Many small businesses want to use a name other than their individual name for their business. You can create an LLC or corporation and use that name, or you (or your LLC/corporation) can file for a DBA or Fictitious Name in most states.
In this post, we’ll explain what exactly that means.
A “DBA,” “Doing Business As,” or a “Fictitious Name,” is just that: a fake name. It’s like a nickname. You simply file paperwork (sometimes online) with your state’s Secretary of State to inform everyone in that state that you are using that name. People can then look up your business name on the SOS’s website to find you, the owner of the DBA.
You can then use your DBA in marketing. And in theory, you sign a contract using your DBA, but it is best to sign the contract under the name of the DBA owner (whether you, or your business). Can you reference the DBA at the top of the contract if you want, but otherwise, you should sign with the legal name of the DBA owner.
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There’s so much more to learn! Here are a few related guides you should read: