Typically, when people talk about registering a business, they are indirectly talking about making their money-making activity a legal one in Nigeria. However, technically, there is a fine difference between a business and a company. In other words, to save you from approaching your CAC registration the wrong way, we would first like to briefly spell out the differences between a business and a company.

Here in Nigeria, a business refers to the a set of activities which revolve around profit. Whereas, a company is a legal entity (an entity can be seen as another human being) created for the purpose of making money.

But what does this really mean? And why does this matter to you? Well, one of the major ways this matters to you, is that by running a business through as company, you save yourself from some kind of financial liabilities. Putting in simpler terms, if you have a business which has accrued some debt, and you are not operating as a company, your house, car, and other properties, can be legally taken away from you, to pay off the debt your business has accrued. However, if you conduct business via a company, your financial liability is somewhat restricted to what you have invested in the company.

The above is only one of the major differences between a business and company, however, we would not be discussing other differences.

Our reason for spelling out the difference between business and company, is to be sure you do not make mistake as regards your true intention. And now that the difference has been spelled out, you should really be able to tell what exactly it is that your want. If you intend registering a business, we can provide you with the information you need. Also, for those who would like to register a company, this article also provides information about that. In short, just understand what section of this article you should proceed with.

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Table of Contents

How to register a business

One of the advantages of registering a business, compared to registering a company, is that the registration process is quite easy, and it is a thing you can possibly do, without the assistance of a lawyer. The following are the steps needed to be taken, to register your business:

  • The first thing expected to do, before making attempt to register your business, is to check if that business name is available. This step is very important, as you can not register a name that has already been register by another entity. And this name availability checking is quite easy: all you have to do is follow this link, to check the availability of your business name.
  • If after checking the availability of your business name, it turns out to be available, the next thing you ought to do, is to create an account on the CAC web platform. An account is needed, for you to proceed with all other steps.
  • After you must have created your account, the next to do, would be to complete a form called “Pre-registration form.” Please, ensure you do not make mistake while filling out this form, as mistakes can cost you money.
  • After you must have filled out the form, you would be expected to pay for your business registration.
  • Following that, you should prepare, scan, and upload your pre-registration documents needed for the registration of your business name.

As the registration fee for business changes from time to time, we would not be providing it here. However, you can check this page, to find out the latest price.

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How to register a company

The registration process for a company is similar to that of a business; the only difference is just an additional step needed to be taken.

After you must have completed all the steps listed under the business registration section, you are expected to walk into a physical branch of the Corporate Affairs Commission, and submit the original copies of your pre-registration documents. And in exchange, you would be given your certificate and the Certified True Copies of the documents.

Name reservation

For many people, the article is only meant to inform them about how to go about the registration, and not everyone would be ready to register a business or company immediately. If you find yourself in this position, the Corporate Affairs Commission makes it possible for people to reserve names for 60 days (as of the time of writing of this article).

However, reserving a business name or company name would cost you some amount of money. Business name and company name reservation can be done on the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission.


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