DBA, which is known as “Doing Business As”, is considered as the nickname of a business. A DBA is not a business structure, nor does it offer personal asset protection and nor are they considered as separate legal entities. Therefore, DBA’s are considered as “trade names”, “fictitious names” or “assumed names”. DBA’s apply to both formal and informal business structures.

How to set up a DBA?

Step One: Select your state

The process for filing a DBA varies from state to state. There are instances where businesses need to register their DBA with either the state government, the country or the city government. Some states require that the DBA be registered with more than one level of government. Unfortunately, Kansas, New Mexico and South Carolina currently do not allow businesses to file for a DBA.

Step Two: Complete a DBA name search

The next step is for a name search to be conducted. Owners need to be mindful of the fact that the name is not already taken by another business within the state in which the DBA is filed. The name also needs to meet the DBA naming guidelines for the respective state in question.

If the business should require assistance with the naming convention for the business in question, there are three steps to keep in mind. The business should come up with the best brand name for the business in question, follow the naming rules for the business structure for the business in question and finally, check and see if the business name is available.

There are platforms available that assist with the generating of a business name, it is also advisable that the business owner secures domain name as soon as possible. This will ensure that the name is secured and cannot be claimed by another business owner.

It is also advisable, after registering the domain, to consider setting up a professional email account. Various platforms offer free services in this regard.

Step Three: Register your DBA in your state

The final step is to file the DBA with the state or with the country or state clerks, this depends on the location as well as the business structure of the business in question. Several states require that the DBA be registered with more than one level of government. Take for example sole proprietorship, they are required to file at the state and country-level in specific states. While other states might require that the business only files at the country level.

If for some reason the entire process comes across as daunting, then luckily there are service providers that can aid the process. For those businesses wishing to utilize the service of experienced services provided in the field, rest assured that it is an alternative. DBA filing services handles the entire process, which saves time and so much energy, allowing owners the luxury of focussing on running the business instead.

Filing or creating a DBA helps build the brand as well as the reputation. Irrespective of whether the business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation. Registering a DBA aids in uniquely marketing the respective businesses, it is especially beneficial if a business offers multiple diverse products and services. This marketing strategy also aids in attracting and securing more customers. It is especially beneficial for small businesses and best of all it is relatively easy to set up and maintain.

So, if as a business owner and trying to decide if forming a DBA is beneficial, be mindful that two reasons guide whether or not a DBA is necessary. The business is already registered as a formal business entity to branch out into new products, services or brands, or there is an intention to rebrand. The business in question is not yet registered as either a sole proprietorship or partnership and would prefer to operate under a name other than the personal name already chosen for the business, this is usually an option considered for a business that has a low profile risk.

Go ahead, start the journey today and see what other businesses are already benefiting from. 

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