So you have finally made the decision to start your own business, before you register your company here are a few simple things to consider:
1. DO NOT REGISTER A DOMAIN AND START WITH YOUR BRANDING until your proposed names have been reserved. We often encounter clients who have been trading for months under their preferred name and have already secured a domain and done their logo and other branding material before initiating the registration process. Not only do you stand the risk of having to register a new domain, change email addresses and rebrand; but you also run the risk of having legal action instituted against you for trading under a name that might already be registered to someone else. Even if you have checked the name on the CIPC website and the search has not come up with similar names, the CIPC could still reject your names because of other comparative names that are not exactly the same but are similar.
2. BUSINESS NAME: Choose your four proposed names carefully with a longer term strategic view of the business and it’s envisaged growth. What sounds good now might not look so professional to clients down the line. Keep it professional and specific. If you are trading in many aspects, keep it general to avoid restricting yourself. In future you might decide to create a website, have signboards such as cut-out lettering made for your offices; remember to choose a name that is not too long, or that can be shortened for your domain and that will not hike up costs when doing signage.
3. INITIAL DIRECTORS: Be absolutely sure of the directors or incorporators you are going into business with. Almost 50% of businesses registered make an amendment to the directorship of the company within the first year of the business being registered, usually ending or resulting from disputes. Amendments take time and the delay can hinder your ability to trade or even open a bank account as all directors need to sign most official documents.
4. REGISTERED BUSINESS ADDRESS: The address you provide on the registration forms must be one you can provide a utility bill for. You will need this for your corporate tax registration amongst other things. Without a proof of address for your registered address you cannot apply for a tax number, without a tax number you cannot get a Tax Clearance certificate. This can hinder your business's ability to start trading to conclude deals, and amending the business address can take time depending on the CIPC turnaround times.
5. COMPLIANCE: Make sure you are aware of all the different laws and regulations your business needs to comply with. For example, CIPC returns are filed annually on the anniversary month of registration of your company. There are Corporate Income Tax returns that are once a year and every six months respectively, even if you havent started trading a zero return still needs to be filed. Be BEE compliant, get your company verified annually. All new businesses (less than 12 months old) are automatically 100% BEE compliant. Lastly if your business will employ staff, you will need to register for PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn), UIF, COIDA and SDL.