If you've been putting this step off, just grab a piece of paper and jot down the following:
Things to think about when choosing your business name ...
Both Google and customers expect your business name to tell them what your business does and sells. The name Lisa's Kitchenware Emporium clearly explains what the business sells.
You need to strike a balance between leaving room for growth, and being too fuzzy in your description.
Lisa's Kitchenware Emporiumis perfect for selling kitchen equipment. But if Lisa wants to branch out selling cushions, clocks and other homewares later, she might need to consider Lisa's Kitchen & Homeware.
Palmerston North Cocina has trouble growing into Dunedin and non-Spanish speakers won't know what it sells.
A good combination can be an adjective (here is a helpful list) and product name - e.g. Ample Kitchenware, and you can add a tag line like - The best kitchen tools in Dunedin to explain better what you do and where you do it. It is easier to change the tag line on your logo or business card than the whole registered business name.
Lisa's Kitchen Tools sounds a bit weird if Christine buys the business. If the personal touch is important or your name is well known, add it to the tag line e.g. Ample Kitchen Tools - approved by Lisa.
People often sort lists in alphabetic order. Being earlier in the alphabet means Ample Kitchen Tools is seen well before Quirky Home & Tableware in places like yellow pages and stockists lists.
Doing a trademark search as someone may have used your name for their brand. You can do a quick trademark search here.
Check to see if another business already has the same name, and to make sure your proposed name does not contain restricted words like COMPANY.
You should also check that the www address (aka domain name) e.g. www.AucklandKitchenGear.co.nz) is available and can do so here. Check to see if both the .co.nz and .com ending are available. If your sales will mainly be in NZ then the .co.nz is the most important (register the .com and .com.au if it is available anyway). Avoid using domain names with a "-" in them - e.g. avoid a domain name like www.wellington-kitchen-homeware.co.nz.
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 .co.nz and the .com domain. You can also register names for specific countries if you plan to sell there - e.g. Australia is .com.au, UK is .co.uk
Learn from my failure on this one. I originally called eChic "eDemystified", because we wanted to be the people who make technology less mysterious for our customers. Even my own staff couldn't spell it reliably, so we changed names and business grew dramatically. A name in a different language may sound exotic, but backfires if customers avoid your business for fear of looking stupid by mispronouncing it (French restaurant phobia) or mistype it into a search engine.
You have lots of choices about how to structure your business and this handy guide talks you through the pros and cons. It is important to check that any business name you want to use is not in use by someone else. You can do that by checking Google and the yellow pages to see if anyone else is using that name.
A "domain name" is just the www address where your website will live. e.g. www.AucklandKitchenware.co.nz.
As mentioned above, ideally you'd register your .co.nz and .com name, and the .com.au and .co.uk if you plan to sell there.
You can do this using pretty much any domain provider, but crazydomains.co.nz have given us consistent results.
Suppliers, retailers, staff and banks take you much more seriously if you 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, but as a rule of thumb:
if you want to sell things on line, Shopify works really well. Their monthly fee covers free phone support and your hosting and security certificate.
WordPress is a great option if you don't want to sell things, and just want to show information about your business like your opening hours, contact details, photos gallery and services. You can use WordPress's own hosting or host it yourself depending on how much you want to customize your site.
The easiest way to find any New Zealand and local government licensing information is to go to the business.govt.nz guide.
Depending on your business structure, where it is, if you have staff, the type of business you're in, and how much you sell, you may need certain registrations, licences or permits to operate. If you don't get the right permits and licenses you can fined or suffer other penalties.
These licences and permits are designed to protect the environment and the health and safety of the public and your customers.