How to Change Company Name

There are a variety of reasons to change a company name such as outdated cultural relevance, change of ownership, or transitioning to a new product mix. Whatever the purpose, if you're ready to change a business name, consider these suggestions.


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    Determine the new name. While this might seem simple, a lot of thought needs to go into the process. Changing a business name requires a logical transition if you want to avoid confusing your current customer base. On the other hand, you may intentionally plan to distance your company from it's previous identity with a totally different name.
    • To change a business name with the least amount of confusion and avoid speculation, consider an alternative that sounds similar. If your desire is to modernize your image, you might transition from "Father & Sons' Outdoor Furniture Market Emporium" to "Father's Patio Furniture," for example.
    • If your intention is to take the company in a new direction because of previous mismanagement or bad press, you might change the name to "Sons' Furniture Outlet," and advertise that you're under new management. This may cause disgruntled customers to give your company a second chance.
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    Follow the correct legal procedures. Contact the IRS. Forms that most companies file annually will need to be revised to reflect the new name. Check with your state's tax comptroller to determine the appropriate process to change a business name. Some states allow the sales tax permit to be updated with a "DBA," (a.k.a. "Doing Business As") printed below the original business name.
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    Consult with a marketing agency. Along with offering advice on the company name change process, a reputable marketing agency can help the transition with a new logo, budgeting, and vital press releases. Depending on the size of your company, assign a company liaison to work with the agency for a smooth transition and accountability.
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    Prepare the publicity. To change company names, commence a media campaign including a series of promotional tactics conditioning the public to the new direction. Explaining the company name change isn't absolutely necessary, especially if the change is to leave behind a negative legacy. Discuss the campaign with the person or department in charge of the advertising budget for a realistic evaluation, in case additional funding is needed.
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    Implement the business name change. New logos, new signage, maybe even a new domain name for your website should be considered for the transition to be effective. Make a list of your priorities in detail. Be careful not to make drastic changes from the plan without a thorough assessment. Changing a company name should be a gradual process. Thoughtfully consider your plans and transition systematically.
    • Renovating the building or launching a new website might prove to be a productive decision. This depends on the type of business and the whether the new image is a drastic change.

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