Choosing a business name is one of the first big decisions that a small business owner will make. Selecting the right name is an important decision, as it will distinguish your company from competitors. Furthermore, an excellent name enables your customers to better identify your company and its value to them. This article discusses some of the issues around business names and sets out four tips to help you make the right choice.
What is a Business Name?
A business name is the name under which your business operates. Unless you decide to trade under your own name, you will be required to register this name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This is in contrast to a legal name, which can be different to your business name and is usually determined by your business structure. The table below sets out some examples of when you are and are not required to register a business name.
|Business Structure||Legal Name||Business Name||Business name registration required?|
|Sole Trader||Mary Smith||Mary Smith’s Desserts||Yes|
|Sole Trader||James Johnson||James Johnson||No|
|Partnership||Robert Smith and Maria Garcia||Robert and Maria’s Shoe Repair||Yes|
|Partnership||Sarah Brown and Nancy Wilson||Sarah Brown and Nancy Wilson||No|
|Company||Nails and Beauty Pty Ltd||Vibrant Nails||Yes|
|Company||Hot Sauces Pty Ltd||Hot Sauces Pty Ltd||No|
It is important to be aware that registering your business name does not stop other traders from using the same or a similar name. If you want the exclusive use of your business name, then consider registering it as a trade mark.
1. Choose a Name That is Unique
Your business name should be distinct enough so that your customers can distinguish your business from other traders. Think about what makes your business unique from competitors and which words reflect the products and services that your business will provide.
One way of creating a unique name is to use modified versions of keywords that relate to the products or services that your business provides.
You may also consider combining your name and initials with those of any other owners.
2. Choose a Name That is Simple
While you want your business name to be unique and stand out from your competitors, you also want your customers to remember your name. Avoid choosing a name that is too long or complicated, as customers are likely to forget.
Ideally, your business name should be easy to pronounce and sound familiar to your customers.
3. Check if Your Proposed Business Name is Available
Once you have decided on a potential name for your business, you should ensure that it is not already taken. While it is possible for a business name to be used by multiple businesses (unless they have registered it as a trade mark), it is in the best interest of your business and brand to choose a name that is not already being used.
You can check to see if your proposed business name is available to register here.
4. Check if the Domain Name is Available
Similar to tip three, you should check to see if your proposed business name is available to register as a domain name. This is especially crucial if you are planning to have a website.
You can check to see if your proposed domain name is available to register here.
Choosing a name for your business is an important decision, but not something to lose sleep over. Some tips that might make your choice easier include:
- choosing a name that is unique and will distinguish your business from other traders;
- choosing a name that is simple for your customers to remember easily;
- checking if your proposed business name is available; and
- checking if the domain name is available.
And, of course, share your ideas with your family and friends to help you choose. If you have any questions, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.
Was this article helpful?
We appreciate your feedback – your submission has been successfully received.