Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Question button

words with entrepreneur in the middleIt stands for Federal Employer Identification Number and it is issued by the IRS. Most business entities, including, Limited Liability Companies, Sole Proprietorships, Corporations or Partnerships are required to have a FEIN. There is an exception if you are sole proprietor without any employees, in which case you can use your social security number.

You can get a FEIN on the web immediately by filling out & filing Form SS-4, the Application for Employer Identification Number. You can also apply over the phone and receive it the same day, but you should review the application and gather all the information required before calling so that you have all the answers you need. If you file the form by mail or fax, it will take longer.


Trademark-applicationsThe US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows you to file a trademark application online. Most states also have a trademark filing process, so check with the business office for your state to see which office handles the process if you want to start there.

Make sure to search existing trademarks thoroughly before filing, so you don’t waste the filing fee if someone already registered the mark in the product or service category you want. The USPTO has a search function on it’s website for all US registered trademarks.

Consulting a trademark attorney is often the best way to go simply because trademark law can be confusing and they have the resources to do a global search for you and advise you about which product classifications are correct for your use or intended use.


Q & A with magnifyerYou can either go to the IRS website and file the form or hire an outside service to do it for you. The EIN (also referred to as an FEIN) is used to identify your company for all tax purposes, including income tax and payroll tax.

You may also need state identifying numbers, but the EIN is the place to start.


photo hands and smartphoneIf you are thinking of doing work for the federal government or applying for a federal grant, you’ll need to have a D-U-N-S number issued by Dun & Bradstreet. This number is the reference number that Dun & Bradstreet assigns to your credit and business file. It’s commonly known as a D & B number.

Most banks and many of your suppliers or vendors will also use your D & B number to pull credit references for your business. If you don’t have a number, you can get one online for free.


photo business word blockDBA stands for “Doing Business As” and it refers to operating your business under a Fictitious Business Name. It is sometimes referred to a Trade name.

Many businesses operate using a fictitious business name as their public face. Both sole proprietors and business entities (e.g., LLCs or corporations) can use fictitious names. Sometimes this is done to clearly differentiate the business from the business owner’s name, sometimes it is done for branding purposes and sometimes it is done for marketing purposes.

Whatever the reason, most states and/or localities require you to register a fictitious name before using it to protect consumers against fraud.

This process is usually pretty simple. It usually involves filing an application with either a state or municipal agency and paying a fee. It may also require advertising the name to give public notice that you intend to use it.

To find out the requirements in your location, check with your state’s business office or your county clerk’s office. Either should be able to point you to the right office for filing. You can also use an outside service company to handle the filings for you.


KPI or Key Performance Indicator as ConceptKPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. They are quantifiable business data metrics that are used to show how well a business is or is not performing.

Examples of KPIs are customer retention statistics, net revenue, revenue growth, profit margins, etc.

KPIs differ from business to business, but they are a proven way to evaluate & track performance & productivity.