Small Business

How to Determine If Your Business Needs a DBA

What’s a DBA anyway? Is it like a trademark or something completely different? Do I really need to file for one now or can I wait? These are some of the questions that fledging entrepreneurs face when trying to determine if their small business needs a DBA and what the process entails. Let’s clarify what a DBA is, the types of businesses that should file for one, and the advantages that registering for a DBA presents for your small business.

What is a DBA?

A DBA, often referred to as a “Doing Business As” name, is the name under which you do business. Pretty self-explanatory! This name is different from your personal name and is also known as a fictitious name. Because it is a fictitious name, most states require that you register it with a local government agency. By conducting a name search and filing for a DBA, you’re able to claim the name for yourself and reduce potential chances of fraud. There are also plenty of additional benefits outlined below…

Are there any advantages to filing for a DBA?

Definitely! A few of our favorites can be found in these bullets:

·       Open a bank account. Most banks generally require a certified copy of your DBA before you a business bank account. Once you have a DBA, you can also collect checks and payments under your business name.

·       Start marketing and advertising your business publicly to increase visibility of your business.

·       Discourage anyone else from registering your name by officially using your DBA.

·       Create a business identity for your customers and vendors that presents your business in a professional light.

Who should register for a DBA?

The rule of thumb here is that if your business conducts any business (including transactions, marketing, advertising, and even printing out business cards) under a name that isn’t your own name, you should register for a DBA in the state or county you’re doing business in. For Sole Proprietors or Partnerships, be sure to register a DBA if you plan on starting a business under a name that is not your real name. If you have an existing LLC or Corporation and want to do business under a name that isn’t affiliated with the existing names, register a DBA.

So, to recap, a DBA isn’t the same thing as a trademark right?

Correct. While both offer protection for the name of the business, a DBA is a name that identifies the business. Unlike a trademark, which gives you the exclusive rights to use the name and makes it your property, a DBA doesn’t grant exclusivity for the use of a name.

You sold me — I’m ready to register! Where can I file for a DBA?

Great! First, depending on where your business is located, check to see if you do need to register your fictitious name there or not. Some states don’t require a formal registration which is why it’s worth looking into before you start the filing process.

If your start does require registering a DBA, file early with your state government or county clerk’s office! We recommend filing before using the name since DBAs are often required within the time frame that you do start using the fictitious name. The amount of time it takes to file for a DBA will vary depending on your jurisdiction, but you can expect the process to usually take anywhere from one to four weeks. When filing, be prepared to pay a processing fee and identify your business with either your EIN (Employer Identification Number) or Social Security Number.

When it comes to establishing a small business, it’s always a good thing to protect it as much as possible from the start to keep any future issues at bay. Don’t put off filing for your DBA, even if it doesn’t seem like much of a priority right now. The sooner you file for one, the more peace of mind your small business, and its name, will have while conducting business.

 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

Traeger Grills Talks Office Life and Building a Cult Following

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

In the 80's Joe Traeger invented the wood pellet BBQ grill. And though it's design resembled traditional smokersit included a hardwood pellet hopper in place of the traditional side-mounted firebox. This small but revolutionary changed has helped to create a cult-following and passionate fanbase (especially in the Pacific Northwest). 

Grill talk aside, it's no longer the 80'sand not only is Traeger Grills still here some 30 odd years later (a formidable feat of its own), its new CEO Jeremy Andrus is helping take it to the next level.  

You guys have a killer looking office. Did you have a designer? Or did it just come together organically?

We partnered with Method Studio and Henricksen Butler to help us capture the vision. We wanted a space that was reflective of our purpose bringing people together to create a more flavorful world. We have a state-of-the-art indoor kitchen/classroom/studio which is used for broadcast recording, public grilling and barbecue classes and dining events.

What would you attribute your awesome growth to?

We stand in the fire by being innovative and testing the status quo. We have invested in our product, facilities and team to match and fuel the passion our consumers have for our product.

How's the vibe at Traeger HQ? It seems like there would be a lot of fun activity with all those grills lying around…

We get a lot of people asking ‘when do you guys open?’ thinking that we are a restaurant when they see the grills smoking on our patio and end up getting little tour of the office, their next question is usually ‘are you guys hiring?’. 
Those grills are going all the time! We have always ready grills so people can throw their lunch on a Traeger, go back to work and have a delicious lunch… that is of course, when our chefs aren’t already cooking lunch for the team. 

What was the reason for Traeger’s move from Portland to SLC?

After the ownership change in 2014, it became obvious that the culture and team morale had been neglected for some time. In order to disrupt the BBQ industry, we needed the right people and the right atmosphere. Utah is a great place to run a business and we’ found a home in Sugarhouse.

HOW OFTEN DOES THE “TEST KITCHEN” GET USED?

Every day! We have 4 full-time chefs on staff that are always testing recipes for photoshoots and cooking for our team. We eat together at least 3 times every week. 

 

Does Traeger Have a Business Philosophy?

We win with team and culture. The rest can be taught but coming to work everyday surrounded by like minded people all looking to do remarkable things is the foundation of our business philosophy.  Momentum begets momentum.  
 
Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

London's 'Juice Gee' Talks Fashion, Going Hyper-Niche, and Building a Shoe Empire

Juice Gee London

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

This week we sat down with Jess Gavigan AKA "Juice Gee" a London-based "fashionpreneur" who has passion for streetwear and a soft spot for trainers. Her unique online store SFBK (Small Feet Big Kicks) sells only trainer shoes and targets sneakerheads with smaller feet. With the shoe-space being ever dominated by the likes of Amazon and Zappos, we wanted to know how Juice Gee's been able to carve out her own piece of the pie

Where does your love for shoes come from and how did you get into the kick game?

I got into the kick game through my bf at the time (2007)  and now my best friend. He was mad into kicks and had some of the sickest ones i'd ever seen.. so it spurred from there really!

You’ve got a strong following on Instagram and your account has been featured on several websites. Would you say Instagram is your main vehicle for business?

A lot of my work/business started actually through me being known through Small Feet Big Kicks - as I was featured on an IKEA advert a few years back relating to SFBK and how many kicks I had.

Instagram has only become serious for me in the last couple of years, in which time I started a blog with my friend - "The Unisex Mode." So really the blog and the website are my primary means of business, Instagram comes after.

Was IG (instagram) always the goal? 

IG was never really my "goal" I never saw it as a business opportunity until about a year ago - I was just obsessed with taking photos of friends and stuff I did. I wouldn't say it's my goal, as IG is a fad - it will come and go, and changes IG makes to the app will make it more difficult for people to use it as a means of business. It's nice to have a strong following - and even more rewarding when I meet people in real life that have followed my journey from Tumblr to Instagram to the blog. 

Nike Trainers

How does your personal IG account tie into your shop “Small Feet Big Kicks”? 

I occasionally post images of new kicks we have on SFBK, or any pictures I take of my own kicks as a 'crepcheck' picture i'll occasionally upload to SFBK. 

It doesn’t get more niche than smaller shoe sizes, trainers only, and for females only. What are some of the positives and/or challenges of this hyper-niche approach?

The main positive is it makes people feel like they have somewhere they belong and can have something they are a part of, like a club. It's the one stop shop for cool or one off kicks that you can't necessarily find on the high street.

We started off labeling it as something purely for females - but actually through selling at Crepe City for so many years we have many male customers - from boys to smaller footed males. 

Small Feet Big Kicks

There are so many shops that cater for males and male sizes, so we wanted to create something different - to ease the hassle for people that find it hard to get decent kicks in small sizes!

It also allows us to be the go to for many women in the sneaker scene - for example we are often called on to sell at trainer events all over Europe to be their only female sneaker seller, which is nice that there is that outreach.

On a personal note - having my name affiliated to SFBK also allows me to be the go to for many sportswear brands as a UK female sneakerhead representative. :)

London Fashion Model

Who are your fashion icons?

I love the old hip hop unisex styles of Gwen Stefani and TLC etc but when I look at who inspires me on the daily I look to people around me and bloggers that inspire me. Vashtie, Mercedes Benson, Milocuki, Christina Paik - girls who like to dress comfortably and aren't afraid to just wear menswear like me!

Jordan Shoes

What’s your favorite pair of shoes that you own?

I hate this question!! It's too hard! AM97 Valentine, AM95 Redwood Nike Free Woven Inneva

There’s a big problem with counterfeit shoes in the sneaker business. How do you combat this, and how do you assure your customers you’re the real deal?

I only buy from trusted shops or people i've been buying from for years. Having been in the sneaker scene for many years now, I can pretty much tell a fake shoe (or so i hope! haha) - but also as a brand we have been established for 5 years now - and we've never encountered an issue with fake goods! (touch wood!)

sneakerhead

How would you advise other "lifestyle brands” to grow their following/influence in the marketplace?

Stick to what you know, and be you. Don't ever try to be someone else. Don't try to preach too much to people - be real! 

How do you source your kicks and what makes a "good sneaker” in your opinion?

That would be telling!! Wouldn't want to give away all my good spots!  A good sneaker.. nothing too crazy like additional straps or attachments.. good colours.. and premium materials. 

How to Keep Up with Juice Gee

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Facebook

Instagram: @juicegee

Twitter: @juicegee_

 

 

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

 

6 Steps to Finding Clients on LinkedIn

linkedin bookly

You know they’re out there – new clients who would benefit from the service or products your company offers. But where are they, and how can you meet them? Good news! Social media connects thousands of new clients to companies every day. The question remains: how do you stand out in that endless crowd? Even social media newbies can use LinkedIn to build a bigger client base. 

Push your LinkedIn experience to the next level with these ACTIONABLE steps: 

Step 1: Milk Your 2nd Degree Connections

2nd degree connections are one small step from your door. Invite them in with a clear, compelling invitation to connect. Don’t rely on the pre-fabricated template LinkedIn offers; use those 300 characters wisely. “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Versus “Hello Barbara, my company helped Jeff Barringer decrease his invoice processing time by 40%, and I know we can help you, too. Let’s connect!” Which is more compelling? 

Step 2: Watch your Newsfeed and Act Quickly

Did one of your connections just recommend someone you’d like to meet? Pounce! Ask for an introduction right away before the lead gets cold. Has an existing lead just connected with someone sharing your job title in a company similar to yours? Pounce! Don’t miss pitching to a prospective client right as that other guy steps up to the plate. Adjust your settings from “All Updates” to just “Connections” - this streamlines what and whom you see. 

Step 3: Research Past Clients

Your past clients loved your business, right? See what they’re up to now. What LinkedIn groups are they in? Who is in their network? What are their current job titles? Mind their groups, networks and profiles – each kernel of information helps you craft your ideal target client based on what worked in the past with satisfied customers. 

Step 4: Use Advanced Search to Focus on the Best Leads

Once know what you’re looking for, advanced search helps you find it. Searches can - and should - go beyond postal code. Use the “Advanced” search (located just to the right of the magnifying glass icon) to dig in deeper. Premium LinkedIn membership gives you better options here, but even a basic membership can add industry criteria, current/past companies, and non-profit interests to improve your hunt. 

Step 5: Engage Your Network with Status Updates & Valuable Links

You’ve now built a rich network of leads – now engage them! Craft meaningful status updates a few times each week, keeping your name in front of connections via the newsfeed and weekly updates. Your status updates can highlight recent achievements (Another win for Johnson, Inc. – a recent client just told us our product increased her website traffic by 30% in 2 months!) or start a conversation (Really keen on this new technology [insert link] – could completely change home sound systems). Keep it conversational, and put the social back in LinkedIn’s social media. 

Step 6: Communicate with Truth & Vigor

Each time you connect with a lead, make it count. From your invite email to your status updates, from free webinars to your pitch – every communication matters. State facts and results instead of mere promises. Avoid clichés and gimmicks. Be honest, and don’t waste anyone’s time. Adopt a similar style across all social media platforms so your client recognizes you no matter where they see you. LinkedIn is a powerful resource but only for those bold enough to maximize it.