How to Search & Choose Your Business Entity Name in all 50 States

business-entity-name-search

Naming your business is one of the hardest parts to launching an LLC. After all, it’s your public identity and will hopefully stay with you for countless years. It also requires that you get creative as you brainstorm what will appeal to your customers, be memorable enough to stand out in the crowd and choose an LLC name that best represents your product or services. Additionally, you need to consider from a legal standpoint what names are already registered in your state so you don’t violate copyright law. We’ve gathered some guidelines to follow when naming your LLC — including how to conduct a business entity search online to see if your LLC name is available.

Making a List of LLC Name Ideas

The basics of starting a business overlap the same principles of determining your business name: who is your audience, what are you selling and how are your potential customers going to find you? LLC names that are too long, hard to spell or spelled “creatively”, or skew too old or too young can make your company un-relatable or hard to find. Another common pitfall is naming your company after your location such as “San Francisco Sign Shop.” While this could be great for search engine optimization, if your sales soar and you want to open satellite locations, this name could limit your potential.

Once you have your names narrowed down to a few favorites, ask friends and family members which one they like the best, what fits your image the closest and if the name is logical to your services. Take this example of how Amazon was named: Cadabra “was the original name of Amazon, and although it’s not overtly that bad, it’s not great,” explains digital consultant John Boinott on Inc.Com. “Jeff Bezos meant it to be a shortening of abracadabra but realized, not only that people had a tough time spelling it, but also they didn’t really get that it was part of abracadabra.”

Therefore, it’s important to not only think of something clever, but make sure it translates to your target audience and fits into the digital world where your customers will be typing and searching for your business. As you build your list of LLC names, keep these factors in mind.

Search Online for Your LLC Business Name

Before you decide on a name, do an LLC name search to ensure that your name isn’t infringing on someone else’s copyright. If someone does have a name similar to the one you like, consider another option. For example, if a local business or competitor has the title “Johnson’s Produce,” avoid calling yours “Johnson’s Fresh Produce.” You don’t want your business to get confused with a competitor’s nor do you want to tarnish your reputation copycatting an existing company.

Conducting an online business name search is also an important part of choosing the right name for many entrepreneurs because they would like a coinciding domain name. Verisign recently reported that the number of registered dot-com domain names exceeded 326.4 million during the first quarter of 2016. With so many websites out there, the chances of getting the exact domain name that you want is quite slim. Your business name therefore shouldn’t be dependent on having the same .com name, but you may have to get a bit creative. Instead of using your name as the domain, consider using your slogan or what you are best know for (even a saying that can be used as your hashtag). Whatever you go with though, choose a short and clear phrase for your URL that matches your business name or product as close as possible.

Not sure where to begin your  LLC name search? First, start typing your potential name into a popular search engine like Bing or Google. Second, try your local YellowPages.com. Finally, searching in your particular state is also mandatory. Below is the information that you need to know to contact your Secretary of State (or other specified department) to inquire about your state’s business entity search.

Business Entity Search for all 50 States

  1. Alabama Business Entity Search: Alabama Secretary of State
  2. Alaska Business Entity Search: Alaska Secretary of State
  3. Arizona Business Entity Search: Arizona Corporation Commission
  4. Arkansas Business Entity Search: Arkansas Secretary of State
  5. California Business Entity Search: California Secretary of State
  6. Colorado Business Entity Search: Colorado Secretary of State
  7. Connecticut Business Entity Search: Connecticut Secretary of State
  8. Delaware Business Entity Search: Delaware Secretary of State
  9. District of Columbia/Washington D.C. Business Entity Search: DC Secretary of State
  10. Florida Business Entity Search: Florida Secretary of State
  11. Georgia Business Entity Search: Georgia Secretary of State
  12. Hawaii Business Entity Search: Hawaii Secretary of State
  13. Idaho Business Entity Search: Idaho Secretary of State
  14. Illinois Business Entity Search: Illinois Secretary of State
  15. Indiana Business Entity Search: Indiana Secretary of State
  16. Iowa Business Entity Search: Iowa Secretary of State
  17. Kansas Business Entity Search: Kansas Secretary of State
  18. Kentucky Business Entity Search: Kentucky Secretary of State
  19. Louisiana Business Entity Search: Louisiana Secretary of State
  20. Maine Business Entity Search: Maine Secretary of State
  21. Maryland Business Entity Search: Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
  22. Massachusetts Business Entity Search: Massachusetts Secretary of State
  23. Michigan Business Entity Search: LARA, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
  24. Minnesota Business Entity Search: Minnesota Secretary of State
  25. Mississippi Business Entity Search: Mississippi Secretary of State
  26. Missouri Business Entity Search: Missouri Secretary of State
  27. Montana Business Entity Search: Montana Secretary of State
  28. Nebraska Business Entity Search: Nebraska Secretary of State
  29. Nevada Business Entity Search: Nevada Secretary of State
  30. New Hampshire Business Entity Search: New Hampshire Secretary of State
  31. New Jersey Business Entity Search: New Jersey Department of the Treasury
  32. New Mexico Business Entity Search: New Mexico Secretary of State
  33. New York Business Entity Search: New York Department of State
  34. North Carolina Business Entity Search: North Carolina Secretary of State
  35. North Dakota Business Entity Search: North Dakota Secretary of State
  36. Ohio Business Entity Search: Ohio Secretary of State
  37. Oklahoma Business Entity Search: Oklahoma Secretary of State
  38. Oregon Business Entity Search: Oregon Secretary of State
  39. Pennsylvania Business Entity Search: Pennsylvania Secretary of State
  40. Rhode Island Business Entity Search: Rhode Island Secretary of State
  41. South Carolina Business Entity Search: South Carolina Secretary of State
  42. South Dakota Business Entity Search: South Dakota Secretary of State
  43. Tennessee Business Entity Search: Tennessee Secretary of State
  44. Texas Business Entity Search: Texas Secretary of State
  45. Utah Business Entity Search: Division of Corporations and Commercial Code
  46. Vermont Business Entity Search: Vermont Secretary of State
  47. Virginia Business Entity Search: Virginia State Corporation Commission
  48. Washington Business Entity Search: Washington Secretary of State
  49. West Virginia Business Entity Search: West Virginia Secretary of State
  50. Wisconsin Business Entity Search: Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
  51. Wyoming Business Entity Search: Wyoming Secretary of State

 

Christina​ Morales

Christina Morales graduated from California State University, Sacramento with her B.A. in History and her credentials in secondary education. After teaching high school for several years, she started her own freelance business. She combined her love of creating content with her fascination of technology and since then has had the privilege of writing for a vast array of companies in the business, law, app, cloud computing, and marketing industries. When Christina isn’t writing, you can find her reading on her Kindle, watching HGTV or the Food Network, or crafting with her two little girls.