Home – New Forums New here? Share your story How do I combine 2 businesses but keep separate trading names?

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  • #996836
    MichelleC
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    Hi. Brand new here and looking for some general advice. I currently own and run a small business that I have operated for around 9 years now, trading under my own name. I have managed to build a reasonable profile in my industry and want that to continue. 3 years ago, I also started another business with a business partner in the same field but with a different niche market. It is also now well-established although my business partner has just chosen to leave the business due to family commitments, making me the sole owner. I don’t want to dissolve either business but would love some thoughts on whether I could combine both businesses’ finances while keeping their individual trading names. Social media profiles and branding for both businesses are thriving so this is definitely a consideration in keeping the ability to trade under their existing names. Can I do this and if so, what is the best approach moving forward? Any advice would be welcomed and greatly appreciated. Cheers, Michelle :)

    #1209193
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Welcome to Flying Solo Michelle!

    As a sole trader you can run multiple businesses under different business names. I’d expect you’d keep the finances separate, but they would combine for your annual tax return.

    We have some good accountants on the forum, so they’ll be able to give you more detailed advice. It might depend on how your partnership was previously structured too.

    Best of luck!
    Dave

    #1209194
    JacquiPryor
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    Hi Michelle,

    No doubt an accountant will be best to advise you in terms of the ‘right’ structure for both businesses – but in the meantime, can you operate both businesses under their own business names solely owned by you – yes.

    If you had initially one business as a sole trader and the second under a partnership then this part should just be a matter of transferring business name ownership from the partnership to yourself – this would mean your original business and the second business link to you as a sole trader under your personal ABN. Ultimately the finances would then link to this ABN for both businesses. You might choose, however, for ease of monitoring etc to keep separate ‘accounts’ (bank and bookkeeping) purely to see how each performs and also in the event one day you wish to sell one and not the other so you could provide relevant numbers/turnover etc for just one business instead of it all being muddied into one.

    Again, there may be better structures for you that an accountant would be best to advise you about – e.g. is it actually best to run the two as a sole trader against one ABN, or would it be better to set up the two as entirely separate entities?

    As Dave noted, you’ll need to defer to the original partnership agreements too and any obligations in the event one partner leaves for whatever reason.

    All the best :)

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