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How To Do A Minnesota Business Name Search

How To Do A Minnesota Business Name Search

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How To Do A Minnesota Business Name Search

If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Minnesota, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. Like all other states, Minnesota requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. You can do a Minnesota business name search on the Minnesota Secretary of State website to see if the business name you want to use is available.  

Related: Guide to starting a business in Minnesota

Step 1: Visit the Minnesota Entity Name Database

Visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field.  In this example, we will do a Minnesota LLC name search by looking up “Lawn & Order.” After entering the business name, click “Search.”

How to do a Business Name Search in Minnesota

Step 3: Review the Results

When we search the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order.” To register a corporation or LLC name in Minnesota, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.

Minnesota Business Entity Search

To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link labeled “Details.”

Minnesota LLC Name Search Results

While the name “Lawn & Order LLC” isn’t available, an example of an available name is “Cowboy Cleaners.”  Searching for this business name brings a result that says, “No results match the criteria entered.”  While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

Minnesota Business Name Availability

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Minnesota.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names. 


What information can be found on the Minnesota business entity database?

The Minnesota business entity search can uncover several pieces of information about businesses in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
  • Filing Date: The date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
  • Status: Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date
  • Registered Office Address – This could be the physical address of the business, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
  • Registered Agent Information:Minnesota registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t listed.  

Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Minnesota Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of a Minnesota sole proprietorship?

A Minnesota sole proprietorship or partnership can use the small business owner(s) full first and last name as the business name, but many will want to operate under a specific business name. In order to register the business name, they will file the Minnesota Assumed Name Certificate, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Trade Name, or Fictitious Business Name.

Similar to the corporation or LLC, Assumed Name registrations need to be unique and are registered through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.

How do I form an LLC in Minnesota?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use.  Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Minnesota LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.

While not required in Minnesota, an LLC operating agreement, which basically are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for any Minnesota business licenses and possibly obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  This is a “social security number” for the business.  There is no cost to get one through the IRS.

What are the naming guidelines for a Minnesota LLC?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Minnesota?

If there is a name you want to use but aren’t ready to form the LLC, the Request for Reservation of Name can be filed with the Minnesota Secretary of State to hold the name for up to 1 year.

How To Do A Minnesota Business Name Search

How To Do A Minnesota Business Name Search

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