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Tips For Getting Your Business Name Approved With CAC

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Name Availability search is the first step to take when you want to register your business with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), whether it is an enterprise, limited liability company (Ltd or Plc), or a non-profit organization like NGOs or churches.
First let me give you possible reasons why your proposed business name may be rejected at the CAC:
1. Names that are ambiguous or unclear, or confusing. Names that can confuse the public about the nature of your business, or awkward combination of words. E.g. Johnson Enterprises Company; or Johnson Motors and Health Ltd.
2. Use of reserved names like Johnson Chamber of Commerce, or John Department of Agriculture.
3. Use of names that are closely similar to that of existing registered companies with the CAC. For instance, you cannot use a name like "Dangots Sugar Ltd", because you know quite well that there is an existing company called "Dangote Sugar Plc". People can easily confuse those two names together.
Well, it is obvious we all know "Dangote Sugar", but there are thousands of registered companies we don't know about, and if we try to reserve a name close to theirs, it will be rejected by CAC.
Can we see the list of all registered companies in Nigeria before choosing our own name? Yes, but not practicable!
So what do we do?
Here are some tips to assist you in selecting a good business name that flies at the CAC Name Availability Search...
1. Be creative, very creative.
Some names are common and can be easily thought of. If you are thinking of using "Amazing Grace Nigeria Ltd", that is an easy name to come by! You can be certain that there will be existing companies having one or both words in their names. Think of unique words.
2. Explore other Languages.
For instance, if you are a fan of French or Spanish, or your native language, you can simply translate common words into them. You have a higher chance of getting your name reserved. For instance, you can translate "Red" into "Rouge" (French), or "Colorado" (Spanish).
3. Combine words that are rarely used together.
Everyone knows “Amazing Grace” are two words that are used together most of the time. “Abundant Grace” won’t be a good choice either. But if we say something like “Colossal Grace” we stand a better chance.
4. Combine more words (Don’t exceed 5 words!).
The reason for this is to reduce the chances of having closely similar words with the names of other companies. For instance, suppose we have “Johnson Nigeria Limited” already registered and we love the name Johnson so much that we don’t want to drop it or interpret it into another language. CAC may reject “Johnson Engineering Ltd”, or “Johnson Electrical Ltd”. But if we have two additional words different from those of the existing one, we can get ours approved. So if we choose “Johnson Engineering Services Ltd”, we will likely get an approval.
5. Specialize your business name
Let the nature of your business reflect in the name. E.g. adding suffixes like Engineering, Publishing, Health Services, Business Solutions, Farms, etc. will help you to distinguish your company name from others baring similar names but are into different natures of business, and consequently get an approval. Now, assuming “Johnson Nigeria Limited” and “Johnson Engineering Services Ltd” are registered, and we are into publishing, we can use “Johnson Publishing House Ltd”. It will likely get approved.
6. Google up your intended name.
Many businesses are creating online presence via corporate websites, blogs, online business directories, social media pages, etc. If you Google search your proposed name, you might come across an existing company with similar name. This will help you to fine tune yours further.
7. Be flexible, don’t be obsessed with a particular name.
I have seen people do like 5 name searches, and still don’t get an approved name. That is like 10 rejected names, since they have two options for each search! Being flexible will allow you to follow advices 1 to 6 above, thereby saving you money, energy and time expended on multiple searches.
Note that CAC has the right to approve or reject any name, based on their discretion. But a well thought of, unambiguous name will get you an approval.
Finally, seek advice from friends, family and professionals. Don’t be alone.
Contributions are welcome, please.
Drop a reply if you need additional help…


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