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Sole trader / company - advice needed please!

(8 Posts)
Mummypumpkin Fri 09-Sep-11 16:47:28

Not sure where on earth to put this so I'm bunging it here. Have searched t'internet for ages today with no result. A while back I decided to change the name of my small business and found a site telling me I could do the name change I wanted without a problem. I now cannot find this site and have instead found info which possibly contradicts the earlier info. I'm a sole trader and want to change my name so it sounds more professional rather than the 'frivolous' name I have at present. Basically something along the lines of 'Little Venice Cake Company' - but clearly this one is not my chosen name! - can I call myself Such-And-Such Whatever Company if I am a sole trader?

mranchovy Fri 09-Sep-11 21:41:50

Well not anything you like, there is a list of proscribed words here, plus you can only use the abbreviations Ltd LLP PLC and the Welsh equivalents and their expansions if you are registered as such at companies house.

But Little Venice Cake Company is OK.

Note that you need to sign contracts etc. as Mummy Pumpkin trading as Little Venice Cake Company - general rules on unincorporated business names here.

Angel786 Fri 09-Sep-11 23:17:14

Also worth checking the Internet as well as uk /us patent office to see if anyone has already registered your proposed name as a trade mark.

Mummypumpkin Sat 10-Sep-11 20:14:40

Thanks for the replies grin)

I know I can't use any old name I fancy and have checked on registered names etc - my business is already up and running (under a hastily chosen name) and has been for a while so I did check all that stuff out originally. What I really want to know is can I call my business a company (in the name) when really it's not a company as I'm a sole trader? I assumed I could, as to me it is 'my company' but on one of the sites I found (specifically for small businesses) the advice was that it is NOT a company it is a business if you are a sole trader, which worried me.

I was told previously that any paperwork would need to say 'Original Business Name t/a Little Venice Cake Company' - is this incorrect and it should actually be my actual name?

Mummypumpkin Sat 10-Sep-11 20:19:48

Would it be worth putting that on the back of new business cards anyway - Prev business name t/a Blah Blah Cake Company - ?

My personal name would be on there too, but wondered if that would clarify that this name has taken over from the previous name? or would that be totally incorrect and not the way that 't/a' should be used?

Thanks,

mranchovy Sat 10-Sep-11 22:58:32

No, it is not a 'company' in the common usage of that word (which is to mean a 'limited company') but that doesn't stop you having the word 'company' in the name (you can't have the word 'limited' in the name though).

In order for a person to be able to enforce the terms of a contract, it must be clear what person the contract actually refers to - so you need to have your name in a contract instead of (or as well as) your current or any former business name. Similarly, if you want to take someone to court over an unpaid invoice, you need to have your name on the invoice.

In the eyes of the law, 'Little Venice Cake Company' doesn't exist - but Mummy Pumpkin does, and if you registered it at Companies House, so would 'Little Venice Cake Company Limited'.

You can put whatever you want on business cards.

mranchovy Sat 10-Sep-11 23:04:43

No, that's not the way t/a should be used, but as I say you can put more or less whatever you want on a business card.

Other common ways of putting it are:

Little Venice Cake Company, formerly The Frivolous Bakery
Little Venice Cake Company - the new name for The Frivolous Bakery
or maybe make use of it as a selling point:
The Frivolous Bakery is now known as Little Venice Cake Company - we have changed our name, but not our delightful cakes!

Mummypumpkin Sat 10-Sep-11 23:18:45

Brilliant, thank you - I now understand! Phew!

(Btw, Little Venice Cake Co was perhaps a bad example for me to use, it does actually exist but it is nothing to do with me - just realised that this thread will probably come up on google...smile)

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