Are you ready to start a new venture? Have you got a name for your company in mind? Do you want to know how to register your chosen business name? If the answer’s yes, this blog is for you.
Starting up a new business is an exciting time. Naming and registering your company is usually one of the first steps taken to turn a business idea into reality. And here’s how to go about it…
Do You Actually Need To Register A Business Name?
Most businesses in the UK are set up as either sole traders, limited companies or partnerships. Not all of these require registration, and with so much to do to get a business off the ground, you could save yourself time, effort and money if you don’t actually need to register the name of your business.
Find out below if you need to or not…
Setting up as a sole trader does not require registering a name for the business.
Starting up a limited company requires a unique company name which is registered through Companies House.
Partnerships don’t have to register a business name. They can trade under the legal names of the partners, or choose another name.
It’s essential that anyone starting a business clearly understands the difference in the above and how it will impact a business going forwards.
How To Choose A Name
You’ll probably already know what you want to call your business, but it’s good to remember that you only get one chance to make a great first impression. The right business name will help to attract your target market, sum up your business and make you stand out from your competition.
When choosing a business name, most people ask themselves…
- Does it make sense to the brand? I.e. If a business only sells in the UK, it’s a little misleading to include the word ‘global’.
- Is it easy to remember? A great business name is one that sticks in people’s minds so that when they need a certain thing, they immediately think of that brand.
- Can people spell it easily? A clear, simple name makes it easier for people to search for or email a business successfully.
The part of registering a company name that causes the most stress is choosing the business name itself.
Whilst there are certain rules and regulations that need to be adhered to (we’ll come on to those next), naming a business is a chance to be creative and have some fun. Some people choose to do this by getting their family, friends and colleagues involved in brain-storming sessions, which often produce a lot of laughs and some great ideas.
Are There Any Restrictions?
A business name can not be used if it’s the same or too similar to a company that’s already registered. To avoid this, proposed names can be checked online quickly and easily via the company name availability checker.
As well as being unique, a limited company UK business name needs to contain either the word ‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’, or in Welsh “cyfyngedig” or “cyf”, when registered with Companies House.
It may seem obvious, but words which are deemed offensive or abusive should be steered clear of, as they may increase the chance of a business name being rejected.
There are also sensitive words which require approval for use, and words which are illegal to use. Applicants are encouraged to check their business name is lawful and unrestricted before attempting to register it.
Another thing to watch out for is not to include a trade mark when naming a business. The registered owner of the trade mark has the right to take legal action against anyone who uses it without their permission to stop them trading.
Once you’ve checked your business name matches your brand, meets requirements and won’t upset anyone, it’s time to get it registered…
How To Register Your Business Name
You’ve decided that setting up a limited company is right for you and chosen a business name that’s all above board. Now you need to know how to register it.
Registering a business name is done through Companies House. They’re an executive agency responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies in the UK.
The online application takes you through 7 steps to become a registered company. You can register as trading or a dormant company if you’re not quite there yet. To be prepared, the person completing the registration will need some information:
- Exact business name as it will be registered.
- Names of the directors, appointed company secretary if required, at least one shareholder or guarantor, and anyone with significant control over the company, e.g. over 25% shares.
- A memorandum of association.
- The address the business will be registered to and the date it will start trading.
- SIC code.
- A form of payment for the registration fee.
How To Protect Your Business Name
Registering a business name with Companies House doesn’t give it trademark protection. It stops a person from being able to register the same name, but they could still trademark that name in full and use it as part of their own branding.
Applying for trademark safeguards a brand by only allowing the registered keeper to use it and giving them legal rights if someone else uses it without consent.
Not protecting a business from people trading under the same or similar name can be a costly mistake as it can damage a business’ reputation and lead to customer distrust and confusion.
Need Help Protecting Your Company Name?
That’s where proper legal advice really comes in. At LegalDrop we’ll help you find the right legal advice at the right price. Click here to learn more…