How to choose a business name

Starting a Business

How do I choose a business name?

The best way to choose a business name is to write your ideas on a piece of paper first.

Consider the following tips,

  • Remember, a business name is a tool to communicate with your customers
  • Create a memorable name that is easy to remember
  • Focus on creating a name, do not try to describe it or make a slogan
  • Keep it short and simple and avoid offensive words
  • Make a competitor analysis but do not copy them
  • If you are planning for global expansion, make sure the brand name is appropriate for other languages,
  • Make sure it is scalable and it won’t limit your expansion
  • Ask for feedback

But before we go any further, let’s get some clarification and information.

People often get confused about the terminologies, let’s be clear, brand name, trading name, business name and company name are not the same things.

You can have a company name completely different than a business name that you choose to trade under. However, a business name is often your first impression with customers and a right business name could make it easier for your customers or other stakeholders to remember your products or services.

A trading as name is a name chosen by a business that is different from their registered company name.

You can also have a product/s with completely different name/s. If that’s the case it is important to consider trade mark protection.

What is a trading name?

Prior to introduction of theNational Business Names Register in 2012, some business owners used unregistered business names, so in fact ‘trading name’ is referred to unregistered business name. If you wish to continue using a trading name, you need to register it as a business name.

Business names are there to provide a flexibility and opportunity to reflect the type of industry you are in or reflect the elements of your brand if you wish to promote them.

You must register a business name in Australia, unless you trade under your own name, or fall within an exemption. You can perfectly run your business under your company name and the same name can be registered as a business name if its available.

It is wise to register a business name to make sure the name you carry to run your business is protected and allocated to you only. This can be done through the ASIC Connect website.

How to choose a business name?

One of the common mistakes new business owners do is that they come up with a random name and start their operation without conducting enough research and checks to validate the availability of the business name they want to use. You can check the availability here.

Cost: Registering a business name is not expensive; currently it is $37 for one year and $87 for three years.

One other tip I can give to new startups is they should check the name availability or closest combination on following,

  • Domain name
  • Social channels you want to use

It is important to be present in the market place in a unified way so the same name is available throughout your marketing journey.

A good example: Zoom – Website: www.zoom.us – FB: zoomvideocommunications – Youtube: ZoomMeetings - Twitter: zoom_us – Linkedin: zoom-video-communications

So even if you can’t get the exact same name on all channels you want to be present, you can use extensions and related words to keep it unified.

How to check name availability?

There are plenty of free search engines and name generators available.

Name generators:

User name and domain name check:

It is also important that you check the IP Australia website and understand the trade marks. You may find an unregistered business name during your search but it doesn’t mean that name is not registered as a trademark. So make sure the business name you come up with is not trademark protected.

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