How to Name Your Business and Apply for an ABN

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Davide Di Prossimo
Last updated:
May 2023

Learn how to brainstorm the best names for your new business, verify that the name is available and apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number).

Remember this, the name of your brand will be seen over and over on every invoice you send, on tax documents you file and in many more places. Therefore, picking the right name for your business is a very important element of your branding.

How to brainstorm business names

Follow the steps below to generate a list of potential names.

1 - Create a list of words related to your industry

For example, a marketing specialist might write down words like advertising, ecommerce, marketing, social media etc. 

2 - Utilise your specific skills and services

Earlier in the first guide titled How to Start a Business, you created a list of skills and possible services. Have them handy while you go through this process.

3 - List your interests, passions and personality traits

Think of things like your favourite places, movies or songs, empowering quotes,and anything inspiring in between etc.

4 - Start generating ideas using words from all three lists

Find ways to combine these words together to create a business name that sounds ok, it’s easy to remember, and that you’re proud of.

Now that you have a list of potential business names, it’s time to get rid of some of them in order to find the perfect fit. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get rid of any names that are hard to spell, hard to pronounce and difficult to remember.
  2. Google your ideas and eliminate those names that are too similar to other businesses’ names.
  3. Visit the ASIC name-checker website and make sure that there are no other registered names already in Australia.
  4. Use a domain finder like Webcentral* to make sure you can register a good domain name related to your business. I’d recommend doing this before applying for an ABN.

*See what they did with the business name there?!

How to apply for an ABN

It’s time to make things really official by registering your business name with the Australian government.

How do you do that?

You do that by applying for an ABN (Australian Business Number). This is your ID number for your business going forward.

I strongly advise you to seek professional help with this. This guide is generic in nature, and not intended to be a thorough step-by-step guide on how to use the Government website.

Before you proceed, have the following information handy:

  • Your identification documents such as your driver licence, an ID card, your passport or birth certificate.
  • Your TFN (Tax File Number).
  • Your chosen business name and structure.
  • Details of the services you intend to provide with your new business. 

Follow these step to finally get your ABN:

  1. Go to the Australian Government’s Business Registration page.
  2. Select the registrations you want to apply for. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll need to select all three boxes for “ABN”, “Business Name”, and “Australian Company”.
  3. Read carefully everything on the screen.
  4. Select your business structure.
  5. Fill out the remaining information as requested.

If all the information is correct, you should receive your ABN via email. Else, you can contact the Australian Business Registry to ask about your application status.

Congrats! If all has gone well with your application, you’re officially in business in Australia.

You’re entitled to go out and get drunk tonight.

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