So where do you start?
In short - start at the end. With a Domain Name. Once you have thought of the most awesome business name, check to see if its available as a url. You can do this buy typing it into your browser or by going to a domain name ‘shop’ and using their search options. I have used Crazy Domains as a good place to search. You may not be ready to create a website, it may be you just want to sell through portals such as ETSY, but its worth considering looking forward.
First few suggestions when choosing a domain name or website URL (address) -personal thoughts only - others may disagree.
Use your business name PLUS what you do
For example - although my business name and trade mark are just ‘Fluid Ink’ My URL Is fluidinkletterpress.com.au - I figure that Fluid ink can (and does) refer to my letterpress business as well as my graphic design service. I also own Mini Ink as a trade mark, and I have url’s MiniInkfingerprint.com.au (fingerprint trees) and Miniink.com.au (baby cards)
If possible, spell it properly
i.e.: ‘designs’ rather than ‘designz’ so it can easily be searched and remembered... however you may have reasons for a quirky spelling - if so knock yourself out!
Decide on a .com.au or just .com
Registering a .com.au requires an ABN. There are many arguments as to whether you should get a .com or .com.au (.com.au is more expensive - of course!) Personally, I feel being a .com.au makes me local for those that wish to shop within Australia which is a real bonus for me.
It’s also good to purchase several urls to save others buying and trading as them, so go ahead and purchase the 'yourbizname.com.au' (and host your website under this) but also buy 'yourbizname.com' and tuck it under your belt - they are quite cheap. You can go crazy with domain names, buying up URLs that are closely related to your name. Realistically, you need to think if anyone else would ever want that name, but if for example you are a crochet artist trading as ‘Crochet by Davina’, then you may even search and buy - crochet.com.au if available.
If the domain name you're after is available - awesome! - You need an ABN to register an Australian domain name (eg a .com.au) - so the next stop is to see if your awesome name is available on the National register of Business names. (You need an ABN to get a business name - so you need to sort your business name registration next)
HINT: if you already have an ABN, you can register a second business name under the same ABN.
DISCLAIMER: DO your own research - This is my experience and is by no means exhaustive - every business is different, thats why if need a little extra help - seek out the experts such as SBDC (Small Business Development Corporation)!
Stay tuned for part 2 - Business Names