Last updated: November 29, 2022

If you are looking to start a business, you must choose a name for your company. The North Carolina Business Services website offers an online name search tool to help you find the perfect name for your business.

The online business name search tool will provide a list of all businesses with the same or similar name as your business. It will also show the county where each business is located.

If your business entity search yields a company with the same or similar name as your business, you will need to choose a different name for your company.

You can also contact the Secretary of State to determine if the business is registered in North Carolina.

The process itself is simple, but there are some things you should know before you start with your business search type.

This guide will show you some business name search tips and how easy it can be to look up an LLC in North Carolina.

How to Search for Business Names?

A woman conducting a North Carolina business name search

If you're looking for information on a specific business name with or without the physical address, the best place to start is with the Secretary of State's website.

Their website offers a variety of resources that can help you conduct your search type, including:

  • A business name search tool
  • Registered business name list
  • Corporation and limited liability company (LLC) filings
  • Annual report

The business name search tool is the most comprehensive of the three, as it allows you to search by business name, entity type, or city.

You can also specify whether you're looking for a specific keyword or phrase, such as the entity name.

North Carolina Business Structure Naming Considerations

When starting an LLC in North Carolina, one of the initial decisions you'll need to make is the structure of your company. This will determine your business entity name, so it's important to choose wisely.

The most common business structures are:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • LLC

Your business name will be different depending on the structure you choose. If you're unsure which business structure is right for you, you should consult with an attorney.

They can help you determine the best structure for your business.

Your attorney may also be able to assist you in choosing a business name that complies with business name law, mainly if it's different from your legal name, like a fictitious business name.

Reserve Your North Carolina Business Entity Name

Woman using gadgets at the same time

If you're starting a business, you'll need to reserve your business name with the state. You can do this online through a business name search or by mail.

To reserve your business name online, visit the Business Registration Division website and create an account for your entity name.

Once you've created an account, you can reserve your business name by following these steps:

  1. Go to the business registration website, create an account, or log in to your existing account.
  2. Click "Browse for business entities" under the Business tab at the left. Then choose one of these business types: Professional Corporations (limited liability company); Limited partnership; Sole proprietorship; or General business (for other existing businesses).
  3. Click the business name you want to reserve.
  4. On the business information page, click "Reserve this business name."
  5. Follow the instructions to complete your business name reservation.

Follow North Carolina Naming Guidelines

Business entity owners should follow North Carolina's guidelines for the names of new companies to ensure they comply with all rules and regulations.

Although North Carolina businesses can use some assumed business names without getting approval, others require registration to get a business license.

Reserving a company name before launch ensures that no one else has assumed it and prevents potential legal problems in the future.

Operating under an assumed business name without proper registration can also lead to fines and other penalties.

Business owners should research the rules and regulations for naming their companies to ensure a smooth launch.

By following the state's guidelines, business owners can avoid potential legal problems and ensure their company operates within the law.

FAQs

How Do I Check the Status of My LLC in NC?

There are a few ways to check the status of your LLC in North Carolina. You can visit the North Carolina Secretary of State's website, call the state's office, or use an online service.

The easiest way to check the status of your LLC is to visit the Secretary of State's website. You can search for your LLC by name or file number on their website. Once you find your LLC, the website will provide information about the status of the LLC.

How Do I Check to See if a Business Name Is Available in NC?

You can check the availability of a business name in North Carolina by visiting the Secretary of State website.

You can search for a business name by name or file number on their website. Once you find your business, the website will provide information about the availability of the name and how to start an LLC in North Carolina.

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