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ComplianceMay 08, 2024

Rebranding your business? Don’t forget these steps

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Your business is always growing and evolving – and so is your brand. However, the brand that worked when you first opened your business may no longer reflect your vision for your business or your target customers – and it may be time to rebrand.

Rebranding your business can be a helpful way to refresh your company’s image and increase relevance with consumers, prospects, and employees.

However, since so much of your company’s identity is tied to its name, a rebranding effort will likely require you to change your business name.

In this article we explore other benefits of rebranding, how to legally change your business name, and protect it against intellectual property infringement.

What is rebranding?

Rebranding is the process of reevaluating and changing your corporate image, messaging, and name. It can also involve a new logo, website, employee uniform, signage, and more. However far you take your rebranding effort, the goal is to distinguish your business from your competitors and stand out from the crowd in the eyes of your customers.

Why would a business want to rebrand?

Changing your company name may be necessary if it is outdated, confusing, hard to find online, or presents trademark issues.

Here are some common reasons why you may choose to change your company name during the rebranding process:

  • Attract new audiences. Rebranding can help attract new audiences or expand your addressable market. If you find that customers are confused about what you do or don’t identify with your brand, it may be time for a change.
  • Your business name doesn’t represent what you do. A name change can help prospects get a better idea of what you do or offer. For example, Weight Watchers changed its name to WW to reflect the company’s shift beyond a decades-long focus on weight loss to general wellness and overall health.
  • Your business has expanded. If you have or are planning to expand into a new market or geography it’s important that you choose a name that reflects and appeals to the consumers in that market. For example, if you operate a local company that includes the name of your town – like “St. Petersburg Painting Pros” – you may want to change it to something more generic or reflective of the region you’re expanding into, such as “Tampa Bay Painting Pros” or “Pinellas County Painting Pros.”
  • You’ve merged with or acquired another company. A name change is often the result of two businesses coming together.
  • Your business vision or mission has changed. If you want to take your business to new places, deliver new experiences, or reflect its evolution over time, it’s important that your company name aligns with these goals, mission, and values.
  • Reputational damage. If your business has been the subject of bad headlines – such as a regulatory violation or even a cyberattack that leaked customer data – a new name can help you start fresh.

Consider a DBA (doing business as)

As you think about renaming your business, consider your options.

For example, if you registered your business (and its name) as a limited liability company (LLC), you might opt for a “doing business as” (DBA) name instead of changing the legal name of your business.

A DBA allows you to operate your business under a name other than the legal name of your business. Also known as a trade name or fictitious business name, a DBA is often used by business owners when they want to enter a new line of business or market new products outside the scope of the existing business model.

Depending on the state where you operate, you may need to file a DBA with your local or county clerk’s office and/or with a state agency.

Read more in: What is a DBA (and how to register one).

Review company name legal requirements

Ensure that your desired new business name complies with LLC or corporate law in your business’ formation state. These laws are amended frequently – including provisions that govern business names. For example, some states are strict about which words or phrases can or can’t be used in a name and continually amend that list overtime.

Note: Before you legally change your business name, it must be approved by the member or members of your LLC. If you operate a corporation, your shareholders must approve. Your LLC operating agreement or corporate bylaws should outline how these matters should be handled.

Read more in: Naming your startup business.

Conduct a name search

Before filing any name changes, conduct a name search on your Secretary of State’s website or whichever state agency oversees business entity filings. This search can help you identify if another business has formed an entity in the state or reserved or registered the name. 

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to conduct a trademark search. State offices don’t check trademark law or registers to confirm if the name is in use, they only check the state’s business entity filing records. If your name infringes on a trademark, you could face penalties.

Read more in: What is a trademark?

File articles of amendment

If your business is incorporated and you change its name, you must file articles of amendment with your state of incorporation. If you are registered to transact business in another state or states (a process known as foreign qualification) you must change your business name in those states.

Don’t forget to amend your internal LLC operating agreement or corporate bylaws to reflect your new business name.

Maintain existing name rights

While you phase out the use of your old business name, you can protect the name rights of your previous name by maintaining its trademark rights.

Consider also keeping your old web domain name active for a few years. This will prevent hackers or nefarious actors from re-registering the domain name and stealing your business identity.

Other actions to add to your business name change checklist

In addition to the above, remember to do the following:

  • Submit an updated BOI filing with FinCEN. If you have an LLC or corporation, your business is required to file a beneficial ownership information (BOI) report with FinCEN (U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) unless it qualifies for an exemption. In addition, an LLC or corporation that is a reporting company must submit an updated filing for changes to previously reported information on the beneficial owner or on the company (such as a name change).
  • Update business licenses: Contact your state and local authorities to determine if you need to update your business licenses and permits. You may even need to cancel existing licenses and apply for new ones under your new business name.
  • Contact your bank: They may require you to open a new business bank account.
  • Notify the IRS: Inform the IRS of your name change. You may also require a new Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Notify customers and vendors: If your vendor contracts stipulate, notify your vendors of any name change. Develop a communications or rebranding plan that includes steps you’ll take to let your customers know of your new name.
  • Purchase a new domain name (if necessary)
  • Update or create new social media accounts and other online channels and platforms


Rebranding is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. BizFilings can help you navigate the process by conducting a preliminary state name check, preparing and filing amendments and documents, and ensuring your new business name is approved and certified.

Learn more about our Business Name Amendment Filing Service.

small business services

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Laura Schmidt
Senior Customer Service Representative
small business services


Helping entrepreneurs stay compliant

Speak with a specialist:
(800) 981-7183

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