How to choose and register a name for your business

The appropriate identify need to be unforgettable and differentiate your company – and it should not make you cringe, says Chana Boucher.


In 1996, two university pals begun BackRub, a research engine that would go on to turn into one the world’s most impressive tech giants. Never read of it? Which is because a year afterwards they transformed the name to Google. (And aren’t you glad they did? “Just BackRub it” doesn’t really have the similar ring to it…)

Picking out the suitable name for your new small business can be too much to handle. It must be a little something memorable that differentiates your corporation from some others, a little something that will not make you cringe when you hear it mentioned out loud, something that is quick to locate on the web.

If you’re seriously battling to arrive up with one thing, type “company title generator” into Google and you are going to find a selection of internet sites that will occur up with ideas that can be absolutely random or related to what your company offers.

Your organization title should really not:

  • Imply that you are a bank, lawyer, notary or conveyancer (unless of course you are a single)
  • Include things like words and phrases these as ‘government’, ‘state’ or ‘United Nations’
  • Use a name that’s the very same or incredibly similar to a organization title which is now registered
  • Consist of much less than three letters.

 Here’s what to do at the time you have made the decision on a name:

Look at that it is out there

If you intend to sign up your business enterprise, you will require to make confident that there is not an present company with that name. You can do this through the Corporations and Mental Property Commission’s (CIPC) look for resource called BizProfile.

Commence by registering as a CIPC client on the e-Expert services portion on the CIPC’s web page. (Search for ‘Online Transacting’ at the best of the webpage.) Once you are registered and you are logged in you can seem up current company entities by name to see if the name you have in thoughts is previously in use.

If you are organizing to set up a web page for your small business, it’s also a excellent thought to check if the domain identify – that will be the URL you use for your business, e.g. www.YOUR Company.co.za – is obtainable, before you reserve your name.

Go to the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) whois portal and form in your business enterprise name. If the domain name is currently taken, you may want to rethink your name and decide for a thing that is accessible to stay clear of any confusion for customers striving to locate you on the internet. (Note: If the domain name is not taken, it doesn’t indicate the name has not been registered with the CIPC.)

Assert your name

You have searched your business enterprise identify on the BizPortal and Whois, and it seems like you are in the clear… now it is time to make it formal. 

Although logged into e-Companies on the CIPC website, click on “Transact” and look for the url to “Identify Reservations”. You will land on a page where you can type in up to four diverse title options, in order of preference. (The CIPC will function from the prime down, approving/rejecting the possibilities you have submitted.)

An original look at will inform you whether or not the name is appropriate or not, but this does not promise that the name will be permitted at the next phase. If your names are satisfactory, you can submit them for registration, and if profitable you will be notified by SMS and e-mail. This title reservation course of action will price you R50.

Two birds, one stone

Most of South Africa’s massive banking institutions this kind of as Nedbank, FNB and Standard Lender offer a assistance to aid with title reservation and small business registration if you open up up a enterprise account with them for your get started-up. The fees are a little bit better than going immediately to the CIPC, but if admin is not actually your point, and you could use the aid, you may possibly want to look into this option (especially if you’re opening a financial institution account anyway).

Consider notice: 

  • You can sign-up your organization with out a identify if you’re not completely ready to make the commitment. You will then use your registration amount, which you can adjust to your selected business enterprise title at a afterwards phase.
  • You can alter the name of your enterprise (for a price of R250, which is waived if you’re transforming from your registration number to your title), if you transform your brain or the composition, locale or provider your company presents evolves.
  • There are beneficial move-by-stage guides supplied on the CIPC site to walk you by the course of action of reserving or switching your identify. 

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