How to register a new business

So you’ve come up with your business idea and got your business and marketing plans together. Now what?

Determine your business arrangement

The logistics behind starting a business can be very tricky. Firstly, you need consider what type of business arrangement you are registering – will you be a sole trader, in a partnership or a trust? You then need to choose a name. If you’re planning on naming your business something specific, different to your personal name, you will need to get it registered.

But before you jump ahead, there are a few things you need to tick off first. Use our checklist below to ensure you have all your ducks in a row before plunging in and registering your business name.

Steps to register a new business

1. Make sure you have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

An ABN is a unique number that identifies your business. An ABN is provided by the Australian Business Register (ABR). If you don’t yet have an ABN, please visit the ABR to request an ABN.

2. Check if your chosen business name is available

You need to check if your chosen business name is available or already registered to someone else. You can do this by searching the ASIC website. Make sure you also check for similar business names. You can get into trouble if your business name is too similar to another business’ name. You will also need to check for registered trademarks.

3. Are you starting a franchise? If so, there’s another step you need to take first.

If you’re starting a franchise, you need to make sure you have consent from the franchisor to register your business name. Get this in writing.

4. Check you have all the necessary licences you need to being trading.

To check what licences you could need, visit the Australia Business Licence & Information Service website and perform a search on your type of business.

5. Now, back to your marketing plan – you need to develop a website, but first you need to check if the domain name you want is available.

There are many ways to check the availability of a domain name. If you visit any web-hosting site there will be a place to check domain availability. Or you can check the Australian Domain Authority. It’s also a good idea to buy other similar domain names and the same domain name with a different extension i.e. by ‘’ and buy ‘’.

6. Register a trademark

If your business name is quite unique or you just want to really protect your brand, registering a trademark is how you go about doing this. To register your business or brand as a trademark, visit IP Australia.

If you need any help getting your business set-up, please talk to your accountant or contact us.