Naming your business can be a maze if you don’t understand the various definitions of trading business terms.
You can avoid the pitfalls by planning it thoroughly in the first place. This can potentially save you considerable time, money and stress in the future.
If you are starting a new business., or even tarting up an existing one, your business name should ideally translate consistently across your branding, your website address, and your trademark.
So here are some definitions and explanations in layman’s terms.
Registering a Business Name
When you have decided on your business name, do a search to make sure it is available.
Go here http://www.business.gov.au/registration-and-licences/Pages/register-your-business-name.aspx to start finding out what is available.
This is super important though: before you commit to a name here though, start looking for the matching domain. Remember that having a business registered will not give you any proprietary rights – in fact the same word or words can be registered in other states and territories.
Securing a Domain Name
This is your website address, your own www address.
Customers around the world will search for you online before they search anywhere else, so matching your business name and your url is vital. You can check this availability through any of the hosting companies.
If you are able to find the domain name that you want, secure it. Straightaway. Don’t risk getting your business name registered and then go back to get your domain name, to find that it is no longer available. Get the .com and the .com.au if you can. If you are in Australia, and you can only get the .com, go back to the drawing board, because Australians will most likely always choose the .au address in their searches, so you risk losing them.
Once you have secured the domain name, you can relax a little. Start the branding process, and once you have a logo and identity in place, get your branding partner to develop a single page website that just displays who you are. This means that you will have a web presence immediately.
Registering a Company Name
If you choose to register a company name, they must be registered on ASIC http://www.asic.gov.au/business-names. The same rules as with business names applies to company names, so you need to be aware of that.
If you want to protect your business identity so that no one else can infringe on it, then you need to register a trade mark. http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/get-the-right-ip/trade-marks/
A trademark is a mark, for example, a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, logo which gives you exclusive rights to use it commercially for the industry sector under which it is registered.
It might be wise at this point to obtain legal advice to make sure that process is duly followed, however, there is a pre-application process call TM Headstart which might get you off in the right direction. http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/get-the-right-ip/trade-marks/
What you do with your business identity set up, in which order you do it, is completely up to you. Knowledge is power though, so make sure you are aware of what things mean, and how they apply to you.
Ultimately, getting your business identity takes a lot of time, effort, and money.
Protect what you have developed, and what your customers see when they see your business. Don’t risk losing it.
If you would like more explanation, just call us. We work with a number of specialists in this area, and will be able to point you in the right direction.