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How to register a business name in the UK (2024)

Every business starts with an idea. After having one, you’ll need a name for it. But you can’t use it without registering it first. So, you’ll learn in this article how to register a business name in the United Kingdom. Read on to learn how.

What is a business name?

A business name is how you legally refer to your company. It’s the name that you’ll use in contracts and other documents. If you wish, you can use a name other than the one you registered through what’s called a “trade name.”

The difference between a business name and a trade name

The business name is used in legal matters. A trade name is used publicly. For example, you may own a store using “Michael Johnson Plumbing Incorporated, Limited Liability Company” as its business name. But, you could use “Michael Johnson Plumbing” as a trade name for short.

It’s important to note that you also need to register the trade name. This bureaucracy may seem unnecessary, but it can pay dividends.

Why register a business name

Almost half the businesses in the United Kingdom are unregistered. They’re giving up on several benefits, including:

Suppose you decided to create an online shop. If you choose to register it, you’ll need to research an official database to check if your desired name is available. If you decide not to do so, you risk opening your store with a name someone has already taken.

This situation could give you a lot of unnecessary complications. If the name’s owner finds out,  you’ll need to rebrand your business. To prevent this issue, you may think that a simple Google search is enough to determine if a company with the same name already exists. But this approach is inadvisable.

Someone may have registered the name but isn’t using it so you won’t find an online shop with that name through a Google search. Even if they aren’t using that name, they still have the right to take legal action against anyone using it.

2. Preventing someone from taking your name

Imagine you’ve been running your business for years but without registering its name. Someone could “steal” it from you. Another business owner could decide to register it and open a store with the same one as yours.

Then, he could take legal action to force you to change your business name. As he registered it first, he’s its legal owner, regardless of whether you’ve used it for years. This situation would force you to rebrand and see someone else benefit from the reputation you’ve built.

3. Legalizing employment

Once you register your business, you’ll be able to hire full-time employees and pay taxes from their salaries per your local law. Depending on your business, you can receive other legal benefits, such as tax exemptions.

How to register a business name

Registering a business name is the first thing you must do when starting your entrepreneurial venture. Please read how to do it below.

1. Check if your business name idea is available

A business name must be unique. So, checking if your desired one is available before proceeding is vital. The best way to do so is through the tool that the British Government provides. Enter your idea, and it’ll tell you if it’s available.

2. Register your company online.

The British government has a page to register your business. Follow the steps and pay the fee required for registration. It’s as simple as that.

3. Choose an office address

You’ll need to pay taxes. The first step is determining where your office’s location, as you’ll need to provide this information to the tax authorities.

3. Register for corporate tax

Inform the tax office that you’ve opened a business so that you can pay taxes. Failing to do so can lead to legal consequences for tax evasion.

4. Register a domain name

More than 84% of UK businesses have a website. To compete in the digital age, having an online presence is critical. It can be social media marketing, email marketing, or building a website. If you choose the latter option, you must register a domain name.

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How to register a domain name

A domain name is the part of an URL that comes after www. So, for example, in www.one.com, the domain name is one.com. Just like a business name, a domain must be unique, hence the need to register it. Read below how to do so.

1. Choose a domain name

It should be easy to remember. Most importantly, it should represent your business. The best approach is to use your business name. For example, you could use www.companyname.com.

2. Check if your domain name idea is available

Doing so is easy. You can use a domain searcher tool to discover if your idea is available. Enter it, and it’ll tell you if someone has already taken it.

3. Find a domain host

A domain host ensures your domain stays online. It also implements cybersecurity measures like an HTTPS protocol and an SSL certificate. one.com is an example of a host.

4. Choose a plan

one.com has many plans from which you can choose. Each is tailored to the needs of any business type, from the largest to the smallest.

5. Finish your purchase

Complete your order. That’s it. You’ve registered your domain.