Minnesota Entity Name Search

Minnesota Business Name Search (December 2023)

We explain how to conduct a Minnesota business entity name search using the resources of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.

Additionally, we’ll underscore the significance of cross-referencing your chosen name with existing trademarks registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Minnesota Entity Name Search (Summary)

Minnesota business entity name search

To search for business name availability in the state of Minnesota, follow these steps:
  1. Visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website dedicated to business services: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/.
  2. On the website, locate the “Business Filings” section and click on it.
  3. From the options provided, select “Search for a Business Name.”
  4. You will be redirected to the “Business Entity Search” page. Enter the desired business name in the search field provided.
  5. Click on the “Search” button to initiate the search process.
  6. The search results will display any existing businesses with similar names or any potential conflicts with the name you entered.
  7. Review the results to see if the desired business name is available. If no conflicts or matches are found, the name is likely available.

Note: It’s important to conduct a thorough search using various keywords and variations to ensure the availability of your preferred business name.

Here’s the link to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s business services website: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/

What is a Minnesota Business Entity?

Minnesota business entity

A Minnesota business entity refers to a business that is legally recognized and registered to operate within the state of Minnesota. The process and regulations for establishing and running a business entity in Minnesota are overseen by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

Like in other states, there are several types of business entities that can be established in Minnesota, including:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest form of business structure, owned and operated by one person. The owner is personally liable for the business’s debts and obligations.
  2. Partnership: A partnership can be a general partnership, limited partnership (LP), or limited liability partnership (LLP). It involves two or more people sharing the profits and losses of a business.
  3. Corporation: A corporation is a separate legal entity owned by shareholders. It can be a for-profit (C corporation or S corporation) or a nonprofit organization. Corporations have more strict regulations and reporting requirements compared to other business structures.
  4. Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a hybrid structure that combines the personal liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and operational flexibility of a partnership.
  5. Cooperatives: In Minnesota, another option is forming a cooperative, which is owned and operated for the mutual benefit of those using its services.

The process of creating a business entity in Minnesota typically involves choosing a business name, filing the appropriate formation documents with the Minnesota Secretary of State, and paying any necessary filing fees.

A Minnesota Secretary of State Business Search is performed to find specific information on Minnesota’s business entities or to determine if a name you would like to use.

Minnesota Secretary of State Business Search

Man with a laptop doing a Minnesota business name search

A Minnesota Secretary of State business search can be done to find specific information on Minnesota business entities or to check if a name you are interested in using is available. When searching the Minnesota business database, you can search by name or file number.

When you search for entities, the information you will receive includes the filing history of the company, a Certificate of Good Standing and any other details that are publicly available.

Minnesota Business Entity Search

A business entity search can be done by anyone. This is something you might do if:

  • Business owner, or aspiring business owner
  • Customer
  • An affiliate

All publicly available information is possible to find if you use the right search criteria. You can use the business search function to find Certificates of Good Standing and pay $15.00 for the Certificate.

Name Searching

  1. Visit the Minnesota Secretary Of State’s website.
  2. Select the “Business Name” tab on the search page.
  3. Click “Search” and enter the name you wish to search. You will see a page with results matching your search criteria.
  4. Click the Details link next to the result that interests you to learn more about the entity.

All details regarding the business that you are checking will be made available. This includes all information publicly available about the filing history of the business as well as details about the Certificate of Good Standing.

Search by File Number

If you’d prefer, you can search by file number. This is a more efficient search method.

  1. Choose the File Number tab in the Search Business Filings section at the top of your search box.
  2. Enter the file number, and click “Search.”
  3. You’ll get one match result as long as the file number is entered correctly.

The detailed information for each business entity will be displayed to you. You will also have access to the filing history of the company and its Certificates of Good Standing.

Searching for a Business Name

Searching for a business name requires only a portion of the name. You can search only a portion of the entity name if there is no match for your business name. You can also use the options below the search bar to perform a more thorough search.

  • Search Scope: You’ll only see results for companies whose names begin with the exact words that you have entered if you choose the “Begins With” tab. You’ll only get results for companies whose names match your entered words if you choose “Contains”.
  • Filing Status: Search results will only show active company names if you select “Active”. Selecting “Inactive” will only show names that are currently inactive.
  • Include Prior Names: This section shows only results for the most recent names. If you choose “Include”, the database will show results for all company names, regardless of whether they are active or prior.

Cost to File a New Nonprofit or Business in Minnesota

These are the costs to file a new nonprofit or business:

  • Assumed Title – $50
  • Business Corporation, Limited-Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership(Domestic), Limited-Liability Partnership – $155
  • Business Corporation, Cooperative (Foreign), $220
  • Cooperative (Domestic), Cooperative Association $80
  • Limited Liability Company (Foreign), – $205
  • Limited Partnership, (Domestic), Limited Partner (Foreign), $120
  • Name Reservation – $55
  • Nonprofit Corporation (Domestic), $90
  • Nonprofit Corporation (Foreign) – $70

More information will result in more accurate results. When searching for a business name to find out if it is available, be sure to follow the state’s guidelines when creating a business entity. Minnesota, like other states, has its own rules regarding company names.

You can’t check for availability of certain company names online, so it is best to call the office or visit them in person.

Additional Steps

1. Trademark Search

MN Entity Name Trademark Search

When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.

To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.

2. Choose a Registered Agent

After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.

3. Check if the Domain Name is Available

To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
  2. In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
  3. Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
  4. If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.

It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.

Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.

4. Check if Social Media Name is Available

To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
  2. Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
  3. If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
  4. If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
  5. It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.

5. Register Minnesota Business Entity

When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Minnesota will either approve your business name or reject it.

If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.

6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.

Here’s how you can get an EIN:

  1. Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
  2. Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
  3. Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
  4. Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.

Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.

7. Create a Brand Logo

Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
  2. Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
  3. Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
  4. Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
  5. Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
  6. Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Search on Fiverr for logo designs. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
  7. Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
  8. Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
  9. Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.

8. Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:

  1. Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
  2. Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
  3. Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
  4. Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
  5. Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
  6. Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.

Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:

  1. Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
  2. SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
  3. Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
  4. LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
  5. Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.

9. Open a Business Bank Account in Minnesota

A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.

Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.

To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:

  1. Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
  2. Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
  3. EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
  4. Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.

Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.

To learn more about starting a business and proper filing procedures, as well as obtaining the right forms, you can visit the Secretary of States website.



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