Naming your business

Your business name will often be the first thing your customers see. It reflects what your business is about and helps customers distinguish your business from competitors. Think about a name that will suit your business and be memorable. The business structure you have chosen will dictate the steps you need to go through to trade under this name.

1. Search your business name

You want to be confident your proposed business name is available and will stand out from your competitors. Searching ONECheck will show any business with the same or similar names, as well as checking if the business name is available to register for a domain name and trade mark, and what social media names are in use.

2. Check if you need to register your name

If you decide to structure your business as a company, you need to reserve your name with the Companies Office. Fees apply.

If you decide to structure your business as a sole trader or partnership, you are not required to register your name with the Companies Office. You may however want to protect your name with a trade mark.

The Inland Revenue website has more detail on the requirements of each business entity.

3. Reserve your name

Once you've confirmed you are eligible and your selected name is available, you're ready to reserve your company name. You can reserve your company name online in a few simple steps. 

To reserve a name you must have:

  • A RealMe account and login to verify your identity and address details
  • An online services account with the Companies Register (for which you also need a RealMe account)

4. Protect your name

For exclusive ownership of your business name, you'll need to register it as a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ). This will help stop others from trading in the same name in New Zealand. 

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