How do I set up a business name for my sole proprietorship?
A sole proprietorship, unlike other business forms, is not a separate legal entity and is indivisible from the business owner. However, it can still be operated under a separate business name and most people do, in fact, use a separate name for their sole proprietorship. This is generally referred to as a fictitious business name and it is simply whatever trade name you have decided to use (the reason it is called “fictitious” is because the company’s true legal name is your name, since you and the sole proprietorship are legally indistinguishable). Most states require you to file and register this name, so once you have chosen your business name, you should check to see whether you have to make any fictitious business name filings.
One you have selected and registered name, you may begin using it for your business purposes. This is known as “doing business as,” and many companies will also use that term or “DBA” or “d.b.a.” in certain documents or advertising. For example, in executing a legal document, you may sign the document as “Bob Jones, d.b.a. Jones’ Hardware.”