April 12, 2022
You’ve been in the small business owner game for a while and you’ve finally decided to go all in and expand your biz. Maybe you want to start selling merch, create digital products, or offer an online course. Can you launch new ventures under your existing business? Or do you need to start an entirely separate business for each new idea you decide to pursue?
Let’s talk about structuring your multiple offers under one big business umbrella below.
First off, props to you for thinking of this question in the first place. Starting a business and registering it can be a tough obstacle for many people to overcome. Sometimes it’s just so hard to take that first step. So, when you’re ready to grow your biz, you may be hesitant and unsure of what to do, which is totally understandable. No worries, we’re here to help.
The short answer to your question of having multiple offers under one business: yes, you can do that. You can set up multiple DBAs, or “Doing Business As,” for your new offers.
DBAs are also known as fictitious business names, and they’re an excellent option for launching new business ventures without having to form entirely new LLCs. Your multiple offers can operate as separate businesses, but they’ll officially exist under one business entity.
Here’s an example of how this works. You might think of The Contract Shop® as a standalone business, and it kind of is! We have our own branding, our own products, this lovely blog, and so on. But it’s actually a fictitious business name, or a DBA, under the umbrella of Christina Scalera, LLC.
A fictitious business name sounds like a shady, fake business, but it’s not. It’s just a way of naming separate business ventures to tell them apart, but they all fall under one LLC. It makes taxes and record keeping a little easier, and any DBAs are protected under the LLC in case things go south.
Tip: We can’t give you proper legal advice here, so we recommend talking to an attorney and an accountant about whether setting up a DBA is the best option for you.
Of course, setting up a bunch of DBAs isn’t your only option when you want to branch out in your business. You can also create independent LLCs for each new venture.
In most states, you aren’t restricted by how many LLCs you can create, but keep in mind that each separate LLC requires individual filing and fees, Employer Identification Numbers, licenses and permits, records…see where we’re going with this?
On the plus side, creating separate LLCs can be less risky for each of your businesses. For example, if one LLC is sued, your other LLC’s assets are protected. That’s not the case with DBAs under an LLC; if one gets sued, all are at risk.
Not sure which option is right for you? Think about:
These factors all play a huge role in whether you decide to set up multiple DBAs or create separate LLCs. There’s no “better” or “right” option in general — it all depends on what you need and want for your biz.
And if you need more help understanding the difference between a DBA and LLC or whether an LLC is actually the best structure for your business, check out our blog. Our posts on LLCs are a great place to start, but you’ll wanna browse through through the Start a Business category, too!