Starting / Business startup

You picked your killer business name but is it available?

The name you choose for your business can make or break things from the start, so getting that right is important. The next most important question? Is that awesome name even available?

15 March 2017 by

Last month I covered the fun part of choosing a name for your business. Today, I’m going to assume all that brainstorming has borne fruit and you’re ready for the next crucial step – checking that business name is actually available!

Why you should check your business name’s availability?

I’ve seen so many people find a business name and assume because the domain is available, that no one else is using that name. Nothing can be further from the truth and there’s nothing worse than finding out six months or a year into your business life that you need to change your name because someone else has already registered yours. Which is why it’s worth doing all the necessary checks right at the start.

Which brings me to my next tip – when you’re narrowing down your preferred names, narrow it down to 2-3 choices rather than one choice. Why? Because if you find your first preference is not available, you can quickly move on to the next without the pain of being super-attached.

Ok, got your 2-3 choices ready to go? Here are the four checks you should do to ensure the name you want is truly yours to take:

"So many people find a business name and assume because the domain is available, that no one else is using that name. "

1. Legal checks

Search on the ASIC database for your preferred business name. This will tell you if someone has registered a business or company with the same name or something similar.

2. Intellectual Property (IP) check

Search on the IP Australia website for your name. All similar names will also come up so you can see if anyone has already registered the name and what they are using it for. This is important as you may still use the same or similar name and register it if you are in a very different line of business.

3. Online domain check

Check the domain name availability of your chosen name and the internet generally to see what is out in the market already. Check all available domain names and derivations such as .net, .com, .com.au, .org, .co.uk and all countries you may eventually want to do business in to see if they are available. Then decide how many domains you want to secure to keep others out!

Registering both a domain name together with a trademark and business name should be a priority as it is a good way to protect your business brand online.

4. Social media check

Check your name is ‘Social Media Ready’. What does this mean? You need to see that your name or similar are not already being used on Twitter, Facebook or other social media outlets. There are a lot of businesses being conducted exclusively through Facebook. You don’t want, or need, to have controversy arising from your brand.

All checks passed? Time to register!

So, your name is chosen and checks are done! Now comes the formal registration process for either a Pty Ltd company or business name registration as well as registering your ownership as a trademark and domain name. All of which you can do with confidence now your checks are complete.

Once you have the foundation and cornerstone for your business (your name!) out of the way, you can align the rest of your business, branding, and structure with more confidence.

Now go for it!

Did you miss doing the checks on your business name and had to change it? Or did you decide to change your business name after you launched? Would love to hear your story – there are a lot out there that did!

Vanessa Emilio

is a Practice Director, Lawyer, Founder and CEO of Legal123.com.au, a legal website business with easy-to-use, inexpensive legal templates, forms and agreements for everyday Australians as well as lots of useful information.

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