Let’s be clear, don’t expect much online presence if your business is called “Santiago García”. That’s not a discriminatory statement; it’s just that naming your business as one of the most common names and last names in the United States won’t give your business its own appeal. Operating your business as a sole proprietor does not necessarily mean you can’t have an appealing name for your business: there are ways to legally use another name for your business without creating a company. Which are those ways? What happens if you don’t use them? How should you do it?
Use a DBA
You can always register a DBA (stands for Doing Business As), also known as a trade, fictitious or assumed name. Doing this registration allows you to conduct your business with a different name than your birth name. This might not be a legal requirement but will allow you to do different interesting things, starting from unlinking your business name from your current name, allowing to open a business bank account to avoid mixing business and personal finances, or even making business with companies that might require you to have a registered DBA. Procedures for filing for a DBA vary amongst different states, but usually, you simply need to go to your county office (also online), fill a form and pay a fee to get your DBA.
Process and Results
Our friend Santiago had a hard time when he started his business: “I knew all I needed about cleaning carpets but there were a lot of things I did not know about finances and administration” – he says.
He started his new business with his own savings and the help from family and friends. “I started my business with a bunch of customers, they were happy with my services, but carpets are cleaned once or twice a year, and soon I was in need to look for new customers”.
At this point, he realized he was missing his own business name. “Even if my customers were happy and referred me to their friends and family, they often were unable to find me amongst other 300 Santiago García on White Pages”.
He knew he needed a good name for his carpet cleaning business. He wanted to build his online presence and to be able to promote his business on nearby towns, and he would not achieve that without a punching name. So he chose to visit his county office and registered his brand-new DBA: “Spotless”.
“After getting my DBA I was able to create a small web page and do some branding on my business area. After that customers started to come slowly; those were difficult months and I was starting to have financial issues, and at this point was when I realized my new DBA had more advantages to give me”. He went to a financial advisor that recommended him to open a business bank account. This allowed Santiago to do two important things: separating his personal from his business finances and having easier access to a business loan.
“After I got my finances in order, I was able to focus on my customers. My business started to grow slowly, but with hard work, I have now an established customer base and I can proudly say I have three employees who are making my business thrive” – says Santiago.
One thing Santiago has also realized is that most companies are more comfortable doing business with a trade name than a proprietor’s name: this is also one advantage of registering a DBA.
Does Santiago’s experience sound familiar? Find out here what is a DBA and how it can benefit your own business the same way it helped Santiago. “Spotless” is today a thriving business and yours can be too!
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.