Business Names

When setting up your business your ‘business name’ is important, however you must ensure that your customers including businesses know who they are trading with. This applies to the proprietor of a business which trades under any name that is not their surname (with initials or forenames), a partnership, or a limited liability partnership or limited company which uses a different trading name. A company needs to comply with the requirements for business stationery as well.

Sole trader you can trade under your own name or you can choose a different business name. If you choose a business name that is not your own name, you must include your own name and the business address on all letterheads and order forms.

Partnership your letterheads, order forms, receipts and invoices must include the names of all partners and the address of the main office. If there are many partners then it is acceptable to state where a list of partners may be found.

Limited company the letterhead and order form stationery (whether printed or electronic versions) must include:

  • Your full registered company name
  • The company registration number and place of registration
  • The company registered address and the address of its place of business, if different
  • There is no need to include the names of the directors on the letterhead for a limited company, but if you choose to name directors all directors must be named

Certain businesses must also state the following on their business letters and order forms:

An investment company (as defined by section 266 of the Companies Act 1985) must state that it is such a company.

A company exempt from using the word ‘limited’ in its name, must state that it is a limited company

A company with share capital, does not have to state the share capital on stationery but if the company chooses to do so, the paid-up share capital rather than the authorised capital must be stated.

Charitable companies whose name excludes the words ‘charity’ or ‘charitable’ must state the fact that it is a charity on its stationery.

For further information on trading law and how it can affect your business and its reputation contact Robert or Wendy Briggs at Crimson Crab Limited 0239263 7190 or email at

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