Naming your business is not only important for the brand, but is extremely important for the legality of your business. If you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name you will need to register it with the appropriate authorities.

This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.

What is a “Doing Business As” Name?

An assumed name, trade name or DBA name is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation.

For example, consider this scenario: John Smith sets up a painting business. Rather than operate under his own name, John decides to name his business: “John Smith Painting”. This name is considered an assumed name and John will need to register it with the appropriate local government agency.

The legal name of your business is required on all government forms and applications, including your application for employer tax IDs, licenses and permits.

How to Register your “Doing Business As” Name

Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located.  It is a fairly easy process, and the costs are usually minimal. Check your local government count or state website for more information and pricing.

Once you have completed your DBA registration, this ensures no one else can use that name, and will become the identity of your business separate from yourself or your partners.

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About the Author: Jennifer Mathews