Registering a business name in Victoria
The steps to register a business name are:
- Apply for an ABN with the Australian Business Register
Businesses use this number as a reference when dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It should also be shown on your Tax invoices.
- Register your business name with ASIC
- Protect your business name by applying for a trademark with IP Australia (optional)
Registering your business does not automatically give you exclusive rights to use that name. To protect this, you will need to apply for a trademark with IP Australia.
- Register the domain name for the business (optional)
If you want to present a professional image and send emails to your customers and suppliers using your business name as the domain name eg. firstname.lastname@example.org instead of Free Email services such as Hotmail e.g. email@example.com then you’ll need to do this with a Domain Name Registrar.
Your business name plays an important part. Here are some things you should consider:
- Company Brand - what sort of an image would you like to present? Casual, Professional, Friendly, etc. Does the name carry that message?
- Having a catchy business name will certainly make it easier for your customers to remember. I always get a chuckle when I see Thai Restaurant names - Thaitanic, Bow Thai, Thainamite, Thairanosaurus, Thai Hard with a Vengeance, Thai-Riffic just to name a few.
- As mentioned above, ideally you would want to have a domain name that matches your business name because communicating via email is such an important part of running a business and you would want your customers to be able to contact you.
- Use of restricted words or phrases. You can find a list of words which are restricted here.
- Will the name include a description of what you do or a business function which makes it easier for your potential customers to understand? E.g. Joe Smith Bakery.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Another commonly asked question is whether you need to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST). You must register for GST if you are a business and:
- your current/expected annual turnover is $75,000 or more (or $150,000 or more for a non-profit organisation) and/or
- you provide taxi travel (regardless of turnover).