Getting an ABN – then what?
An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and community.
Getting an ABN is the first cab of the rank – but there’s three more items you need so secure on the same day.
- Business Name
- Domain Name
- Facebook Page
Even if you don’t intend to build your website anytime soon or activate your Facebook page straight away, securing these names is an important marketing consideration for your start-up.
An ABN doesn’t replace your tax file number although having this handy will speed up the application process.
You can either apply for the ABN first then the Business Name, or you can do it at the same time. Business Name’s are registered with ASIC, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and cost about $35/year.
You’ll need to make a couple of decisions during the business name registration process, the three most notable ones being:
- Are you a hobby or a business
- Are you a sole trader or partnership
- Are you registering for GST
Hobby or Business
Ensure you understand the difference between a hobby and a business for tax, insurance and legal purposes.
Sole Trader or Partnership
You must be registered for GST if the annual income turnover is $75,000 or more. As this is unlikely to apply to small businesses in their start-up phase, you can skip this for now.
If you’re not registered for GST, you add a note onto your invoices along the lines of:
This business is not registered for GST with the Australian Tax Office and therefore no GST applies to this payment.
The business name is important for legal reasons but it is also important for marketing purposes.
Think about what people will remember or what they might search for in google. If you have a business name called ABC Consultancy it doesn’t really say much about what you do and it’s unlikely to be something people google. Whereas if you have a business name of Adelaide Plumbers people may remember it and even better, they’re likely to google it.
Even if you’re not ready for a website quite yet, secure the domain name. For example, if you are successful in securing the business name Fleurieu Bikes only to find out the web address for that name is taken it will damage your ability to successfully market online.
A domain name costs about $20/year. Well worth securing and holding onto until, or when, you are ready to get a website up and running.
To get a “.au” domain name you need an ABN.
If you wish to have a .com only domain name (without the “.au”) you don’t need an ABN.
A “.au” domain name is recommended.
Business Facebook Page
Like the domain name, you want your business Facebook Page name to match your business name. You can change the name later on, the sweet spot to change a Facebook page name is between 25-200 likes. But best to secure this one at the same time as getting an ABN and business name sorted.
Australian Government Business Info – Starting a Business