How to Register Your Business

How to Register Your Business

Registering your business name is required to legally operate your business within any state. Each business type may require additional licensing and permits to your field (i.e. Licensed Contractors, Food Handlers permits, etc.) and is key for those wishing to obtain financial aid from the government or entrepreneurial grant and scholarship opportunities.

Choosing Your Business Name

  • Is the business name already registered in your state?
  • Is there a website domain name available that makes sense to your business name? (Search available domain names at Register.com)
  • Are social media pages and handles available with identical or near identical names? Your business name will frame its identity. Prior to marrying a name you’ve selected, consider searching and confirming the following:

Register Your Business Name

A fictitious name (or assumed name, trade name or “Doing Business As”/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.

When starting a business, the legal name of the business defaults to the name of the person or entity that owns the business, unless you choose to rename it and register it as a DBA name. So of course, you will want to put some thought into your name and be prepared prior to filing paperwork.

Consider this scenario: Tina sets up a tiling business. Rather than operate under her own name, she instead chooses to name her business: “Tina’s Tiling”. As an assumed name, or DBA, Tina 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.

Do I Need a “Doing Business As” Name?

A DBA is needed in the following scenarios:

  • Sole Proprietors or Partnerships – If you wish to start a business under anything other than your real name, you’ll need to register a DBA so that you can do business as another name.
  • Existing Corporations or LLCs – If your business is already set up and you want to do business under a name other than your existing corporation or LLC (Link to Rebecca’s How to Choose a Business Structure in Learning) name, you will need to register a DBA.
  • After you have selected a name for your business, you will need to register it to comply with the law.
  • Register With State Agencies
  • For some businesses, you need to register your business name with state or local government agency. Find out what the requirements are for your state.
Kendra E.J. Woodruff is the Founder of Work Spouse Consulting, LLC, a boutique SEO, website design and content marketing agency in Phoenix, AZ and the Marketing Director of AFEUSA

AFEUSA is not an attorney or law firm and we do not provide legal advice. We recognize that some information we may provide might fall within the parameters of legal subject matter, such as a link to a public website that may provide or disclose legal information. However, we do not advise you of your legal rights or seek information on any specific area that would create an attorney-client relationship.

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