You’ve decided to start a new business. You have a great idea, put together a talented team, and now need to pick a name. Although a seemingly simple task, there are legal terms and acronyms you need to familiarize yourself with as you settle on a name for your business.
There are several options for naming your business: 1. Operate under a legal name; 2. Use the name of the business owner, or 3. Pick out a fictitious name. One crucial acronym, DBA – which stands for ‘doing business as’ represents a company or individual running a business under a fictitious name. If you decide on the last option, a DBA is the way to go.
Benefits of a DBA
If you don’t want to operate under your own name, registering a DBA name is a great option for you. Your name defines your brand and is how the public gets its first impression. When the name reflects the services your business offers, your clients are given a sense of clarity right off the bat and have a reason to start doing business with you.
A DBA gives you the option to create a business account separate from your personal account. This will serve as a safety net for your personal finances. To open-up a separate business account, you need an EIN (employer identification number), which you receive when you file a DBA. Other benefits include its low cost and ease of filing, protection of privacy, and the flexibility to expand into markets where the legal name of the business is being used.
DBA vs. LLC
Another significant attribute of a DBA is that you, as an individual, are the one carrying on business. On the other hand, when you form an LLC, you are creating a separate legal entity. This entity carries on business from that point on, rather than you as an individual. It’s also important to note that costs for registering an LLC is also higher than a DBA.
Now that you understand the benefits of doing business as DBA, here are three things you should consider.
- State Regulated - DBA names are regulated by state laws. Simply put, you need to register the name to a regulatory body such as Secretary of State or Division of Corporations. Keep in mind, state laws prohibit using a DBA name that has already been registered. So, don’t hesitate to get creative!
- Registration Process - The overall process differs by state; however, you essentially need to fill out a short form with basic information about the business and choose a fictitious name for the company. There are fee requirements of up to $100 depending on local regulations when submitting, and the information will be put in the public records.
- Protect Your Business Identity - Now that the name and business you operate is in the public records, you need to protect it. Make sure you know which states you are registered in to do business and ensure that access to the data about your business is secured with a username and a strong password.