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Registering Your Business Name and Registering Your Brand Name

When Are You Required to Register Your Business Name?

You are obligated to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), so long as you:

  1. Include other words in your business name besides your own. For example, Graham Jones Pool Cleaning or Henderson & Sons would both require registration.
  2. Are trading under a name that is anything but your own
  3. If you are operating a company (including legalities Pty Ltd) and you want to trade under a name that is not your company name.

The only exemption to registration is if you are trading under your own name: that being your given name or initials, followed by your surname.

You are not permitted to use an unregistered business name, or a name that is not either your own name, or your corporation’s name.

The Rights of a Registered Business Name Owner

Business name registration is not the same as trademark registration, and does not come with the same rights and powers. If you want to reserve your business name for your own exclusive use, you must apply separately for trademark registration, as the searches, applications, and application processes are entirely different from one another. Business name registration does not:

  1. Grant you exclusive rights over the business name
  2. Stop others from registering a confusingly similar name
  3. Stop another party from using your business name as a trademark
  4. Stop a pre-existing trademark holder from using your business name (in fact, you will likely be infringing on their rights)
  5. Prevent another party taking legal action against you if you infringe on their rights

Choosing Your Business Name

A uniquely identifiable business name, along with the goodwill that comes with the name, is an important asset to have when you’re dealing with consumers, lenders, and competitors. It is worth investing time in coming up with a clever business name because this name could in fact add value to your business. Your business name is central to both your image and branding.

Your business name must reflect the nature of your business. It should help consumers understand what types of goods and services you provide.

Make sure that your business name or brand name is:

  1. Short and sweet
  2. Simple to pronounce and spell
  3. Memorable
  4. Timeless
  5. Logical
  6. Inoffensive
  7. Not misleading

When you’re trading internationally, check the appropriateness of your business name in other cultures.

Applying for Registration

Once you have decided on a name for your business, you should contact ASIC to determine whether your business name is still available for registration, and to register your business name.

The application can be done online. You will need to provide the following information:

  1. Your Australian Business Number (ABN) or, in the least, an ABN application reference number
  2. Your preferred business name and the time period you want to register for, be that either one year or three.
  3. The location or locations of your business
  4. The full names and the addresses of each owner

Registering your business name is affordable. It will cost you approx. $35 to register for one year, upwards of $76 for three years. Once you have registered, you are required to meet a number of legal obligations. If you fail to comply with these obligations, you risk being fined or losing your trade name.

Display your business name or your brand name: It is essential that you display your business name outside of all of your business locations so long as the business is open to the public.

Additionally, all of your correspondence and documents need be monogrammed with your business name. These documents include letters, invoices, statements, publications, notices, orders, and receipts.

Once your business name is registered, you will receive a record of this. It is recommended that you display this record in your place of business, although this is not enforced.

Renew your registration: In order to use the same business name indefinitely, you are required to renew your registration. If you neglect to renew your registration, your business name is removed from the ASIC register and another party can apply to register it as their own. If this happens, you will be required to cease operating under that business name.

Update your details: All changes to business ownership need be reported to ASIC within 28 days of occurring, including the names of owners or a change in address. Similarly, if you decide to change your business name or if you find that you have misspelled the name in your application, contact ASIC.

Shutting down your business: If you want to cease trading, you need to send a request to ASIC at least 28 days before you close down your business. ASIC will subsequently notify all of the other people recorded on your business name’s register, along with the business name holder. This check is performed to stop unlawful attempts to cancel out a business name.

If you plan to close your business, you must send ASIC a request to cancel your business name at least 28 days beforehand. ASIC will then notify the business name holder (and any other people recorded in the business names register). This prevents unauthorised attempts to cancel a business name.

Trademarking Your Business Name

When you’re choosing your business name, you might want to choose something that will also be suitable for trademark registration. If you register your business name as a trademark as well as a trade name, you can protect your identity from competitors. Trademark registration gives you unique and exclusive rights to your business name, including singular ownership and protection against unlawful usage.

Your Business Can Navigate The Social Media Minefield

Social Media! It’s all around us. Everywhere you look it’s: ‘Like Us On Facebook’ here and ‘Tweet Us’ there. We are surrounded by social media networks, and new ones are springing up all the time. Even though some businesses have seen the value of social media, many more have failed to grasp the effect social media is having on the way businesses need to market themselves.

Effective marketing relies on being able to target and reach the greatest possible number of potential customers. If traditional marketing methods become ineffective or outdated, what should a business do?

In the past, most people would read a newspaper daily. So when a business took out an advert, it was seen by most people. Today, many people catch up with current events either through news apps or from the latest hot topics circulating around in social media conversations, many of which don’t use adverts. Where does this leave the small business?

If you can’t get your marketing materials seen by your target audience, then not only will you be wasting your money, but you will see a big fall in your revenue, and no business can sustain that for long. Your only option is to go where the people are – and that is on Social media.

The time people spend on social media networks is growing, almost on a daily basis. They interact with people globally, make friends there, ask others for advice there, even shop there. Because of the options given to people within the social network communities, people are much more savvy about the products and services they want to buy. How do you get YOUR business voice heard among the literally millions of other voices that are talking daily on social media?

There is no such thing as a ‘captive audience’ within these social networks. Businesses need to relearn how to reach out and engage with their potential customers but they need to approach it in the right way. People need a good reason to investigate a business page on social media and an even better one to come back for more!

You don’t need to make mistakes to learn… you can benefit from looking at the mistakes people have made in the past so you don’t repeat them. Here are some lessons others before you have learned the hard way.

THE OSTRICH

There are 2 main reasons for ignoring social media – Businesses either think it to be a fad that only kids use to chat on and pass funny photos around, or they don’t take it seriously as an option, thinking that there are better ways to spend their marketing time than talking to teenagers.

The facts show social media IS here to stay:

  • August 2013, ExportedRamblings.com reported Facebook had clocked up 1.15 BILLION active users
  • 21st March 2013, on its 7th Birthday, Twitter announced that it had over 200 million active users creating over 400 million tweets daily.
  • In July 2013, Semiocast revealed Pinterest had over 70 million users

What’s more, the user figures for each of these, and other, social media networks show no sign of waning. Social media networks continue to grow month on month. Every business should ask itself the serious question ‘Can my business afford NOT to be using social media?’ (The answer, by the way, should be NO!)

You have to be in it to win it.

JUMP ON IN… THE WATER’S FINE

So that’s it… You’ve decided to take the plunge into the pool of social media. So you’re going to tell people about your vacation and then WHAM! Hit them with your sales pitch! Smooth! Not really. That would be like jumping into a swimming pool when you can’t swim – you would just sink without a trace.

Each social media network is different. They have their own individual user profile, their own way for users to interact with each other, their own communities, their own rules and social etiquette, and their own way of getting users to engage with one another. Unless you investigate each network, you can’t be sure which ones are going to be the best fit for your company. As we said before, you need to market directly to potential customers in order to promote more sales, so you need to be sure your customers are actually there BEFORE you start.

IS IT THE ONE FOR ME?

People will tell you that you should be on this social network or that social network. Really? You need a presence on EVERY network going? Considering the growing number of social networks out there, you would need days and days worth of time to keep each one of your accounts active, engaging and ticking over. So unless you have an army of employees to do it for you, you would have to choose between running your business or running your social media empire.

We all know that time is money. So rather than trying to be a Jack-of-all-Trades, start off with a manageable number of social networks that have a broader user profile. The popular networks of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are a good place to begin. There is much advice available to businesses on how to use these networks to good effect. We can also help you work out a good, effective marketing strategy to promote your business on these platforms.

Once you are comfortable with the weekly routine of keeping these running, you can then take the time to look at other social networks to see if there are any other networks that offer your business the chance to make contact with other sections of your potential customer base.

AIMLESS PARTICIPATION

Social media is a vast digital landscape that is easy to get lost in if you don’t have a map or purpose for being there. You need to have a good individual marketing strategy for whatever platform you are on, as well as knowing the best way of engaging users in that network. That way, you will always be focused on what you want to achieve, as well as how you are going to achieve it.

IT’S NOT JUST BUSINESS…

Imagine you met someone that you really clicked with as a friend. You spend 2 weeks together, speaking all the time and you build up a really good rapport. Then, without any warning, they disappear. One month passes without a word, then another and another. 6 months later, they get back in touch as if nothing has happened and try to pick up where they left off. How would you feel? What if they tried to sell you something in that first conversation with you? How would you feel then? Used? Misled? Could you really see them as a friend or would you see someone who was just pretending to be friendly to get money out of you?

This is how social media differs from regular marketing. Before you can start to benefit from the connections you are making to people on each network, you need to build up a trust and rapport with them. This means being a regular part of the network community, something that can’t be done by dipping in and out every 3-4 months. The connections your business makes on these social networks need tending just like any other offline customer relationship.

The clue’s in the name – SOCIAL media. These networks aren’t somewhere people come to shop. There are shopping malls and digital department stores offline for that. People come to social media to engage with and socialise with other like-minded people. Being social, you find fun things to look at, interesting people to chat with, amusing anecdotes and videos, and a peek into the lives of others around the world. So if you are all stiff and business-like, you are going to stick out like a sore thumb. And if you are dull and stiff and business-like, and just in it for the sales, then people will avoid you like the plague.

As a business, you need to strike a happy medium between staying professional and letting your potential clients see the human side of your business. So don’t be afraid to share some of your personal side with other users. Letting your personality out gives others something about your business they can relate to and want to do business with.

By posting daily, commenting and contributing to the social fabric of the social media networks your business is a part of, it keeps you and your business visible to others and builds up their trust in you as someone more than just another company trying to sell them something.

KEEPING IT REAL… just not too real

There are horror stories galore about companies who have either pretended to be a customer to leave themselves a glowing testimonial or have paid people to put their name to a glowing review the company has actually written itself. These types of deceptive actions shatter the confidence or trust customers may have in any business caught doing it.

So the best advice for any small business owner is to keep all the information in your posts as genuine and reliable as possible. Talk about your day (but try to make it interesting), or maybe a new product launch but intersperse it with some lighter, more personal details – a vacation maybe, or something that happened while driving.

There is a fine line between personal and too much information, especially as what you post reflects on your business. Try to stay away from details of your life that reveal too much about your life, such as a messy relationship breakup, but also from details of your business relationships that may show you in a negative light. If people see you representing your customers in a bad light, for example if you perceived them to be a bad or rude customer, they may assume the issue lies with your attitude, which ultimately is damaging to your reputation.

So be honest when you post, just not too honest.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – IT COSTS!

Social media networks cost nothing to join, so businesses think that they are just a free outlet to rake sales in from without having to spend a penny doing it. Well let me ask you… How are they going to find your business in amongst all the other thousand of businesses?

For any marketing campaign to be successful, there needs to be a well thought out, focused strategy targeting who it is aimed at, where those prospective customers are located and how to build up communication through social media that will result in them becoming one of your customers. You also need to know how much time and effort you need to set aside not only to implement the campaign but also to oversee it and analyse the results, and if you can use any other resources to increase the effectiveness of your posts on each of the social media networks you are using.

So while the initial cost of social media is free, there is a time and energy cost to the individuals who need to spend time cultivating and developing online relationships inside each network.

WE CAN HELP

We know just how busy the life of a small business owner is. It can take a lot of time and effort just to keep the business running from week to week, and you just may not have enough time to sit down and plan out which of the social media networks will benefit your business the most and then work out how to use each one.

Why Should Businesses Use Twitter?

If you do not yet have an account on Twitter, you must. It is the most growing and widely visited networking site and is becoming more famous as the days are going by. According to a research conducted by StatisticBrain.com, Twitter has 135,000 fresh sign-ups everyday while more than 9000 tweets are made each second. Currently, Twitter has more than 554,750,000 users.

Why should you follow statistics like these? That is because it could be of a real advantage to your business and besides Twitter is absolutely free!

Businesses can use Twitter as a very effective social media tool for marketing. These days, businesses are beginning to realize the importance of Twitter and its true potential.

Businesses can use it to:

• Talk to clients

• Introduce new services or products

• Advertise existing products

• Keep a check on competitors

• Do brand building

• Gain new clients

• Improve and develop the business

The Benefits Of Using Twitter For Businesses

Twitter is an amazing platform and everyone should be making use of it. The following are the reasons why businesses must be Twitter friendly:

  • No Monetary Investment

It only costs effort and time with Twitter. It is absolutely free and anyone can sign up for it, let it be a business or an individual. Business owners must not miss the chance to create a Twitter account.

  • Information

All networking sites are well known for information they provide to their users. They keep users up to date with all, which is going around in the world. The same goes for Twitter. Businesses can keep their clients updated about business events, offers and any other information, which the clients need, through Twitter.

Customer care can also be ensured through Twitter. Businesses can reply to the issues faced by clients and their solutions. Clients always appreciate recognition and after sales service.

  • Create Stronger Bonds With Clients

Businesses can use Twitter to create a much more personal bond with customers, which is important in developing brand loyalty amongst clients. This enables customers to have a bond of trust with the company, which is a long-term investment towards gaining more customers.

  • Gaining New Clients

Along with communicating with the existing customers, Twitter can also help businesses to gain new clients. This article would further explain how that would be possible.

  • Link To Other Websites

Online marketing consists of several channels. Twitter is the choice of many businesses for their online promotion because they can redirect their followers to the host website of the company, Facebook profiles, YouTube channels and blogs. This creates a chain of clients going over different platforms resulting in more effective promotion of the business.

  • Keeping A Check On The Competitors

It is more important for a business to have a Twitter account because its competitor might already be using it. If businesses do not avail this opportunity, it means they are giving their competitors the chance to grab their potential and existing clients. So, you really need to keep a check on your competitors and it is really possible through Twitter.

You can also get information about your competitors through twitter. For example, your competitor’s marketing strategies, upcoming events and special offers. Your business can position itself according to this information and plan on making a successful counter attack.

  • Targeting The Tweets

Businesses must know their target audience and hence, their tweets must not be for everyone. They should be targeted towards the people the business is catering. You simply cannot target everyone so do not commit that mistake.

Businesses must have client centric marketing strategies and they must focus on their target audience or the people who are most likely to buy their products or services.

For instance, if you sell cosmetics then you should market to the audience who will be interested to buy your product. Promoting it to the people who do not belong to your target audience will be an utter waste of time and hard work.

Once you know who your target audience is you must know how to create and structure tweets in order to target and engage with the audience you are catering.

Marketing Strategies To Get More Sales On Twitter

There are several marketing strategies that a business can use. The main incentive is to get users to your corporate website through Twitter. The following are some strategies that a business can use.

  • Using Hashtags

This is very important to give a popular tag to your tweet so that more and more people can view it. Hashtags are really helpful to get potential clients to view your tweet. They basically use a keyword through which the users of Twitter search. Hence, people looking for similar keywords can end up at your tweet and you can promote your products and services to them.

  • Building Up A Following

When you set up your Twitter account, your first aim would be to get the maximum number of followers. Keep in the mind the advice given to you earlier in this article; only focus on getting your potential clients as followers and do not waste your time attracting people who will not be interested in what you have to offer. Your basic aim of creating a Twitter account should be to have a following, which represents a certain segment of your buyers. If you need any kind of assistance or additional help in this matter, you can get in touch with us and we will offer our help to you.

  • Inviting Fans From Other Channels

If you have accounts and fans from other networking websites such as YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest you can invite them to your Twitter page in order to increase your followers. Inviting your current fan base to an additional networking site will increase your hold on your current customers and will enable you to get a hold of newer ones as well.

Stalk The Pages Your Followers Like

This is probably one of the finest promotion strategies that any company can follow. Following pages and accounts that serve your target segment will keep you updated with the happenings of your niche and then you can adapt your promotional activities accordingly. For that a bit of stalking is required on your part. You can keep a check on the pages your followers are following and keep yourself updated with the likes and dislikes of your target audience.

  • Re-tweet Request

Many businesses might feel shy or embarrassed to ask their followers to forward their tweet to their friends and family by re-tweeting. They do not need to be shy anymore because everyone is doing it on Twitter and now it is totally acceptable. However, you need to know how and when to do it. If you start doing it too often you might seem desperate for re-tweets, so do not do it every now and then. Also, do not ask your followers for a re-tweet in a cheesy manner.

How to ask them for a re-tweet depends on what kind of people you are serving and having an understanding of your target audience will help you out in this. Ask for re-tweets for specific reasons, for example if you have a 50% off sale coming up, you can ask your followers to re-tweet that to create awareness among people. If your tweet is providing some useful information, your followers will not have problem re-tweeting it. The power of this function is immense. Let us say for an example, that you manage to get 300 re-tweets and each of your followers have 80 followers then you can imagine the number of people your tweet could get across to.

  • External Links

You can do marketing on Twitter through both internally and externally. For instance, you can use Twitter to target your followers and talk to them directly. However, you can also redirect your twitter followers to external pages like your Facebook profile, YouTube channel, corporate website, Pinterest account etc.

  • Having A Twitter Schedule

No one likes a boring page and that is probably the last thing you would want on Twitter. What you post on your Twitter account is extremely important and will have a lot of influence of the popularity of your page. Businesses should schedule and plan their tweets. You can take inspiration of big brands in the management of their Twitter accounts and try to duplicate those strategies. The research would definitely require some patience and hard work but it would be worthwhile. Having a good visibility to your twitter followers is extremely essential. If you over flood your followers with meaningless tweets which do not provide value nor information, your twitter page will definitely be a failure. You do not want that to happen to your page and hence you need to keep your tweets as interesting and engaging to your target audience as you possibly could.

  • Focusing On Quality While Tweeting

If your tweets will not interest your followers, your page would lose attention. If your tweets are nonsensical and pointless, or if you over flood your followers with too much posts, your page will most likely be un-followed and you will start losing customers.

As mentioned in this article earlier, creating tweets for special sales and offers to keep your clients informed is great, but that is not the only topic you can make tweets about. There are more things you can tweet about other than discounts.

All social networking websites including Twitter are a great way to connect with your clients and have their feedback on how well you are doing. People love to give their personal opinions and this is a great way to keep them engaged with your business. You can ask your followers to give their opinion on a certain product or service. If you ask questions, you will most likely be getting answers. This will create customer engagement and will also enable you to have valuable information that you can work on to improve the way you work.

You can also include contests in your Twitter page by using hashtags. Contests are known to increase customer engagement. You can also host photo contests and ask your followers to submit pictures in order to participate in the contest. You can keep small gifts or vouchers as prizes for the winners.

For example, recently a Spanish restaurant, La Tasca, based in the UK created a photo contest on Twitter and had a prize of a £50 voucher. Clients were asked to send in pictures of La Tasca’s Tapas. Many other businesses have created similar contests. It increases the interaction on the Twitter page and it is very easy for the customers to participate in such events as well. It just needs a few seconds to upload a picture through a Smartphone these days.

Small businesses should research and get inspired by the marketing moves of the giants. This will give them insight and motivation to move further. Social media of today has an incredible power if it is used in the right way. The techniques and strategies mentioned in this article are just for the beginners. There is a lot more that could be done via Twitter!