New Business Essentials: How do I register a business name?

When starting your own business, you may find yourself asking the question, "how do I register a business name?" While the registration process in Australia is relatively straight forward, there are important legal steps you should take before you land on and purchase a business name. Not sure what we mean? We have put together a simple guide to help you put your best business foot forward.


Firstly, what is a business name?

Before we get started, let's cover the basics. What is a business name anyway? A business name is the name your business will operate under. It identifies you to customers and sets you apart from your competitors.


Are you required to register your business name?

If you or your business partner are trading under your first and last name then there is no requirement to register your name. However, if you are planning to operate under another name, then you must register it.


What should I consider when choosing a name?

Before you complete the business name registration process, consider taking a deep dive into the name. For example, ask yourself the following:

  • Is it easy to pronounce and remember?

  • Is it likely to offend people?

  • Is it suitable for your intended business, products, services and distribution? If your brand will be visible overseas, consider any translation issues.

  • Do any other brands share a similar name?


Is the name I want available and is it trade marked?

Firstly, before you can register a business name it must be available. Click here to use the Australian Government Business Name Check online tool.


Secondly, just because a business name is available, does not exclude it from having a trade mark. A trade mark is used to distinguish your goods and services from those of another business. Trade marks can apply to a logo, jingle, registered business name, sound, scent and more. Click here to use the IP Australia trade mark search tool.


Remember, registering a name with ASIC, doesn’t mean you own it. Consider applying for a trade mark to protect the IP of your business. Trade marks can be a complex legal process, so consider speaking with a lawyer if you are considering exploring this.


Do you have an ABN and any required licences?

You must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) before you can register a business name. To apply for an ABN, click here.


Depending on the nature of your business will determine whether or not you need any specific licences to trade. Before you start investing in your brand, including the business name, make sure you conduct all of the checks.


Is the domain/social media handles available?

Avoid registering a business name only to find out later that the domain and social media handles are not available. Check this first!


Ready to register a business name? Let's do it!

When you are ready to register your business name, the process typically takes 15-20 minutes.

  1. Visit the ASIC Connect website.

  2. Ensure you have your ABN, business address and email handy.

  3. You can opt to register the business name for one or three years. Pay the registration fee within 10 business days. You can do this via credit card, BPay or at Australia Post.

  4. Once your business name appears on the Business Names Register, you can begin trading. ASIC will email you a copy of your registration.


Do you need some legal help with the setup of your new business? Whether it’s setting up your business structure, contracts, your business name and trademarks or terms and conditions – we can help. Contact our team for a no-obligation chat.




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