What do you do if you’ve already registered a business name and later decide to rebrand yourself?
Do you have to re-incorporate your business under the new brand name?
This is a question I received recently from someone who registered a “very generic business name” before learning about the importance of creating a unique brand name.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to go through the expense and hassle of closing your existing corporation and opening a new one under the new brand name.
It is possible to use your incorporated name as your official business name for tax and legal purposes, but to register what’s known as a Fictitious Business Name, also referred to as a DBA (Doing Business As) for the new brand name.
Your DBA is used for marketing purposes.
Your incorporated business name is used for all legal and tax purposes.
I did this a few years ago myself.
My marketing consulting business was incorporated as DLC Marketing, Inc.
Then I opened my online business, 10stepmarketing.
I didn’t want to create a new corporation because I was still running both businesses. So, I simply went to the local county clerk’s office and filed a Fictitious Business Name Statement, adding the DBA 10stepmarketing to my business.
I registered the domain name, www.10stepmarketing.com, created a website, trademarked the 10stepmarketing name, and began marketing my coaching and training services under that name. However, I retained DLC Marketing, Inc. as my official business name, used it for tax and legal purposes, and continued to use it for my corporate consulting business.
I did the same thing a few years later when I adopted the brand name, The Business Stylist®.
Filing a DBA won’t necessarily protect your brand name but it will enable you to open a business bank account. It’s simpler, faster, and less expensive than incorporation so it can be a good place to start before your business starts generating significant revenue. And, if you’re operating your business under any name other than your legal given name most states require you to at least file a DBA and a public statement informing the public you’re doing business under that name.
Wondering if registering a DBA is the right solution for your business? You can learn more about the reasons to get a DBA here.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney so please do not substitute this advice for legal advice. This information is based on my experience and is for informational and educational purposes only.