Why is Doing an Illinois LLC Name Search Important?
Planning to start a new business in Illinois but it’s your first time opening a company? You’ve come to the right place as we guide you through one of the most important steps of forming your LLC – choosing a business name and running an Illinois LLC name search.
But why is running a business name search important? It’s important to do a name check before applying your LLC as Illinois requires all businesses to be distinguishable, including having a unique name that’s not too similar to other businesses. Performing a business entity search will help you check whether your desired business name is available before submitting your LLC formation application.
Illinois Business Name Guidelines
The State actually sets a few naming requirements that businesses need to follow when it comes to their name. As mentioned earlier, business names must be unique and not easily confused with other businesses in Illinois.
One way to ensure that is to perform a business name check of all businesses registered in Illinois. Other than coming up with a distinguishable name, businesses also need to comply with other naming requirements below:
- Company name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.)
- Company name cannot include words that would confuse the Georgia LLC with a government agency such as the FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.
- Restricted words like Bank, Attorney, and University may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your limited liability company.
Illinois Business Name Search
One of the best ways to confirm if your preferred business name is unique and still available in Illinois is to run a business name search. It is advisable to perform a business name search before registering your LLC in order to avoid any possible rejection later due to the use of an unsuitable name. The Illinois business entity search can be conducted via the following search criteria:
- Business Name
- Business ID
- Filing Number
Illinois Entity Name
Since we’re searching for business names availability, using the name search function is obviously going to be the most commonly used method when checking for business name availability in Illinois.
All you need to do to check is to input the desired trade name into the search bar and click on Search. This will prompt the Illinois business entity database to produce a list of company names related to what you’ve keyed in.
When performing the business entity search, you do not need to add phrases like LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the Illinois entity database will produce results for all businesses regardless of entity type as long as it is registered with the state and matches what you’ve entered into the search bar.
Search by Business ID
Another way to run the entity search online is by checking and searching the company registration ID. Illinois businesses can be identified and searched on the database with their business ID and the steps involved for performing the search is the same as searching with the entity name.
But instead of keying in the name, you’ll need to type in the business ID and click on Search. The entity database will then give you a list of businesses under that ID.
Search by Filing Number
Every business in Illinois will be given a unique business ID and an associated filing number. Both of which can be used by the public to get more information on the business from the Illinois database.
The steps for searching for a business with a filling number is similar to the methods discussed above with the only difference being to key in the filing number instead of business ID or name before clicking on Search.
Illinois Business Name Search Name Status
The number of Illinois businesses is certainly not small, which makes coming up with a name slightly tricky as many names have already been taken up. One suggestion to generate ideas or if you simply can’t think of a name, is to check through the Illinois entity search site to check for any expired names that you can use for your business.
For example, if you’re planning to open up a consulting company, you can type in “Consulting” in the search bar for the state website to generate a list of business names with the word “Consulting” in it.
From there, you can check for business names that are expired. There’s a high chance you might actually come across one that fits your business. And if you do, you should give the Illinois Secretary of State a call to confirm the name’s availability before submitting the application.
If you do find out that the name you want to use for your Illinois LLC was previously unregistered with the state and is available for use, it’s still recommended that you run a trademark search before submitting the LLC application.
Running the name through the Trademark Electronic Search System is an important step to prevent possible litigation in the future. The trademark search should be conducted for your desired business name, associated slogan and logo through both Illinois trademark search and the US Patent trademark office’s electronic records just to make sure that it is not federally registered either.
Moreover, just because the name is trademarked doesn’t necessarily mean you cant use it for your limited liability company. You may still use the name but you need to be absolutely clear on who is using the name, the industry they’re in and where they’re located to avoid inadvertently infringing on another’s intellectual property rights.
Reserve Business Entity Name
Now that you’ve gone through the Illinois business entity database and confirmed your desired Illinois LLC name availability, the next thing you can do is to reserve yoru desired Illinois LLC trade name with Illinois Secretary of State so prevent others from registering the name before you do. Business names can be reserved with the Illinois Secretary of State for up to 90 days.
The name reservation must be filed by mail and you’ll also need to pay a filling fee. All checks need to be made out to the “Secretary of State.”
Fee: $25 + $50 for expedited services (optional)
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St. Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
Other Considerations and What To Do Next?
After reserving your desired name with the Illinois Secretary of State, you can proceed to check out other important considerations before officially filling your Illinois business.
Some of the considerations include running a domain name and social media handle availability check to ensure that you get full, unrestricted use of your desired Illnois business name across different platforms.
Check Domain Name Availability
Many Illinois business owners understand and acknowledge how important an online presence is for their company. Almost everyone will head to Yelp or Google Review first to check out what others are saying about the business before heading there, which is why it’s very important to not only have an online presence, but a good one.
One of the biggest ways to bring your business online is to have a company website. Before you can create a website, you’ll need to come up and decide on a suitable domain name for customers to find you easily. However, many good domain names are already taken up, especially for the .com domain extension.
Although the .com extension is the most common, it’s not the only one. Business owners can consider using other extensions like .co, .net, and .io for their website in case they find that their desired domain name is already taken up with the .com extension.
For checking domain name availability, you could use tools like Namechkr and GoDaddy to run the check for you. Not only do they help you check if your preferred domain name is available, they can also offer useful alternatives that you can consider using for your Illinois business.
Check Social Media Name Availability
An online presence is not just having a business website, you will also need to open up a social media page to connect directly with customers and for them to leave reviews. To open up a social media page, you’ll need to check if your desired social media handle is available.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when handling your business social media page:
- It’s important for businesses to have an active social media page, even if they feel that their company is still small. This is because social media is an incredibly powerful tool that connects businesses directly with their customers. This makes social media one of the best marketing tools a business can have, especially for smaller businesses with a tight budget. A properly managed social media can boost organic presence, attract potential customers, and boost awareness among the community.
- You should run social media handle availability check on different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest even if you don’t plan on opening a page yet. This is to ensure that another business is not using the same social media handle you are at another site as this could create confusion among your customers should they decide to switch to a different social media app.
- Business owners can either run a simple search across each site manually to check if their desired social media handle is available or rely on Namechkr to perform the search for them on all platforms in one go. The second method is obviously a more time-conserving method.
- If you find that your desired social media handle is available, it’s recommended that you register an account with that handle first before someone else does so. Creating an account can be done before formalizing your LLC and can help you prevent another from using the handle before you finally decide to do so.
Register Your Limited Liability Company with Illinois Secretary of State
Now that you’ve done all the necessary checks and have confirmed that your desired business entity name is available, you can proceed to file your LLC with the Secretary of State. Filling and formalizing your LLC can be done on your own but you need to be prepared for all the paperwork involved. The sheer amount of paperwork is what caused many business owners to hire companies like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to handle the filing for them while they focus on other more important things.
Register Company Tax ID/EIN with the IRS
Just like how everyone with an income needs to pay tax, a business needs to will also need to pay tax to the government. Every business will have their own unique six digit tax ID that must be registered with the IRS. You can treat the company EIN like a social security number for businesses. Fortunately, the process of registering EIN can be performed quickly online..
Create a Company Logo
Another important aspect of your company is to have a logo. In fact, some may even argue that a logo is more important than a business name. The right logo can help businesses deliver the right impression and message they want their customers to have about the business. You can use sites like Fiverr to get in touch with freelancers to help you come up with a business logo.
Open a Business Bank Account
After registering your LLC, you’ll need to head to the bank to open up a business account. Although you may know of smaller businesses using personal account to accept business transactions, we recommend for you to split personal and business finances. This step will also help you build business credibility with the banks for business loan applications in the future.
The first thing to look into before registering a business in Illinois is to first come up with a suitable business name that accurately reflects your company’s values as well as the services or products you provide.
In addition to coming up with a distinguishable business name, you’ll also need to make sure that the business name complies with Illinois naming requirements. After deciding on a trade name, you can proceed to look into other considerations such as social media, website name, formalizing your LLC and opening up a bank account.
Starting a business correctly doesn’t have to be difficult. With over 15 years of experience consulting new businesses and start ups, Matthew is probably the best person to help you set a strong foundation for your business.