Every business needs a name and this can be one of the hardest decisions you will need to make when starting out. Your business name should reflect your business subject. A photography business called ‘Pink Lady’ doesn’t explain your business but ‘Pink Lady Photography’ does. Your business name should be easily spoken and memorized. You want customers to be able to quickly call your business to mind. If your name is catchy and rolls off the tongue easily it will be much easier to recall and they will in turn tell others about you. One to three words in your name is usually sufficient. Other things to consider when choosing a name is how it will look in a logo or letterhead and what colors to use. Don’t use names that might be offensive or misleading and avoid misspellings like ‘Kids Klub’.
Name your business using your name
You can use your own name for your business and this does not need to be registered with ASIC. Eg. P.N. Smith. This might be suitable if you are offering a service like Copywriting or Personal Assistant and perhaps just advertising in the local paper where you can explain your services but as soon as you add another word like ‘P.N. Smith Copywriter’ you need to register this name.
Search for business name availability
If you want to have a specific business name you will need to see if it is available. Go to https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch. Under ‘Search business names register’ select ‘Check business name availability’. Enter the name you want to check. If it is not available you can continue to enter names to check until you find one that is still available. This is now a national registration site so there is no need to register your business name in every state. If you don’t register your business name someone else might take a liking to it and use it. If they register it before you, you will have to change your name which could cause problems for you particularly if you have invested time and money creating logos and websites and developing your brand.
Look for domain name
If your chosen name is available with ASIC, the next step is to see whether there is a domain name available. Even if you don’t plan on having a website straight up it could still be worth your while registering your domain name so it is available when you need it later. It also means if people do search for you online they won’t be sent to someone else’s business site. Domain names are not expensive these days and many companies register their domain names in various forms and in .com and .com.au to ensure their internet coverage is not taken by another business. The internet is a world wide resource so your business name might be more difficult to register in a domain name.
Register your business
To register a business name and an Australian domain name (.com.au), you must have or be in the process of applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN). If your business is not expected to turn over more than $75,000 in a year you do not have to register for GST and therefore do not need to charge GST on your goods or services, however this means that you cannot claim any GST that you pay on your supplies. For more information and to register for GST go to www.ato.gov.au or give them a call and talk to someone about your specific situation.
Business name ideas
For more business name ideas check out this website www.shelcom.com.au/how-to-name-a-business and you can have a bit of fun while learning at this interactive site provided by The University of Adelaide www.naming.net .
Part 1 in a 5 part series
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About the author
Nic Jones is the Director of Market Me, a business which started just over 2 years ago on Facebook and has grown to produce a fulltime income. She is a mum of twin boys (3yrs old), and a 6yr old daughter. She juggles 2 businesses and her family responsibilities and loves being able to set her own schedules and be able to create an income around her family. She loves helping businesses grow ‘the smart way’, and Market Me’s services are based on this concept. To see all Nic’s articles, click here.