Step 1

A new national business names registration service has replaced the state/territory systems, so that businesses only need to register their name with the single register nationally.

The national business names registration service started on 28 May 2012 and is administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Choosing a business name

A good business name will distinguish your business from others, tell people what your business does, be memorable, easy to spell, and fairly short. 

Think about what message your name conveys about your business. What does it tell your customers? Will they know what your business does? 

You can either use your personal name, or a descriptive name.

Personal names

Using your own name is the simplest option to choose and there is no requirement to register it in Australia.

  • You could use your full name, first name or family name.
  • If you are in partnership you could use a combination of the partners' names.

Descriptive business names

If you decide to use a descriptive name you will need to register the name with ASIC. It costs:

Descriptive business names can immediately tell your customers what you do. Combining personal names with descriptive terms is a commonly used technique and can differentiate your business from others.

First, think about which words describe your business. For example, if you're starting a dog washing business, related words are: puppy, canine, man's best friend, pet, bath, shower or pamper.

When you have your list of words, talk to family and friends and check the thesaurus to find synonyms such as bow-wow, fido, flea bag, pooch, clean, shampoo and scrub.

Then start combining words to create something that's catchy. Finding words which have a similar consonant or vowel sound, such as "Pampered Pooches", are easier to remember. Other combinations of words which rhyme or personify your business can also work well.

Is it the right name?

Your name is a key part of marketing your business. It says a lot about your business so it's worth putting the effort in to get it right. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it original? Are there any existing trade marks, business, company or domain names which are similar to your name?
  • Is it easy to pronounce and spell?
  • Does it allow the business to expand? For example, Bunbury Plumbing Services could restrict future growth outside of the Bunbury area.
  • Does it reflect the personality of your business? Does it make a statement about where you are positioned in the market and the services and/or products you offer?
  • Does it describe your business?
  • Can you protect it? (ie: could you register it as a trade mark in the future?)

What's next...

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Related Information

Business Brief to view:
Name of the Game

Checklist to view:
Business Starters Checklist

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