The Companies Act contains requirements and restrictions on names that we will deal with at the bottom of this article – but first…. let’s do the fun bit of coming up with a name. There are no hard and fast rules about how to name your company, but we are going to provide you with some tried and tested guidelines for you to consider.
1. Select a name that is easy to spell and pronounce
People feel more comfortable with a name that they can pronounce and spell.
2. Your company name should communicate what it is that you do
An example is ‘paving’. If I was looking at paving an area of my garden, my web search would include the word paving. If you are not using Google Adwords (or similar) your company name will come up as an option because it is descriptive.
3. Distinctive name
Choose a distinctive name. You don’t want your customers to confuse you with other companies. This will also prevent your company being associated with a disreputable or bad service company.
4. Don’t limit expansion
Although your company name should be descriptive, don’t limit expansion with the name. For example, if you add your location in the name and want to expand your business into another area, the restrictive name will not be appropriate anymore.
5. Appeal to your customer
Think about who you want your customer to be and then name the company in a way that will appeal to your customer – not just to you.
6. Think about your logo
Keep your logo in mind when choosing a name. What will the name look like as part of a logo? Does it fit into your company image?
Create a shortlist of 4 to 5 names in case the name you select is not available when you want to register it.
8. Further Reading
9. Rules and Regulations
Now to The Companies Act requirements and restrictions:
The name may not:
- be confusingly similar to any registered company name.
- promote violence, contain hate speech or imply propaganda for war
- use part of a registered trademark
- imply that the company is an organ of state
The name must:
Irrespective of its form or language, must end with one of the following expressions, as appropriate for the category of the particular company:
- The word ‘‘Incorporated’’ or its abbreviation ‘‘Inc.’’, in the case of a personal liability company.
- The expression ‘‘Proprietary Limited’’ or its abbreviation, ‘‘(Pty) Ltd.’’, in the case of a private company.
- The word ‘‘Limited’’ or its abbreviation, ‘‘Ltd.’’, in the case of a public company.
- The expression ‘‘SOC Ltd.’’ in the case of a state-owned company.
- The expression ‘‘NPC’’, in the case of a non-profit company.
We hope that this has provided you with some guidelines when you choose your company name.
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