Before embarking on the task of registering a business name, you will need to see if you need one to begin with. Whether you need to register a business will be dependent on factors such as the location of the business and the structure of the business. Additional factors are if your business:
✔ Has physical presence in a state
✔ Has employees or contractors in a state
✔ Has regular meetings with clients in a state
✔ Derives a major portion of its revenue from the state
If any of the above conditions hold true, then you will need to register in the state. Although rules vary from state to state, generally if your business is set up as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), LP (Limited Partnership), Corporation, or Non Profit you will need to register a business name. The one business structure that does not always need business name registration is a Sole Proprietorship since this is usually the business owner’s name. However, if the business name is different than the owner’s name, then what is known as a DBA (Doing Business As) or fictitious name is required. A DBA can also be used with any of the other business structures. Business Registrations as well as DBA Registrations are usually done at a Secretary of State website. Here is a guide that lists information about each Secretary of State office. If you find that you need to register a business name the next step would be to conduct a business name search.