Changing Your Business Name – What You Need to Know

Congrats on your business name change!  You’ve put in hours of brainstorming, writing, re-writing, and crafting to come up with your new name and brand.  But now that you have it, the work has only just begun.  Between updating accounts, notifying the public, and complying with government agencies, there is a lot more to changing your name than the fun, creative part!

First, you’ll want to communicate to your business contacts via mass communication if possible to reduce the headache of sending individual emails or letters. It may be helpful to send out customized communication to groups of contacts.  Don’t forget:

  • Business Partners with whom you work
  • Customers
  • Vendors

Your customers will likely request a new W-9 showing your new business name.  To help curb the requests for new documents, you may want to attach a copy of the new W-9 to your communication to your customers.

Be prepared to complete updated vendor packets for vendors with whom you have an account.  They will want your most current information for their files.

You will also need to complete new paperwork at your bank – coordinate with your banker to get the forms to be completed.  New signature cards will need to be created and on file for the bank.  Ask your banker if they can allow you to deposit checks made payable to your old business name and new business name for a period of time.  Your customers may take some time to update their records to your new name and you want to ensure those checks can still be deposited/cashed.

Other important agencies/contacts that need notification of your name change include:

  • Secretary of State for all states in which you have a business registration
  • Agencies/boards with whom you hold licenses or permits
  • IRS – this can be done on your next tax return that is filed or via a letter to the IRS
  • Department of Revenue for all states with whom you have tax accounts (withholding, sales, income tax, etc.)
  • Department of Labor for all states with which you have unemployment accounts
  • Local agencies with whom you have tax accounts (for example, KCMO earnings/withholding tax)
  • Your benefits agent
  • Your retirement advisor
  • Your insurance broker
  • Lending companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Your accountant, CPA, and payroll processor

And, don’t forget:

  • Updating your letterhead and any other branded files with your new logo (you’ll be surprised how many documents, website pages, images and files have your logo!)

Changing your business name is not an overnight process!  It will take planning and manhours to get everything updated.  Make sure you spend the time up front to understand and plan all of the updates needed so that you can stick to the timeline you’ve set for the rollout of your new name.

Amelia Reynolds, Director of Client Operations