When you decide to change your company name, you are altering the way that your customers see your business, the way that your vendors address your business and the way that your business is listed with the various government agencies. Remember that, not only do you have to alter your files, those that you do business with also need to make note of your new name. That is why it is important to execute a checklist while going through a company name change.
The IRS and your state government will require paperwork that details your name change for their records. Work with an attorney to make sure that all of the proper forms are submitted, and then check back with the various government agencies 30 days after filing to make sure that the forms have been received and processed.
Prepare a letter outlining the coming name change for your company. Get the letter prepared and mailed out to all customers, vendors and business partners at least 60 days prior to the official name change. Indicate on the letter your company's current name, the name you will be changing to and the date that the change will be officially effective.
Get a press release out to the media no less that 45 days prior to the name change so that the general public knows the change is coming. Time your press release to come out after you have alerted your vendors, customers and business partners. The people you do business with should not have to find out about something as important as a name change in the media. Send the release to all forms of media that you use including print, radio, Internet and television.
Post a notice about the pending name change on your main website and all social networking sites that you maintain for the company, no less than 30 days prior to the change.
Send out a reminder letter to all customers, vendors and business partners no less than 15 days from the name change to remind them of the event. Encourage anyone with questions to call for more information by providing a toll-free name-change-information phone number.
The week of the name change, call all major clients and vendors to make sure that they received the previous name change information, and that they are ready for the name change event.