Have you have decided to brace the odds and set up a business in Nigeria? This post will guide you on what to do next. Registering your business should be the very first thing to do, as you are only able to operate as a corporate entity after registration.
- Create an LLC or corporation for your business
While you can operate as a sole proprietor or partnership, LLCs and corporations offer more security and other perks. Registering a company ensures the legal status of the business is separated from the proprietor. If you simply want to run an online business then you can get by with just a business name registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). However if you decide to incorporate your business much later, it is a tad more tedious filing from a Business Name registration as opposed to registering fresh as an LLC. The timeline to register a business is typically 3-6 weeks.
- Obtain a Tax ID
A Tax Identification Number (TIN) is obtained from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). This is required to be able to open a corporate bank account. A TIN is available to both Business name registrant and LLC upon completion of business registration at the CAC.
3. Get a corporate account
If you opted to have just your business name registered, you can have an enterprise current account (different from corporate account- contact your local bank for more details) opened same day with just your Certificate of Incorporation, TIN Number, 2 passport photographs, utility bill and a reference from a current account holder (nature of requirements are depended on your bank). It is unprofessional and generally not advisable to operate your business using your personal bank information, some clients may decline to conduct business with your brand for this reason.
4. Get web hosting and set your domain up on it
A domain name is your website url e.g. www.theantlerinc.com. To have a website up, you need to purchase a web (host) space to put it in and connect your domain name to it. Web hosting comes in a variety of offerings, from low-cost virtual hosting to dedicated servers to the recently popular cloud hosting. Domain name registration and Hosting can be purchased from popular international hosts like Godaddy, Hostgator, Namecheap or a local hosting company like Whogohost.
Ensure you choose an available domain name that is similar to your CAC registered business name. Also ensure you host with a company that provides all that your website requires as you do not want your website subject to insane downtime plus switching host can be a tedious chore. Also note that foreign domain name registrars do not recognize a ‘.ng’, or a ‘.com.ng’ extension. If you decide to go with either of these extensions, you will have to register with a local registrar (You can register your domain name and host with different companies e.g. local domain name registrar and a foreign web host company).
5. Create email addresses on your hosting or Google Apps
Owning a domain allows you to have your own email address not tied to an ISP or webmail service e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. You can set this up at your hosting service or through a service like Google Apps and also set up forwarding accounts at your host to forward to your existing email address. You can read more about emails here.
6. Design and develop your website
Now it’s time to actually build that web presence through designing and developing your website. The website might just be a means for people to find and reach your business. You might offer your products/services on it and accept payments. If using the domain for lead generation or SEO, you might simply have some articles and a lead form or a link to your site.
If doing it on your own, consider using a platform like Wix, it is a simple drag and drop Content Management Software (CMS) with an intuitive interface. Many businesses choose to outsource to professionals who can create a custom higher quality website. It’s important either way to put up a nice quality website geared towards your targeted customer/client base.
7. Market/advertise your website
SEO is only one of many ways to get people to your site. Social media is crucial these days as most people spend a lot of time daily on social media sites. You can also market your site through PPC or CPA ads, affiliates, buying leads, generating your own leads and many other online and offline methods.
8. Secure matching social media names/URLs
Social media’s importance means availability of social media names may affect which domain you’ll want to get. Once you have decided on the domain, you will want to create your social media accounts immediately. Not having the matching social media names can cause lots of confusion and lose valuable connections e.g.
|Business name:||Raptor Advanced LTD||Raptor Advanced LTD|
9. Get business-dedicated phones
Your business is its own entity – even if running your business out of your home, it should have its own phone number. You can forward them to home phone lines or your cell phone. Consider getting a toll-free number as well – you save clients/customers call charges and it helps your business look more serious.
10. Trademark your business name
If you are concerned over protecting your newly formed brand, register a trademark for it. Trademarks offer protection against damaging infringement by allowing mark holders to take legal action, which can result in winning compensation or infringing properties such as an infringing domain name. This is important as if you own say a successful chocolate brand called ‘Chocolay’, you do not wish to have another chocolate brand launching with the name ‘Chokolay’ to feed off your brand’s success not to mention the confusion it would create with consumers.
11. Get a PO Box
For a home business, a PO Box helps you keep business mail separate from personal mail. It keeps your address off of places where you might list a business address, like on business cards and your website.
12.Order business cards
Even if you’re a predominantly online business, get business cards. They are a must if you go to trade shows to network or find clients/customers or simply network through local events or groups. You never know what new opportunities may come through people you meet in person. You can use free apps like Canva to design professional business cards and have it printed on laminate sheets. Your business card must contain your business name, your full name, designation and company contact.
There you go, now you are all set to launch your product/service with a professional footprint. We have described how you can get all this done from the convenience of your home, however if you would like to outsource your business set-up, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com and we will be thrilled to outfit your new enterprise with the tools it requires for success.
If you have any question, please leave a comment and we will respond to your enquiry.