The simplest business structure is the sole proprietorship. Simply put, your business is a sole proprietorship if you don’t create a separate legal entity for it.

This is true whether you operate it in your own name, or under a trade name. If it isn’t your own name, then you register a company name as a “Fictitious business name,” also called a DBA (“Doing Business As”).

Depending on your state, you can usually obtain this through the county government, and the cost is no more than a small registration fee plus a required newspaper ad, for a total of less than $100 in most states.

For more, check out our article on How to Choose Your Business Structure, and The Complete Guide to Registering Your Business Name.

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Bplans GlossaryBplans Glossary

At Bplans, it's our goal to make it easy for you to start and run your business. Our glossary of common business terms will help you learn about key small business and entrepreneurship topics, to help you plan, fund, and grow your business.