Business name registration
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Business Name registration is one of the important steps to take when you’re taking your business to the next level. If you’re thinking about getting your business registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, you’re in the right place.

Are you thinking of owning a company or starting a business in Nigeria? Or perhaps you already have one? Obviously, it must have a name or you may be thinking of giving it one unique name. However, is the name recognized?

You may wonder about the types of business ideas you can start. Kindly check the article 45+ Well-Paying Business Ideas in Nigeria to Make Money on this site for more insight.

The first way to get your company or business name recognized is by getting it registered.

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Registering a company simply means telling the government that you exist, that your business name is yours and in so doing, you can then be regarded as a legal entity, this gives credibility to your company, enhance its visibility, and helps to boost its profile.

The process of doing this registration is really simple, but first, let’s talk about the advantages of business name registration.

Benefits of Business Name Registration

This is a question many business owners ask. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs in Nigeria are yet to register their businesses with Corporate Affairs Commission.

Normally, the first thing to do when you want to start a business in Nigeria is to register your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This will help you discover if the name you have in mind is still available and not registered by someone else.

Sometimes, most business owners build brands only to find out that someone else has the legal right to their ‘business name’.

I believe this is not a pleasant experience when you consider the pain of building a brand.

Some people fail to register their business due to ignorance while some see it as a way to evade tax. You should know that the benefits of registering your business far outweigh any perceived disadvantage.

In this article, carefully go through the following benefits of registering your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria.

  1. You can open a corporate account with any of the banks in Nigeria with your registered business certificate and business name.
  2. Potential customers feel more comfortable paying into a corporate account because they know their money can be traced. 
  3. You get on records by registering your business name. no other person can register with that name again as it is yours already.
  4. You can apply for loans and grants when your business is registered. A registered business gets easy access to loans and boundless opportunities.
  5. When you register your business, customers trust you because they see you as legit and reliable. They know they are dealing with a reputable organization.
  6. A registered business can employ full-time employees and pay them salaries and other benefits
  7. Registering your business is the first step to getting your business structured. Without registering your business, you are running a glorified hobby.
  8. A registered business can get interns from NYSC when corps members complete their orientation programs from various NYSC Camps.
  9. When your business is registered, even if you are dead or become incapacitated, your business continues especially when you have the right structure in place.
  10. You have better access to investors with a registered business as investors look at the business structure first before investing.
  11. With a registered business, you can easily obtain a visa and travel to any country for business purposes and conferences.
  12. Registering your company enhances the reputation and perception of your business to prospective clients.

Advantages of Business Name

Below are the advantages of Business name over a Limited Liability Company in Nigeria:

  1. Business name requires little capital
  2. Business name is easy to register
  3. Business name requires less formalities
  4. A sole person can register a Business name
  5. Profit of the business is solely owned by the owner
  6. Tax liability in Business name is minimal
  7. Decision making is easier with Business name. ie No need for board resolution or annual meetings.
  8. Level of ownership, shareholding, investment and interest are not publicly recorded
  9. Easy conversion process. i.e a business name can be converted to a limited liability company, in the event the business expands rapidly.

Keep in mind that a business name can be converted to a Limited Liability Company, whereas a limited liability company cannot be converted to a business name. A business name can be converted to a limited liability company in the event the business expands rapidly.

This article is focused on business name registration in Nigeria. The steps and procedures are similar to registration of Limited Liability Company or an incorporated trustee except for some additional information and document of others in the proposed company and difference in fees to be paid.

Business Registration In Nigeria

As an investor or entrepreneur, business name registration is one of the essential requirements for starting a business.

There are so many benefits you will get from your business registration. If you haven’t registered your business, please start making the necessary steps to register your business.

Business registration is not that difficult as you will see in this article. A long time ago, in order to register your business online in Nigeria, you will have to go through a lawyer or an accountant and it could take a very long time, but today you can register your business online at the comfort of your home, with your laptop and internet connection.

The entire process should ideally take about 1 week, depending on the workload of the CAC at the time.

Now let’s take a deep dive into the process to registering for a business name with the CAC of Nigeria.

How to Register Your Business With the Corporate Affairs Commission

Navigate to services on the CAC website (www.cac.gov.ng) and click on Business Name. There you will see brief instructions on registration steps for a business name. The instructions and procedures are as follow:

Check if the avaialability of your business name

Deciding on a name for your business is definitely number one on this list. Choosing a business name can be quite tasking sometimes.

The process involves choosing a suitable name for your business. It is important that you pick a name that is relevant to your business.

  • At this stage, you have the opportunity to search for existing entities to be sure your preferred business name is not chosen or in existence already.
  • You will be required to create an account when you want to reserve a name. Click on sign up and complete the forms displayed
  • You will apply to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and suggest two alternate names for your business.
  • The CAC will conduct a search in its database to ensure that the name is not already in use or there is no similar name already in use.
  • The names could be rejected if: it already exists, is confusing, or includes prohibited words such as National, Federal, Government, or Holdings.
  • If the CAC approves the name, then it will reserve the name for you for a 60-day period. During this period it is expected that you will complete the registration process for your business name.

Complete pre-registration form – CAC-BNo1 and upload relevant registration documents

In the past, business name reservation at the CAC took days before it came back with a result. Today, it only takes the same day if you submit your request before 5 pm and it costs just NGN500.

Once you wrap up with the name reservation, you can then proceed to the registration of your business name properly.

Using the online registration portal, you will have to complete a pre-registration form (CAC-BNo1).

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Pay filing fee

The payment of the fees can be done online or can be completed in a bank. Upon payment of the filing fee, you will receive a receipt of payment. The cost of business name registration depends on the type of company you are trying to register.

Check the fees for their services on the website www.cac.gov/schedule-of-fees

Prepare Your Documents for Upload

You will need to prepare a signed copy of the pre-registration documents and upload a scanned copy to the website for processing. You will be required to upload the application form and the filing fee receipt.

The Commission will rely on the uploaded documents to treat your application. The certificate will be generated by the Commission and all relevant documents will be certified.

You don’t have to visit the Commission’s office to follow up on the status of your application; you can check the status of your application on the portal.

There is a column that reads ‘’status’’ on your profile. This will show the state or status of the application, it will show ‘not submitted’, or ‘submitted’, or ‘pending approval’, or ‘approved’ depending on the stage the application is.

Also, note that where the application is approved and certificate generated the registration number will be displayed on the column for ‘registration number’.

Submit the Original Copies of Your Documents

When the status reads ‘approved’ and registration number displayed, then you can approach the office where you had selected as the drop-off/pick up an office or ‘’originating office’’ with the original copy of the document that you had earlier printed and uploaded in step 4.

You will do this in exchange for your certificate and the Certified True Copies of the documents.

Business Registration Requirement

Depending on the type of your business, the registration will involve providing the requirements mentioned below. Here are some of CAC registration requirement

  1. The proposed name of the business
  2. Address of the Business
  3. The proposed objectives and general nature of the business
  4. Form CAC-BNo1, reservation and availability of name
  5. Name, Address, Occupation and other details of the Proprietor of the Business
  6. Passport photographs of the business owner including valid means of identification
  7. Signature of the Proprietors
  8. All other documents or fees that may be required by the commission to satisfy any law or condition

Business Name or Limited Liability Company Registration

There are different forms of companies that can be registered by an individual at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

  1. Limited Liability Company
  2. Business Name

An individual can either register a Business name, a Limited Liability Company, or an Incorporated Trustees; however, these different ventures have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The choice of the venture to register will be dependent on various factors surrounding the registration of such by the individual.

This is also known as an “Enterprise”. Usually, you can register your business either as a Business Name or a Limited Liability Company.

  • The business name is registered by a sole proprietor and can be registered by either one person or two people maximum.
  • To register as a limited liability company, you will need at least two directors and a secretary.
  • If you register as a business name, all liabilities of the business are on you. On the other hand, if you register as a limited liability company, the business is seen as a separate entity from the owner. So, all liabilities of the company are borne by the company.
  • When you register your business as a Limited Liability Company, you are a different entity from your company. You also get legal liability protection.
  • If you incorporate, you will not be held personally responsible for certain accidents and other liabilities.
  • If you obtained a loan and you defaulted in payment, your bank will not seize your property except the company asset because you are protected from such incidence.

Registered Businesses So Far

In Nigeria, the institution responsible for business registration is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

This is an autonomous body established in 1990 under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. They are charged with the responsibility of regulation and management of companies in Nigeria.

The commission has its corporate headquarters at Abuja (the Federal Capital Territory) with branches in various state capitals of Nigeria like Kano, Lagos, Benin, Owerri, Jos, Enugu, Kwara, Osun, Uyo and many others.

The process of registering a business in Nigeria through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is now made simple, easier, and faster as it is done online.

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has revealed that Nigeria has a total of 3.1 million registered companies. That was the total number of companies registered from the inception of CAC to date.

A total of 618,309 business entities were registered by the commission from 2016 to 2018 with a breakdown of a total of 175,000 entities registered in 2016, while 193,194 were registered in 2017 and 252,035 in 2018.

It is noted that 248,914 were limited liability companies, and 327,676 were business names while 41,719 were incorporated trustees.

Conclusion on Business Name Registration

That’s it, the detailed guide on registering your business name with CAC.

Please note that registration is end-to-end on the Company Registration Portal (CRP) with an electronic Certificate of Registration and Certified Extract of registration information.

Also, individual/Proprietors can register business names without the services of the legal practitioner, Chartered Accountant, or Chartered Secretary.

Did you find this to be helpful? Let’s have your comments in the box provided blow.

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