Your business name is much more than words, it’s a deep well of ideas about your LLC. It conveys personality, purpose, values, and services.
In selecting a name, you’re molding your customers’ first impression, directing their initial thoughts. You don’t want your business’ identity mixed up with anyone else’s, and neither does the state.
So after you’ve brainstormed, collaborated, and narrowed down your perfect name, you’ll want to make sure that it’s not already taken. How? By performing a business name search through your state government.
This guide will explore the nuances of name search procedures so that you can confirm that the name you fell in love with is yours and yours alone.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect name for your LLC, be sure to secure the domain name for it as well. Register it quickly with GoDaddy so that nobody can take it.
Why Should I Perform an LLC Name Search?
Name searches are a quick and easy way to confirm some important aspects of your LLC’s formation. First and foremost, it will determine whether your name is unique and wholly distinguishable from all other businesses in the state.
No two business entities in any state are allowed to have the same name ― or even names that are deemed deceivingly similar ― so you’ll want to see if your desired name is available before you get too hung up on it. If you’re not ready to form your LLC quite yet, you can always reserve the name for later use.
Just to be safe, you should multiple name ideas for your business. This way, if your favorite is taken, simply move on to the next one down the list. Every state has online business name searches available, so the process really couldn’t be much easier.
These search functions serve multiple purposes, though. They’re not just for name availability. You can also use them to find information on existing businesses. Let’s say you need to contact a corporation about a potential partnership or maybe even a lawsuit. You can find its contact and registered agent information through the search tool.
Outside of the state-sponsored name search, you should consider searching online to determine if the corresponding domain name is available. If it’s already taken, you’ll have to head back to the drawing board and get creative. But even if your first-choice URL is off the table, there will likely be other options for you if you try different words or phrases.
Want info directly for your state? Check out our comprehensive state guides below on how to do an LLC name search in all 50 states
My Name Is Available. Now What?
Your name search came back and – big sigh of relief – your desired name is available. It’s ripe for the taking. You have two options to lock it down right away.
If your LLC is ready to go, simply file your Articles of Organization using that name and it will be automatically registered. But if you still have some details to sort out before officially forming your business, most states will let you file for a name reservation, which will hold your name for a designated amount of time.
Each state has different name reservation requirements, so check out our in-depth guide for your state before moving forward.
How Do I Perform an LLC Name Search in My State?
Most of the time, you’ll find a state’s name search tool on its Secretary of State website, but sometimes it can be buried among the site’s many other pages. But don’t fret, because we just made the process a lot easier for you by linking them all right here! Just click on your state to access its name search.
While the business name availability search might not be the most complicated aspect of the limited liability company formation process, it is vitally important.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you should never get too focused on one name until you have that name registered for your LLC. If you have a name that you like, but you’re not ready to form your LLC yet, you can always reserve it with your state government so that it’s still available when you need it.
We hope this guide answered your questions about LLC name searches, and we wish you the best of luck in your business future!