Changing your business name? At Nav, we changed our name three years after we launched. Although we were a relatively young company, it was still a lot of work—but well worth it. To help make the process easier for you, we’ve put together a checklist we used to help us stay organized. You can download it below and customize it to your needs.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind as you start planning for your name change. We recommend you start planning at least three months ahead of time; longer if your business is larger, has multiple locations, or is well established.
Changing Business Name — The Financials
Bank and financial accounts: Notify your bank or credit union. Order new checks.
Credit and debit cards: Ask your issuers if you need replacement cards. If so, and the numbers change, make sure you update any payments automatically paid through the old account numbers.
Clients, suppliers, and vendors: Notify them as well. Your accounting software may make it easy; if not, you may need to notify each one individually.
Credit agencies: Notify the major commercial credit agencies.
- Dun & Bradstreet does not require you notify them of a name change unless it involves a change of ownership. If it does, visit Dun & Bradstreet’s free company update page here.
- Experian recommends small business owners visit BusinessCreditFacts.com to update their reports.
- Equifax does not require a business owner to notify them of a name change as long as the business maintains the same tax ID number and credit accounts.
- LexisNexis does not require the business owner notify it of the new name.
Monitor your business credit before, during, and after your name change to make sure information is reported accurately and continues to be. Check your personal and business credit scores for free at Nav. No credit card is required.
All those envelopes, business cards, and brochures you recently had printed will have to be redone with your new company name and logo. While you may want to keep a few old items around for nostalgia (or scrap paper), consider donating them to others rather than simply throwing them in a trash heap. Employees may want to donate letterhead to their kids’ school for use as scrap paper, for example, and your local charity may welcome those mugs, pens, or T-shirts you won’t be using.
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Other items that might need updating:
- Sign for front desk
- Signage on doors
- Building sign
- Business cards
- Vehicle parking ID / wraps
- Building ID badges
- Swag/promotional items
- Slide decks/presentations
- Voicemail message
Since Nav is an online business, there were numerous online tasks that had to be accomplished; some of them were visible to our customers while many ran behind the scenes. And still weeks (sometimes months) later, we would catch a reference to our old name somewhere that would need to be fixed. Here are just a few of the things you may need to change with your online presence:
- Domain name
- SSL certificate
- Web pages
- Website copyright
- Search engines
- Email addresses
- Email signatures
- Wikipedia page
You’ll need to update your social media accounts including:
And any others on which your business has a presence. In some cases, you may need to keep your old account/page open and leave a message about how to find you on your new one. In others you may be able to simply change the name. The procedure will vary. It’s not a bad idea to leave a message in your profile for the first month or two alerting your community to the name change so there’s less confusion. Not everyone will pick up on it right away.
There may be a number of legal documents that need to be updated. Be sure to consult with your attorney or in-house counsel to make sure you are covered.
- Business license
- Department of Corporations or state agency registration
- Stock certificates
- Notify registered agent
Human Resources (HR)
Your employees will appreciate a smooth transition, so make sure HR issues are covered. These may include:
- Health insurance
- Other insurance (dental, life, etc.)
- Unemployment insurance
- Job boards
- Employee shares
- Training manual
- Telephone scripts
- Press release
- Online press resources
- Media style guide
- Online advertisements
- Billboards/Outdoor ads
- Radio ads
- TV ads
Have you changed your business name? Share your tips in the comments below.