Registering your business is simpler than you think. Here is a quick guide to give you insight to the process, what you need and how it works.

1. First make your way to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website []. The CIPC is the portal and institution for business registrations and related legal processes. Once you’re on the website, you have to undergo customer registration and fill in relevant details. You must have a South African ID number to register.

2. Once registered, you will be navigated to your homepage of your account. At the top, you will see a “transact” tab. Clicking on this will give you all the services and options offered by the CIPC in relation to registering your business. Payment on the CIPC is not direct – you have to deposit funds into your account, and then use those funds to transact. So it is advised to deposit funds before you begin.

3. Next, reserve the name of your business by clicking on the name reservation tab on your account home page. This costs R50 and you will need to have funds in your account before being able to do anything. You will be asked your first choice for your business name, and you should also have three additional names in the case that your first choice is not available. So think about this before registering! Once you submit this, you will get a tracking number and email confirming which name is reserved through a “COR9.4.” form. You should keep this document safe.

4. Now, you are ready to register your business. But, there is some research which you are required to do before the time. There are different types of companies which you can register, and you will need to know which one you are choosing to register beforehand. This can be confusing if you have no knowledge about types of companies. The CIPS states:

“There are five types of companies that you can register. If you wish to run a franchise business, you would register a private company. If you wish to register a church, you would register a non-profit company. A private school could be registered as a private company or non-profit company, depending on its objectives. An association of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, civil engineers etc, may be registered as a personal liability company. For personal liability companies, it is recommended that you consult the relevant regulatory or registration authority of such profession to confirm the type of company registration required. A company registration may vary between R125 and R475 (R125 for a private company, R475 for a non-profit company registered without members).” The CIPS also have guides available providing more information on each type of company you can register. Here is a guide for registering a private company.

When registering, you need to have a Memorandum of Incorporation for your company. There is a standard option, or an option which allows you to amend the standard MOI. This outlines the rules and operations of the company, structure, and how decisions are made. We will assume that a standard MOI is used for registration.

5. Register your company. Once you have done your research, on your home page, click on “company registration”. You will need to now enter your personal information as well as the information of directors or “incorporators”, if more than one person is registering the business. You will also need to enter the name approved previously.

Next, you will be required to enter information about the company and business. For example, private company registration requires:

  • Financial Year End,
  • Enterprise email
  • Authorised shares that will be issued
  • Enterprise Contact Number
  • Customer Email (pre-populated)
  • Directors and auditors information

6. You will then be directed to pay for the registration. You should then await further confirmation on your account and email.

That’s it! The big first step is simpler than you think.