Verify Your Business Name With a North Carolina Business Entity Search

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Alexis Konovodoff
Written by Alexis Konovodoff
Written byAlexis Konovodoff
Updated December 05, 2023
Edited by Zachary Ace Aiuppa
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Researching a North Carolina business name is the first step that potential business owners must complete before registering an entity. Using Swyft Filings’ business name search tool, you can make that process quicker for registration in the state of North Carolina.

Free North Carolina Business Name Search

See if your company name is available in North Carolina with our free business name search service. There is no cost or commitment on your part. We will email you within 1 hour to let you know if your name is available Alaska and how to reserve it today.

The tool checks a database for the proposed business entity names and delivers the results within an hour. This process streamlines the research process, allowing entrepreneurs to start their potential new businesses.

There are only three steps to using the entity search, whether you intend to verify the entity type as a North Carolina LLC or corporation. Follow the steps below:

  1. Type in your assumed business name and your contact information

  2. Wait less than one hour as the tool checks the North Carolina Secretary of State database for existing businesses with the same name

  3. Receive an email informing you of your name availability

Users can also reserve the company name for future business registration.

Key Takeaways

  • For your business name to be approved, you’ll need to abide by the specific conventions of the state, including restrictions for certain words.

  • A thorough entity search will help you choose a satisfactory and unique name and one that’s distinguishable so you don’t break any compliance laws.

  • After deciding on your name, you can initiate your registration process, including reserving the name, choosing a DBA, and officially filing your LLC.

North Carolina’s Business Name Conventions

Before even proposing a name in the tool, you must first consider North Carolina’s business naming conventions. Failure to adhere to them can result in the North Carolina Department of Commerce denying your registration request.

The first important consideration for naming a business in North Carolina is distinguishability. It must differ and be unique from all other names in the Secretary of State Database. Unless you have special permission documentation from the owner, do not attempt to use any name you’ve seen by other businesses.

The North Carolina Secretary of State includes statuary prohibitions for determining name feasibility.[1] Without legal authority, you won’t be able to use the following words in your official business name:

  • Realtor

  • Trust

  • Mutual

  • Bank, Banker, or Banking

Other specific words in your business name may advertise a particular service or profession. To use words such as these, you’ll need legal documents proving that you’re legally qualified to provide the service in question. They include:

  • Architect, Architectural

  • Certified Public Accountant

  • Cooperative, Co-op

  • Engineer, Engineering

  • Insurance

  • Pharmacy, Prescription Drug, Drug, Prescription, Rx, Apothecary

  • Surveyor, Survey, Surveying

  • Wholesale

Another legal convention states that your business shouldn’t have words suggesting or stating unlawful activity. It also can’t contain any words that may be deemed offensive by decency standards.

Finally, your business entity must comply with the designated suffixes and abbreviations with no deviation. As an example, a business corporation has to contain the word “Incorporation,” “limited,” “corp.,” or “inc..” At the same time, a limited liability company must end with the abbreviation “LLC.”

Naming a business may seem like a small detail to many future owners. However, conducting the right research for your North Carolina company can lead to various benefits while saving you legal headaches in the future.

Businesses should always check to see if their business name is distinguishable and unique to be approved by the Secretary of State. Here are some benefits of doing an entity search:

If your business name isn’t original, it can lead to other companies with the same name taking legal action against you or your company officials. This can be a costly nightmare for small businesses that require funds to settle these legal and trademark disputes. You can avoid them by checking to see if the name is unique.

2. Get Your Business License Faster

Business registration can be a long process. By selecting the right name the first time using the tool, you can expedite it while avoiding costly and time-consuming mistakes.

3. Register a Business Name that Stands Out

Swyft Filings business name search can give you a competitive edge on the market by ensuring you register a highly-specialized and unique name for your business.

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Next Steps

If you’ve found a unique business name for North Carolina,  you can move on to the following steps for registering your business and starting your entrepreneurial journey of economic development. There are a few things to consider when doing so.

Complete Your Name Reservation

Once you’ve found a unique name for your business, you should immediately reserve it. This will ensure that other registered agents aren’t able to take it from you while you’re working on other pressing business matters.

If you choose not to reserve your name, someone else may register it beforehand, meaning you’d have to begin the process again.

The Secretary of State has an online service that allows you to download the PDF application for reserving a foreign name for 120 days.[2] That’s enough time for most to get a business up and running while the desired name stays safe. The filing fee costs $10 upon submission.

Here’s precisely how to complete the process:

  1. Fill out the BE-14 application with all the relevant information and follow the instructions on the document

  2. Create an account with the North Carolina Secretary of State[3]

  3. Select “Start an Order” to file your document

Be advised that you must complete other filings before your business registration. The BE-14 only reserves the name for your business while you work on the registration process itself.

Choose a Domain Name

Now that you’ve gotten approval for the name of your business, it’s time to give it a digital presence with a domain name and a website. 

Squarespace’s easy-to-use domain search tool can help you quickly find and register a domain name that matches your North Carolina business. You can then choose from Squarespace’s flexible website templates, pre-designed layouts, and curated design elements to build a website — no coding required. Start your business with Swyft Filings and receive a free domain from SquareSpace for one year.

There are also multiple benefits to buying a unique domain name that your business uses. They include:

  • Gives your business a digital, online identity

  • Communicates professionalism and credibility

  • Lets customers know you’re serious about doing business in the long run, leaving an overall better brand impression

  • Gives customers a source of information to learn about your services or product and relevant business information, like the business’s physical address, contact information, and vision statement

  • Builds trust with clients and allows you to employ central marketing strategies, such as SEO, which can ultimately bring you more clients

Consider a DBA

There are specific workarounds if your preferred business name isn’t available. Instead of compromising your brand identity, you can apply for a DBA or “doing business as” option. If the DBA is approved, you can legally do business under your proffered name, even if it isn’t the official entity.

Once your DBA is filed and approved, you can use the name without worrying about legal repercussions in the future. Some skip this step and think of a different unique name. However, those interested can file a DBA in 10 minutes using the Swyft Filings tool. It completes the filing in minutes, so you can get an answer as soon as possible.

File Your LLC Online

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you can officially file your LLC. Ensure you’ve conducted a thorough search and that your name is unique. Your domain will also play a vital role in the initial steps of your business.

However, there is still some time-consuming paperwork to do at this point. That’s why you can choose Swyft Filings to streamline the LLC filing and registration. It’ll free up valuable time for you to dedicate to developing other aspects of your business.

Free North Carolina Business Name Search

Enter your desired North Carolina company name to see if it is available with our free business name search.


How do I determine if a business name is available in North Carolina?

You can determine if your business name is available in North Carolina by using Swyft Filing’s business name search tool, checking with the chamber of commerce, or using the tool on North Carolina’s Secretary of State’s official website.

A name search checks a database to see if there are any other registered businesses under your proposed name.

How do I find a business entity in North Carolina?

You can find a business entity in North Carolina by consulting the database on the North Carolina’s Secretary of State’s official website.

How much does a North Carolina business entity search cost?

You can complete a North Carolina business search for free with Swyft Filings’ business name search tool.

The benefits of doing a thorough business entity search include:

  • Avoiding legal issues in the future

  • Streamlining the business registration process

  • Selecting the most effective business name

What are the requirements for forming a limited liability company in North Carolina?

The requirements for forming an LLC include multiple steps, such as:

  • Selecting a unique name for your business

  • Designating a registered agent to receive legal documentation

  • Filing the necessary forms at the Secretary of State for registering your business

  • Obtaining specific permits or licenses for your line of work


  1. North Carolina Secretary of State. “Feasibility of Name.” Accessed May 17, 2023.

  2. North Carolina Secretary of State “Forms.” Accessed May 17, 2023.

  3. North Carolina Secretary of State “Account Management.” Accessed May 17, 2023.

Originally published on June 29, 2023, and last edited on December 05, 2023.
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