Is Your Business Legal?

As a business owner, entrepreneur, wife and mother of three (soon to be four!), I truly understand the hectic schedule of the mom entrepreneur.
In the flurry of thinking about how to increase sales, juggling play dates, figuring out what’s for dinner and trying to find some down time for yourself, it’s all too easy to forget or put off some of the legal aspects of your business.

And while legal regulations may not be the most glamorous part of your business, they’re absolutely critical.


Here are the business laws and regulations you need to consider:

1. Make sure you’re legally permitted to use your business name

You should search corporate names in your state’s secretary of state’s database, as well as conduct a trademark search at the federal level. offers both a Free Business Name Search and Free Trademark Search Tool.

2. Register your DBA, or “Doing Business As”, if necessary

For sole proprietors and general partners, a DBA registration must be filed when your company name is different than your own name. For an LLC or corporation, DBAs must be filed whenever you conduct business using a name that’s different than your Corporation or LLC name.

3. Incorporate or form an LLC

This is an essential step to protecting your personal assets, such as your personal property or your child’s college fund, from any liabilities of the company. Popular choices are the LLC, S Corporation, or C Corporation. Unless your business is particularly complex, you should be able to incorporate or form an LLC online, without retaining a business attorney.

4. Get a federal tax ID number

You’ll need to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number, also referred to as an Employer Identification Number or EIN, to distinguish your business as a separate legal entity and to identify your business to several federal agencies responsible for the regulation of business.

5. File for trademark protection

Using a name instantly gives you common law rights, even without formal registration. However, you should consider registering your trademark for proper legal protection.
Getting your legal ducks in a row now will help your business grow and avoid any legal pitfalls in years to come.


Nellie Akalp

CEO of at Corpnet
Nellie Akalp is a serial entrepreneur and small business expert. She currently serves as the CEO ofCORPNET.COM, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs START A BUSINESS, INCORPORATE, FORM AN LLC, and offers free BUSINESS COMPLIANCE TOOLS.

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  1. Monica Dix

    Any tips on where to start to make a community garden legal? We have been an informal club for 4 years, but we are ready to expand, (fundraising & outreach) and I’d like to know what our next step could be.

    • Heather Allard

      Hi Monica – you might try your local SCORE office. They likely have legal advisors who could help you with local specifics. Good luck!! 🙂


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