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Start-up Guide

Checking the Availability of a Company Name with CIPC

Have you found a business name? Here is how to check the availability.

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One of the major changes brought about by the New Companies Act that will affect start-ups is the availability of business names.

Under the new Act, name reservation is no longer mandatory before registering a company.

If a proposed name is rejected the company may still be registered and the registration number then becomes the name of the company at incorporation until an appropriate name has been reserved.

Related: 20 Brilliant Brand Logos

Furthermore, symbols are allowed in company names and all languages are accepted.

To register a business name, you need to complete a CoR 9.1 form. The fee for a manual application is R75 for each name, while electronic is R50. You should indicate up to four alternatives to be considered for reservation in the listed order while only one will be registered.

You are also required to indicate whether any word, number or other element constitutes a registered trademark, and provide supporting documents for an associated name. The applicant of a name reservation must be the applicant on the new company registration documents, and will need to include a certified copy of their ID.

Searching and securing a company name

The new process does not require business owners to check that the name is available before the business can be registered. The CIPC will check the name against existing registered businesses and reject the names that are too similar.

Related: When Do I Register a Trademark

It is still possible, however, to check whether the company name you prefer is reserved but clicking on ‘Additional Services’ on the CIPC’s website. You will then be re-directed to the old CIPRO website and will see an entry field under ‘Name Search’ on the left of the webpage.

Alternatively, you can reserve a name on the CIPC’s website. By doing so you will be informed of its availability. To reserve a name online you need to do the following:

Step 1: Visit CIPC Site

Log onto the CIPC website

Step 2: Register

Register as a Customer. If you are not an existing customer, click on ‘Customer Registration’ to register and complete the required fields and submit.

Step 3: Payment

Before filing your documents you must ensure that you have enough funds available for the required transactions. Deposits may either be made at the CIPC walk-in centre in Pretoria, bank deposit or EFT payment.

Related: The Basics Of Registering A New Company

Once the deposit is reflecting within your account, you may continue to file your applications. You may confirm whether your deposit is reflecting by logging on to the CIPC website, clicking on Additional Services, then Customer Log In, Customers, Customer Transactions, Selecting the date period, and Show Statement.

Step 4: Login

Login as a customer by clicking on Customer Login. Type in the Customer Code and Password selected at Customer Registration. Click on Login.

Step 5: Preliminary Search

Select ‘Name Reservation’ option under Name Reservation. Complete the required fields and click Submit. Select ‘Proposed Name’ or at the drop down box at Name Reservation Type option. Provide a maximum of four possible names in order of preference. Only one name will be registered.

A name may consist of number, letters, certain special characters ( only( ) @ . ‘ ) or a combination thereof. The system will do a preliminary search on the names provided and indicate any possible comparative names or any problematic words that has been used that may result in the application being rejected.

After the preliminary search, you may either go back to amend the proposed names or continue with the name reservation application by clicking on either Amend reservation or Continue with reservation. After you amended the application, the system will conduct a new preliminary search based on the revised proposed names.

Step 6: Business Name Reservation Application

The information provided on the online application is processed and the transactional information (assigned tracking number, deducted fee and application date is reflected).

You are advised to print this document by clicking on Print in order for later reference in corresponding with CIPC. The name is only approved after the CIPC name reservation processing team has processed the application.

Once reserved or rejected, you will receive an e-mail indicating the reservation detail for use in filing other documents with the CIPC.

Related: Choosing the Best Name for Your Business

Click on Print in order to print or save the application.

Step 7: Reservation of Company Name

Once one of the proposed names has been approved a form CoR9.4 will be issued to the customer who filed the name reservation.

Once the CoR9.4 has been issued, such may be used in registering a new company or co-operative or changing the company, close corporation or co-operative name by filing it with the required documents.

Related: Top Tips For Choosing A Domain Name

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Mokgethi

    Jul 24, 2012 at 16:26

    i want to check the following names whether they are registered or not

    1. Macharora mining and construction
    2. Macharora civil works
    3. ROBE MINING AND CONSTRUCTION

  2. George Booysen

    Nov 12, 2012 at 11:25

    I would like to know whether the following company name is available, namely Shiloh Products.

  3. Mureeda Kasper

    Jan 30, 2013 at 11:28

    Pls check for me Ansaar Burial Services

  4. chritoff malgas

    Apr 25, 2013 at 13:04

    pls check for me my company mzanzi wood creations enterprise

  5. Irshaad

    May 22, 2013 at 13:01

    I can check for you and register your new companies and assist with any of your reporting requirements. E-mail me on irshaad.essa@gmail.com

  6. steve nyefolo

    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:43

    I want to check if my company , 4U EXPRESS exists ?.

  7. Cindy

    Sep 9, 2013 at 14:55

    Hi i would like to know which companies have vendors on mines and is available pls.

  8. Thamsanqa Ngamla Ngomane

    Sep 25, 2013 at 07:03

    i would like to check whether TISSA CC in registerd or not

  9. Adrian Holmes

    Oct 14, 2013 at 17:51

    Hi, I wanted to register but I have no idea what my Customer Code is or where to find this out?

    Please can someone advise on how I can obtain a customer code in order to then register with CIPC?

    Adrian

  10. Hadebe Mbongeni

    Oct 21, 2013 at 16:20

    can i find out if shiselo trading entreprise is registered.

  11. Nomonde

    Oct 29, 2013 at 14:23

    I would like to know how much it is to register a new company with my own name
    if the company is registered today – can I use the company name in a presentation the following day?

  12. Willie Snyman

    Dec 7, 2013 at 18:39

    i want to know how much do I own on my bussniss RWE Electrical

  13. jean

    Feb 8, 2014 at 17:00

    I want to find out if cape pools & fiberglass specialist are a registered company

  14. Bagudi

    Mar 13, 2014 at 15:54

    I want to know whether if Starcap Transport a division of Charmcure PTY(LTD) with registration number 2013/134235/07 registered or not

  15. Ceaser Mpopothi

    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:55

    I want to check if my company Altravox exists

  16. Luke

    Dec 28, 2014 at 16:09

    I have attempted to reserve a company name with CIPC, I did the application a few days ago. When I logged on today to check the status of the application it states “9.4 Name reservation application name reservation rejected” however I have yet to receive an email from them to say its been rejected. It has been about a week from application to rejected status, is this the average time taken? should I attempt to register another name instead? or wait to receive the confirmation email?

  17. Kim

    Feb 27, 2015 at 10:12

    I have been trying to register a customer code on the CIPC website, it accepts my details on page 1 but then claims by ID and Surname don’t match. I’m at my wits end and have been holding for a consultant for 20 min. Can anyone help?

  18. Nonceba

    Apr 29, 2015 at 16:07

    I want to know. If Issibusiso samaqolo is appears as Privert Company

  19. Thembani

    May 1, 2015 at 08:53

    Hi, I would like to know after the company name has been approved, what do I do next

  20. fortunate

    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:51

    i want to know if my company name is already changed from this name UBUHLE BENHLANHLA CLEANING SERVICES to between this names 1.fortunate cleaning services 2. Fortunate for the women cleaning services 3. fortunate women empowerment cleaning services

  21. fortunate

    Jun 13, 2016 at 13:51

    i want to know if my company name is already changed from this name UBUHLE BENHLANHLA CLEANING SERVICES to between this names 1.fortunate cleaning services 2. Fortunate for the women cleaning services 3. fortunate women empowerment cleaning services

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Start-up Guide

Understanding Your Responsibility As An Employer

Now that you have your own employees, here is what you should know about your new responsibilities.

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employee-responsibility

Hiring employees requires more work from you as the employer than simply placing a job ad, hiring the right person and training them on their role.

You need to be aware of the Labour Law requirements in terms of the various funds and other stipulated registrations.

Related: 5 Factors That Make a Great Boss

The law does not differentiate between different size organisations, and therefore it is imperative that SME’s fully understand the implications of all aspects of Labour legislation.

  1. Salary deductions
  2. What is UIF?
  3. What is COIDA?
  4. How Does Maternity Leave Work?
  5. Family Responsibility Leave
  6. Overtime
  7. Employee Pay Slips
  8. Public Holidays
  9. Employee Sick Leave
  10. Staff Working Hours
  11. Skills Development Levies
  12. What is PAYE?
Prev1 of 13

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Start-up Guide

How To Write A Business Plan

A useful guide on how to write a business plan.

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An international study showed that only 42% of small-business owners actually took the time to write a formal business plan, but of those who did, more than 69% said it contributed greatly to their success.

It’s no surprise that most experts and financial institutions advise those thinking of starting their own business to put together a comprehensive business plan first.

Related: Business Plan Format Guide

But before you put pen to paper, there are a few vital exercises you need to go through to ensure your business idea is a viable one.

Step 1: Research

researching-a-businessThe business you plan to start might be in an industry you have some experience in or it might be totally new to you, either way you need to do in-depth research into the industry and market to make sure you fully understand how it operates.

Your research should include:

  • Understanding the dynamics and forces affecting the industry
  • The preferences and characteristics of your target market
  • Insight into how many competitors are already operating and the quality of their product or service
  • Finding out who you could partner with to start the business
  • How your product or service will be created and delivered
  • How it is different from those that already exist, and identifying a profit and operating model for the business.

Some of the sources you can turn to for this information include:

  • The Internet
  • Industry experts and associations
  • Suppliers who play a key role in the industry
  • Existing competitors in the industry
  • Interaction with member of your team.

Step 2: Stress-test your business concept

Many people are infatuated with their new business idea before they have properly evaluated whether it is worth the time and money they need to invest in it.

FREE Business Plan Template Download

An idea should be stress-tested before producing and selling it.

  • Technical feasibility: When considering the technical feasibility you need to know if the technology for your product or service is available or still in development, what possibilities are there that the end user might not want to use your technology and what other technologies could becoming competition in future.
  • Market feasibility: The market feasibility refers to the actual need for what you are selling, how large is the market and how fast it is growing. You need to know who your customer is, what their needs are and the advantages and disadvantages of your product or service over the competition.
  • Financial feasibility: You also need to determine the financial feasibility by determining what the sources of revenue for the business are, what the major costs are for the new business, is there a good profit margin, what capital is required to launch the business, how long the business will take to break-even and you should develop best-case and worst-case scenarios regarding your cash flow. If you are using your business plan to apply for funding, the funder will also want to see that your cash flow will adequately cover your running expenses and enable you to re-pay their loan.
  • Team feasibility: When looking at the team skills you will require to get your business off the ground, you should identify how many people it will take to make your business happen, what cost they will come at and develop a timeline for staffing if your budget does not enable you to hire staff immediately. If you intend to run the business by yourself then determine the skills and expertise you will require (marketing, sales, financial, etc). If you are not equipped with these skills, you should consider bringing a partner on board, outsourcing and/or up-skilling yourself.

Step 3: Refine your business concept

Based on the findings from your research and once you have stress-tested your idea, you may have identified weaknesses or opportunities.

The findings will allow you to refine the business idea so that it fills any gaps in the industry, meets market demands, is different from competitor offerings, leverages relationships with partners and suppliers and is financially sustainable.

Step 4: Writing the business plan

Writing-a-business-plan-in-south-africaWhile a business plan doesn’t automatically guarantee success, it does assist an entrepreneur to avoid many of the common causes of business failure, including undercapitalisation or an inadequate market-share.

Related: Sample Business Plans

While there is no universal business plan template, plans generally include the following sections:

1. Table of Contents

This features the main headings of the business plan and their page numbers for easy reference. Finalise this section last to ensure the numbers are all correct.

2. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a summary of your full business plan. It contains the summary highlights of each section of your.

It should also describe the company, provide details about management and their strengths, the business objectives and why it will be successful, and if the business needs external funding, how much is needed, and how it will be repaid.

The executive summary is written last and should not exceed two pages in length.

3. General Company Description

This is where you give an overview of the company and the business it engages in.

It should include the company’s name, mission statement, goals and objectives, and strengths.

If you have a register company name, trademarks, patents, BEE credentials and/or a VAT number include those details here.

4. The Opportunity Industry & Market

Based on the research you conducted prior to writing the business plan, you will discuss the opportunity you have identified, the ‘gap’ that exists in the market. You’ll need to detail why this gap exists, how you identified it and how you will fill it.

When writing about the industry you must answer questions about:

  • The ‘barriers to entry’ (how easy or difficult it is for future competitors to enter the same market and offer the same product or service as you do)
  • Who the customers are and the influence they have over prices
  • Who the suppliers are and their influence over the prices
  • Who the competitors are and how strong their products or services are and the major changes affecting the industry.

Regarding the market you need to state the total size of the market, what percentage of the market share you will have, and major trends.

5. Business Model

The business model you choose will be a strong determining point of the future the success of your business.

Your business model must include information on what your companies offers in terms of products or services; what makes your offering unique; who you sell them to; and how you make your money.

You need to take into consideration the source of revenue, the major costs incurred in generating revenue, the profitability of the business, the investment required to get the business up and running and the critical success factors for the model to work.

6. Strategy

Discuss how your business will compete in its specific market.

You need to explain the strategic choices you have made including the focus of the business, how you will create a unique and valuable proposition, what is unique about your business and what value there is for customers.

You must also include your plan for how you intend to enter the market and grow your market-share.

7. Team: Management & Organisation

You will provide a breakdown of the people in the business. It should include a list of founders including their qualifications and experience, a description of who will manage the business, and an organisational chart if you have over 10 employees.

8. Marketing Plan

This should provide details on your marketing strategy based on your market research.

The marketing plan should include important marketing decisions about the product or service and the value thereof, a detailed description of the target market, the product or service’s positioning, the pricing strategy, the sales and distribution channels and the promotion strategy.

9. Operational Plan

An explanation of the day-to-day operation of your business. It should include the business’s operating cycle, where the skills and materials will be sourced from, if anything is to be outsourced and how you will manage those relationships, and the cash payment cycle.

10. Financial Plan

The financial plan is an overview of your business’s financial future. You should back up the main features of the financial plan with accurate financial projections.

Related: Important Financial Planning for a Business Owner

The most important information to include in this section includes start-up expenses and capitalisation, a 12-month profit and loss projection, a 12-month cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet at start-up and the end of years one and three and a break-even calculation.

11. Appendix

This section contains any supporting documentation you think the reader would want to refer to and could include:

  • Brochures and advertising
  • Industry studies
  • Blueprints and plans
  • Maps and photos of locations
  • Articles
  • Lists of equipment
  • Contracts
  • Letters of support from future customers
  • Market research studies
  • Detailed financial calculations and projections.

Related: (Video) Business Plans for Dummies. It’s Easier Than You Think. 

Take Note:

what-to-put-into-a-business-planWhile writing the business plan it helps to be cognisant of the following:

  • Business plans vary from one organisation to the next as well as the reason for the business plan. If you are writing the business plan to submit to a bank or other institution for funding you should contact the institution beforehand to find out what their specific requirements are for business plans. If you aren’t looking for funding your plan will look different and there should be a focus on cash flow.
  • If you are using your business plan as a tool to attract funders, partners or suppliers, the executive summary is the section that will be viewed first. The contents of the summary therefore must make a good impression and clearly demonstrate opportunity and viability.
  • Some entrepreneurs are concerned that those who read it could steal their ideas presented in the business plan. While some experts say this really isn’t something to worry about since it is the execution of an idea that is most important, if you believe your plan contains proprietary intellectual property, you should take steps to protect your ideas by registering trademarks and/or patents.
  • Using visuals like graphs, tables, diagrams and photos will capture readers’ attention. If you are communicating technical or complex ideas use a graph, table or diagram to increase the likelihood that the information will be read and understood.

Common Mistakes:

  • If you are presenting your business plan to third parties, ensure have corrected all spelling and grammatical errors. It is a good idea to give it to someone with strong language skills to edit it for you. Spelling mistakes make a bad impression.
  • There are many people who offer to write business plans on your behalf. This is not the best route to take as the process of putting the plan together will identify areas that need further research and help you determine the viability of the idea. It will help you know your business inside out, which is especially essential when presenting to potential investors.
  • If you don’t have a strong financial background, you can get assistance from someone who has, but be sure to let them explain the different aspects of your business’s financials. They will help you by pointing out key areas like payment terms and cycles, cash flow and any other discrepancies in your plan.
  • One of the most common mistakes people make is in creating unrealistic and over-optimistic projections. You must spend enough time collecting relevant and realistic figures for your financials. As a rule of thumb, experts recommend that start-ups halve their revenue projects and double their expenses.
  • Don’t make the business plan too long. In general it shouldn’t exceed 25 pages as this puts people off reading it. If you have more than 25 pages, cut out unnecessary information and include it in the appendix.

Related: Business Plan Examples to Get You Going

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Start-up Guide

Zoning and Permits

If you are thinking about setting up a business in a residential area you will need to know about zoning.

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Have you considered the legal ins and outs of starting a business in a residential area? You will need to know about zoning.

The Home Office

You want to open a simple consultancy, for example. You start out on your own, as so many entrepreneurs do, at home in your spare room. No inconvenient trading licences to worry about. As you take on some support staff, you hire your first few square meters of office space. Times are good and suddenly your new business is legit and firing on all cylinders.

Clients are happy, word of mouth has taken care of your marketing and you’ve had to take on more staff to cope with the increased workload.

All of a sudden you no longer fit into the modest office space you hired for your fledgling business and you have to think about expanding. But you’ve been paying rent for over two years and it seems such a waste. And now that you think of it, you were considering selling your substantial home and moving into a lock-up-and-go townhouse.

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job To Start A Business

It occurs to you that perhaps you should keep the house (it’s an asset after all) and convert it into business premises. That way you’ll save on rent.

On the surface it all seems to make perfectly good business sense. Except for one thing. Your house is in a residential area and therefore not zoned for business purposes. In order to trade as a business on those premises, you will have to apply for the property to be rezoned – and the time and energy needed to achieve that may make another year’s worth of paying rent not seem so onerous after all.

If you are operating a one-person business, don’t employ staff and don’t have clients calling regularly at your premises, you don’t have to apply for business rezoning. But if you need to put up signage, expect clients, suppliers and staff, and if the property is used solely for business purposes then, in all likelihood, you’re in for a rezoning application.


Choosing a Business Premises: Dealing with Landlords and Leases

If you are searching for a business premises, here is what you need to know about leases and landlords.


The Rezoning Battle

But here’s the catch – applying for a property to be rezoned as a business in no way means that it will automatically happen. As South African cities boom with business growth and congestion becomes an ever-increasing cause of frustration and wasted time, businesses are moving out of the CBD and into what were previously residential areas.

This is a natural phenomenon of urban geography and over time, as residents realise the potential value of selling up their homes to businesses that want to move in, areas are rezoned for business. However, if an area is not yet zoned for business, the residents usually have fairly strong objections to it becoming so.

Businesses generate traffic and parking problems. Local councils typically take the concerns of residents seriously and are reluctant to rezone an area for business on the strength of one application.

Add this to the fact that every local authority has a different set of parameters which guides rezoning decisions – and that each application is taken on its individual merits – and the process becomes extremely complicated.

Ultimately, if you want to avoid the daily horrors of traffic and purchase your own business premises in a residential neighbourhood, your best bet is to set up shop in an area in which other businesses are already established. After all, there is strength in numbers and this greatly improves your chances of getting the area rezoned.

Related: Register A Company In South Africa

To apply for rezoning in an area that is not zoned for business, you have to secure a zoning scheme departure or special consent from the City Council. Getting this can take a while – in some cases up to three months. You may need to advertise your business’s intention to conduct a particular business activity in the local newspapers.

Residents and other stakeholders will have the chance to respond with any complaints, which are heard by a board, before you will be granted or denied the departure. Being granted a departure usually paves the way for successful zoning approval but, once again, there are no guarantees. And all the while, you can’t operate legally as a business in that particular area.

When it comes to the legal side of setting up a business, it pays to do your homework and get professional assistance where appropriate. The cost of mistakes and bad judgement calls in this area can be severe.

Trading licences

Trading licences are governed by the Business Act of 1991, No. 71, which states that certain businesses require licences. These include:

  • Those that sell or supply meals or perishable foodstuffs
  • Those that provide certain types of health facilities or entertainment. These are defined as Turkish baths, saunas or other health baths; massage or infrared treatment; escort services (male and female); games halls that have coin- or token-operated mechanical or electrical devices or three or more snooker or billiard tables; night clubs and discothèques; cinemas and theatres, and “adult premises” as referred to in section 24 of the Films and Publications Act, 1996
  • Those that hawk meals or perishable foodstuffs

Before you open your doors, you had better check whether your business needs a special permit or licence. Certain types of businesses, namely those that sell, hawk or supply meals or perishable foodstuffs and those that provide certain types of health facilities or entertainment, require a licence to trade. In addition, purveyors of liquor need to apply for a liquor licence.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

To obtain a trading licence for your business, you need to apply to the Licensing Department, which in turn requires reports from the health and fire department and town planning. The latter two departments will check that your business meets health and fire regulations and that your proposed premises are in an area zoned for business.

Useful resources


Related: Why Optimism Isn’t Enough – You Need To Also Accept The Brutal Facts

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