Following on from our overview of how to turn your hobby into a business, let’s look in more depth at the second step: the Business Name.

Have you decided on a Business Name?
The name of your business is the identity of the business, and every business needs one. It is the first mental image that a potential client forms. Make sure you choose a business name that reflects what you do and what your business is about. When choosing a business name is should continue to remain relevant as the business expands and grows.

So how do you choose a memorable name that kinda describes what you do, and that is not gonna get you sued by someone else who has already has that name?

There are companies that you can outsource this to, to come up with some fabulous ideas for you, but I believe that you as the founder of the business will be the best person possible to “name the baby” so to speak! This new creation has significance to you – give a name that’s worthy!

Brainstorm to get ideas and whilst doing that consider the following;
Assess your audience or target market. Younger audiences may appreciate a “shock value” name, but older audiences or business audiences in traditional audiences may not.

Does the proposed name provide clues or make a strong statement about the services and/or products you offer?

  • It must be easy to spell! Easy to spell equals easy to find, and that’s what you want when people are searching you online. Unique is good, but avoid spelling differently or difficulty. Make sure it is easy to pronounce too.
  • It needs to be short and memorable.
  • Consider the context, and avoid any negative connotations. Think of a pet parlour called “Doggie Styles” (I kid you not!). Avoid sounding cheap and nasty.
  • It needs to work within a strong visual element – so imagine the impact.
  • Check that the name you have in mind is available.
  • Go with your gut. If you love the name, and you think it fits – go with it!

So now you have “THE NAME”!

Before you start hitting print on business cards, you need to check a few more things;

  • Is the domain name available? If available, register it.
  • Check for trademarks – is the name you want legally available? You can check on pending or registered trademarks which may be similar to your proposed business name.
  • Is the business name available at ASIC? There is actually Business Names Registration Act (sigh!) that deals with this.

Is it necessary to register the business name?
A business name is registered nationally with ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission). If you have decided to trade under your own name, there is no requirement to register a separate business name. If you intend to trade using a different name – that name needs to be registered as a business name.

If you intend to operate under a company business structure – the company name needs to be registered with ASIC, but you don’t need a separate business name (unless you will trade under a separate name). For example:

Do not confuse a business name with an ABN (Australian Business Number). An ABN is required if you are doing business. An ABN is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and people you do business with. The ABN needs to be on invoices you issue, and invoices you receive. You may apply for an ABN for free at any time through the Australian Business Register website. You may have multiple business names attached to a single ABN.

Just remember, registration of a business, company or domain name does not give you exclusive ownership. You may need to register a trade mark if you want exclusive use of that name throughout Australia.

Your business name is the foundation on which your marketing will rely. Make every letter count!