Do I Have to Have a Business Name to Do Business?

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on February 6, 2018 in Form a Company

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I had a post from “Explorer,” who is starting a new venture (Congratulations!). Explorer was wondering if it’s OK to do business without a company name at the start, as she hasn’t registered one yet. For anyone else who might have the same question, here’s how I responded:

In the U.S., there’€™s generally no requirement that you register a company name before you start doing business; provided that you are doing business under your own, personal name and not a made-up one, such as Exploring Blogosphere. Just make sure that you’€™re consistent: if you’€™re using a “€œfictitious” name for business, register it and use that name in your RFPs (or contracts). If you’€™re going by your own name, use that.

Whether you want to do business under your own name, and possibly expose yourself to personal liability, is a whole other issue. Check out my article, “The Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Sole Proprietorship” and consult with an attorney in your area to help you decide what’€™s best for you.

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