What is a DBA and How to File a 'Doing Business As'
Thinking of using a DBA (Doing Business As) name for your business? It can be a smart move, but first, let's understand why.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics: what a DBA is, why you might want one, and how to get one registered in any US state or territory. Whether you’re just starting out or expanding your business, we’re here to help you make the best decision. Let’s get started!
What is a DBA and why you might need one
DBA stands for 'Doing Business As.' Think of it as a business alias. If you run your business using a name different from its legal name, you’ll likely need to register a DBA. Across most U.S. states and territories, you might hear a DBA referred to as an 'assumed name,' 'fictitious name,' or 'trade name.'
Every business has its official, legal name. Let’s break it down:
- If you’re a sole owner or in a partnership, the legal business name could be your own name.
- For corporations or LLCs (Limited Liability Companies), the legal name is typically what’s written in the foundational documents, like the articles of incorporation or organization.
But what if the legal name doesn’t match your business vibe? Perhaps it’s outdated or unclear, or you’re just craving a fresh identity. That’s where a DBA comes in handy.
The best part? There's no cap on how many DBA names you can have. Just remember, each one needs to be registered in your operating state. This isn’t just paperwork; it’s about transparency. The public deserves to know who’s behind a business name, especially if it’s different from the legal one.
Interested in diving deeper into business structures or getting tips for a thriving business? Check out our detailed guide on how to start a business.
And a quick tip: Every DBA you choose should be memorable and reflect a unique brand identity. That way, your audience can instantly recall and connect with your business.