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6 easy steps to change the name of your LLC

6 easy steps to change the name of your LLC

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You may think that properly changing the name of your LLC is an involved and challenging process. But it’s actually quite simple – and necessary – once you’ve learned the exact steps you need to take. Here’s how you do it.

Why it’s worth changing the name of your LLC correctly

You originally called your business a thing. But now you have changed your mind and want to call it something else. Or something has changed, such as a partner leaving, a new partner joining, or your business changing direction. It’s alright. You can definitely change the name.

One of the reasons why you want to make sure you change the name of your LLC correctly is because of the legalities that may be involved. The state in which your LLC is registered must know the correct name by which your LLC identifies.

Without proper documentation, your new LLC name will not be registered and will be taken up by someone else if they happen to be thinking about it as well. In addition, it is always helpful to have all your ducks in a row should you encounter legal issues in the future.

You will not risk another company officially registering the name your company has gone by, nor taking the associated URLs and social media managements.

There can be many other reasons to change the name of your LLC. Maybe you have created a partnership and the name contains the name of a co-founder who is no longer in the company. Maybe the company has evolved and grown from the name you once gave it. Or maybe in the initial process of filing your LLCs name, it was not spelled correctly.

Whatever the reason, it is legal to change your LLC name. Depending on where it is registered, it does not have to be a long process either.

The investment is necessary to change the name of your LLC

The investment required is truly your time. You will need to take the time to change your organizational articles. Depending on the state your LLC is registered in, you can either do this by hand or fill it out online. Once you have completed the relevant paperwork and send it to your local foreign minister, all you have to do is wait for approval.

However, it takes something to get organized. With business, there can often be a lot of paperwork you need to keep track of. But if you take the time to organize everything, you do not have to deal with piles of paperwork.

You can instead control things digitally. For example, with a tool like Dropbox, you can store all your paperwork in one place. It is also easy to share information with different stakeholders for easier access.

Once you have completed the correct paperwork to change the name of your LLC, you can save copies of your application and any other documents provided if you do so online. Getting started with Dropbox is easy.

All you have to do is open an account with your favorite email address. From there, you will be much more organized and have more peace of mind knowing that your documents are safe in one place.

It is also a great team management tool as you can share and easily collaborate on documents. If you’re already involved in submitting proposals, managing and archiving contracts, sharing files or collaborating on documents, Dropbox can help you make your paper handling a breeze.

6 steps to change the name of your LLC

Here are six specific steps to change your LLC name correctly and officially.

Step 1 – Get organized

The first step to doing something, especially anything so official as changing your company name, is to go out of your way to get organized. While it may be tempting to jump into the LLC name change process first (or any other process for that matter), it is always better to approach any task with an organized approach.

What does this look like? First, find all the papers you think you might need. Where are your organizational items? Is your LLC co-owned? Talk to your co-founder about the best way to proceed so no one is out of the loop.

Do you have your file number within reach? This is the number your Secretary of State issued you after approving your LLC. Also have your EIN on hand.

Consider making a list of stakeholders you need to notify about your name change before proceeding. From there, you will feel more confident in making the final decisions.

Step 2 – Try the option of using a fictitious name instead

In some cases, it may just be easier to apply for a DBA or a “do business as” name instead. A DBA is a company name that works under the umbrella of your original LLC – as a nickname. You can go to the nickname for official purposes rather than legally changing the whole name.

For example, if your LLC is called Words, LLC, your DBA could be “The Words” (without the LLC) or even something completely different, like “Reading Room” that would still be registered as a business under the original Words LLC name.

Applying for a DBA can be easy, but will vary slightly from state to state. For example, in the state of California, to file a DBA, you must:

Run a fictitious company name search in the California company name search File DBA paperwork in the county, the company is registered Publish your DBA in California notice

Pretty straightforward, right? But wait, what’s the last part about posting your DBA in California?

California does this as a way to make sure your company name is not already taken. Within 30 business days of applying for your DBA, California requires you to publish a DBA statement in a county newspaper where your business is registered for approximately four weeks.

Getting a DBA may be something to consider if you prefer an alternative route than changing the original name of your LLC. Keep in mind, though, that creating a DBA does not give your business its own LLC protections. It’s still under the umbrella of your original LLC name.

So, for example, if there are other companies registered under your LLC, should something happen to your other companies, it could affect the company you are trying to file a DBA for, as they are all technically under the same LLC umbrella. This is a small yet crucial detail to consider if you would rather go with filing a DBA.

Step 3 – Examine your local state’s guidelines

To change the name of your LLC, you need to change your organizational articles. This means that you have to submit the correct paperwork and get it approved by the state. However, each state will approach things a little differently, so you need to take the time to research properly and see what the correct procedure is for your specific condition.

In some cases, you may need to fill out paperwork by hand; in others you can fill out the paperwork online. Finding out more information about correctly changing the name of your LLC can be as easy as Googling “LLC name change” and the name of your state.

Usually, .gov pages are the official websites run by the state. You should look for them as the most accurate source of information. From there, you can start filling out your paperwork. However, we always recommend that you first talk to your lawyer for other more complicated name change processes.

It can be a little more complicated if you are dealing with a franchise or want to switch to a name similar to an existing one or if it appears to have been taken already. If you are in doubt about the process of changing your name, or if you think there may be legal consequences of some kind, contact a trusted lawyer.

Step 4 – Find and complete your changes

This step is pretty self explanatory. When filling out your paperwork, check for accuracy.

If you took the time to get organized earlier and gather all your relevant documents, this step should be a breeze. You may also want to involve your co-founders in this part of the process.

For example, the state of California requires you to file change articles (Form LLC – 2) to make the name change. You can either fill it out online or print it out and do it by hand. From there, it is a matter of submitting your form either in person or by email.

Step 5 – Wait for approval and make any appropriate name changes

The waiting time for approval varies from state to state. In California, for example, it can take two to three weeks or more.

Once you have received approval, take the time to change the names of your LLC where applicable. Are you registered with subsidiaries that need to have accurate business information on file?

Do you have contracts with suppliers who need the correct company name for invoices and bookkeeping? Are there any business bank accounts that need to be updated with the new name? Do you need a new logo created? Need to buy a new website domain?

Create a checklist of all the places your business is registered to avoid missing out on anyone. Although you may think that you only need to change your name in a few places, when you make a list, you will be surprised what other places you remember also need a name change.

You can not forget to change the name if you have a website. This can take a change of a domain name. However, if you are not very savvy about technology, you will want to consult a developer to help you point out the new domain name on your site.

You also can not forget your social media handles. It will confuse your customers if you name your business one thing but appear on social platforms under a completely different name.

Step 6 – Save a summary of all your paperwork

As a business owner, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not keeping accurate records of all the changes and paperwork related to your business. This good practice helps cover you up if something goes wrong. It’s also a way to keep order and stay calm so you can focus on other, more ROI-positive business tasks.

A tool like Dropbox makes it easy to organize records across all your papers. It helps you get organized, and it also allows you to share important documents and collaborate with team members.

Take the time to record all your paperwork accurately. From copies of applications to official registrations of acceptance by your Secretary of State. This way, it becomes an easy process to find them when you need them, saving you time and making your operations more efficient.

Next step

We’ve just gone through the whole process of changing your LLC’s name correctly. Easy, right? Find the relevant change articles for your state, fill them out either by hand or digitally, then submit them and wait for approval.

To ensure that you follow the name change process up, be sure to let all relevant parties know about your newfound name. Remember that you can also choose to apply for a DBA instead if it better suits your business plans.

As with all things business, there are many little things like this that you always have to deal with daily. There is always a problem to solve or something new to learn.

We have you covered in the learning department with lots of in-depth business guides to help you with all sorts of scenarios. See our guide to business partnerships. However, if you are focusing on your digital strategy right now, you will want to read our guide to increasing your site’s speed and conversions through.

But maybe this is what you need help building a solid brand. That’s why we’ve created this brand-building guide to help you get started. It goes beyond everything you need to know to build a solid brand that your customers will love from the bottom up.

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