If the number of companies and CC registered every year where actually to take off, Namibia will be a rich economy. There are dozens of businesses offering business registration services and they are doing quite well. But the question is why are you registering a business?
Let us look at the very basics; there are various form of business that one can start. This includes being a sole trader, being in a partnership, registering a close corporation or incorporating a company. You can also do businesses through a trust. The question that one must ask is, why do you need to register a business to start a business? Is it because you have N$ 2 000 to throw away or perhaps you think its a requirement to have a business registered?
My mother has been running a shebeen for as long as my I can remember. That business is not registered because she is running it as a sole trader. A sole trader is a business owned by one person. The person and the business are seen as one person in terms of the law and hence whatever debt that business owes can be claimed from the owner if the business is unable to pay its bills.
For me and my friends Primus and Ally, we decided solo things are not really for us and we prefer partnerships. This is when two or more people come together to run a business and take joint responsibilities in the business. In terms of the law, the partnership is still not a separate legal person in the eyes of the law and hence the partner can be held liable for the business debt. This is how we are running our small chicken farm and few other ideas in the background.
So if you can run a business this way so why the fuss about registration? There are various benefit to registering your business as once it is registered, the business is seen as a separate legal person and there is a limited liability concept that comes into play. The business has its own debt and in an event it defaults, you might be safe. There are also other benefit if you would like to trade with big corporations as well as if you want to win a government tender.
But do not be fooled, there are other admin that comes with registered business that may outweigh the benefit. For example:
1.If you register a business, you must bear in mind that it’s a separate legal person in terms of the law and you must register it is as tax payer and you must complete its tax returns. Since its a business, you will need to complete provisional tax returns. Are you doing that if you have a registered business? Unlike registered business, all you need to do is declare your income in your own tax return that you would in any case complete if you are a sole trader.
2. Do you know that any company incorporated in Namibia requires to be audited? Regardless of the size of the company, you must be audited. Are all your shelf companies being audited? I wonder.
So if you are going to do a side hustle, really evaluate whether you need to register the business or you can just run it a sole trader until it grows when it really becomes a necessity for you to register. In addition, instead of putting your capital to registering a business , think it through, you might just be throwing away your start up capital.
Think twice before your defer your business idea because you do not have registration fees.