Don’t let the abbreviation scare you off – for small business owners, both brand new and established alike, a doing business as name (DBA) is essential for companies that plan on conducting business and accepting payments under an alternate business name than the one they’re already legally registered as.
File for one now, not later
As I mentioned above, DBAs are necessary for both new and established businesses alike but many new start-ups opt to wait on filing for a DBA until they have a bit more experience under their belts. My advice is instead of waiting, file for one now. You can still continue to build your brand up and put plenty of trust into it, but when you file early, you ensure that the DBA name you file for belongs to you and hasn’t been claimed by someone else.
DBA registration is necessary for almost every entity
As mentioned on the SBA.gov, if you are a Sole Proprietor or a Partnership and want to start a company under anything other than your real name, you need to file for a DBA registration in order to do business. Same goes for LLCs and Corporations who want to do business under a different name than their existing businesses – gotta register for a DBA!
Even if you’re running a side business, you’ll still want a DBA
It may not be your full-time line of work, but even for a part-time side business, your DBA will be necessary for opening a business bank account, being legally allowed to advertise, and receiving checks made out to said business. DBAs protect a business against fraud and most states tend to make them a requirement as well. Besides, if your side business starts to take off and becomes your full-time gig, you’ll be glad you filed a DBA early on to help get it started!
You don’t have to register for one if the business’s name is your name
If I opened up my own bakery and called it “Deborah Sweeney” I wouldn’t need to file for a DBA. But if I decided to add a few extra words in the business’ name like “Deborah Sweeney’s Sweets Shop” I would need to register for a DBA, even though my name was still in the name of the business. The good news here is that very few people can get away with opening a business under their name and not add in a few extra words to better clarify what it is they sell, so this is beneficial all around to both you and your business.