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Monday, 6 January 2014

Your Business Name

Australia provides business names and/or company names for registration. Generally sole traders or partnerships use business names with ABN (Australian Business Number) where incorporated entities use an Australian registered company with an ACN (Australian Corporate Number). Company registrations offer better protection for directors or owners but cost more to register and usually have additional costs at tax time with your accountant. Decide your structure early on. You may also like to register a parent company then register multiple business names as trading names for your company.

When it becomes time to register your domain names Australian .com.au requires an ACN or ABN for you to secure the domain name relevant to your business or company name. Trademarks can also be used for domain name registrations.

We recommend registering the business, a parent company and trademarking your brand or unique product all at the same time. The earlier this is done the better.

Your Logo

Your brand logo conveys a lot of information at a glance, what reaction or emotion do you want potential customers to take away from your logo? Western colours that are attention grabbing without causing alarm are preferable and generally a logo should be identifiable as a silhouette. We highly recommend looking through the existing trademarks for logos as you don't want to start a brand without knowing you can secure the trademark and protect your brand without stepping on the toes of an existing brand.

Your Design Guide

What is a design guide exactly? It's the go to manual of what colours, fonts and usage guidelines your company and partners third party designers or associations should use. This forms a simple media kit so your brand and aesthetics are always the accurate and consistent. For example Coke Cola go enormous lengths ensuring their design guidelines are adhered too, you should start your brand right with a simple and accurate design guide. Provide the following in one reference document:

1. Exact colour names and/or values e.g. Royal Blue or pantone #19-3955 TCX. There are RGB, CMYK or HEX values as well. Generally your printer will use pantone or CMYK where your web designer will use RGB or the colour name.

2. Font family names, styles and weights. This is important to always provide the exact font details used in your logo. Some web designers, printers or advertising materials you have commissioned will require the use of such font specifics.

3. Usage guidelines, some rules may be provided such as smallest size to display your logo as or what colour background your logo must appear on etc. Your logo designer should assist, discuss or provide such details to help form your design guide.

Your Products & Services

Research, analyse, source and partner your business to provide a unique proposition e.g. one off product, niche service or lowest price. Decide earlier what your stand out benefits are, where things are being sourced from, is there room in the marketplace, who competes against my products or services and all those early on questions to help form your product and services catalogue. Review this often and don't try to be an all-in-one shop, the major market players have evolved doing that. You'll want to move more towards specific niches or create new markets through your products and services.

Your Target Audience

Look at your competitors, review your sales proposition and target your call to action at specific potential customer segments. Failure to do your homework and target your business and website to the correct demographics are pitfalls best avoided. Great planning and research leads to forming and solid business plan then executing on that with iterations and flexibility over time. Know who and why to market to specific audiences is key to increasing leads, converting sales and retaining customers.

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