How to Register Your First Business

In order to legally operate a business within the U.S., you must register the buiness at a state or federal level. Below are the three routes you can take to legally register your business name.

Register an LLC, Corporation, or Limited Partnership:

In most states, when you register your business as a corporation, LLC or limited partnership, you will automatically register your business name when you file your articles of incorporation, articles of organization, or statement of limited partnership. This filing makes it so that no other business in your state will be able to use the same name. That being said, if you plan on selling any products under a different name than your registered business name (i.e. if you filed under the name Babloo LLC, but plan on selling products with just the name Babloo on them), then you will have to file an assumed name certificate or a fictitious name statement.


Get A Trademark:

Another way to register your business name, as well as benefiting from intellectual property protection in all 50 states, is to apply for a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Once you start using a name, you receive ‘common law’ rights to that name, but you will receive stronger protection on that name from others who want to use it.


File a Doing Business As or a Fictitious Business Name:

The simplest way to register a name is by filing a Doing Business As (or a DBA) with your state. If you are operating a sole proprietorship, a DBA is the easiest way to use a business name, as you won’t have to create a formal entity (such as a C Corporation).


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Revised: April 6, 2016, 8:37 p.m.
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