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Business Branding 101: Registering Your Business Name to Comply with the Law

Posted on in Business Law

Arlington Heights business law attorney, business brandingBecoming a business owner is an overwhelming prospect, especially when it comes time to acquaint yourself with the myriad of business laws for which you will be held accountable as you commence your new role. Branding in particular will be an imperative foundation for your marketing efforts, and it all begins with one critical task: selecting a business name.

Doing Business As (DBA)

Whether you are an existing owner looking to start another side business or are embarking on a brand new business venture for the first time, it is important to be aware of the requirement to legally register your business name with the proper authorities to ensure you remain compliant with the law. Filing your “Doing Business As” name (also called your DBA) is the process of officially registering your chosen business name. This name must be different from your real, personal name, and will be required on a number of government forms and applications, such as your employer tax ID application and license paperwork.

Who Needs to Register?

Not every state requires business owners to register for a DBA, but generally speaking, you are expected to register if you are a sole proprietor or partnership that wishes to conduct business under a different name. Additionally, existing corporations or LLCs must register for a DBA if they wish to operate under a name other than their existing name.

This process is intended to let the state government know which identity you will be doing business under. Keep in mind that it does not offer trademark protection and is different than incorporation. Some things to consider when choosing a name include web-ready potential and whether or not the name you have in mind reflects the essence of your brand. Is a domain name or web address that showcases the title available? Does the name represent your brand’s core purpose and mission? Exploring these factors will help you select the very best DBA for your business.

State Agency Registration

Another task you will need to address once you have established and registered your business name is to register that name with any applicable state agencies. Not every business owner needs to do this; however, if you fall into a category that requires you do, it is important to make sure you follow the rules, or it could end up costing you.

Examples of types of businesses that must register their names with state agencies include corporations, non-profit organizations, and limited-liability companies and partnerships. Sole proprietors are not required to register their businesses at a state level, but most states do require sole proprietors to use their legal names as their business names, unless they formally file for a DBA or fictitious name.

Registering your business name can appear daunting at first, but with the help of a knowledgeable Arlington Heights business law attorney, you will be well on your way to registering the right DBA for your company. If you are feeling lost and are in need of professional counsel, contact A. Traub & Associates today at 847-749-4182 for a personal consultation.


Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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