Dream & Do

How to register and license your business

Dream & DoComment

Starting a business isn’t as simple as coming up with a cool name, knitting some funky socks, and selling them for $10 a pop. Unfortunately there’s a lot of legal and government-type things that need to be sorted out like trademarking, registering a business name and getting an ABN, which we will talk about here.

The Australian Business Licence and Information Service can helpyou with a personalised report of your small business circumstances, including Government requirements relevant to your business, licence fees, information about how to apply, etc. They will send you application and renewal forms.

It’s imperative to have the correct licensing and registration, to save you from potential lawsuits or being shut down owing to non-compliance. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 

Having an Australian business account will help you keep track of all your licences, permits and registrations. If this all sounds way too complicated, consider hiring a lawyer to take care of the “dirty” work for you.

We’re not really experts on this, so here are some more informative links to help you:



Registering a business name is surprisingly easy, and you can even search beforehand to see if your desired name is already taken. Visit business.gov.au to get started. You will be directed to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). A business name usually costs about $79 for three years.

NOTE: Before you register a business name, you’ll need an Australian Business Number (ABN) which can be organised through the same website.

Something pretty important to consider before registering a business name in Australia is whether the social media handles are available. It’s annoying if you start a business called Love Forever, only to find that @loveforever is an Instagram handle already taken by a 12-year-old girl in America who hasn’t posted a photo in several weeks. Unfortunately there’s nothing you or Instagram can do about that!

Be sure to make social media accounts as soon as possible, so someone else doesn’t jump in and steal your name before you get a chance.

Everyone in Australia who is trading as a contractor or as a business owner needs to have an ABN. They’re free!

We’re not all entitled to ABNs; it depends on our trade, entity, business structure and personal information. To get an ABN, you need to be carrying out an enterprise in Australia or be in the process of doing so. In other words, you can’t register for an ABN if you plan to start a business sometime, vaguely, in the next five years.

Go to the Australian Business Register at abr.gov.au.