A business's legal name must be used on all official documents, government forms and applications. In most cases, the legal name of a sole proprietorship is the owner's name, and the name of a partnership is the names of the partners involved. If business owners want their business to go by a name other than the official name, they must file with their state for a fictitious or Doing Business As -- DBA -- name. In Colorado this is done through the office of the Colorado Secretary of State.
Visit the Colorado Secretary of State website to search the data base for identical or similar names to the one you want to use that could cause confusion for your customers. On the site's Records Search page, you can type in the exact name you want to use to determine if it's available.
Go to the File a Document page on the Secretary of State website. Under "Register a ..." click on "Trade name." This will take you to the File a Statement of Trade Name for ... On that page, click the type of business entity. A "Reporting Entity," as listed on this page, is limited liability company, corporation or nonprofit corporation.
Complete the page that comes up next. For a sole proprietorship this would be "Statement of Trade Name of an Individual; for a general partnership it would be "Statement of Trade Name of a Non-Reporting Entity." Here you will answer questions about your company like the name of the owner(s), the address, the jurisdiction as well as the "true name" and the "DBA" name.
Pay the fee associated with this filing. The amount can change since it is controlled by the Colorado legislature, but as of 2011, it is $1 with a $20 fee for filing online.
Some forms completed online require an attachment. If this is the case, you will be informed at the bottom of the form, and you should follow the special directions for including attachments.