Are you prepared to leave your mark on the dynamic business scene of Minnesota? The initial crucial milestone in establishing your brand and ensuring legal operation is registering a business name in Minnesota.
Regardless of whether you choose an LLC, corporation, or trade name, we’re here to guide the entire registration procedure. Need professional support?
Consider ZenBusiness for a streamlined registration journey that allows you to concentrate on expanding your enterprise. Let us embark on this exhilarating entrepreneurial venture amidst the abundant lakes of the Land of 10,000!
4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in Minnesota
Registering your business name in Minnesota is a crucial move toward establishing your entrepreneurial presence in the state. To help you with this procedure, we’ve outlined four straightforward steps to register your business name in Minnesota officially.
Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in Minnesota
Selecting the appropriate business framework is a pivotal decision when launching your enterprise in Minnesota. It’ll have far-reaching effects on multiple facets of your business, such as liability, taxation, and management. Now, let’s delve into the various business structures offered in Minnesota and examine how they function operationally.
In Minnesota, the most basic form of business organization is the sole proprietorship. In this structure, the owner and the business are one entity in the eyes of the law. The owner bears full responsibility for any debts or obligations incurred by the business.
Establishing a sole proprietorship is simple and entails minimal legal and administrative procedures. Although it’s not obligatory to register a sole proprietorship with the state, it may be necessary to acquire local licenses or permits.
A general partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals who contribute to profits and take responsibility for losses. Each partner is personally accountable for the company’s debts and legal obligations.
While registration of a general partnership with the state of Minnesota isn’t required, it may be necessary to file a “Minnesota Assumed Name Certificate” (DBA) in the county where your business operates.
Limited Partnership (LP)
A limited partnership consists of general partners who have unlimited personal liability and handle business operations, as well as limited partners who contribute capital but bear limited liability. To establish a limited partnership in Minnesota, submit a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” to the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a versatile business structure that merges the liability safeguard of a corporation with the tax advantages and ease of a partnership.
To establish an LLC in Minnesota, submit the “Articles of Organization Limited Liability Company” to the Minnesota Secretary of State and develop an Operating Agreement that outlines both the management and ownership framework of the company.
In Minnesota, there are two types of corporations recognized: C-corporations and S-corporations. These corporations offer limited liability protection to their shareholders, making them distinct legal entities separate from the owners.
To establish a corporation in Minnesota, submit either “Articles of Incorporation For-Profit Corporation” or “Articles of Incorporation Nonprofit Corporation” to the Minnesota Secretary of State. The specific filing depends on the type of business you have. Creating bylaws, issuing stock, and conducting regular board and shareholder meetings are necessary formalities for corporations.
When choosing a business structure in Minnesota, consider liability protection, taxation implications, and management requirements. If you require guidance in making this decision, seek assistance from a legal or business professional.
By selecting the appropriate business structure with care, you can lay a strong foundation for your enterprise in Minnesota. It ensures long-term growth and success for your company
Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in Minnesota
When it comes to choosing a name for your business in Minnesota, several choices are available. Depending on your specific needs and circumstances, you can opt to register a legal entity name, acquire a trademark, or operate under one name while officially registered under another. Naming regulations can vary from state to state, so familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for business registration in Minnesota.
The selection of the appropriate naming approach will depend on what best suits your business. You can pursue all three options for exclusivity or choose just one. It’s recommended to maintain consistency and use the same name across all registration methods.
Now let’s delve into the specifics of each naming option offered in Minnesota:
Legal Entity Name
In Minnesota, it’s necessary for businesses to register a legal entity name. This name is the official identification of the company according to the state. This name must be unique to protect your business from any potential disputes with other entities using the same name.
The naming laws in Minnesota also require businesses to include appropriate suffixes (such as LLC, LP, or Corp) that reflect their registered business type. To ensure that your desired name is available and not already being used, you can utilize the database provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State.
At a national level, a trademark offers protection for the name or logo of your business. To ensure the safety of your name or logo, it’s important to extensively search the USPTO database and verify that no other individual has already registered a similar trademark.
By registering a trademark, you acquire exclusivity and prohibit others from utilizing a similar name or logo for comparable products or services. This guarantees nationwide protection for your intellectual property. However, obtaining a trademark doesn’t automatically give you the right to use the name or logo in all situations.
Doing Business As (DBA)
In the state of Minnesota, it’s possible to officially register your business under one name while operating under a different name. This alternate name is referred to as a Doing Business As (DBA) name.
To establish a DBA, you will need to file an Assumed Name Certificate with the county recorder’s office in the location where your business operates. It’s important to note that while federal trademark laws protect these names, there’s no requirement for a DBA to be unique at the state level.
By understanding and carefully considering these naming options, you can successfully register your business name in Minnesota and safeguard your brand identity. Selecting a distinctive and legally compliant name is crucial in laying the groundwork for your business’s success.
Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in Minnesota
Before formally registering your business, verify the availability of the desired name. To perform a comprehensive search for business name availability in Minnesota, follow these three simple steps:
Begin by conducting a thorough search of federal trademarks to confirm that your desired business name isn’t already trademarked. It’s important to prioritize federal trademarks over state-level registrations, so verify this information upfront.
The TESS Search tool in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website can be used to perform the search. If your preferred name has already been trademarked, you will need to brainstorm and come up with an alternative name.
Minnesota Business Name Search
After ensuring that your business name isn’t already trademarked, the next step is to verify its availability within Minnesota. Use the Minnesota Search Business Filings tool to access a list of all registered business names in the state.
During your search, it’s important not only to check if your exact business name is available but also to ensure that there are no other businesses using similar names. This will help you avoid any potential confusion or conflicts with existing companies operating in the same area.
Website Domain Search
Once you have confirmed that your business name isn’t trademarked in Minnesota, check the availability of the .com domain for your business name. While not every business needs a website, it’s recommended to secure the .com domain for future use. This will allow you to maintain a consistent online presence if you decide to create a website later on.
By registering the .com version of your business name through ZenBusiness, you can ensure that only you have exclusive rights and protection over your website name. ZenBusiness offers affordable domain registration services, making it a cost-effective solution for safeguarding your business identity against potential misuse by others.
Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of Minnesota
Once you have determined the structure and name of your business, the next important task is to register it with the State of Minnesota formally. This will establish your business as a legitimate entity within the state.
- Registering a Minnesota LLC: To form your Minnesota LLC, you must submit the “Articles of Organization” to the Secretary of State in Minnesota. This filing can be done through either online or mail submission methods.
- Registering a Minnesota Corporation: To establish a Minnesota corporation, you must submit the “Articles of Incorporation” to the Secretary of State in Minnesota.
You May Also Want to Know
Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark
After ensuring that your business name is available and securing it, you can choose to apply for a trademark to safeguard your brand.
Although this procedure can be expensive, with costs typically ranging from $225 to $400 and potentially involving attorney fees, it provides nationwide protection under federal law. This offers you legal recourse if others try to use a similar name for their own businesses. However, small businesses that operate solely at a local level might not require the acquisition of a trademark.
How to File a Minnesota Fictitious Name – DBA?
To register a Minnesota Fictitious Name, which is also referred to as a Doing Business As (DBA) name, you can follow these guidelines:
- Choose a Name: Choose a one-of-a-kind and recognizable title that’s not currently being utilized by another company in the state of Minnesota.
- Search Availability: To determine if the name you have selected is accessible, perform a name inquiry on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website or utilize other accessible resources.
- Complete the Form: Get the necessary form for an “Assumed Name Certificate” from either the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website or their physical office location.
- Fill Out the Form: Please furnish the necessary details, such as your preferred fictional name, your official business name, the address of the business, and any other pertinent information.
- Notarize the Form: To obtain the Assumed Name Certificate, it’s necessary to have it notarized. You’ll need to sign the form in front of a notary public.
- Submit the Form: Submit the filled-out and notarized Assumed Name Certificate to the office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. You can do this either in person, via mail, or through online submission, depending on what options are available.
- Pay the Fee: Pay the filing fee, which can differ depending on how you file and the county where you’re submitting.
- Publish the Name: Once you have submitted your documents, certain regions may ask you to publish a notification regarding your imaginary name in a nearby newspaper. Confirm with the local authorities if this measure is mandatory.
Please be aware that the particular criteria and charges may differ depending on your geographical area and the current regulations set by the Minnesota Secretary of State. Consult with the appropriate authorities or visit their official website to obtain the most recent information and required paperwork.
How to Change the Name of a Minnesota Business?
If you choose to modify the name of your company in Minnesota, there are two ways to accomplish this:
- Assumed Name (DBA): Filing for an assumed name, commonly referred to as a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name, presents a straightforward approach to conducting business under an alternate name while keeping the legal name intact. This method is used by sole proprietorships, general partnerships, as well as LLCs and corporations, aiming to avoid any complexities associated with their legal names. It grants them the ability to utilize brand names without incorporating the mandatory “LLC” or “Inc.” suffix found in their official legal names.
- Amendment to Legal Name: If you desire to modify the official name of your LLC or corporation, the action to take is to submit an amendment for the legal name change of your current business. To make these modifications, you can access the required documents and send them via postal service along with a $35 fee for filing or complete the process online with a filing fee of $55.
Business Name Registration Laws in Minnesota
These are the main highlights concerning the regulations for registering a business name in Minnesota.
- Choosing a Name: Choose an original title for your company that meets the naming regulations in Minnesota. The chosen name shouldn’t be too similar to any existing business name and must not violate trademarks or copyrights.
- Name Availability: Check if your desired business name is available before you register. You can easily do this by searching the online database of the Minnesota Secretary of State to ensure that the name hasn’t already been taken.
- Entity Type: Choose the specific form of business organization that you wish to establish officially. Popular choices include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and others. Each type of organization carries distinct legal and tax consequences.
- Registration Process: Under the type of business entity, it may be necessary to register with various governmental organizations. For instance, with LLCs and corporations, submitting articles of organization/incorporation to the Minnesota Secretary of State is a requirement. While sole proprietorships or partnerships may not require registration, it might be necessary to file a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name with the county or state if you’re using an alternate name instead of your legal one.
- Trademarks: If you intend to utilize your company name as a trademark, it’s recommended that you officially register it with the USPTO for federal protection. This action should be taken independently of the state registration procedure.
- Professional Licensing: Certain occupations, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants, necessitate specific licenses or permits to operate lawfully. It’s crucial to adhere to all relevant licensing prerequisites.
For the most accurate and reliable information on business registration in Minnesota, it’s recommended to consult official sources or legal experts. The website of the Minnesota Secretary of State is an invaluable tool for accessing current rules and regulations.
Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in Minnesota
To put it briefly, when you register your business name in Minnesota, you embark on a gratifying journey as an entrepreneur. By choosing a distinctive name and the appropriate business structure, fulfilling all necessary registrations, and considering trademark protection or using a DBA (Doing Business As) name, you establish a solid foundation for your business.
With the assistance of LLC services such as ZenBusiness, the registration process becomes more streamlined and sets your registered business name up for success in Minnesota’s dynamic business landscape.