How To Choose And Protect Your Business Name
You have a great idea for your new business, all you need to do now is name it. As the name of your business will be a part of its identity, don’t be too hasty in choosing it. It is highly beneficial to use your business name to stand apart from your competitors and set up a brand. You can reflect your business plans or inspiration, and direct your target audience with choosing the right name.
There are a few key terms that get confused, like business name and trademark. We will try to differentiate each and give you additional tips on them.
Choose your business name wisely
Your business name will be the name under which your business will operate but it can be so much more. If you plan carefully, you can choose a name that will help you to affect your target audience and prove a great marketing tool. So start off by brainstorming a few options and put them to the test, by answering the following questions:
Is that business name or a similar one already in use?
Before you start dissecting and testing each example that you might have come up with for a new business name, first check if somebody is already using them.
You should check the name on search engines and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also check the name on Australian Securities and Investment Commission or ASIC website, to see if the name is already registered. Also if you are considering protecting your name as a trademark, you ought to check also Australian Trade Mark Search database, but more on it later on.
Does the name reflect what your business does?
If you want your potential customers to approach you, you need to choose a name that not only stands out but also, very simply, explains what your business actually does. This is especially important in the beginning but it will prove important long-term as well.
Is the name appealing: visually, orally?
Make sure that the name of your business is clear. Double meaning can be playful and fun, but it can either attract or deflect potential customers. Again that depends on the image of your business you want to convey.
If the spelling is too complicated or the name of your company is hard to pronounce you might lose potential business even before you got started.
Also, make sure that your business name is not too long or too descriptive. If your customers or potential customers want to know more they will check out your website or visit your business.
Register your business name
So if you believe you have found a name that hasn’t been claimed already, start sending requests to use it. In this respect there are two different procedures, one is registering your business name and the other is trademarking your business.
Let’s first talk about registering your business name. Though registering your business name doesn’t give you exclusive ownership of the name or a part of the name, it will set you apart from your competition.
Not every business has to register though. If you plan to use your own first name and surname as the name of your business, you needn’t register. However, in most cases, it is better to combine personal name and type of work in the business name. That way, it is easier to deduce what your business does or to coin a new name that you can build a brand around.
In order to file for a business name, you need an ABN (Australian Business Number). If you don’t already have it, you can register for the ABN and business name simultaneously at Business Registration Service Beta.
Business name registration is applied on a national level, so you needn’t apply in each state or territory separately. The fee for registering for one year is less than $40 and for three years it is less than $90.
The registration process can take up to a year, but if you have provided all documents and paid the fee you can get your confirmation in a few days.
Protect your business name as a trademark
As it was mentioned, registering your business name cannot protect your business name of being used by others. If you wish to the exclusive owner of the rights to the brand you are creating you should file for a trademark. Register a trademark to protect the identity of your business from being used by others and to use and sell as you seem fit.
It this case, it important to note down what kind of type of trademark you plan to register as it can be a lot of different aspects, such as a phrase, letter or number, logo or picture, or some other combination.
The process of an application takes up to four months and trademark registration lasts for 10 years.
Choose the business name that fits the plan you have set out for your business. Make it clear from your name what you do, but not be overburdening it. Check registers and social networks so that you know that you can use the same name throughout. People connect products and services to their names, so the easier it is for them to pronounce them or write them down, the better. Protecting your new business may not seem that important at first but if you plan to run a successful business you need to protect it beforehand.