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Difference Between Business Name and Registration Number (BN vs RC)

In the course of registering your business at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) you might come across jargon like BN and RC. Apart from telling you the difference between the two registration terminologies, we’ll also tell you the concept of BN and RC in your business.

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If you’re yet to register your business, our guide on the requirements you need will be of help, you can find it at:

What is BN?

BN is an abbreviation for Business Name. BN is associated with the following businesses:

  1. Sole proprietorship (one-man business)
  2. Partnership.

What is RC in relation to business?

RC is an abbreviation for Registered Company which is specifically used to identity a Limited Liability Company.

By the above definition, RC is for a “Company Limited by Shares”, it comprises of at least two people who subscribe to be shareholders.

RC is associated with the following companies:

  • Private Company Limited By Shares
  • Private Unlimited Company
  • Public Company  Limited By Shares
  • Public Unlimited Company
  • Private Company Limited By Guarantee
  • Public Company Limited By Guarantee

Examples of a business name

In a real sense, your business’s legal name is your full name, however, this varies. It depends on your choice of a name you want your business to bear, most especially in Nigeria.

The type of business structure is a factor in choosing a business name. For instance, if you operate as a sole proprietorship, you could choose your full name as your business legal.


If your legal name is Samson Adex, you can include other words along with your full name to get something like:

  • Samson Adex Clothings
  • Samson Adex Enterprise
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The above is applied to a sole proprietorship.

Business Name for a partnership business

If the business is a general partnership, the business name could be a combination of the last names of the partnership’s owners.

Samuel Drogba and Samson Adex own a partnership, they could use:

  • Samuel Samson Clothings
  • SD&SA Shoes

They could opt for something else based on an agreement that must be consented to by both partners.


This must be included in the partnership agreement.

Importance of business name

No doubt, your business name is one of the first things potential customers notice about your company.

The significance of a business name include:

  • It connects your customers to your products or services.
  • Easy and simple business name is one step closer to being successful.
  • Choose easy to pronounce a business name, this way potential customer wouldn’t find it difficult when there is need to ask for direction to your location.
  • Choose easy to understand business name, this way potential customer knows what services you offer on the go.

Having said that, it’s very important to touch on RC so that you know the clear distinction between the two when registering a business name on CAC official portal.

What is company registration number?

It is a unique combination of numbers and, in some cases, letters. In Nigeria, it is called Registered Company Number (RCN) while some prefer to refer to it as Registration Number (RN) or RC

In some countries around the world, it is called company number, registration number, or simply abbreviated to CRN.

It is used to identify your company and verify the fact that it is an entity registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

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The company registration number is automatically assigned by CAC when a company is formed.

Anyone can use your company registration number (CRN) or RC to search the authenticity of your company on CAC database.

Sample of RC number


The distinction between RC and BN

  • While BN is an abbreviation for Business Name, RC means Registered Company which is your company registration number recognised by the law.
  • While BN are mainly issued for one-man businesses or sole proprietors RC are issued to a liability company with shareholders

3 thoughts on “Difference Between Business Name and Registration Number (BN vs RC)”

  1. Abah Samson olofu

    Why does two companies have the same RC number in nigeria?
    1. Haske maganin duhu nigeria limited.
    2. Noble brothers club warri.
    RC 52838.

  2. Okonkwo, Hyginus Okwuchukwu

    Thanks for your insightful information about the differences between RC and BN.
    Some years ago, I registered a business name with a certificate issued to me plus a form that identifies me as the owner of Business Name. In the course of relocating from where I lived before to where I am living now, I missed the form that identifies me as the owner of the Business Name. Since then I have not been able to put to use the certificate and the Business Name therein.
    How do I go about getting the lost form which identifies me replaced so that I can put to use the Business Name?
    Thank you.
    Okonkwo, Hyginus Okwuchukwu

    1. Hello Mr. Okwuchukwu, if you can remember the exact business name. We can order a reprint of your business name. Kindly send us a message at 08027024054 for more.

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