Setting up a business in Australia

Here is our handy guide to getting your business started in Australia. 

Choose a business name

There are a few things to think about when choosing a business name: 

Is it clear what you your business does?

Both we humans and Google like it if the business name lets us understand what you do. Maria’s Wholesale Coffee clearly explains what the business sells.

Does your business name leave room for growth?

You need to strike a balance between leaving room for growth, and being too fuzzy in your description.

Maria’s Wholesale Coffee is perfect for selling coffee wholesale. If Maria wants to branch out later selling tea, she might need to consider Maria's Wholesale Drinks, which risks people thinking she sells alcohol, going with Maria’s Wholesale Coffee & More or simply changing to Maria’s Wholesale Tea & Coffee later.  

Perth Wholesale Coffee has trouble growing into Sydney.

A good combination can be a descriptive word and product  name - e.g. Awesome Wholesale Coffee, and you can add a tag line like - The best beans in West Australiato explain better what you do and where you do it. It is easier to change the tag line on your logo than the whole business name.

Can you sell it or move it?

Maria’s Wholesale Coffee sounds a bit weird if Kylie buys the business. If the personal touch is important or your name is well known, add it to the tag line - Awesome Wholesale Coffee – as roasted by Maria.

Is your business name already taken and is it legal?

If you are setting up a business in Australia and plan to use any name but your own, you need to check the ASIC listing to see if another business already has the same name, and to make sure  your proposed name does not contain restricted words like BANK or ANZAC.   You can search for ASIC listing here.

It is also worth doing a trademark search, just in case someone has used your name for a brand rather than a business name. You can do a quick search here:

You should also check that the www address (aka domain name) e.g. www.Northern is available and can do so here.  Check to see if both the and .com ending are available. If your sales will mainly be in Australia then the is the most important (register the .com if it is available anyway). 

If you plan to grow overseas the .com matters (particularly for America) and you should choose a name for which you can register both the and the .com  domain.  You can also register names for specific countries if you plan to sell there - e.g. NZ is, UK is  


Register your business name

You can do this yourself directly at the ASIC website - register your business name page.   Note that if you search there are websites that will charge you for doing it for you as well ass the government registration fee. Check that you are on the site to register!


Register your domain name

A "domain name" is just the www address where your website will live. e.g.

As mentioned above, ideally you'd register your and .com domain names, and the and if you plan to sell there as well.

You can register using pretty much any domain provider, but have given us consistent results. 


Get a website 

Retailers, suppliers, staff and banks won’t take you seriously if you don't have a website. we'd be happy to have a chat and offer advice (just use the contact form on this page to get in touch or call us). There are a lot of different packages and methods for creating a website, and but as a rule of thumb:

WordPress is a great option if you don't want to sell things, and just want to show information about your business like your photo, contact details, opening hours, services, product gallery etc. You can host it yourself or use WordPress's own hosting depending on how much you want to customize.

If you want to sell products or services on line, Shopify works really well. Their monthly fee covers free phone support and your hosting and security certificate. 

Check if you need business licenses & permits

The easiest way to find any Australian, State, and local government licensing information is to go to the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS).

If you don't get the right licenses and permits you can be subject to large fines or other penalties.  These Permits and Licences are designed to protect the safety and health of your customers and the environment. 


Write a business plan

Hopefully you've already done this step if you are planning on setting up a business, but just as a reminder:

  • What are you going to sell? Be very specific.
  • Who are you going to sell it to? Gender, age, income, lifestyle ….
  • Where will you sell it? Worldwide? Australia wide? Just Queensland? Only In West Australia and the Northern Territory? In the ACT and New South Wales?  To Tasmania and Victoria?  All of the above? Some of the above? Be specific as it will help you figure out your delivery/postage/travel costs.
  • How will you sell it (in your own shop, online, over the phone, at markets, wholesale)
  • How much will it cost to make/do/deliver?  Which of the these costs do you need to pay regardless of how many you sell and which ones are only per item?
  • How much will you sell it for?
  • How many will you need to sell to make a profit?


 Getting a business started in Australia is simple, you just need to get the initial steps done well so you aren't playing catch up later.