Changing Your Company Name Is Easier Than You Think!

By Brett Melson Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Business Names

Is your company name outdated, or does it no longer reflect the nature of your business? Is it too complicated or too generic? Have you thought about officially changing your company name?  The name of a company or brand can make or break a business.  In fact, many companies now famous under their present names weren’t so prominent under their previous names. 

 

Some notable examples include:

 

Quantum Computer Services -> AOL

BackRub -> Google

Diet Delux  -> Healthy Choice

Jerry’s Guide to the Worldwide Web -> Yahoo

Brad’s Drink -> Pepsi-Cola

Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation -> Sony

Auction Web -> EBay

Blue Ribbon Sports -> Nike

Stag Party -> Playboy

FreeDiskSpace.com -> MySpace.com

National Biscuit Company -> Nabisco

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co -> 3M

Peter’s Super Submarines -> SUBWAY

Sound of Music -> Best Buy

U-Tote’m -> 7-Eleven

Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory -> Canon

Marafuku Company -> Nintendo

Matsushita Electric Corporation of America -> Panasonic

Lucky Goldstar -> LG

Datsun -> Nissan

Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation -> IBM

 

In some cases, the original name may have been too specific such as Bob’s Deck & Patio LLC, when Bob began doing more general contracting and home building. In other cases a company may be redesigning its total image and the centerpiece is the new name.

 

A very foreign sounding name, one with funny spelling or great word length may seem good early on, but if people mispronounce it or they can’t remember it, your message could be getting lost in the translation.

 

Often, clients feel that a new company must be filed or that changing the name will be extremely costly and time consuming. In fact, your company name can be officially changed quickly and easily.  One of the most common filings we see clients make is the “name change amendment” or just “name amendment.”

 

After doing market research to find a name that is appropriate for you and the image you want your business to reflect, instead of filing a new company, simply call us. We will prepare and file a Certificate of Amendment to the Certificate of Formation (for LLCs) or Certificate of Incorporation (for Corporations) with the Secretary of State’s office. This filing officially changes the name with Delaware Division of Corporations.

 

Filing a name amendment versus filing a new company will allow you to keep the history that goes along with your original filing. Assets don’t change hands, liabilities remain the same, all contracts remain in force, all accounting and tax records remain the same.

 

The name will change but everything else will remain the same. This can save the hassle of opening new bank accounts, obtaining a new EIN, and creating entirely new internal documents. The formation date of the company remains the date of original formation. This is an important consideration for many entrepreneurs.

 

So, once you decide that filing a name amendment is the best decision for your company, what do you do to make it happen? The first step in the name amendment process is choosing the name. This can be a tough decision. For assistance in picking out the right name, check out this HBS blog post by Paul Sponaugle Three Easy Steps for Naming Your Company in Delaware

 

To make sure your company name is available in Delaware, take advantage of Harvard Business Services, Free Name Check. After the name is chosen, we will provide a Certificate of Amendment that will have to be signed by an authorized officer of the company. Once we receive back the signed copy, we will it with the Secretary of State, and the name will officially change as of the date and time the document is filed. 

 

The State of Delaware typically takes two to three business days to return the approved documents. Quick and Easy!

 

Once the amendment is filed, clients need to make sure that everyone is aware of the new name for the company. The easy way to go about informing everyone is to make a list. Write down government agencies that the company works with, clients, vendors, and banks and inform them of the new name. Notify the Post Office, UPS, Federal Express Corporation and DHL as well as any other companies that your company deals with.

 

Some of the bureaucracies involved may have a form to fill out and return with a copy of the approved Certificate of Amendment. The IRS allows this change to be made rather easily. Simply send a letter to the address IRS office where the return was filed for the previous year. The letter needs to state the new name of the company, the old name, EIN (Employers ID Number) the signature of a corporate officer.  Other changes may include marketing materials-ads, logos, company stationary, etc.

 

Finally, go forward and prosper with the new company name that properly reflects the business you have worked so hard to build!

 

Should you require assistance in the filing of a name amendment, or any type of amendment, feel free to give me a call at 800-345-2677 ext 6131 or send an email to brett@delawareinc.com.

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