1. LLC Name Search and Name Requirements
2. Searching the Business Name Database

An MN LLC lookup is a way to search for public information on existing LLCs in Minnesota, as well as check the availability of an LLC name you want to use.

LLC Name Search and Name Requirements

You must first make sure the LLC name you want to use in Minnesota is available, and a name search will give you this information. 

LLC names have to be unique and adhere to specific requirements. You must include a designator at the end of your LLC name, such as LLC or L.L.C., which stand for limited liability company. LLC is the most commonly used designator.

You can't use the words Incorporated or corporation in your LLC name because an LLC isn't a corporation. You also can't use abbreviations for those words, i.e., inc. or corp.

Your LLC name has to be unique and different from all existing business entity names in the state. Grammatical differences and different designators don't create distinguishability. 

The following are examples of differences that don't constitute distinguishability in LLC names

  • L.L.C. vs. LLC 
  • Singular, plural, or possessive word forms 
  • Articles such as a, an, or the
  • Punctuation, such as periods, hyphens, commas, etc. 
  • Digits vs. numbers in written form, i.e. four vs. 4

Searching the Business Name Database

A basic business search may be done for any number of reasons, and business owners, affiliates, and even inquisitive consumers can conduct a search. When done correctly, a name search will yield a business's publicly available information. You can also obtain a Certificate of Good Standing for a business using this search. The fee to acquire the certificate is $15.

You can search the business database using a name or file number.

To search by name, visit the Business Entities Search page. In the Business Name box, enter the LLC name you're searching for. Maximize your results by choosing 100 in the Results per Page menu.

You can omit the following, as they're not needed: 

  • Designators at the end of the name 
  • Punctuation 
  • Capitalization 

To conduct the most thorough search, only enter the first one or two words of a business name. This way, you'll see all results that are potentially similar. For example, if you want to use the LLC name Strawberry Hill Jam LLC, simply enter strawberry hill. You can enter only part of the first word for even more results. For example, if your desired business name is Polishing Shoes LLC, just enter polish.

Click Search to see a list of existing businesses. Click the Details link next to any specific entity to go to the information page for it. You'll have access to all public information about the entity, including its filing history and Certificate of Good Standing.

If the LLC name you want shows up in the list in the exact way you want to use it, it's unavailable. You'll either have to come up with a brand new name or create a variation on the name that makes it unique. You also won't be able to use a name if the results show one or more that are deceptively similar. Again, you'll have to choose another name altogether or create a variation that makes it distinguishable.

As long as you get results that aren't too similar to the name you wish to use, yours is unique and available. The easiest way to see if your desired name is distinguishable is if you get the message “Sorry, no results,” showing that no results match your search criteria.

You can also search by file number by entering it in the search box and clicking Search. This is a much more specific way to search. As long as you entered the number correctly, you'll go straight to the information page for the entity matching that number. 

The secretary of state website provides a lot of invaluable information for residents, business owners, and aspiring business owners. You can conduct a business name search for specific reasons, and one of the most important is to ensure the LLC name you want to use is available. That's a key first step toward forming your own business.

If you need help with an LLC name search in Minnesota or another state, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.