Ananda Raj Pandey

Do I need a registered business name to start a home business?

Thinking of doing some freelancing work, I don't know what I need to do apart from ABN. Do I need a business name registration? What else do I need to start my business?

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2 Answers

Greg Tomkins

Greg Tomkins , Director | Web Architect at Top Left Designs

If this is a full time business or even permanent part-time then yes you should register a business name but think one step ahead. Bear in mind what yu are wanting to ultimately build and if it is to create a company then carefully consider what will be involved when you change over to a company structure. The decision to move to a company is quite complex and it is not always to your advantage. Your personal circumstances will play into this decision as well as the IP that your business may own as a starting point. Company structures offer certain advantages for setting up your future that may be worth considering.

I would however suggest that you map out your plans for the next 12 months, 2 years and 5 years and then sit down with your accountant and talk to them about these plans and what would be the most effective structure to put in place. If you talk to a solicitor they may offer a slightly different perspective as your accountant will generally view it from a tax minimisation perspective while a lawyer views it from an asset protection perspective and the 2 don't necessarily coincide.

The nature of your business, the products you intend to sell or the services you intend to offer and who your market is will all influence the decisions you have to make as well.

The best place to start is by being involved in some business networks and talk to those members - be outright in stating what you are wanting to do and that you are looking for advice. Most people are helpful and well meaning - sometimes though you need to verify some of the advice given so be careful.

Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh , Cofounder at SavvySME

So if he is looking to operate a company later on, it's best to set up a company now yes? Thus, Ananda would need: 1) ABN 2) Business name registration 3)... read more
So if he is looking to operate a company later on, it's best to set up a company now yes? Thus, Ananda would need: 1) ABN 2) Business name registration 3) ?
ANGELO PANAGOPOULOS

ANGELO PANAGOPOULOS , Owner at WILSON PATERAS ACCOUNTANTS

To start a home business, or any business for that matter, if you wish to secure exclusive rights of the use and ownership of a particular business name then yo... read more
To start a home business, or any business for that matter, if you wish to secure exclusive rights of the use and ownership of a particular business name then you must register the business name.
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Iain Dooley

You just need an ABN and some customers. Get some revenue, then start worrying about all the other stuff :) If you're just getting started, I recommend consuming as much content from http://www.mixergy.com/ as is humanly possible. It costs $200/year to get access to all interviews and is the best money you will ever spend. From there, you will learn about a tonne of other useful entrepreneurs you can learn from -- Andrew has interviewed EVERYBODY, so start with Mixergy, and an ABN... and have fun :)

Also, if you're interested in not going bankrupt, take a look at this article I wrote on why I did: http://successfulmensbusiness.com/2014/11/7-steps-to-guarantee-bankruptcy/

Katherine Hawes

Katherine Hawes , Director of Education and Training at Digital Age Lawyers (formerly New Age Legal Solutions)

The rule relating to business names is that you can not use a name to trade which hides your identity. For instance if you are trading as, that is what you adve... read more
The rule relating to business names is that you can not use a name to trade which hides your identity. For instance if you are trading as, that is what you advertises and invoice as, is your own name then you dont require registration. If you are using a trading name then you do for instances "sassy frelancer" would need to be registered. I suggest you go to www.asic.gov.au which has excellent factsheets on the topic. Also registering a business name is not about protecting the name but rather consumer protection. As a sole trader you will be sued personally so you can't hide behind a name.
Iain Dooley

Iain Dooley , Owner at The Procedure People

A business name does nothing to protect you structurally. You need to incorporate for that. Business names are not companies!... read more
A business name does nothing to protect you structurally. You need to incorporate for that. Business names are not companies!
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