The decision to start your own business is just the first step. You may have a great idea, but once your business plan starts to take shape, you need to decide upon a business name. This is arguably one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your business’s brand. Here are some simple tips to help guide you through the process.
It’s time to get your creative juices flowing, but you don’t want to get distracted easily. Save yourself from wasting time, and rather than think of exact names right off the bat, start zeroing in on what you want your name to convey.
Thought starters may include:
- Who is the primary customer you want to target?
- What special message do you want your name to convey?
- What makes your business unique?
- What makes you stand out from your competitors?
- What is the key message you want your customers to take from your brand?
Words that come up frequently when you answer each of these questions are a good place to start.
Make sure your name isn’t already taken
After you’ve compiled a list with a few good possibilities, it’s time to do a bit of searching to ensure the name you’re attached to isn’t already taken by another business owner. The Australian Business Register is a free online database where you can search through publicly available information for registered businesses by name, Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN). If you’re planning to have a website, you’ll also need to check that the domain name is available.
Registering a business name and ABN are separate tasks
Your business name registration gives you a business name and number, but it won’t automatically provide you with your ABN. You are required to register your new business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You can apply for your ABN free at the Australian Business Register.
Need some assistance? There are a range of online tools that can help you out. Wordoid is a fun site that helps you come up with an entirely new (but phonetically pleasing) word to fit your business personality. Some websites also offer premade business names and logos that you can purchase in one simple package. Visit Brandroot and check out their range, even just to help get your thoughts started.
Get some expert advice
Writer’s block can happen, whether you’re writing a blog post or trying to pin down several perfect words for your business name. If you’re struggling — and have access to a bit of budget — you can always consider the services of a naming professional. Some bigger agencies may charge tens of thousands of dollars but may include logo design and general branding within that service. For a more flexible (and cost effective) option, you could consider engaging a smaller consultant or contractor. They’re likely to charge less, but be sure to ask for some other small business references to ensure they’re the right fit for you before you commit to any work.
Once you’ve decided upon your perfect name, celebrate and quickly apply for a trade mark with IP Australia — so that no one else can snap it up and it is protected across Australia.