18 January 2024

Setting Up Your Business: Choosing a Name

By Ronald Smith

When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you need to think about is what to call it. If you choose to make your business a corporation or LLC, you’ll need to give it a legal name. But even if you decide not to do that, it’s still important to give your business an official name. You can do this by filing a Doing Business As (DBA) form. This protects your rights, allows you to open a business bank account, and helps you gain credibility with your customers.

Setting Up Your Business: Choosing a Name

What is a “Doing Business As” (DBA) Filing?

A Doing Business As (DBA) filing is an official document that tells the public who the true owner of a business is. It’s important because sometimes the name of a business doesn’t reveal who actually owns it. DBAs are also known as Fictitious Business Names (FBNs), assumed business names, or trade names. In order to let people know, many places require the FBN or DBA to be published in a newspaper’s legal notices section for a specific amount of time.

Who needs to file a Doing Business As (DBA)?

If you have your own business and want to use a name that is different from your own, you may need to file a Doing Business As (DBA) form.

Let me explain with an example. If your name is Jane Doe and you operate a cookbook store called Jane Doe’s Cookbooks, you do not need to file a DBA. Your business name is the same as your actual name. However, if you decide to call your bookstore Books for Cooks, you would need to file a DBA because your business name is different from your legal name.

Now, let’s say your company is called Books for Cooks, Inc. In this case, you can use the name Books for Cooks without filing a separate DBA. This is because you have already incorporated your business under that name.

Do you know where to go to register a Doing Business As (DBA) name – the state or county?

It all depends on which state you’re doing business in. DBAs are usually registered either at the state level or the county level. But here’s something to keep in mind: some places even require you to let the public know about your new business name. This means you have to publish an official announcement in a newspaper that’s approved by the government. For example, you might have to publish your DBA once a week for four weeks in the legal notices section of a specific newspaper. Just remember, the publication requirements can be different depending on where you are, and there might be extra costs for buying space in the newspaper.

Let’s talk about how getting a Doing Business As (DBA) filing can benefit your business.

When you file a DBA, it helps to keep you in line with the law and makes it possible for you to have bank accounts and receive payments under your business name. Banks usually require a filed DBA copy to open an account.

If you decide not to incorporate or form a limited liability company, filing a DBA gives you the freedom to use a business name that can promote your products and services. It also helps you create a professional business identity that’s separate from your personal identity.

Now, let’s clear up something. Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

Can I use Inc. Co. or LLC in my Doing Business As (DBA) filing?

No, you can’t. When filing for a DBA, there are certain limitations on the types of business names you can use. You’re not allowed to use a name that includes words or abbreviations that would make it seem like a corporate entity. This means you can’t include Corporation (or Co.), Incorporated (or Inc.), or LLC in your DBA name.

This restriction is in place to prevent businesses from using DBAs to create confusion about their ownership structure or corporate status. Depending on where you are, you might have to do a name search to ensure that your preferred name isn’t already in use. In other areas, no such search is necessary, which means someone else might already have the same name.

If you want your name to be significant for your business, I suggest you check if it’s already being used by another company or trademarked before you file a DBA. CorpNet provides a free business name search tool that allows you to ensure your desired business name is available for you to use. This way, you can avoid any problems or conflicts with other businesses.

How can CorpNet assist you in filing a Doing Business As (DBA)?

Once you give us all the info we need, we’ll take care of preparing the DBA documents just for you. If the place where you want to file requires a name search, don’t worry, we’ll handle that too. After you sign the DBA forms, we’ll go ahead and file them, and if there’s a newspaper publication requirement in your state, we’ll work with them directly to meet that on your behalf. You know what’s even better? Using CorpNet means you’ll save time and money. Our service is super fast, reliable, and affordable. And guess what? We guarantee that you’ll be 100% satisfied with our services. We’ve got everything covered so you can focus on what you do best – running your business!

Got any questions? Not a problem! Just give CorpNet a shout today and we’ll be happy to help you with your DBA forms and any other business filings you need. And hey, don’t forget – you can get a free business consultation when you contact us.

Naming your business doesn’t have to be a big hassle. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with all the help you need to make your business official and protect your legal rights. All you have to do is file a DBA form to give your business a name.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re wondering which business structure is the perfect fit for you and your small business, I’ve got just the thing. Take the quiz now and find out!