DBA (Doing Business As)

Updated November 21, 2022
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A “Doing Business As” provides businesses with a legally recognized way to operate under a name other than their incorporated name. You may hear this concept referred to as a DBA, an assumed name, a fictitious business name, or a trade name.

How a DBA can help your business

DBAs provide different advantages, depending on your business type. For formal entities (such as LLCs and corporations), a DBA allows the businesses to take on multiple names for marketing or branding purposes.  

DBAs are even more important for informal organizations, like sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Without a DBA, these businesses cannot legally represent themselves as anything other than their owner’s personal names. As you can imagine, this can make branding and marketing extremely difficult. Most financial institutions also require these types of businesses to officially file a DBA before opening an account.

The most common reasons for filing for a DBA

There are a number of reasons a business may choose to adopt a DBA:

  • Increased credibility

    A well-chosen name can enhance the credibility of a business, especially for sole proprietors and general partnerships.

  • The ability to open financial accounts

    Many banks require sole proprietorships and general partnerships to secure a DBA before they are eligible to open an account.

  • Branding purposes

    There are numerous ways that a DBA can assist a company’s branding efforts. If the business can legally operate under more than one name, they would be able to market themselves differently to multiple demographics.

  • Public announcement of a name

    Filing for a DBA does not prevent other organizations from using the name, but it will deter savvy marketers from trying to compete with it. This can be beneficial for businesses that have long term branding or marketing plans.  

The fine print

A DBA allows companies to effectively run multiple branding campaigns, or even separate businesses, under one legal entity.  As long as the chosen names are not misleading to consumers, and reflect the company’s products or services, there is no limit to the number of DBAs that a business can have.  

What a DBA doesn’t do

It is a relatively common misconception that filing as a DBA provides limited liability protection for sole proprietors or general partnerships.  This is not the case.  In order to gain limited liability, a business must formally incorporate.

Swyft can help!

Does it seem like securing a DBA might be beneficial to your business? Our experienced professionals are here to talk you through your options, and then help you put your plans in motion! Contact us today! 

Originally published on October 29, 2022, and last edited on November 21, 2022.

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