Business Name Search: How To Check Business Name Availability

Business Name Search: How To Check Business Name Availability

Monday, September 13, 2021

how to check business name availability

When you finally decide to start your small business, it’s easy to get excited and go straight to making logos and merch. But before you do any of that, it’s crucial you conduct a business name search. That means, before you even register your business, you need to check the business name is available for use.

In short, one of the very first things you’ll need to do before launching your business is knowing how to check if a business name is taken. So, here we’re sharing how you can do that and get your business started.

Why Check If a Business Name is Taken?

It’s important to check if a business name is taken before you decide on your official business name because your business name can’t be the same as anyone else’s.

Your business name must be registered with the Australian Government to inform them of who you are and how to find you. Therefore, your business name must be unique to avoid confusion. Although your business will also have an ABN attached to it, your business name is still your business’s main entity identifier.

So, it becomes obvious that you should check whether a business name is taken before you go out and make logos, signs and websites for your new business. In short, doing this simple check is step one on the to-do list when you have an idea for a small business.

How to Check if a Business Name is Taken

You can check if a business name is taken through either ASIC Connect or through the Australian Government Business Registration Service.

The process is relatively straightforward. Simply enter the business name you hope to use and the results will show you whether or not the business name you’ve entered is available. If it is available, you’ll be able to register that business name right then and there.

When your check the availability of a business name using ASIC Connect, your results will come up with one of the following results:

  • Green: This business name is available
  • Amber: You can register this business name but it will need to be assessed after you apply
  • Red: This business name is not available

Is my business name taken? What to Do if Your Business Name is Taken

If you find that the business name you’d hoped to use is taken, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your chosen business name to ensure you use a business name that’s unique and not already in use.

Conveniently, both the ASIC Connect and Business Registration Service search engine will show you multiple results of other existing business names that are similar to yours. So, you won’t have to search over and over again just to continue to get a “taken” result.

A few ideas to help you come up with a unique business name include adding your name to your business name so that instead of “Wholefood Suppliers” you might use “Tom’s Wholefood Suppliers”. You can also add “Co.” or “& Company” to your business name to create a unique business name without changing your original idea too much.

Trademark Business Name Checks

Registering your business name is different from registering for a trademark. So, in addition to checking the availability of your business name within the Australian Business Register, you’ll also want to make sure to do a Trademark Registration Check through IP Australia.

A trademark search allows you to see logos for business names that are similar to yours to ensure that you’re not unwittingly planning to infringe on someone else’s trademark name or design.

Other Business Name Checks

Once you check if your business name is taken and you’ve done a trademark business name check, you’ll also want to check if the website domain of your business name is taken and whether the social media handles with your business name are taken.

Choosing the perfect business name won’t do you much good if the website domain that makes the most sense for that business name is already taken. While there are always creative ways to make your website domain work even if it’s not exactly the name of your business, doing this quick search before your final decision can make a big difference. 

Along the same lines, doing a social media search to see if your business name is taken as a handle on platforms like Instagram and Twitter is also a smart move. In this day and age, it’s undeniable that businesses are expected to have a social media presence. So, you’ll want to do your best to ensure that your business name isn’t already taken on social media.

Restricted Business Names

Keep in mind that some business names are restricted by the Australian Government and are not allowed to be registered or used. Some of the words and phrases that are not allowed to be used in business names include:

  • “Incorporated”
  • “Charity”
  • “Bank”
  • “University”
  • Offensive words
  • Suggested affiliation with the Australian government or foreign governments, royalty, charitable organisations, ex-service personnel organisations, Sir Donald Bradman, Mary MacKillop or the UN
  • Industry or professional titles

Can I Reserve A Business Name? How to Reserve a Business Name

In some cases, you can also reserve a business name if you have an idea for the name of your company but you’re not ready to register just yet. However, you can only reserve a company business name for up to two months. 

Before you register your business name and get your idea off the ground, you need to check if your business name is taken by another Australian business, if it’s trademarked in Australia and if the website domain and social media handles that correspond to your business name are available.

I’ve chosen my business name… now what?

business name search

In summary, these checks don’t take long but they can save you loads of time and effort in the long run. Plus, it’s better for your business to make sure your business name is unique and has cohesive branding from the website to your social media accounts. 

At Physio Inq, we have over 15 years’ experience in helping our Pinq Business Partners source, purchase and run Physiotherapy businesses. There’s a reason why we Physio Inq won Franchise Network of the Year in 2020. Click to read more.

Contact us today to learn more! Reach out to our Pinq Partner Cultivator, James Appleton on james.a@physioinq.com.au or by phone on 0419 137 400

 

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