Guide

Choose the right name for your business

Displaying and disclosing your business name

Every business must display its business name - and other details - to inform customers and suppliers who they are dealing with. You should not print your stationery until you're certain your proposed name is acceptable.

Limited companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must wait until registration is complete and a Certificate of Incorporation has been issued. This shows the company's registered name and number - see names for limited companies and LLPs.

A sole trader or partnership must obtain prior approval to use a sensitive word in their proposed business name. See names for sole traders, partnerships and limited partnerships.

Displaying a limited company or LLP name

You must display a sign with your company or LLP name:

  • in characters that can be easily read
  • in a place where visitors can easily and clearly see it at any time and not just during business hours
  • continuously

You must also include your company's or LLP's registered name on all hard copy and electronic business correspondence and documents including.

Information you must display

On all business letters, order forms and websites, you must display:

  • the place of registration
  • the registered number
  • the address of registered office
  • the fact that it is a limited company or LLP
  • the amount of paid up share capital, if you have chosen to display your share capital
  • information if the company or LLP is being wound up

You do not have to state directors' names on business letters unless you want to do so.

Displaying a sole trader or partnership business name

If you are a sole trader or partnership, your business name, your own name, or the partners' names and business address must be clearly displayed in most cases:

  • wherever you run your business and deal with customers or suppliers
  • on all business letters, orders, payments, invoices, receipts and other business documents

Displaying a name online

If your business has a website, you must display:

  • general information about your business - including business name, address, email address, VAT registration number (if applicable)
  • details of any relevant professional body that you belong to or any authorisation scheme to which your service is subject