Sometimes it makes sense for a company to do business under a different name. To do this, the company has to file what's know as a DBA—an abbreviation for "doing business as." A DBA is also known as a "fictitious business name," "trade name," or "assumed name."
Once your DBA registration is complete, the company can use the secondary name to open bank accounts, write checks, and enter contracts. If you don't file a DBA and just start doing business under a different name you could face penalties and fines, not to mention the possability of lawsuits.
Sole proprietorships commonly use DBAs because a sole proprietorship's offical, legal name is simply the name of the owner. A DBA lets them use a real business name.
All types of businesses can use a DBA, not just sole proprietorships. LLCs, corporations, and partnerships can all file to get a DBA.
Need a DBA for your business? LegalZoom can help you file a DBA quickly and easily.