Welcome to the ABCs of Small Business Industry here on our MyCorp blog! In case you’re just tuning in to join us, each week we’ll be looking into a different industry to see what all you need to get started therein, the types of entities most popular within said industries to form, and the overall job outlook to determine if it’s going to be sustainable to you and your business or not. Last week we kicked off the posts with a look at how to get started in accounting and this week. we’re exploring agriculture and the wide world of food operations, farming, and CSA (community supported agriculture) groups in it!
What do you need to go into the agricultural industry?
Every business is run a little differently than the next, but if you plan on making and/or selling food to the public you must have a food license. This license ensures that the food you’re growing, selling, or making is wholesome and safe for the public to consume and without this type of license in place, your business could face serious consequences. Additional licenses to know about include the retail food license (for businesses selling food directly to the customer) and a food processing plant license (for wholesale use, meaning you can sell not only to the customer but to major grocery store chains and online). There are several rules in place for anyone in food operations to keep in mind before they can receive their license so be sure you meet all the requirements and personnel standards.
No matter what industry you are in, your business still needs a name. Not just a good one for marketing purposes, but also a name that isn’t taken by someone else and is filed legally as a DBA.
DBA stands for “doing business as” and allows your company to do business under a fictitious name (AKA one you made up) instead of your own personal name, names of your partners, or the name of your corporation or LLC. In order to do this, you must file for a DBA.
1) Does your company even need a DBA?
The first step in creating a DBA is determining if you even need one. The answer depends on whether your business operates as a sole proprietorship or as a corporation or LLC.
For Sole Proprietorships:
The only reason to not get a DBA is if you want your business to operate under your personal name only. Picking a business name will plant the seed for your brand to grow strong – and filing a DBA will protect it.
If your corporation or LLC wants to conduct any sort of business with a name that is different than the one you filed on your corporation/LLC paperwork, then you need a DBA.
If there is one thing we’ve learned from over a decade and a half of helping small business owners, it’s that every business is different. For new small business owners, it’s important that you choose the business entity that will suit your unique needs. There are four basic entities that you can choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While there is no “right” choice, depending on what you sell, where you plan to take your company, and how ownership of the company is divided, there will be certain entities that will fit your business model better than others.
Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
Sole proprietorships and partnerships are the simplest type of business entity. They are also the default option. It doesn’t take much to start a sole proprietorship or a partnership either. Just file for a ‘Doing Business As’ name, apply for the right licenses and permits, and open your doors. If the business is run by two or more people, you will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and you’ll have to file another form come tax time. But this simplicity comes at a price. Everything the business owes and owns is tied to your personal assets. In other words, you, and your partner if you have one, will be held liable for the business’s debts if it fails. Also, if you do have a partner, you may not be protected if they decide to walk away from the business. So, while running a sole proprietorship or partnership is a lot simpler, it does put an undue amount of risk on the owner(s). To limit your liability, consider forming a corporation or limited liability company.
Entrepreneurs are always going to be protective of their business’s name. After all, this is the name under which all of the goodwill and branding they’ve worked so hard to accrue will go. But there is still some confusion about the best way to protect that name. On the one hand, registering a ‘Doing Business As’ name does keep other businesses in your area from using the same name, and for some businesses that’s enough. While a trademark on your business’s name offers a lot more protection, filing a trademark does take more time and money. So we decided to take a look at both DBA names and trademarks, and help explain what the pros and cons of each are.
Doing Business As Names
A DBA name, which is also referred to as a trade name, is just that – a name. It’s a quick and easy way to identify a business or entity, and filing for a DBA name is pretty straightforward. Continue reading
This week in business basics, we chose to look at a topic that has regularly confused some of our customers – business licenses. Business licensing can be a bit of a tricky topic because, quite honestly, there is no one answer for most of the questions asked about licensing. But we can try and help give a broad overview so that our readers understand what a business license actually is, and what it allows you to do.
Getting a business license is not like getting, say, a driver’s license, where all anyone has to do is pass a couple of tests and get a piece of plastic that qualifies them to drive any personal car. Business licenses are essentially permits to operate a business in your state, city, and industry – whether you actually need one depends on the legal regulations those three groups are bound by, and enforce.
A ‘Doing Business As’ name is one of the most important parts of a business, but far too often we hear about businesses choosing to put off filing for a DBA until they are a bit more established. Unfortunately this leaves those companies open to all sorts of problems later on as a DBA name is needed for some of the most basic aspects of running a business! But what exactly is a ‘Doing Business As’ name? And why do businesses need to file for one?
For the fourth week of MyCorp ABCs, the letter D gets a spotlight. The term of focus: DBA!
DBA stands for ‘doing business as,’ but the term has also donned the names ‘fictitious business name’ and ‘assumed name.’ A DBA is an official registration of your business name. You would go about filing for a DBA application if your business conducts any business and/or collects money under any name or title that isn’t your own name. DBAs aren’t just for sole proprietors; if you own a Corporation or LLC and want to do business under a name different than your corporate name, you’d have to file for a DBA. Additionally, if you’re plan on opening a business bank account, you’ll need to register for a DBA as a general requirement from the bank. Continue reading
The joy, the pleasure, the inexplainable rapture of the lemonade stand. We all had one when we were a kid, or some venture that was close to one. Subsidized by the kindness, patience, and hard cash of our parents, most of us know the sheer bliss of making a few bucks selling glasses of lemonade for a nickel a pop. Then, as we grew up, selling lemonade transformed into mowing grass or washing cars. Every summer meant a bit more money for clothes or movies or, if you were more responsible, college.
The work ethic of millions has been built on experiences gained during summer employment. And I feel like it shouldn’t stop when we grow up. We become content – content with our jobs, our lives, our little ruts – and we forget about that entrepreneurial spirit that had us up at 6 AM to wake our parents and build a stand out of old plywood.
Doing business under a name different from your legal business name? You’ll need to file a DBA for that- and MyCorp’s team of business filing experts are here to help! Today Wednesday February 29, 2012 is our one-day special on half-off prices for DBA (Doing Business As) Fictitious Business Name filings from our regular price of $99 to $49 from 12am to 11:59pm PST. No coupon code necessary.
Visit us today for our one-day only deal!
For more information on how a DBA works and the benefits of filing for one, check out our official DBA FAQ page!
A DBA is all about names. Sometimes called a “fictitious business name,” “doing business as,” “trade name,” or “assumed name,” it is all the same thing. If an entrepreneur is planning on doing business using a name other than his or her own personal legal name, then they will probably need a DBA. Most states require a DBA prior to conducting business under a name other than the business name or one’s personal name.
The most common use of a DBA is probably by those who are sole proprietors. These are individual business owners who run their business themselves and have just hung out their shingle. Since most people in these circumstances use a business name other than their own name, it would be necessary to get a DBA. For example, if Mario wanted to open his own doughnut shop called “The Perfect Doughnut,” he would need to get a DBA that asserted it was Mario doing business as “The Perfect Doughnut.” This would allow Mario to receive checks made out to the “The Perfect Doughnut” and also sign checks under that name. Continue reading