4 elements of creating a DBA


As an independent financial advisor, you can brand your business as you choose, whether that is utilizing your firm’s established brand, your own unique brand through the creation of a DBA, or a co-branding approach. A DBA (Doing Business As) is a business name used to market your practice. For example: Sunshine Financial Group.

Creating a DBA is done through a streamlined four-step process:

  1. Choosing your DBA name - Naming your business is often the hardest part and should be done with the future of your business in mind. It includes:
    • Finding a name that is creative and unique to you and your business, does not infringe on another business name and is without regulatory concerns.
    • Consulting the Practice Development Team to identify strategies to help you create a name and for direction to stay within regulatory guidelines.
  2. Conducting your research – Researching your name is an important step to protect yourself and your business. Consider the following:
    • Do preliminary research on your own before consulting your Practice Development Team for guidance and resources.
    • Explore the trademarking process, including benefits and hurdles, and determine whether that is a good decision for your business.
    • An attorney specializing in copyright and trademark law can help you understand the level of risk associated with your chosen name.
  3. Establishing your DBA – Once you’ve thoroughly researched your name:
    • Obtain the required legal registrations, whether you are forming a legal business entity or simply filing the DBA name with your local government. An attorney can help with any legal processes.
    • Complete a questionnaire to formally declare your DBA and assign titles for everyone involved.
    • Consult the Practice Development Team for guidance through requirements and best practices for building your brand.
  4. Marketing your DBA – Creating a brand is the main purpose for forming a DBA. Marketing that brand involves:
    • Finalizing your marketing materials prior to your official launch.
    • Developing a prioritized branding timeline and communication plan.
    • Taking the time to write your story, update your business’s look and feel, reinvigorate your team and share with your clients.
    • Maintaining brand consistency across all client- and public-facing communications.
    • Meeting with the Practice Development Team to ask questions, discuss policies and look at examples from other DBAs.