Picking The Right Name for Your Business
When you have finally decided to start a business or make that current side hustle official or maybe your intention is to rebrand an already existing business, there is usually a lot of personal and professional creativity that goes into picking the right name. There are also lots of legal requirements that you absolutely need to understand as well before making this decision. This is because a name is the cornerstone of your business as it sets the stage for your branding and identity.
Here are a few tips that will help you find the right name and make sure it’s legally yours to use;
- PROHIBITED NAMES TO AVOID INCLUDE;
- Names that are capable of misleading as to the extent or nature of its activities. This includes names that are offensive, undesireable or contrary to public opinion; such words include “prostitution”, “gambling”, etc (Example of such name “Prostitution and gambling enterprises Limited”)
- Names that are identical and similar to the name of a registered company unless the registered company in in the course of dissolution and consents in writing.
- Names that contain the phrase “Chamber of Commerce” unless it’s a company limited by guarantee.
- Names that will violate an already existing trademark or business name unless with the consent o the trademark or business owner.
- Names that will violate any incorporated trustee unless with the consent of the Trustees.
- Names that are vague, deceptive or misleading. E.g “National Assembly Enterprise”
- RESRICTED NAMES/WORDS
These are names and words not absolutely prohibited but can only be used subject to the prior consent of the commission. Such words/names include the following;
- “Federal”, “National”, “State”, “Local Government”, “Municipal” or any word which suggest patronage of or a relationship with the government or any agency or department of government.
- “Building society” or “co-operative”
- “Group” or “holding”
- “Certified”, “Amalgamated”, “Conglomerate”, “consortium”, “Niger Delta”, “South”, “Middle belt” and any other region of the federation.
- OUR TIPS
So after you have scaled all the legal hurdles required to pick a business name in Nigeria, I have here a few tips I have used over the years in helping clients pick business names. These tips have helped me over the years to get a name approved on the first try;
- Ask yourself how you want your customers to perceive your business when they first come across its name. this can be used to set the tone which could be playful, professional, academic or even friendly.
- Descriptive words are also very good, as a customer can easily tell what the business is about but I will advise that you are careful not to box yourself in by being too specific as this will make future expansion opportunities difficult for the brand.
- Please avoid using the word “inc” which stands for “incorporated” at the end of your chosen name, this will get you a rejection every time. We use either “Ltd” or “Limited” here in Nigeria.
- I have come to realize that the longer the name, the better your chances of getting it approved/reserved. Just pick that one word you truly want and add some other words to it, the probability of it being approved is very high in this instance.
- Using numbers in addition to other words have proven to be helpful overtime, take for example the company name ”618 Bees Limited”.
- Have you ever tried using the public search link on the CAC website? This can also be very helpful when deciding to name your business. Just put in name you like and see it its already been used. It may not contain all the business names registered in Nigeria till date but its very easy to use, saves time and it’s absolutely free.
- I always encourage people to formulate words, could be in a totally different language apart from English. Formulated words really don’t have to be meaningful as it could be a mixture of words or the probably the German meaning of an English word you are sentimental about. The trick I use here is to make a short note in the box provided explaining what it means to the customer, that way the CAC officer puts it into consideration when deciding the approval as truly some formulated words can be really confusing.
- You may want to run the name by a few friends, family members or target audience, just so you know how they feel about it. This is because your business will in the long run determine your brand and identity which you plan to have for a long time so make sure its something simple, strong, catchy and of course something you will like to identify with in the future.
On a final note, I will like to state that while you may have fully complied with all of the above in picking a business name, name approvals are at the discretion of the CAC’s approving officer.
So whether you plan to make your business official or your wish is to rebrand and expand, ensure you go with a name that you are proud of fifty years from now.
Team 618 Bees
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