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How to Perform an Illinois Business Search

Illinois Business Search

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In 2021, Illinois set a new record of almost 200,000 new businesses formed in that year. The state saw 69% more business startups in 2021 compared to 2019, which meant the pandemic actually spurred these endeavors.

If you’ve been wondering about excellent opportunities, then Illinois is somewhere promising to start. Already know what industry you want to get into? Then the next step is to choose the ideal company name.

In this article, we’ll show you how to perform an Illinois business search. That way, you can pick something special that’s also exclusive.

The IL SOS business search page is what you’ll use to find out if a name’s taken or not. Fortunately, it’s very simple to use, as all you’ll have to do is fill out the box labeled “Search for.” You should also click either “Name” or “Key word.”

To ensure that your search is thorough, you should click the option for “Partial word.” This will give you results for business names that aren’t quite the same, but are similar enough that there may be confusion with consumers.

The default option is to search both corporate and LLC names. However, you can change it to just corporate or LLC if you already know which type of business you’d like to form. We suggest you keep it on the default choice though, as it’ll give you a more comprehensive search.

Ideally, you’d like the results to be blank. This means your desired company name is free for use, so you can move forward with business registration. Business registration is a service we at Business Anywhere provide so you can offload the hard work and focus on your building your business instead.

The Results Explained

After you’ve put in the necessary information, the Secretary of State’s website will then display the following:

  • File number
  • Entity type
  • Entity name
  • Entity status
  • Registered effective date
  • Registered agent

If you want to learn more about any business, just click on the entity name and you’ll see more details. For example, you can view the company’s managing owner, its parent LLC (if applicable), any previous names used, and assumed names, such as “doing business as” (DBA) names.

You don’t always have to search by business name. If you suspect someone has a company name you want, and you have their details, you can use these on the SOS website too.

For example, you can search by:

  • Registered agent
  • President
  • Secretary
  • File number

The file number is a unique eight-digit number that every entity gets from the state of Illinois. Do note that if you use this search function, you can’t search both LLCs and corporations simultaneously.

The Secretary of State’s site also has a trademark search tool. You’re not required to use this function, but it can give you extra peace of mind.

There are three ways to search: registration number, name of mark, or registrant. If you choose “registration number,” then you don’t need to proceed with the second step on this page. Otherwise, choose to search either by name (exact) or partial name.

After entering your search term in step 3, you’ll then get a page of results if your desired name’s taken.

Do an Illinois Business Search Before Starting a Company

You may have a great venture in mind, but make sure you do everything right before rushing into things. For one, you’ll need a distinct and memorable name, both for legal and marketing reasons.

By doing an Illinois business search as we’ve detailed in this article, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the name you select is untaken. From there, you’ll be able to proceed with business formation smoothly.
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About Author

Picture of Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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