Looking to open up your business in Montana? Before registering your LLC, you will need to first choose a suitable name for your business that meets the Montana Naming Guidelines set by the state.
Not only that, but you also need to make sure that the business name you pick is distinguishable from other businesses registered in Montana. Our article today will talk about the steps you can take to perform a name availability search as well as other important factors to look at when setting up a limited liability company.
Why Is Performing a Montana Business Search Important?
One of the best ways for business owners to check that their desired name isn’t already taken up by another company is by running a Montana business entity search.
The Montana business 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 Montana business search before filing for your LLC formation application will significantly reduce the chances of your application getting rejected.
Montana 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 Montana. Here are a few important points to keep in mind when coming up with a Montana 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
Montana state allows business entities to register their company name with or without a comma. For example, if you’re planning to name our Montana LLC “Pet Boutique”, you can file your Montana entity with either following names:
Pet Boutique LLC
Pet Boutique, LLC
Montana LLC Name Must Be Distinguishable
A very important point for business owners to note is that the company name they choose must be distinguishable upon the records of the Montana Secretary of State. This means that your business cannot have the same name as another entity registered in Montana. One way to check if your desired company name is available is to run a Montana LLC name search.
Montana LLC Name Search
The Montana Secretary of State maintains records of business entities registered in Montana and it is available for the public to use. You can therefore make use of the Montana Business Name Search function to check the availability of your desired company name before forming your LLC. The Montana Corporations and LLCs are searchable with the following criteria:
- Entity Name
- Filing Number
- Registered Agent
The Entity Name search option is the most commonly used method when running a Montana business search online. This method is also very easy to use as all you need to do is type in your desired company name into the search bar and click on “Search” for the site to generate 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 when running the search 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.”
Montana website also offers additional filter options that allow the public to search by Active vs Inactive businesses.
Another search method to perform the Montana business seach is through the filling number. Just enter the business filling number in the search bar and click on the “Search” button.
Another method that you can use to search for businesses on the Montana business entity is to search by the business’ registration agent. You just need to enter the registration agent into the search bar and the site will generate relevant entities based on your input.
Montana Business Status Search
New businesses are being registered every day in Montana. Hence it is completely understandable if you struggly to choose a suitable company name that’s also distinguishable from other entities. One useful trick to overcome this problem is to run a search through the Montana 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 flower shop, just type the name “flower” into the search field and the site will generate a list of business entities with the name “flower” in it along with its status.
From there you can look through all Montana business entity names available and you might even possibly find an expired name that’s perfect for your Montana business. However, if you do find a suitable name, we recommended that you give the Montana Secretary of State’s office a call to confirm the name’s availability before filing your LLC.
Another important step to do is to run a trademark search on your desired company name. This is because your desired company name may have a trademark associated with it eventhough it’s available on the Montana entity database. Taking a few moments to run a trademark search for your desired name will help you avoid costly litigation in the future.
On the other hand, just because another entity has trademarked your desired Montana company 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 Montana 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.
- Also run a search through 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 Montana Entity Name
After you’ve checked your name’s availability on the Montana Business Database and Trademark Database, the next thing to do is to reserve that name to prevent someone else from taking it before you register your LLC. Montana 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 120 days. Unfortunately, Montana LLC name reservations are non-renewable.
You can file your name reservation can only be filed online. You can only reserve your name after creating an account and logging in. When reserving the name, you will need to pay a filling fee for service. There are also optional fees for expedited services.
Fee: $10 standard, $20 24-hour expedited, $100 1-hour expedited.
Other Considerations – What To Do Next
After reserving your desired business name, you are ready to proceed with other considerations before officially registering your Montana LLC:
Check Domain Name Availability
Many business owners are starting to realise how crucial it is for companies to have an internet presence. Due to this, an increasing number of companies establish their own websites. Actually, almost everyone would assume that a business would have a website.
Given the variety of businesses out there, domain names with six or less letters are typically already taken, so you’ll need to use your imagination to come up with a distinctive website name that visitors can simply search for.
In order to check for available domain names, business owners can rely on websites like Namechkr or GoDaddy. These tools can even propose alternate names in the event that the desired name is already taken.
Another thing to be aware of is that, although being the most popular, there are other domain extensions besides.com. As more companies utilise these domain extensions, other extensions like.co,.net, and.io are also gradually gaining popularity.
In the event that your preferred name is already registered with the.com domain extension, you might also think about utilising these domains.
Check Social Media Name Availability
Businesses should think about creating a social media presence for their firm in addition to having a website for their organisation. Many clients will quickly check the company’s name on Yelp or Google Reviews to see what others are saying about it. This is why it’s critical for companies to keep up a strong online social media presence.
Here are a few tips to maintain a good Montana business social media:
- Even if you believe that your company is modest, you still need to create an account and keep up a robust social media presence. Businesses can increase their organic web traffic, draw in new clients, and even raise brand awareness by having a strong social media presence.
- A distinct social media handle is necessary for a social media account so that users can find it online. It is advised that you check the availability of your preferred handle on several websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, while choosing one so that you can use it across various platforms. It could be ideal for you to immediately open an account if your preferred social media handle is still accessible so that other users don’t claim it before you.
- You can either use the Namechkr tool to do the search across all platforms at once to save time, or you can verify your preferred social media name on each major website one at a time.
Register Your Montana Entity
You can proceed to register your company entity with the state after validating your trademark, domain, social media handle, and the Montana business entity database. While you are able to register your LLC on your own, you must be ready for the extensive amount of documentation that may be required.
This is why a lot of organisations utilise firms like ZenBusiness, Incfile, and Northwest Registered Agent to handle all the paperwork required to set up 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
The next step is to register your company tax ID with the IRS for tax purposes after registering your business organisation. The corporate tax ID, commonly known as the EIN, is a nine-digit number that you can think of as the social security number for a corporation. EIN registration is a simple process that you may complete on your own by going online.
Setup an Email Account
The majority of businesses require an email account for communication. Additionally, creating an account on social networking networks requires a valid email address. This is why setting up a corporate email account is crucial for companies. Fortunately, Google Workspace makes it simple to set up a @yourcompany email address for as little as $6 per month.
Finding an appropriate business name is one of the initial steps in forming an LLC. When you’ve chosen your preferred name, you may use Montana’s Business Entity Search to see if it’s already taken.
To make it easier for people to locate you online, you might also want to examine and secure your domain name and social media handles. You are prepared to take the next steps to formally establish your LLC now that your business name has been registered.
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.