Resources for you and your business

What's in a name?

Do you need a business name? How do you create one and why do you need one?

Choosing your business name is one of the first and most important things you will do when you start your business. It’s an important decision and you don’t want to get it wrong – it can be a costly mistake.

One of the key decisions you’ll make when starting a business is its structure. Your choice of structure will depend on the size and type of business and how you want to run it. Each structure may have an impact on key areas such as tax you’re liable to pay, asset protection and costs to set up. There are a number of structures that you can choose from when starting or expanding your business.

The 4 most common types of business structures in Australia are:

Business types

    If you don’t understand the difference between these structures then PLEASE refer your own personal situation to your Accountant to work out which is going to benefit you the most.

    What to consider?

    • how your business differs from competitors
    • what image you want to communicate to customers
    • if any businesses already use the name or have a similar business name
    • if someone has trademarked the name
    • if the name is already registered as a domain name
    • if the name could be misunderstood, especially in other languages or if you’re planning to use it in other countries
    • whether the name could offend people

    Make it easy to remember

    Consider choosing a name that is:

    • easy to remember
    • easy to pronounce and spell
    • short and simple
    • descriptive – so it means something to your customers
    • different – you don’t want to be confused with your competitors

    You may use your personal name for your business, for example Your Name quilter.

    Check business name availability

    Once you’ve come up with some options for your business name, you’ll need to check whether any other businesses are already using them.

    In Australia use

    In New Zealand use

    In Canada visit this site:

    USA you need to check with two government databases:

    Check if you need to register your business name

    Once you’ve chosen a business name, you’ll need to register it. There’s no need to register if you or your business partner are trading under your first name and surname.

    A business name is registered nationally with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This allows your business to operate in any state or territory.

    Be aware that registering with ASIC doesn’t give you exclusive rights to your business name. If you want to protect your business name from being used by others, you’ll need to register it as a trade mark.

    All other countries - you will need to follow the guidelines on the links previously provided to then register your business name if it NOT your personal name.

    Create a shortlist of potential business names and brainstorm with your family and friends as well.

    There are some business name generators online that might trigger some suggestions as well.

    Google those names to see who else has used them and where they are located.

    Search Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for these names.

    Once you have narrowed it down and have chosen your favourites then also check domain name availability.

    I like to be able to have multiples of the same name to avoid someone else using the same name and confusing your customers. Then all these domain names can point to one website.

    .com     .net   

    Remember that if you choose a business name then make it memorable and related to yourself and your business. Then always use it so that people recognise it and share it with their friends. Create a great logo and even a byline to use in your marketing on your social media, business cards and advertising.

    Have fun with family and friends coming up with a name!

    To watch our discussion with members on this topic visit the Q & A session on 8th March here

    Categories: business