paid and the document you are required to attach when submitting the form.

STEP 4: Amend Your Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a key document used by LLCs because it outlines the business’ financial and functional decisions including rules, regulations, and provisions. The purpose of the document is to govern the internal operations of the business in a way that suits the needs of the business owners.

So, if you are looking at changing the name of your LLC, then it is required that you should also amend your internal LLC’s operating agreement to reflect your LLC’s new name.

STEP 5: Inform Taxing and Licensing Agencies

Once your name change for your LLC has been approved, then the next step is to inform federal, state, and local taxing authorities. This will enable them make the necessary adjustments from their end so that your license, permits, and tax certificate will be valid and match your new LLC name. Please note that one of the requirements to get this done is to show them a certificate from the state approving the name change.

You are expected to write to them at the address where you filed your return, informing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the name change. Note: The notification must be signed by the business owner or authorized representative.

STEP 6: Change the Name on Your LLC’s Business Accounts

Another thing that you have to do once you are successful with changing your LLC name is to also change the name on your business bank account and order new checks and credit cards to reflect the new name, or all transactions carried out with the new name will be invalid.

Please note that some of the requirements to get this done is to show them a certificate from the state approving the name change, fill a new form in the bank and submit all the required documents (Each bank may have their requirements).

STEP 7: Amend All Necessary Documents

Another important step that you are expected to take when you have successfully changed the name of your LLC is to amend all necessary documents to reflect your new name. You have to amend contracts to reflect your new business name. If you make use of invoices, estimate forms, purchase orders, or any type of form contract, you have to change these forms to reflect your new business name.

So also, signage, brochures, forms, your website, business cards, and stationery—anything that still uses your old name must be changed to reflect the new name. You mustn’t forget to update your website terms and conditions and privacy policy and any online forms et al.

STEP 8: Make a Public Announcement

Lastly, you are required to make a public announcement to notify your business partners, your client base, the general public, including vendors, suppliers, landlords, lenders, and insurance agents of the name change of your LLC.

In order to reach a wide audience, you can advertise for a name change on all media platforms both electrical and print media; radio, television, newspaper, magazine, and online publishing sites et al.

Conclusion

Changing your LLC name is not a daunting task but you should be ready to spend time and money especially when changing your bank accounts, business licenses, forms, websites, and marketing materials. Please note that the information in this article is provided only for general purposes and it is in no way a piece of legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is established or should any such relationship be assumed. For legal advice, please consult with a professional business lawyer. Best of luck!

Joy Nwokoro