Before you begin your search for choosing the right business name, you should have a clear idea of what type of business organization you are going to have. This is important because the rules regarding name registration vary depending on the structure of your company.
- If your business is a corporation, you must register a business name when you register your corporation.
- If you are a sole trader or have a partnership, you must register your business name with ASIC unless your business is named after you or your partner.
Another obvious thing to do when naming your business is to check if the name is already in use.
Technically speaking, unless a business name is registered as a trademark in Australia, it can be used by many companies. However, considering the brand value your business name carries, it should be unique and easily distinguishable from others.
How to find out if a business name is already taken?
In Australia, you can check for business names on the ASIC website. Registration and subsequent renewals are only A$37 per year or A$88 for three years. You can change or modify your business name for free. If you are thinking of registering your business name as a trademark as well, check IP Australia to find trademarks that are already registered.
How to choose a name for your business
As discussed, the main purpose of a name is to make it easy to remember what services you offer and to be unique if possible. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
1. Be descriptive but not too general or vague
Don’t choose a name that’s too vague or too meaningful. Generic names like Melbourne Painting Service are not only boring but also not easy to remember. Also, it doesn’t stand out from other providers. Now consider the name Photobucket – descriptive enough, not boring, and not something you’ll forget.
2. Use related words in a creative way
Don’t be tempted to stuff keywords into your business name. Using simple terms like General Motors no longer works. But for the most part, choosing a slightly modified version of relevant keywords that conveys what your business is about works well.
A great way to create catchy, memorable business names is to use alternate versions of common words associated with the service you offer. For example, the name Attensa is a perfect fit for a content integration tool.
3. Keep it simple
Do not choose a name that is too long or complicated. Remember that your business name should appeal to your customers. It should be pleasant, and familiar, and evoke positive emotions. It should be easy to pronounce and remember.
Consider the name Zippil – it’s hard to pronounce, but it’s also completely unmistakable. Whenever you have to explain your business name, it’s never a good sign. It’s okay to be a little clever, but don’t overdo it.
4. Don’t copy your competitors
Avoid choosing a name that is too similar to other businesses in your industry. This can mean looking out of place and not good for your brand image. It can also mean potential customers confuse your business with your competition, making repeat business more difficult.
5. Avoid using your own name
Unless you are an established brand, avoid using your own name. Your name doesn’t say anything about your business and doesn’t mean much to customers. This can also cause problems if you ever want to sell or expand your business in the future. However, there are some rare examples where integrating the owner’s name into the brand name can work well.
6. Choose a name that’s scalable
Choose a name that can expand your business. For example, if you only sell books, one day you might sell stationery or accessories. Also, if your service is in a particular area, you can extend to other cities. So, choose a broad name that encompasses your future growth.
7. Make sure you have a related domain
Once you’ve narrowed down your name options, you’ll want to make sure you have a name you want to use. Check if the name is already registered as a trademark or has been acquired by another business. If you are planning an online presence, you must be sure that the desired domain is available by checking the domain name.
8. Try to avoid using acronyms
Many large companies use acronyms for their names, such as IBM and KFC. But at the beginning of your business, when your goal is to establish your brand, acronyms can confuse your customers. Also, there is a big chance that your business brief will match someone else’s, making it more difficult for you to rank in the search engines.