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Starting a new business venture can be both exciting and terrifying. You get to be your own boss, pursue something you’re passionate about and take control of your destiny. However, you have also now accumulated a never-ending to-do list. Whilst there are no limits on the entrepreneurial path, there are things that need to be set in place before your business can even begin.

Here are five steps to guide you through the early stages of starting a new business.

STEP 1. Register an ABN

An ABN (or Australian Business Number) is a numeric way for businesses to legally interact with one another in Australia. It’s an 11-digit number which identifies your business and can be registered as one of the following entities:

  • Individual/Sole Trader
  • Partnership
  • Company
  • Trust

Registering for an ABN is free and can be applied through register.business.gov.au or abr.gov.au. The process is quick and will ask questions to determine whether you’re eligible or not. Once eligible, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and other information. If your application is successful, you’ll receive your ABN immediately and your details will be added to the Australian Business Register.  

STEP 2. Choose the right business name

Your business name is a representation of you, so choose your name wisely. Start brainstorming and hit the thesaurus! Think about related words or phrases which capture the essence of your business, encapsulates your products or services and distinguishes yourself from your competitors. It’s also important to think long term. Will this name give you scope to change or grow over time? As your business name will be the first impression of your business, it is worth taking some time to find the right one.

STEP 3. Check your chosen business name is available

So now you have your business name it’s time to check the availability. This is an important step to take before registering your name as it can save you a headache / or legal fees later down the track. Below are three availability checks to perform:

  • Search the ASIC business name register to see if your business name is available
  • Check to see if your chosen name has been registered as a trademark
  • Check to see if your business name hasn’t already been registered as a domain

If your business name is not yet registered or trademarked, you are free to use it. It’s important to remember that a business name is only used to identify your business. If you would like exclusive rights to that name, it may be worth protecting it with a trade mark.

STEP 4. Register your business name

After you’ve performed all checks and your business name is available, the next step is to register the name. As your business name will be your trading name, it will be a different process to registering an ABN. To register your business name, head to the ASIC website and follow the instructions. As of August 2018, the fees for registering a business name are $36 for 1 year and $84 for 3 years.

STEP 5. Select and register your domain name

If your domain name is available, the next step is to register it. Your domain name is your identity on the web which will identify your business to others and should be in the name of your business (generally with a .com, .com.au or .net after it). There are many different domain name providers out there so it’s best to find a credible one which suits you.

These five steps are all important in getting your business off your ground, however they are just the beginning. Having your own business is one of the most rewarding experiences but it doesn’t come without its challenges. With hard work, diligence, intelligent decisions and getting through your to-do list, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way — Good luck!