Commercial activities undertaken in the country are expected to be registered as one of the many forms of business entities allowed by the laws of Ghana. Despite the many benefits that accrue to businesses when they are duly registered with the Registrar General’s Department, many small-scale businesses and startups in the country have not bothered to add their names to the register of businesses in the country.
Here are some benefits you and your business could enjoy when it is duly registered
Identification and Branding
Registered businesses are easy to identify. By name and address, one can easily identify one business from another as these are usually unique names registered for the commercial activity. How would someone identify your business if it is not registered? Writing a name in front of your shop doesn’t make it a registered business. The same name can be used by another business simply by registering it as its business name. And this business will carry the name as its official identity, easily snatching from your hands the business name that took you weeks of thinking, perhaps months, to come up with.
Branding is made easier because you already have a trading name under which to register all brands and intellectual property arising from your operations, innovation, research and development. There is a clear-cut identity to build and associate brands with.
Investors will not invest in a business that is not duly registered. It is as simple as that. So if you’re looking beyond friends and family for the investment that your business requires to move towards your vision, then your business has to be duly registered. It is only then that you can approach any investor. It is only then that investors can recognize whatever activity you’re engaged in as legitimate business worth investing in.
Ownership and Control
To be identified as an owner of a business, it has to be registered. It is upon registration that assigned shares are registered in the name of individuals or entities, who then become recognized officially as owners of the business. In the case of sole proprietorships where shares are not issued, the name of the owner is still stated in the registration documents. Ownership largely reflects control. Control of the business and its affairs lie in the hands of the owners, mostly. Running a business that is not registered therefore means the commercial activity (or business) has no owner.
Loans and other contractual agreements
To enter into contractual agreements such as loans and supply arrangements, your business has to be registered. Medium and large businesses will enter into a contractual agreement with your business only if it is registered. Businesses do not deal with individuals acting behind an unregistered commercial activity. So you have to boost your business to be ready to take advantage of opportunities, which seldom come, without missing them as a result of unregistered business.
Taxation for national development
Registered businesses can be easily tracked for taxation purposes. Paying taxes is one of the duties required of businesses. Businesses that pay taxes remain in the good books of the tax authorities and are readily available to enter into business agreements which require up-to-date tax records. Imagine missing a big contract for your business simply because it could not provide proof of filing tax returns regularly. So to begin to honour your tax duties as a citizen of the state, you first have to register your business.
Having a rich history is a plus for every business. Being in existence over a long period, even without making your expected profits is a positive sign for banks, investors, business partners etc, who would usually take some comfort in your long existence to put the necessary capital needed to turn your business around. But how do you prove that you have been in business over the past decade. Simply showing them your office or shop isn’t enough. The papers must attest to that. And the only way is if your business has been registered throughout the years. Register your business and keep records of everything you do. Back yourself up with the history of all your hardwork and don’t just let all of that go undocumented.
Running a business without appropriate registration means that you are operating in the shadows. Your business has to be duly recognized by the laws of the state. Unregistered businesses are not tax-paying businesses, and that makes it an illegality.
So before you chase your dream of building a national or global business, or even a small business serving a small community, make sure you have it duly registered. After all, you stand to gain more if it is registered than not-registered.