How To Register Your Business or Company Name With The Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria

register_businessCorporate Affairs Commission was established by the Companies and Allied Matters Act , which was promulgated in 1990 to regulate the formation and management of companies in Nigeria.

The establishment of the Corporate Affairs Commission as an autonomous body was as a result of the perceived inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the erstwhile Company Registry, a department within the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism which was then responsible and administration of the repealed Companies Act of 1968.
Registration of businesses in Nigeria is the exclusive responsibility of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), which has its head office in Abuja but has branches in most states of the Federation. Having your business registered definitely confers some credibility on it, given that it then acquires an identity. In many important business activities or relationships you may want to get involved in, details of your business registration will be required. You do not have to wait for such occasion before getting your business into the register of companies – you may miss an important opportunity just for that omission.

Accredited Agents For Registration
The CAC specifically requires that only accredited parties carry out the actual registration processing. It also limits such accreditation to lawyers, chartered accountants and chartered secretaries. What this means is that you will necessarily have to engage the services of one of these professionals to register you business. However, it will be important for you to understand the issues involved and the choices you need to make. For instance, you need to decide on a business name. You also need to choose a business format under which to operate. You need to know the requirements relating to membership of the company, ownership, etc to enable you make decisions you will remain happy with. The routine process of registration can then be carried out on your behalf by an accredited professional.

Legal Structure
Which legal structure is right for your business? Three major classes of registration are available under the relevant law (the Companies and Allied Matters Act):

Registration of Business Names
Incorporation of companies
Registration of Incorporated Trustees

1. Registration of Business Name
This applies to Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships.

The sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure. It is the one-man business, owned by a single person and called ‘enterprise’ in local parlance. The attractions of doing business under this structure include:

Lower cost of registration. It costs a little fraction of the cost of incorporation (see table of current costs below).
Ease of registration as requirements are less cumbersome. The Lagos office of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) will conclude the registration and issue a certificate, while for incorporation it must be forwarded to the Abuja Head Office.

It affords the owner full control and ownership. If the business proves successful, the returns are exclusively to you. In running the business, you have the final say, so decisions are faster.
The business is not subject to corporate tax. The owner is however required to pay his personal income tax at the appropriate personal income tax rate.
You enjoy privacy in the business: no publication of performance reports is required.
There is no requirement to engage an external auditor to audit your business accounts. Note however that it may be in your interest to do so for the success of your business.

On the flip side, consider the following cons of this structure:

There is no limited liability. You are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business. Your personal assets, even if unconnected with the business, can be applied in meeting the obligations of the business.
The equity capital available to the business is limited to the personal resources of the owner. The scope and growth of the business could be severely hampered, even if the business idea is excellent and potentially capable of rapid expansion.
While it is possible to borrow, this business format may be less attractive to lenders, given the closed nature of its operation.
The business is virtually tied to the person of the owner, implying that the fortunes of the business could suffer if the owner is not available to oversee it. Succession is therefore more difficult than with other business structures involving more than one owner. The death of the owner of a sole proprietorship could threaten the continuity of the business.

Partnership applies to a business where two or more persons agree to jointly own and carry on the business. Ownership may not necessarily be equal but rather in accordance with their agreed individual capital contributions. They will share in the profits or losses of the business. The important thing to note is the need to clearly set out the terms and basis of this relationship to ensure its smooth operation. Given the fairly complex nature, it is best to seek the services of a lawyer or accountant to assist with the details. The benefits include:

The pooling of resources, i.e. capital, skills, contacts, etc and the consequent benefit of synergy.
The partners similarly share in the burden of a loss or liability. It therefore permits the spreading of risk.

More operational flexibility as partners can easily share responsibilities. For instance. a partner could be located in Kano to run the northern operations while another stays in Lagos to control the Southwest. Statutorily, the business is not required to publish its results.
The partnership is not liable to corporate tax. The income from the partnership is therefore not taxed twice as in the case of incorporated companies.

The disadvantages include:

If the terms of the relationship are not properly set out, internal frictions can arise which could cripple the partnership. Partnerships often seem a veritable ground for disagreements, largely because of the failure to recognize the need to structure them properly.
There is unlimited liability, except where there is limited partnership (limited partner engaged in management is still fully liable).
Related to this is the fact that a partner is bound by the actions of another partner which could, unfortunately, impose commitments.
Its more complicated in structure than a sole proprietorship
The death of a member effectively terminates the life of the partnership (though not necessarily the business)

2.Incoporation of company
There are four options to choose from under incorporation:

a. Private Limited Company (Ltd)
b. Public Limited Company (PLC)
c. Company Limited by Guarantee (Ltd/Gte)
d. Unlimited Company (Ultd)

Incorporation recognizes the business as a unique entity, separate from the owners, with statutory powers to own property and sue or be sued. There is thus the concept of limited liability, implying that the individual owner (shareholder)’s liability relating to the business is limited to the amount of his share subscription. This structure therefore shields the shareholder from personal liability for the company’s commitments.

Requirements:
Membership – minimum: 2 for each case; maximum: 50 for private limited company, no limit for public limited company.
Sharecapital – Minimum N10,000 for private N500,000 for public minimum subscription in each case is 25%

Benefits
Mainly the limited liability for the individual shareholders (except for unlimited company). The standing of the business is enhanced before financial institutions and other parties it does business with. It consequently could have better access to credit and on even better terms. The business is distinct from the individuals; the death of a member does not dissolve the company.

Major disadvantages
Registration requirements are more complex and the cost of registration much higher than for sole proprietorship or partnership. The tax burden on individual members is higher since the company is subjected to corporate tax while the individuals still suffer tax on their share of earnings by way of dividend. For public limited companies, requirements of public disclosure and external audit are additional challenges.

3. Registration of incorporated Trustees
This registration category applies to usually to public institutions and associations, operated by a Board of Trustees.

The Choice Of Business Format
The choice of which structure to adopt will depend on the nature of the business, the ownership and an evaluation of the benefits and pitfalls of each format, as outlined above. The accredited professional you choose for the registration process should also be able to provide further advice. As a trained practitioner, he is also familiar with the registration requirements for each business format and the processing procedure.

How Google Adwords works for Businesses

google-adwords-nigeriaDo you know that over a million businesses and brads rely on Google AdWords. Here’s why

1. Attract more customers

Whether you’re looking to bring in new website visitors, grow online sales, get the phones ringing or keep customers coming back for more, Google AdWords can help.

Reach the right people at the right time

Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they’re searching for the things that you offer.


2. You only pay for results

No visit, no fee

Signing up for Google AdWords is free. You only pay when someone clicks your ad to visit your website, or calls you. In other words, when your advertising is working.
Start with any budget

How much you invest is up to you. Just begin with a daily budget that you’re comfortable with, then adjust as you go. Many businesses get off to a good start with a budget of at least $10 to $20 a day.

3. Get your business found

Whether you’re looking to attract new website visitors, grow online sales, get the phones ringing or keep customers coming back for more, Google AdWords can help.

Connect with customers across the web

You can reach relevant customers on relevant websites across the web. A range of options let you target by website type, audience type or remarketing, when and where it matters.

4. Take the guesswork out of your marketing Measurable, accountable, flexible

Google AdWords shows how many people notice your ads and what percentage click to visit your website, or call you. With the tracking tools, you can even see the actual sales your website is generating as a direct result of your ads.
Insights around the clock

You can see how your ads are doing at any time by logging in to your Google AdWords account. To save you time, we’ll also send you a monthly summary listing all the key stats and numbers that matter.
Stop, start, pause, test

You can tweak your ads, try new search terms, pause your campaign and re-start whenever you like, for free – and all within Google AdWords.

5. Advertise locally or globally

Target your ads to customers in certain countries, regions or cities – or within a set distance from your business or shop. Google AdWords lets you manage your campaign by yourself.


6. Reach your customers, whichever device they’re on

Reach the right people at the right time. Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they’re searching for the things that you offer.

In today’s mobile world, you need to be advertising on every device that your customers are using – desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile. That way, when they’re searching, browsing or buying, you’re right there.

Signing up for Google AdWords is free. You only pay when someone clicks your ad to visit your website, or calls you. In other words, when your advertising is working.

Understanding Pay Per Click Advertising

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-3d-man-ppc-cubes-image28523733Pay per click advertising is like sending out a sales letter on the internet. Your intention is to get your audience to open the letter and make a targeted response. Instead of opening your letter, the goal of pay per click is to click on your ad.

You pay only when someone clicks on your ad, which then takes them to your website. To get your audience to click on your ad and follow through with a desired action, your pay per click advertising requires focus.

When you’re using pay per click advertising, it’s important to focus on more than just the number of clicks. A conversion happens when someone takes a desired action after they click on the ad. It could be making a purchase or registering to receive something free.

By staying focused on conversions, you can boost your returns while also increasing your subscriber rates.


These 5 ways shows you how pay per click advertising works.

1. Building a Landing Page

When your audience clicks on your ad, don’t send them to your homepage. A targeted landing page with focused content and a specific call to action is the key to focusing on the keywords that brought your visitors to you and getting the conversions you want.

Depending on the type of keywords you are paying for, you might need to build more than one landing page. Just be sure to focus on the specific intent of your audience and what they are searching.

Don’t confuse your visitors by confusing them with irrelevant content. Stay focused on ad-related content that teaches your audience about what your product or service offers.

2. Making an Offer

Make the goal of your landing page more than selling your product or service. Your landing page is where your visitors go to receive your free offering, such as an ebook, audio recording, video presentation, or any type of informational resource.

This is the best way to differentiate yourself from your competition. With a compelling call to action such as “Free Download,” “Learn How,” or “Get Yours Free,” you will encourage your audience to act once they get to your landing page.

When you make an offer, you’re working to establish your relationship with the people who clicked. By building your subscriber list, you can continue to boost your conversion rates through your website and blog.

3. Using Negative Keywords

One of the underused yet effective pay per click strategies is to use negative keywords. By choosing keywords that won’t trigger your ad, you are essentially filtering out people who aren’t searching for your ad.

When you use negative keywords correctly, you will whittle down your clickers to only those who are interested in you and what you have to offer, saving you money in clicks. Negative keywords will control the relevancy of clicks without eliminating targeted traffic from broad keyword terms.

4.Targeting/Setting your location

Be sure to utilize the geo-location features of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo search engines. This will allow you to target your market based on the IP addresses, focusing your campaign on regions, countries, cities, even zip codes.

Your pay per click advertising campaign might be to test out different locations in order to learn how different areas respond to what you sell. Or you might not ship to certain areas. Or you want to promote a special offer to only a specific region.

As brick and mortar store, you can use geo-location to not only drive traffic to your store, but to promote online sales to geo-targeted locations. It’s a good way to improve your performance in certain places by breaking out of your standard target zones.

5. Testing for Results

Your pay per click advertising will give you better results when you test those results. Test multiple ads and gather the data to gauge their conversion rates.

Google AdWords will give you tools to analyze the metrics to determine where, when, and which ads show the highest conversion rates. Don’t just invest ad money and hope everything turns out for the best.

Your pay per click advertising can be a profitable tool to delivering your valuable content to an interested audience. An audience that clicks, signs up for your offer, and keeps on hearing from you through email newsletters, blog posts, and updates.

This is how pay per click advertising will work best – through your ongoing, focused efforts to stay connected.

How to use data to develop and improve your marketing strategy

marketing-strategiesMarketing strategy is the goal of increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. When you have a real data, you have power. This is because you are creating a marketing strategy based on something tangible and not based on a passing idea or a sample, because data could be a core element of your success and growth.

Having access to accurate marketing data is powerful. It helps you make better business decisions because you have a clearer picture of your business, your target market, and your ability to attract new customers.

 

You can use these tools to develop a real life marketing strategy in different ways:

  • Validating product and service ideas.
  • Determining if we can win in organic search on specific keyword terms
  • Competitor research.
  • Fine tuning our target market.
  • Reviewing where our web traffic comes from and validating if our efforts for driving referral traffic are working.
  • Ascertaining what web traffic converts to leads and sales on the website.
  • Reviewing our onsite sales funnel to compare cart, checkout, and sale activity.

 

Google Analytics – This free tool allows you to see visitor activity within your website. You can see how many visitors arrive each day, as well as where visitors came from and what pages, posts, or products they visited. It has the ability to perform conversion tracking. This allows you to see how many contact submissions, newsletter sign ups, or products are purchased over time and details about these conversions such as source, page views, and time spent on site.

 

Google Webmaster Tools – This free tool allows you to see your website in the eyes of Google. You will see which web pages show up most in search, what search terms you rank for, and how Google views your site’s health in regards to meta titles, meta descriptions, and inbound links.

 

Google Trends – Google Trends allows you to see search traffic over time for a given search term or phrase. This allows you to know if your targeted phrase is up or down in real user searches. You can also use the tool to view related phrases or topics and geographical interest.

 

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – You can buy “pay per click advertising”, or use Google’s free tool to review search volumes and obtain ideas for additional phrases that you might want to target. While this tools is great for validating a term’s search volume, its limited and it might point towards words people bid on for PPC.

 

WordPress SEO by Yoast – This plugin gives you immediate feedback on the health of your website content on a page and post level. You will immediately know if you need to address on-page SEO issues.

 

Alexa – This free tool allows you to pop in a URL and see statistics about the visitors and traffic. While you know not all of the data is 100% accurate, it does give you a good overview of your site and that of your competitors. Site data includes overall site ranking in relationship to other websites, top keywords, bounce rates, visitor demographics, and upstream websites.

 

The tools listed above are available on the web for free. There are many more great tools you can subscribe to or purchase online.

The Requirements for Incorporating A Private Company in Nigeria

CACThe Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) recognises 6 corporate structures in Nigeria:
1. The Business Name
2. The Private Company Limited by Shares.
3. The Public Limited Company
4. Unlimited Company
5. Company Limited by Guarantee; and
6. Incorporated Trustees.

But for the purpose of this blog post, however, let me just proceed to the business of the day.

REQUIREMENTS FOR INCORPORATING A PRIVATE COMPANY IN NIGERIA.

Irrespective of whatever you must have read elsewhere, the steps for incorporating a new company at the nation’s registry, The Corporate Affairs Commission, can be summarised in the following 10 steps:

1. Submission of the proposed Company Names to the CAC. This is the first step in the entire process. The promoters of the company must decide on a company name and submit for approval. The government officials reserve the right to approve or deny company names submitted for a number of justifiable reasons – availability, suitability, legality, similarity, etc. It takes an average of 5 business days to get availability results.

2. Details of Directors. Long story short, you will be required to provide the biodata of the Directors of the proposed company. These information include: Full Names, Residential Address, Nationality, Age, Valid Identification Document and Signature of the Directors. The minimum number of directors for a private company is 2 and maximum is 50. There is no maximum for public companies. There are statutory requirements for being a director, one of which is that the directors must not be less than 18 years old.

3. Shareholders/Subscribers. The legal minimum number of shareholders in a private company in Nigeria is 2 and a maximum of 50. The shareholders subscribe to the memorandum and articles of association and are alloted shares in the company.
PS – the shareholders can also double as the directors of the company.

4. Appoint a Company Secretary. Every Nigerian company must appoint a Nigerian Company Secretary, as it has become a legal requirement. The company secretary of a private limited company needs no formal qualifications. It is the directors responsibility to ensure he/she has the appropriate knowledge and experience to act as a Secretary of the company. The company secretary could be an in-house person or an outside consultant. Some of the roles of a company secretary include:
a. Maintaining the Statutory Registers;
b. Liaison between the company and the CAC and other relevant government agencies;
c. Providing members and auditors with notice of meetings.

5. Registered Address of the Proposed Company. The company must have a Nigerian business address. This requirement needs no much explanation and not debatable either.

6. Core Areas of the company’s business activities (Nature/Objects of company). Nigerians and Non-Nigerians are allowed to carry on all forms of business provided it’s legal and not in the “negative list”. If the company will engage in specialist services (Hospital, Consultancy, Schools, Media & Advertising, etc), the directors may need to provide an evidence of professional proficiency. E.g. Certificate of a professional body/trade association, Academic Certificate, or both.

7. Valid Identification. Although I have stated this requirement earlier. It is worthy of mention here again. A photocopy of Identification of all the directors is required. (e.g. National ID card, Data Page of your National Passport, Voter’s Card or Driver’s License).

8. The Company’s Share Capital and Allotment. In simple terms, the share capital of a company (usually in monetary terms), is the amount of capital the subscribers have to carry on the business. The minimum share capital of a private company must not be less than N10,000. However, for economic reasons, it is advisable that an average Nigerian company incorporate a N1,000,000 share capital company. A company’s share capital is also industy-dependent. For example, advertising agencies must have at least N10 million as share capital. The law also stipulates a minimum of N10 million share capital for a Nigerian company with foreign ownership. Your regulator or adviser should advice you appropriately. A minimum of 25% of the authorized sharecapital must be subscribed and paid for.

Once the issue of share capital have been decided on, then the subscribers must also decide on alloting the shares. If there are 2 persons that formed the company, they could share it 50% each.

9. Draft the Memorandum of Understanding and Articles of Association (MEMART). This is a legal document that spells out the business objectives and the framework on which the company intends to run its business within the acceptance of the law. This legal document also shows the particulars of the shareholders and their shares allotment.

10. Payment of Stamp Duty and Statutory Filling Fees. The total fees payable to the Stamp Duty office and the Corporate Affairs Commission is dependent on the company’s share capital.

These are the basic requirements for incorporating a private limited liability company in Nigeria. However, EXPATRIATES are subjected to additional requirements and laws – Nigerian Investments Promotion Act, Immigration Act, Investment and Security Act, and Foreign Exchange and Monitoring Act.

Duration of Incorporation at the Corporate Affairs Commission

As at the time of writing this blog post, the average turnaround time to receive a Certificate of Incorporation and Certified True Copies of your documents at the CAC is 3 weeks.

Although, Nigeria deserves a better business environment, Africa’s most populous nations is a thriving business destination for many investors.