What To Do If You Have To Change Your Business Name
Your business may have been operating under a catchy name. Unforeseen circumstances though may require you to change a business name.
There are many reasons a business may need to change its name:
- Business growth
- Business changes scope
- Business explores new markets
- Partnering with another business
- Name causes confusion
If you don’t do your due diligence when choosing a business name you may find yourself in a tough spot. This guide will inform you what to do if you have to change a business name.
Do Your Research
Before you change a business name or register one, you should do your research. The NUANS Database can help you to find out if the name is already used in Canada.
Questions you should ask to avoid name infringement:
- Does it resemble another business name in appearance or sound?
- Does the other business operate in the same geographic location?
- Does the other business serve the same clients?
To Change A Business Name
Now that you’ve found a new name, you have to take steps to change your previous name. Remember all the places you used your business name (ex: business cards, website, etc.)?In addition, to updating your registration documents with the Ministry, all these will need to be updated too.
You should make sure that your customers know about the name change. If a customer is unaware they may naturally think you went out of business! This abrupt change, if not handled properly, could even impact your company’s profits.
Some organisations that will need to be informed include:
- Your province or territory of registration
- If federally incorporated, Corporations Canada
- The bank your business is associated with
- Canada Revenue Agency
- Municipality where you hold licenses
- Businesses and vendors you work with
- Utility companies
You should also alert the companies you advertise with before you change a business name. This will prevent you from paying precious advertising dollars for your business under the wrong name. Similarly, telephone directories should be made aware of the change so they can change your listing.
After these measures are taken, you’re going to need to aesthetically change your business as well. This means changing your business signs, cards, e-mail addresses, stationary, and voicemail. You may also need a new logo if your old one is no longer applicable.
Your web presence will also need to reflect this change. And if you’ve changed your domain, you’ll need to remember to redirected the old domain to the new one. Lastly, don’t forget to update your Social Media profiles as well.
Changing A Business Name In Ontario
If your business is registered in Ontario, you’ll want to make sure to file the appropriate documentation to update the Ministry records.
An Ontario Corporation can change its name by filing Articles of Amendment along with an Ontario NUANS Name Reservation Report for the new name.
Non-Incorporated Businesses (Sole Proprietorships, General Partnership, and Operating Names), unfortunately, cannot directly change their business name on the registration.
As a result, a new registration would need to be completed for the new name and the old registration cancelled. Make sure to properly transfer accounts, assets, etc. into the new registration.
Regardless of the reason you are changing your business name, make sure to complete the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition.
And don’t forget to file the appropriate documents with the Ministry in order to have the proper registration of the new name in place for you to conduct business.
If your considering a name change, make sure to search all your business name ideas with our Free NUANS Preliminary Search.
The NUANS database is owned by Industry Canada, and is the most through name search available in Canada.
The database covers all Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, General Partnership, Operating Names, and Trademarks in Canada, with the exception of Quebec. If you are planning on operating in Quebec, you should also search the Quebec Government’s Enterprise Registry.