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Registering your business name or company in Nigeria is one of the best things you can do to grow your small business. Several benefits come with it, and we will be getting to all of that shortly.

You can register your new business name online in Nigeria at the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

This article will serve as a comprehensive guide on how to register your business name with CAC. In other words, this is a guide on how to do business with CAC. But first of all, why even register?

Why Register a Business Name With CAC in Nigeria

Several businesses exist on and offline these days. And more are being opened as you are reading this. But the question is, are they all registered? Well, not that we know for sure, but you can guess most are not registered.

This is clearly because most small businesses don’t know the benefits of registering with CAC.

Sometimes, the difference between small businesses that grow and the ones that remain small is registering with CAC. How? Check out some of the benefits of registering your business name.

Reputation

With all the stories of scam out there, it’s understandable for potential clients and customers not to trust these days easily. That’s why most of them may insist on seeing proof of registration before dealing with you.

Registration helps to boost the confidence of customers in you before dealing, mostly if it’s a business deal that involves a massive sum of money (the type that can help you grow).

Corporate Account Opening

This is another significant benefit of registering your business name. For most banks in Nigeria (if not all), an essential requirement for opening a corporate account is a certificate of incorporation from CAC. And having a corporate account further helps with boosting customers’ confidence in you.

Or which would you rather buy from? An IG business whose account details carries the name Oluwaseun Sanni or the one with the name Oluwaseun Enterprise? You be the judge.

Access to Loan Facilities

Just like in opening a corporate account, no serious bank will give you a loan without proof that you’re registered with CAC. And we can not overemphasize the role of loans in growing a business.

Hiring Talents/Employees

Aside from hiring fulltime employees and placing them under a proper salary structure, registering your business with CAC also allows you to get Adhoc staff from NYSC for a lower cost (not free).

Types of Business Registration

There are different types of business registration. However, the two most popular ones are Business Name and Limited Liability Company

  • Business Name

This is the simplest and most popular type of business registration. It’s what most of this article is about.

Any proprietor or individual can register their business name without involving a lawyer, account or any other professional that helps with business registration.

  • Limited Liability Company (LTD)

This one requires more legal steps, but ideal for businesses that want to grow big over time.

You can’t do this on your own as you will need the services of a lawyer or chartered accountant.

The other types of business registration in Nigeria are

  • Limited by Shares
  • Limited by Guarantee
  • Public Companies (PLC)

How to Register Your Business Name With CAC

To register a new business name in Nigeria is now easier than ever. Here are the simple steps to take to register your business name with CAC

Step 1 – Gather Required Documents

Yes, this is where it all begins. To register a business name, CAC requires you to submit certain documents. So, before you commence registration, ensure those documents are available first.

The documents usually required are basic ones like the identification of proprietor(s). Also, a partnership deed may be necessary if the business is a partnership.

Step 2 – Register on CAC Portal

Visit CAC official website and navigate your way to CAC portal. Sign up to create a new account.

Step 3 – Check Availability and Reserve Name

You most likely have a business name already. Or maybe you don’t. This is the time to get one.

Then go on to check if your chosen name has not been taken already. Well, yeah, you are probably not the first to think of that name.

Checking of name availability will cost you N500.

Up next is filling of all the required columns in the statutory form (FORM BN1) and submit. 

You will then be required to make payment of the necessary fees, print the business name form and sign with the date.

Step 4 – Submit More Documents

You remember all the documents we told you to keep aside earlier? This is where you will be uploading them all alone with other documents.

Here is a list of the documents you’d be asked to submit

  • 2 Passports photograph
  • Approval note or availability printout
  • Statutory form (FORM BN1)
  • Proficiency certificate (when required)
  • Means of identification
  • Payment receipt

Step 5 – Let CAC do Their Magic

This is the final stage, and all you’re asked to do here is… nothing. Okay, maybe you’d have to do something. Yeah, you’d just have to wait for 48 hours – that’s how long it typically takes for CAC to process your application and give you your certificate.

What you would be getting from the commission include:

  • CTC of your application for the registration of a business name
  • An original certificate of business name registration

Why Your Business Name Registration May Not be Successful

Here are some predefined rules you must make sure not to violate to ensure your business name registration is successful

  • Ensure that the chosen name is 100% unique
  • The chosen must not contain such terms as Federal, Chamber of Commerce, State, National, Regional, Municipal, Government, Co-operative, Chartered, Group, Building Society, Holding, among others.
  • The business name must not include terms that the CAC consider capable of misleading the extent or nature of the business activities
  • It must not be a name that is offensive to the public policy
  • The name must not contradict the public policy
  • As far CAC is concerned, the name must not violate any of the existing business name or trademark in Nigeria without consent from the owner.

How to Change a Business Name after registration

Perhaps you have reasons to change your business name later in the future, here is a guide on how to go about it

  • Again, check for the availability of the new name you intend to use. If the name is available, then reserve it while trying to get the other required documents of change of business name
  • Next is to write an application to the Corporate Affairs Commission stating the reasons why you want a change of business name with the signature of the director(s)
  • Go on to state a resolution explaining what you want to change with the signature of the director(s)
  • Once the CAC approves the application, submit to them the first issued certificate of incorporation of the purpose of cancellation
  • Make payment for filing fees
  • Confirm that the annual returns are up to date
  • Get the signed and stamped article and memorandum carrying the new name

Meanwhile, the required documents for change of business name are

  • A resolution by the board approving the name change
  • 3 copies of articles and memorandum of association with the new business name
  • The former certificate of incorporation

The cost of change of business name in Nigeria is estimated to be between N6,600 and N7,000

How much is it to register a business name?

There are several claims of CAC officials charging exorbitant fees for registering businesses. However, the OFFICIAL filing fee for the registration of a business name in Nigeria is N10,000.

Conclusion

You register your business name before even starting your business or after starting. But what matters most is doing it and on time too.

The fact that you can do your registration online now has made the process a lot easier and faster. And with this guide, you can be sure you can successfully register your business name with CAC 100% by yourself. You can start here.

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