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Registering your business is a very important step you must take to bring your business idea into reality.Most people commence business before registration and still do fine, but it is advised that you do this
at the preliminary stage of your business planning process.

In this post, i will guide you on the benefits you derive from registering your business and how you can go about it in Nigeria

Here are the benefits of registering your business:

It protects your business or trade name: once your business is registered you can be sure that no other individual, company or organization can trade in that name. But if its not registered, someone else can trade with the name and even stop you from using the name if he/she registers it before you!
It gives your business legal recognition
It promotes your brand and image.
It gives your business some form of credibility and seriousness, hence customers are willing and comfortable dealing with you
It Qualifies you to bid for contract and jobs both in the private and public sectors
It helps you raise funding for you business from banks, development finance institutions, venture capital, institutional investors and individual fund providers
It reduces your personal liability in the ordinary course of business: This is associated with the limited liability company model. When a company is registered, it becomes a legal person that can sue and be sued. So your business becomes independent and no one can come against you or your personal properties except when you use
the company to commit fraud and other things that can make the corporate veil to be lifted
It is a definite step towards institutionalizing your business
I can go on and on. The main point here is to note that registering your business is not only legally necessary but also commercially beneficial. For instance, to open a business bank account, you must first present your business registration documents for verification by the bank.

In Nigeria the organization that is responsible for business registration and regulation, including not-for profits organizations such as churches, mosques and NGOs is the Corporate Affairs Commission which was established by the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 as amended.

Business registration can take either of two forms, viz: Registration of Business Names or Enterprise and the Incorporation of companies.

The type of registration you need will depend on the structure of your business. Our law recognizes Six forms of business structures, namely:

A. Sole proprietorship
B. Partnership
C. Registered Company.
D.Unincorporated Associations
E. Cooperative Society
F. Incorporated Trustees

If you are operating as a sole trader or you are operating as partnership with your friend or family member in a loosely or informal way, then you do not need more than the registration of business name or enterprise.

Let me quickly go into the details…

Registration of business names or enterprise

If you are doing business with your real name, the law does not require that you register it, But if you are doing business in any name other than your real names, the law provides that you must register that name with which you operate your business.

For Example;

if Okonkwo Adamu operates a mini store in his true name as Okonkwo Adamu, he is not compelled to register such name. But if he operates as Okonkwo Superstores or Taiwo Mart or any other name other than his full name, he must register the name as an enterprise. In this case, the law recognizes him as Okonkwo Adamu trading as Okonkwo Super Stores, etc.

Registration of business name is easy, requires limited documentation and is cheap. With as little as N10,000, you can get your certificate of registration of business names in few days. Registration of Business Names is covered under Part B of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.

Incorporation of Company

Incorporation of company on the other hand is ideal for more structured businesses and is necessarily required for limited liability companies.
The limited liability company model is suitable for SME owners that want to properly structure their businesses and have better access to emerging opportunities.

To some extent, the legal form your business takes will impact on your ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities but an important reason you should be interested in the kind of registration you give to your business is that the law treat each type differently, particularly in areas such as tax, business debts and personal liability. For example, a sole proprietor is liable for the debt of his business up to his personal assets, whereas promoters of a limited liability company
are not so liable. The liability of the promoters of a limited liability company is limited to the extent of their investment in the company, except in case of a criminal investigation which will now allow the law to lift the corporate veil and hold those promoters personally liable for their actions in the company.

Today, the Corporate affairs commission has made the registration of businesses and incorporation of company process very easy, by making it possible for people to run the registrations online and by-pass all the stress involved in offline registrations.

Registration of businesses and incorporation of companies can now be initiated and concluded online through the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission. The CAC accredits professionals for the purposes of relating with the commission on the services they render. Most importantly, the law recognizes three categories of professionals as capable of engaging in company registration and administration business. These include Chartered Secretaries, Lawyers and Chartered Accountants who additionally have to be accredited by the CAC or work in organizations that are so accredited.

Steps to follow in registering your business name or incorporating your company;

Step 1- Decide on a Name

The first step to registering your business is to decide on your business name. In naming your business or company, choose a name that conveys something either to represent the nature of your business or a name that define your goals, values or vision. The right name can make all the difference, so be creative in naming your business. It is also important to know that there are certain names that are prohibited by the law,and there are names that are restricted by the law. Prohibited names cannot be used at all, restricted names can only be used upon approval by the commission. Here are the list of prohibited and restricted names

cannot be used at all, restricted names can only be used upon approval by the commission. Here are the list of prohibited and restricted names

Prohibited Names:

Names that are identical or closely similar to names already registered or reserved.
Names that are capable of misleading as to nature or extent of the activities of the company.
Names that are undesirable, offensive or otherwise contrary to public policy.
Names that would violate any existing trade mark or business name except with the written consent of the owner of the trade mark or business name addressed to the Commission together with a copy of its certificate.
Restricted Names:

Names that require prior consent of the Commission before application for name reservation is submitted.
Names that contain the words ‘Chamber of Commerce’ which must only be registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee.
All proposed names to be registered as Companies Limited by Guarantee.
Names that contain any of the following words: National, Federal, State, Government, Municipal, Chartered, Corporate Society, Building Society.
Any other word that suggests that the company enjoys the patronage of Government or any of its Ministries, Departments or Agencies.
Names that contains the word ‘Group’, ‘Holding’ or ‘Consortium’
Application for Consent for Restricted Names:

Application for Consent for restricted name should be addressed to the Registrar-General and submitted at the Head office or through any of the State offices together with evidence of payment of consent fee of ₦5,000. Please see Companies Regulation 2012 for requirements for consent.

To help you in choosing an available name, you can do a public search of the names in your mind to check if someone else has registered or reserved it.Also note that the Commission reserves the exclusive right to determine the availability of your proposed name. CLICK HERE TO CONDUCT NAME AVAILABILITY CHECK

Step 2- Write Down What The Object of Your Business Is

This is called the object clause and will be required as a major content of the memorandum of association of your company. Think through it carefully and write down the things that your business will be doing, i.e the services you are going to render. CAC requires your object to be itemized, simple, unambiguous and straight to the point. Some people make the mistake of putting many objects, both those they do and those they intend to do in the future. you need to know that some business requires lots of registrations other than the CAC registration. E.G SKUML registration and registration in professional bodies. Make sure you get all this facts before putting objects you intend to carry out in the future, we can help you with that if you consult us.

Step 3- Decide on the Amount of authorised capital

The authorized share capital you register in your incorporation document will impact on the overall cost of your registration. This is because in addition to paying CAC fees which is standard, you also pay stamp duty on your authorized capital. Stamp duty is usually a percentage of the capital, so the higher the capital, the higher the stamp duty payable. For SMEs operating in unregulated sectors where capital is not usually determined by the regulatory authority, a N1 million authorized capital is ideal for the purpose of incorporating your company. You can increase later to accommodate the demands of your operations.

Step 4- Decide on who the subscribers to your share capital are:

You will be required to provide and write the names of your initial shareholders. The law requires that a limited liability company must have a minimum of two subscribers. You are also required to state the amount of their subscription to the shares of the company. If your authorized share capital is 1 million Naira divided into 1 million shares of 1 Naira each, and you are the main person in the business, you can assign 80% of the shares to yourself and 20% percent to a brother or a friend. In such a way, you will still be in control of what goes on in your business, until you decide to relinquish such right by bringing in more people to subscribe to the shares of the company.

Step 5- Write Down the names of the Directors

Shareholders are different from directors. While the shareholders are those who provide the capital for the business, directors are those engaged in the oversight management function in the business. There must be a minimum of two directors for a limited liability company. Most SME’s will usually use their wives and children or family members to fulfill requirement 4 and 5, but it is advisable that when you are setting up a business you select to work with people who will add value either as shareholders or directors. The shareholders can also be directors of the company

Once you have all this details, you then need to follow this process to effect the registration of your business

Step 6- Create an Account on the CAC Portal

You can conduct the registering of your business by yourself using the CAC online portal. To do this, you have to first create an account. Go to the CAC website and click on online registration, then click on register and fill out the forms as required. With your username and password, you can log in to the portal at any time and continue with the process of registration of your company.

Step 7- Do A Name Availability Check

Having created an account and received your login details, log into the portal, click on public search, type in the proposed name to see if there is existing company or business trading in that name. If there is a company trading in the name or using what is very similar to that name such that it is capable of causing confusion in the mind of the public, CAC will deny you the use of that name. If there are no existing companies or businesses using that name, then proceed to step 8

Step 8- Reserve the Name

You will use the business name reservation feature to reserve the name. If you do not incorporate your company within the period the name is on reservation, you stand the risk of losing the name to someone else who is ready. Reserved names will be available for 60 days after which it can be register-able by another person if you dont register it.

Step 9- Complete the Online Registration Form (CAC 1.1)

CAC 1.1 contains the information about your company. Fill it out and proceed to the next stage.

Step 10- Pay the relevant Filing Fees and Stamp Duties.

You will see the scale of fees on the portal. While the Filing Fees is payable to CAC, Stamp Duties is payable to the Federal Inland Revenue Service and is usually a percentage of the authorized capital.Remember, use 1 million share capital if you are just starting out and operating in an unregulated industry. When the need to increase your share capital arises in the future, you can always do so. Make sure to download the receipt of payment as they will be compiled along with the originals of the Memorandum and articles of association

Step 11- Prepare, complete, scan and upload the pre-incorporation documents

These documents include :

Pre-incorporation form (Form CAC1.1) – this can also be completed online

Part A – Company Address

Part B – Authorised Share Capital

Part C – Particulars of First Directors

Part D – Particulars of Secretary

Part E – Statutory Declaration of Compliance by a Legal Practitioner

Even if you decide to incorporate your company by yourself, you will need the services of a lawyer, at least to complete Part E of registration form.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

In this document, you will state the object of your company, the authorized capital and the subscribers to the capital, the name of the company and internal governance structure. Your lawyer, accountant or chartered secretary will guide you in the preparation of your MEMART.

Proficiency Certificate where required.

For some kind of businesses, you may be required to show that you have the relevant skill and knowledge to do that business. Businesses like consulting, media practice, engineering services and the regulated services will require the submission of a proficiency certificate. Certificates issued by professional bodies usually serve this purpose.

Means of Identification such as Drivers’s License, National Identity Card or International Passport of each of the directors and the Secretary is required

Stamp Duty Receipt – this will be issued by the FIRS on payment of stamp duty. If you pay through remita, they send this receipt to your Email. Download it and add to the documents you will submit to CAC for collection of your certificate of incorporation

Evidence of payment of Filing Fees – this is usually receipt issued by the CAC when you pay the filing fees. This can be downloaded after payment.Also print it out and attach to the MEMART which will be submitted to the commission before you get your certificate

CAC will go through all these documents upon upload and revert to you if there are any queries. Sometimes, the reviewing officer may have issues with the object clauses and ask that you correct them. On satisfactory review of your documents and the payment of the relevant fees and stamp duties, your application for registration will be approved and same communicated to you via email.

Step 12- Collection of Certificate of Incorporation and CTC of your documents

On communication of the approval of your application for incorporation of your business, you will go to the CAC office nearest to you with all the documents you uploaded for review, submit these documents and you will be given the original copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and the Certified True Copies of the Incorporation Documents. (Note that you will be required to choose the CAC branch you intend to use for the purpose of collecting your certificate, choose the one closest to you as that is where the document will be sent to.

Here are the documents you need to present to submit to the commission before they can give you your certificate.

Business name:

a. business name form CAC/BN/1, duely signed with the attached passport of the proprietor(s) of the business
b. Payment reciept
c. means of identification of the proprietor(s)


a. Duely signed CAC 1.1
b. Memorandum and articles of association, duely signed by the subscribers
c. copy of the means of identification of directors (international passport, drivers licence, national ID)
d. Evidence of name approval
e. Payment reciept for name reservation
f. payment reciept for the incorporation of the company
g. Stamp duties payment reciept
h. Copy of your CAC card (usually given to lawyers, accountants, chartered secretaries or their Firms)

Now you have completed the incorporation/registration of your company or business. This whole process, if all things are done right, will take not more than 7 days to complete. It is advised that you engage the services of a professional such as a lawyer, a chartered secretary, or a chartered accountant to guide you through because as easy as it looks, issues often arise along the line that may require the input of these professionals. Moreover, you will need to be guided through in the articulation of your Memorandum and Articles of Association, authorized capital decisions and even choice of name for your business.

We at VSS MIND NG are on ground to handle all your business registrations and incorporation process with the highest level of professionalism. We will deliver within 3 – 5 days and have it sent to your address anywhere in Nigeria and beyond!

Talk to us today to get a quote.

Call: 08135088493
Whatsapp: 08135088493
Email: joshuaukpabi@gmail.com
Office: DFK3 K-City Plaza Wuse 2 Abuja

Got any question or contribution? lets hear them as comments…

Categories: CAC, Uncategorized | Tags: Business name registration, CAC Registration, incorporation of company in nigeria, Step By Step Guide To Registering a Business Name Or A Company In Nigeria
3 thoughts on “Step By Step Guide To Registering a Business Name Or A Company In Nigeria”

joshua on September 9, 2018
nice one. thanks for helping out

Arinze Ebuka on September 13, 2018
Nice one.
If I want to register my company name through you how much will you charge me?

vssminds on September 13, 2018
Check your email. We sent you a quote, incase you didnt get it, drop your phone number here or call us on 08135088493,07062572683

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