The first thing you need to do after deciding to open up a business in Missouri is to choose a suitable name for your business that meets Missouri Naming Guidelines set by the state.
Bear in mind that you can’t just pick any name you want as your business name also needs to be distinguishable from other businesses registered in the state. This means that no two businesses in Missouri can have the same name.
Why Is Performing a Missouri LLC Name Search Important?
So how do you ensure that your company name isn’t already taken up by another company? One of the best ways to check this is to run a Missouri business entity search.
The Missouri LLC name search allows business owners to check all registered business entities in the state to verify if their desired business name is taken up by another entity or not. Running a Missouri LLC name search before filing for your LLC formation application will significantly reduce the chances of your application getting rejected.
Missouri Naming Guidelines
As mentioned in the section above, every business owner must choose a company name that meets the naming guidelines set by the state of Missouri. Here are a few important points to keep in mind when coming up with a Missouri LLC name:
- 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 your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc)
- Restricted words such as Bank, Attorney, and University may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual such as a doctor or a lawyer to be part of your LLC.
Using Comma in LLC Name
Missouri state allows business entities to register their company name with or without a comma. For example, if you’re planning to name our Missouri LLC “Jazz Jewellery”, you can file your Missouri business entity with either following names:
Jazz Jewellery LLC
Jazz Jewellery, LLC
Missouri LLC Name Must Be Distinguishable
Yes, this is a very important point for business owners. Missouri business names must be distinguishable upon the records of the Missouri Secretary of State. This means that your business cannot have the same name as another entity registered in Missouri. One way to check if your desired company name is available is to run a Missouri LLC name search.
Missouri LLC Name Search
The Missouri Secretary of State maintains records of business entities registered in Missouri and it is available for the public to use. You can therefore make sure of the Missouri Business Name Search function to check the availability of your desired business name before forming your limited liability company. The Missouri Corporations and LLCs are searchable with the following criteria:
- Entity Name
- Charter Number
- Registration Date
- Registered Agent
The Business Name search option is the most often used method when running a Missouri business entity search online. It’s also very easy to check as all you need to do is to type in your desired company name into the search bar and click on “Search” for the site to present you with a list of names related to the one you’ve entered.
You don’t need to include phrases like LLC, Corp, or other naming designations as the website will extract the names for every type of entity (except sole proprietorships or partnerships) available in its database. To perform an entity name search, simply follow the steps below:
- Enter the name of the desired company name in the search bar.
Click on “Search.”
- Missouri website also offers additional filter options that allow the public to search by Active vs Inactive businesses.
The Missouri Secretary of State will issue every Missouri corporation/entity with a charter number during incorporation. The public can use the charter number to search for a Missouri business by entering the business charter numer in the search bar and clicking on the “Search” button.
Registration Date and Agent
Another method that you can use to search for businesses on the Missouri business entity is to search by the business’ registration date or registered agent. You just need to enter the registration date or registration agent into the search bar and the site will generate relevant entities based on your input.
Missouri Business Name Status Search
Many new businesses are being registered every day in Missouri. Hence it is completely understandable for business owners to struggle with choosing a suitable company name that’s also distinguishable from other entites. One useful trick to overcome this problem is to run a search through the Missouri Business Entity Database for inspiration or look for expired names that you can use for your business.
For example, if you want to open up a jewellery shop, just type the name “jewellery” into the search field and the site will generate a list of business entities with the name “jewelry” in it along with its status. From there you can look through all business entity names available and you might even possibly find an expired name that’s perfect for your business.
However, if you do find a suitable name, we recommended that you give the Missouri Secretary of State’s office a call to confirm the name’s availability before filing your LLC.
Another point to keep in mind is that just because the name you want is available according to the Missouri business entity database, it doesn’t mean you can register that name for your business. The name might have a trademark associated with it, which is why you should also run a trademark search of your Missouri business name.
Taking a few minutes of your time to run a trademark search will avoid costly litigation in the future.
On the other hand, just because another entity has trademarked your desired Missouri entity name doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot use it anymore. It’s important for you to have a look at who is using the name, what industry they’re in, as well as where they’re located so that you do not inadvertently infringe on another’s intellectual property rights.
Here are a few steps involved in performing a trademark search:
- Search state trademark records with the Missouri Business Entity Search organized by entity type to see if your desired business name, slogan, and others are being used by another entity in your state.
- Search the US Patent and Trademark Office’s electronic records to check that your desired business name, slogan, and others are not associated with any federally registered trademarks.
Reserving Missouri Business Entity Name
After performing the business name search and trademark search, the next thing you can do is to reserve that name before someone else takes it. Missouri Secretary of State Business Services Division handles all LLC naming questions and requests including name reservation.
You can then submit a name reservation form to them to have your desired name reserved for 60 days. In the event your LLC is not formed by the end of 60 days, you may renew the reservation with the state by up to 2 times with a 60 day period.
You can file your name reservation either online or by mail. To reserve a business name online, you will need to create an online account. Once you have created an account and are logged in, find the link that says “Create a New Entity.” and select “Name Reservation” in the drop-down menu.
Filing Fee: $25
Attn: Corporations Division
P.O. Box 778
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Other Considerations – What To Do Next
After reserving your desired business name, you are ready to proceed with other considerations before officially registering your LLC with that name:
Check Domain Name Availability
It is important for businesses to maintain an online presence – something that many business owners are beginning to understand. This is why more and more businesses have their own websites. In fact, almost everyone would expect a company to have a website.
Considering the number of businesses available, domain names with six or fewer letters are mostly taken up by others and you’ll therefore need to rely on your creativity to come up with a unique website name that customers can easily search for.
Business owners can rely on sites like Namechkr or GoDaddy to check for available domain names as these tools can even suggest alternative names in case your desired name is already taken up.
Another point to know is that while the .com domain extension is most commonly used, it is not the only extensio available. Other extensions like .co, .net, and .io are also slowly gaining popularity as more and more businesses use these domain extensions. So you can also consider using these domains should your desired name is already taken up with the .com domain extension.
Check Social Media Name Availability
Aside from having a company website, businesses should also consider having a social media page for their business. Many customers often run a quick search on Yelp or Google Review just to see what others are saying about the business. This is why it’s important for businesses to maintain a good social media presence online.
Here are a few tips to maintain a good Missouri business entity social media:
- You should open an account and maintain a strong social media presence even if you think that your business is small. A strong social media presence can help businesses boost organic traffic online, attract potential customers and even build awareness among the community.
- A social media account will require a unique social media handle for customers to search for online. When choosing a handle, it is recommended that you check if your desired handle is available across different sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, so that you can use the same handle for multiple platforms. If you do find that your desired social media handle is still available, it might be best for you to quickly register an account so that others won’t take it before you do.
- You can either check your desired social media name on each major site one by one or you can rely on the Namechkr tool to run the search across all platforms at once to save you time.
Register Your Missouri Business Entity
After checking the Missouri business entity database, trademark, domain, and social media handle, you can proceed to register your business entity with the state.
While it is possible to file your LLC on your own, you will need to be prepared for all of paperwork involved which could be extremely tedious. This is why many businesses hire companies like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to take care of all the necessary fillings involved with filling their LLC.
Register Company Tax ID/EIN with the IRS
After registering your business entity, the next thing you’ll need to do is to register your company tax ID with the IRS for tax purposes. The company tax ID is also known as EIN and consists of a nine-digit number that you can treat like a business’ social security number. The process of EIN registration is quite straightforward and can be performed online on your own.
Open a Business Bank Account
Following that, you’ll need to set up your business bank account. While it is entirely possible to use your personal account for business transactions – which is what many smaller businesses do, this practice is not encouraged.
It’s always best to split personal and business finances to avoid any suspicions of wrongdoings. Not only that, but having a business bank account can help you build business credibility which comes in handy when applying for business loans in the future.
Setup an Email Account
Most businesses need an email account for communication purposes. Not only that, but social media platforms also require an email address to register an account with them. This is why it is important for businesses to get a business email account. Fortunately, you can easily get a ‘@yourcompany’ email address set up for as low as $6 per month with Google Workspace.
One of the first steps of creating an LLC is to come up with a suitable business name. Once you’ve decided on a preferred name, you can run it through Missouri’s Business Entity Search to check if the name is available.
Next, you might also want to check and secure your domain and social media name for customers to find you easily online. Now that your company name is secured, you are ready to take the next steps to formalize your LLC.
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.