13 most common mistakes Kenyans make when choosing business names

Rules of choosing a business name in Kenya; A perfect guide

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So you've come up with a killer business idea and you're ready to start your own business.

The next step is to come up with a business name idea. But with all the options out there, how do you pick the perfect one for your small business, sole proprietorship, limited company,

When starting a business in Kenya, choosing the right name is essential. It is the first thing potential customers will see, setting the tone for your brand.

First, the name should be descriptive, so potential customers know what you do. It should also be easy to spell and pronounce and sound good.

Second, you should avoid names similar to your competitors' names, as this can confuse them. The name should also be easy to spell and pronounce and sound good.

Third, before settling on a business name, you should do a thorough internet search to make sure no one else is using it. You can also ask potential customers to rank your name ideas.

In Kenya, registration of business names is also governed by the Companies Act 2015 and below are some of the rules Kenyans should follow.

  1. A company name may not contain more than 160 characters.
  2. The name of a firm that is a private company must end with "Limited" or "Ltd".
  3. The name of a limited company that is a public company incorporated under the 2015 Act must end with "plc" or "Public Limited Company".
  4. Offensive or abusive words are not allowed either. Offensive words in vernacular (mother tongue) are not allowed either.
  5. The business name should not be identical to an already reserved name or the name of an already registered company, business name, LLP, or partnership. (Unless the existing company, business, LLP or partnership is part of the same group as the company and consents in writing to the use of the proposed name).
  6. Do not choose politically a affiliated business name.
  7. A business name containing the words "cooperative", "society", or "trade union" is not allowed.
  8. The name should not be the same as or similar to that of a registered trademark. 
  9. Numbers may be used in any part of a business name.
  10. A full stop, comma, colon, semi-colon or hyphen may be used apostrophe.
  11. These punctuation marks may be used; brackets/parenthesis (), an exclamation mark (!), Guillemet (<<<>>), inverted comma, question mark, solidus (/)
  12. During business name registration, the following signs and symbols can be only be used if they are not one of the first three letters of a company name: *; =; #; %
  13. The name should not start with the words "Kenya" because it is reserved for government-owned entities.

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