Hate to break it to you but a lot of you aren't managing your DBA properly. 😬
Don't meant to generalize, I'm just saying...
This is an observation from my years of working with business owners as an attorney.
But, let's back up a bit before we get into what you need to fix.
What's a DBA?
It's short for "doing business as" and it's typically used as the main brand name in your business.
For instance, many of us register our LLC with the state under a more formal name, like, ABC Marketing LLC.
But ABC Marketing LLC is not catchy.
At least not enough to attract the eye of consumers.
So we use a DBA instead for marketing purposes.
You want your business to stand out.
Smart move. No worries here.
Well, except when you don't use it correctly.
Here are some areas where business owners can go wrong:
No State Registration
Business owners often forget to actually register their DBA with the state.
Now you're marketing this name without paperwork to back you up!
Don't forget to register!
Did you check to see whether the DBA you're using is available for your use?
You need to do your homework first before using a name to avoid trademark infringement.
Remember, state DBA registration doesn't automatically mean trademark registration.
Wait, I have a DBA?
And some of you forget that you have one altogether.
If you've got it, flaunt it.
It's meant to be seen in marketing materials, websites, or storefronts, for example.
Does your bank know?
Finances can get pretty confusing if you're using your DBA sporadically.
You should be consistent in your documentation.
Let your bank know about any DBAs related to your entity.
And it should be represented in your contracts too.
ABC Marketing LLC d/b/a My Fab Marketing
Don't forget our anniversary!
DBAs need love too.
Just like many states require annual reports for your LLC, DBAs have renewal registrations.
How often you must renew depends on your state but find out and mark your calendar.
You want to keep using it after all and some states even have penalties for late renewals.
Way too many
While you can certainly have more than one DBA, try not to go overboard.
And I say this because it can be difficult to manage so many.
Using multiple DBAs without a clear strategy can lead to brand confusion.
It can also create a hassle when managing all of the paperwork for your business entity so keep that in mind too.
Remember, your DBA is your business name's alter ego – use it wisely and correctly!
This blog posting is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not provided for specific, individual legal advice.
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