Trading Names – Getting It Right First Time

all_aboardThis week’s post is a little off center from the whole I.T. thing, but as it’s a subject that repeatedly comes my way I thought I best address it. What we’re going to look at here is the preliminary steps to setting a good marketing foundation by choosing a workable trading name.

Assuming you’ve got this killer idea, sourced product if that’s applicable and have a base of operations to work from, the obvious first step in Australia is to have an ABN. (Australian Business Number). It’s free and takes about a month after application to receive it. If you don’t already have one, get onto it here .  I’d suggest this be under your name, a partnership or company name but not necessarily a trading name. You might want more than one trading name to differentiate between two businesses but group them under one ABN for example. (You’ll also need a TFN Tax File Number if your business is a partnership or company) If in doubt, get some advice from an accountant.

The ABN website

The ABN website

A trading name is something you should seriously consider. It should be short, punchy and have an available domain name.  If you can come up with a name no one else is using, where the domain is available, is business relevant and stands out with less than 8 letters not only are you a legend, you probably should be in business doing that.

The ASIC website where you check for and register a business name. Note the search box at top right

The ASIC website where you check for and register a business name. Note the search box at top right

Choosing a trading name is going to be three step process you might need to repeat numerous times until you get the right name.

  1. Think up a name
  2. Check it’s available through the ASIC website
  3. Check there’s a domain name available for it. You can use www.itjivehosting.com to check for and register domain names

If a name doesn’t check all boxes above, go back and try again.

The Itjivehosting site for checking available domains. (I know shameless cross promotion!!)

The Itjivehosting site for checking available domains. (I know shameless cross promotion!!)

Here’s some do’s and don’ts:

  • Aim for one word, two if you must and three as a maximum.
  • Try to keep it simple to spell so avoid anything that might confuse.
  • A trading name should both give a positive first impression as well as say something about the kind of business you are and what you actually do.
  • Finding a domain to match your chosen trading name is easier if you’re looking for a .com.au rather than the more international (and cheaper) .com.
  • Don’t pay for a domain or business name registration until you know you can get both. (.com.au domains and business name registrations both are around $35 per year each.)

Once armed with your new trading name, it’s time to hire a professional to design a logo, business cards and such for your business. Avoid the common practice of getting the ‘nephew who is good with computers’ to do it. This logo is going to be on everything, and if you get an amateur to design it, your business will scream amateur too. Any graphic designer, myself included should be able to furnish you with stacks of decent samples of previous work. We’re all different so pick one whose work you like.

Finally make sure you’re happy with the logo and its colours, you’ll be branding it everywhere and wearing those colours for a long time to come.

 

 

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