Are you thinking of doing business in Nigeria? Then you must register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission which is the Agency empowered by the Company and Allied Matters Act 1990, Pursuant to section 659 to register businesses operation in Nigeria. It is the requirement of the law that you should register your business if you wants to do legitimate business in Nigeria.

Depending on the magnitude of your business, you can register it all by yourselves without the need of a Lawyer. The categories for business registration in Nigeria are:
(a) Business Name Registration
(b) Private Limited Company (LTD)
(c) Public Limited Company (PLC)
(d) Company Limited by Guarantee (LTD/GTE)
(e) Unlimited Company (ULTD)
(f) Incorporated Trustee
In this article, I will be dealing with the first two (Business Name, and Private Limited Company) which is the two most popular and most relevant to small and medium scale Entrepreneurs. Apart from the requirement of the law, there are other great benefits of registering your business.
1. It helps you secure your company name before someone else takes it. I have seen people try both their first and second choice name with none available and considering the stress one go through for the name search, not having the first set available isn’t what anyone should toil with. So early registration helps secure your choice name.
2. Registering your business add seriousness and authenticity to your business. It makes you feel more responsible and work harder towards establishing your business and brand.  It makes you feel like a serious business person and Increases your drive towards success.
E.g: When Palness Media was just a name, I used to make mention of it only as a mere formality without serious claim to it even though businesses were being carried out with the name. But when it becomes a registered business, everything changed and we became more serious and better organized.
3. You will be able to open a corporate account with your business name only if it is registered and of course you know the importance of having a corporate current account – it makes people feel more relaxed to transact business with you.
Now that you know the importance of registering your company, how do you proceed to register your business in Nigeria? The steps are simple but sometimes can be very tedious due to our system. Here are the practical steps how you can go about it without much tears!

Step 1 – Proceed to the Corporate Affairs Commission Office nearest to you and submit your business name for Name Search. Just walk into the place and obtain the CAC Form 1 for N200
Fill the form correctly in CAPITAL LETTER – There is nothing much to fill, just your name, your address and The Names you intends to register, tick the type of company category you want to register as. You have option one and two – Option one is your first choice name, while option two is the alternative name in case the first choice isn’t available.
Make a Photocopy of the filled form before submitting it, the photocopy is what you will bring back to be used to locate your form.
Submit the original and go back in three days to check if your name is available. If not, you will have to repeat the process all over again until you find one that is available.
Note: If you go for popular phrases, you have 99% possibility of not having it available. Chose something unique and uncommon.

Step 2 –  Once you checked and your name is available, begin the registration process immediately! Obtain the Business Name registration form for N250 (as at February 2013) and fill it.
If it is Limited Company you want to register, you will buy the set of Company Incorporation forms for N500. Download the PDF of the detailed requirement for Incorporated Trustees Under Part C of CAMA No.1 of 1990.
If you are confused about what to fill in those forms, ask someone there to assist you. For business name, its really not difficult. For Limited Liability, it can be quite challenging but someone there can just be of help as long as you’ve provided all the requirements in the PDF downloadable above.

Step 3 – Take your completed form to the Federal High Court or State High Court for attestation. That one cost N250 but if you don’t know your way, those guys will short change you – I paid ₦800 for Palness Media. So, when you get there, ask for where you can do attestation.
When you are through with that, return back to Corporate Affairs Commission office and submit your completed and attested forms. The first person will view it and sign on it and ask you to pass it to the next person who will type it into the computer and print it out for you to see and make amend if necessary.
Make your final payment for the registration into their UBA Bank account usually attached to all the CAC offices, so you don’t need to go elsewhere to make the payment.
When all these have been successfully fulfilled, your business will be up for registration and certification.
For Business Name – Go back for your Certificate after 8 working days or thereabout. As for Limited Company, your certificate will be sent to you once it is ready.