Business names

After deciding your business structure you will need to select a business name. The name of your business is a major element of its identity and image. Choose one that reflects what your business is about and will continue to be relevant as the business grows and evolves.

TIP: You can have multiple business names linked to your Australian Business Number (ABN). It is free to register your ABN with the Australian Business Register

Is it necessary to register a business name?

A business name is registered nationally with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

If you’re trading under your own name, there’s no requirement to register a separate business name.

If you intend to operate under a company business structure your company name must be registered with ASIC. However, if you want to trade using a different name, then you will need to register this as a business name.

Legal name

Business or trading name

Do I need to register?

John Smith John Smith’s Bricklaying Yes
John Smith John Smith No
John Smith and Mark Brown John and Mark's Electrical  Yes
John Smith and Mark Brown John Smith and Mark Brown No
Mary Smith Pty Ltd Smith Builders Yes
Mary Smith Pty Ltd Mary Smith Pty Ltd No

Deciding on a business name

Your business name will create a first impression of your business so it’s worth putting in the effort to get it right. You might want to consider:

  • What image do you want to communicate to clients?
  • Is your proposed name easy to remember, pronounce and spell?
  • Does the proposed name make a statement about the services and/or products you offer?
  • Is any other business already using the name?
  • Is the proposed name available to be registered as a domain name for operating or promoting your business online?

TIP: Registration of a business, company or domain name does not give you exclusive ownership. You will need to consider registering your business name as a trademark if you want to ensure exclusive use of your name throughout Australia.

You can use the following online tools to determine whether your proposed business name is available for use:

  • ASIC Connect – search current registered business names
  • Ausregistry – check whether domain names are available
  • TM Check – provides information on pending or registered trademarks which may be similar or identical to your proposed business name.

Registering a business name

Once you have established that your proposed business name is available you will need to register it with ASIC. You will need to have an ABN and there is a fee payable to register your name.

For full information on how to register your business name, including user guides and videos, visit the ASIC website.

More information