How to Search Available Business Names in Minnesota

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Quick Reference

Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity the Minnesota Secretary of State website has the information you are looking for.

The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information on sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and LLCs registered in Minnesota. 

There is no fee to search the database.

What information can be looked up?

The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
  • Filing Date – 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’s information – A Registered Agent in Minnesota 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 or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.  
  • Names of the Registered Agent (s)

How to do a Minnesota Business Name Search

Visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field.  In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order” and then click “Search”.

How to do a Business Name Search in Minnesota

Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Lawn & Order”.  To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Minnesota, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. 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”.

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. 

How do I form an LLC?

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 an Minnesota LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

While not required in Minnesota, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.

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

After forming the LLC, Minnesota business licenses and permits may still be necessary.