Company Name or Business Name – What’s the Difference?

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Corporate & Business

If you intend to start your own business, there are many things that you need consider such as permits, staffing, strategy, suppliers.  One of the first things to decide should be what structure is most appropriate for your business.  There are a variety of options that provide different levels of operational flexibility, tax efficiency, asset protection and transparency.

Business.gov.au have provided a ‘Help me decide’ tool which may assist you in determine the structure that may best suit or contact Nevett Ford Lawyers to discuss this further. 

Some people can be confused between a company and business name.

Company Name

A company is a legal entity, which has most of the legal powers of a person.  Companies must be registered with ASIC and will usually be subject to a set of rules set out in its constitution (or where there is no constitution, the replaceable rules contained in the Corporations Act – see below).  Companies come in different forms – proprietary or public, limited or unlimited.

Companies can be complex and there are several issues you must consider, including:

The Type of Company to Be Registered

  • Will it be large or small?
  • Is it a not for profit or charitable organisation?

How Your Company Will Be Governed

  • Replaceable rules – these are basic ‘default’ rules in the Corporations Act
  • Its own constitution – most common and recommended, or
  • A combination of both

Your Company’s Share Structure

  • Will some shareholders be entitled to dividends and others not?
  • Does everyone have the same voting power?
  • What happens when the company stops trading?
  • What happens if the shareholders don’t agree?

Who Will Manage the Business?

 Who Will Be the Officeholders?

  • A company must have at least one director, usually one secretary and one member (shareholder).

Business Name

A business name is simply the name or brand under which you operate your business.  A business name is not a ‘person’ like a company is.  A company can own and trade under a business name, as can a natural person or partnership.

You are required to register your business name in Australia, unless you trade under your own name (including company name) or fall within an exemption.  To be able to register your business name, you will need to have, or be in the process of applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

You can register your business through the Australian Government Business Registration Service, ASIC or Nevett Ford can assist you with this.

What Can Nevett Ford Do to Assist You?

Whether you are looking at starting up your own business or company or buying into an existing one, there are important legal issues to be considered.  We strongly recommend you get in touch with Nevett Ford so we can help to make sure you understand how these structures work.

Nevett Ford Lawyers can assist you in all aspects of starting your business or company including:

  • Advising which structure will best suit your needs;
  • Advising you in regard to regulations and requirements relevant to that structure;
  • Preparing all documentation including Company Constitutions, Partnership Agreements and Shareholder Agreements.

Please contact our team to discuss on 03 9614 7111 or email us at melbourne@nevettford.com.au