Last Updated on December 15, 2020 by Henry Ibeleme
Business name registration is one of the first things an entrepreneur needs to do after establishing a business. But many business owners in Nigeria are yet to thread that route for fear of technicalities and long protocol.
Three years ago, I established a business that had the potential of making me six figures every month. I was able to capture a contract which I later lost because my business wasn’t a registered entity.
At that moment, it was as if my world has crumbled down. Imagine a chance of making millions only to lose it due to business name registration that cost #10,000.
Trust me; it was a depressing moment.
Needlessly to say, I wasn’t myself that month. How can I overlook something straightforward and yet, crucial?
Many of us often don’t know the importance of a thing until it has cost us our life and success. I know how much I hated myself for losing the contract of a lifetime.
Since I don’t want you to find yourself in that ugly rut, I have decided to write this article as a guide toward registering your business in Nigeria.
To register your business, you will need to work with the CAC of Nigeria, often referred to as the Corporate Affairs Commission.
It is an agency in charge of business name registration, and dealing with them doesn’t have to be a stringent process.
Table of Contents
- About The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- How To Register Your Business Name In Nigeria.
- Benefits Of Business Name Registration In Nigeria
- Types Of Business Name Registrations In Nigeria
- Certificate Of Incorporation
- Article Of Incorporation
- Difference Between A Business Name And An LTD Company
- Frequently Asked Questions On Business Name Registration In Nigeria
- Wrapping Up!
About The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
The Corporate Affairs Commission was established in 1990, an autonomous body in charge of business name registration, and formation and management companies in Nigeria.
Through their online portal, one can easily search for business names availability and have it registered.
Without wasting further time, let’s delve into the process of business name registration in Nigeria.
How To Register Your Business Name In Nigeria.
1. Availability Search
The first step to registering your business in Nigeria is to confirm if it’s available for use. Meaning, it has not been registered as a business.
To begin this process, you need to visit the CAC website. There is a free search tool that you can use to check the name availability of your business.
You can complete this process in just minutes, and your business name is bound to be available if the name is unique and not being used by another business.
After confirming that your business name is free to use, you need to conduct another official search using the CAC online portal.
This official business name search costs only #500. When you conclude this process, your business name is reserved for 90 days.
That means no one will be able to use that name until you have successfully registered your business.
2. Apply For Business Name Registration
After reserving your business name, the next step will be submitting completed statutory forms with your passports attached.
If you’re running a partnership business, every partner must have its passport attached to the form as a way of recognition.
Mind you; this step can be done online right from the comfort of your bedroom. During this application, relevant information which you must fill includes:
- Approved business name
- the nature of the business
- The address of the business
- Name, address, and occupation of the owner(s) of the business
- Signature of the business owner(s)
Sometimes during business name registration, your proposed business name can be declined for some apparent reasons.
If that is the case, you will need to make another reservation and resubmit at least two alternate business alternatives.
When done, wait for the approval.
3. Business Name Registration Fee
To completely register your business with the corporate affairs commission, you need to pay the applicable charges.
You might have thought that to register your business name; you will need thousands of money.
At the time of writing this article, business name registration was mere #10,000, coupled with the #500 reservation name and extra #500 for miscellaneous expenses.
Since you will be registering your business online, you won’t even have to waste money on transport or stress yourself walking from one office to another.
This process is straightforward, and for the first time, I am proud of my country, Nigeria.
Years ago, when one needs to register his business, he has to visit the CAC head office. The process then was often tiring.
Today, you can register your business from your bedroom as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.
Benefits Of Business Name Registration In Nigeria
Years ago, I thought registering my business was a waste of money. I was dumb.
In case you’re wondering about the benefits of having your business name registered, this section of the article will enlighten you.
By knowing the immense benefit, you will avoid making the mistake I made – a mistake that cost me sleepless nights.
If your business is operating under your name, you will find it hard to unlock your business’s full potentials.
One of the advantages of registering your business name is that your business becomes a separate entity.
When you run into legal issues with your workers, contractors, or customers, they can’t sue you as the person. Instead, they can sue only the business.
A registered business also allows you to open business bank accounts, apply for business grants, loans, or even qualify for some serious contracts.
A registered business finds it easier to build a reputation with potential investors and customers.
In this age, where fraud is on the rise, a business name will distinguish you.
It is imperative, primarily, if your business is online-based. That way, you have buffed up the trust, and reliability customers will have for your business.
What kind of business are you building? Is it the type that dies the moment you’re no longer around?
When I started my business, this was the question burning in my mind.
The fact is that everyone wants to leave a legacy, a footprint that shows they were here.
Right from history, man is known to leave a mark behind, and you see them in the form of cave markings and cuneiform.
If Mark Zuckerberg dies today, do you think Facebook will stop existing? Of course not!
It will keep operating for generations to come, if not forever, until we probably go into extinction as a specie.
Through business name registration, your business can continue to exist even when you’re gone.
4. Business Trips
If you have big dreams, the type that entails traveling to numerous countries on business trips, then having your business name registered is a must.
Every country wants to improve its economy, and they often give red carpet treatment to foreign investors and businesses.
If you register your business name, obtaining a visa for such travel becomes easy.
5. Obtaining Loans
If your business is in the CAC database as a registered entity, getting business loans from banks, microfinance, or numerous other agencies becomes easy.
If not, you will find your loan application in a trash can.
Types Of Business Name Registrations In Nigeria
1. Business Names
It is the most common and doesn’t require the assistance of a professional.
Any individual or business owner can register their business name without hassles.
You don’t need to go through any law firm or accountant for any professional services regarding registering your business in Nigeria.
2. Limited Liability Company (LTD)
This type of business name registration is a little complicated and typically requires a business lawyer or accountant’s services.
The legal structure of this business is ideal for businesses with a vision to grow big.
Other types of business registration include:
- Limited by Guarantee
- Public Companies
- Limited by Shares
I am not going to treat those since it goes beyond the perimeters of this article.
At least, you’ve got a rough idea of the process of having your business registered.
CAC Office Addresses And Contact Details
In case registering your business online doesn’t sound appealing, you can visit the CAC office and have your business registered manually.
Here are the addresses of their offices. If your state is not listed, please make some inquiries.
1. CAC Office In Lagos
Address: 18/20 Catholic Mission St, Lagos Island, Lagos
Email Address of CAC: [email protected]
Address: Plot 7 Otunba Jobi Fele Way, Agidingbi, Ikeja
Email Address of CAC: [email protected]
2. CAC Office In Abuja
Address: 420, Tigris Crescent, Off Aguiyi Ironsi St, Maitama, Abuja
Email Address of CAC: [email protected]
3. CAC Office In Imo
Address: Port-Harcourt Rd, New Owerri, Owerri.
To find the CAC head office location in your state, do a Google search like:
“CAC Office address in ‘location.’
Replace the “location” with your current state, and you will see results.
Certificate Of Incorporation
When you successfully register your business name, the agency will issue a Certificate of Incorporation.
It will look like the image below, a proof that your business name is a registered entity.
It can also be called Certificate of Incorporation, so don’t allow the variation to confuse you.
Article Of Incorporation
The Article of Incorporation is a document called Memorandum of Association.
This unique document enlists essential information like business name, the number of share capital, and mode of allocation, address, and contact of the business.
If you’re working with a lawyer or chartered accountant, they will help you put this information together.
This document looks like the image below:
Difference Between A Business Name And An LTD Company
|Business Name||LTD Company|
|Ownership||Single entrepreneur||Two or more shareholders|
|Shareholding||None||From two to fifty entities|
|Legal liability||Business owner||Company/company assets|
|Intellectual property||None||Strong Ownership|
|Registration process||Easy and straightforward||Rigorous processes|
Frequently Asked Questions On Business Name Registration In Nigeria
Which Documents Do I Need To Upload To Register My Business Name?
The documents you will need to upload on the CAC website include:
- Notice of Approval (Availability Printout)
- Payment Receipt
- Method of Identification. Eg. National ID Card, Driver’s License, Voters Card, etc.
How Much Is Business Name Registration In Nigeria?
The cost of registering your business name is #10,000. There will be an additional fee of #500 for business name reservation.
How Long Does It Take To Register A Business Name?
It takes an average of 1 – 2 weeks to completely register your business. But if you’re running into some hurdles, it might take a little longer.
Is There A Difference Between Registering A Company And A Business Name?
Registering a business name is like registering a trading name you intend to use for a sole proprietorship business.
At the same time, a company is legally incorporated Limited Liability that separates your business from you as an entity.
Who Is The Head Of The Corporate Affairs Commission?
The current head and acting registrar-general goes in the person of Lady Azinge Azuka Obiageli.
Business name registration is a vital process for every business owner or entrepreneur.
It is what sets your business aside from numerous companies out there.
Also, it is the first step to building a brand and dominating the market.
If you’re yet to register your business idea, do not waste further time.
Visit the CAC online portal or any of their offices to begin this process.
If perhaps the process sounds tiring and time-consuming, you can hire me to handle the entire process at an extra fee.
In that case, contact me using the contact form, and we’ll proceed.
Have more questions for me? Use the comment box, and I’ll guide you further.
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