Skip to content

How to Register a Business Name in Missouri – Detailed Guide

    How to Register a Business Name in Missouri
    (Last Updated On: September 18, 2023)

    Our content is reader-supported. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links.


    Planning to start a business? Register a business name in Missouri is a crucial step in establishing your presence in the Show-Me State. We’ll guide you through the process, whether you choose an LLC, corporation, or trade name. To make the journey even smoother, consider partnering with ZenBusiness, a reliable service that can handle the paperwork and ensure compliance. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together and pave the way for your Missouri business success!

    >> Get Started With ZenBusiness >>

    4 Steps to Register Your Business Name in Missouri

    Establishing your business name in Missouri is an essential step toward building your entrepreneurial presence in the state. To help you through this process, here are four simple steps to officially register your business name in Missouri:

    Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure in Missouri

    The first step in registering your business name in Missouri is choosing the right business structure. The options available are Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Company (LLC), and Corporation. Each structure comes with its own set of advantages and legal obligations.

    Sole Proprietorship

    A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in Missouri, where the business and the owner are considered one entity. However, this means that the owner assumes personal responsibility for any debts and liabilities incurred by the business. The process of setting up a sole proprietorship is straightforward, with minimal legal and administrative requirements. 

    Notably, there is no mandatory registration of a sole proprietorship with the state, although local permits or licenses may be necessary.

    General Partnership

    A general partnership involves two or more individuals sharing both profits and losses of the business. Each partner is personally liable for the debts and legal obligations of the business. While registering a general partnership with the state isn’t obligatory in Missouri, filing a “Missouri Assumed Business Name Certificate” (DBA) in the county where your business operates may be required.

    Limited Partnership (LP)

    A limited partnership consists of one or more general partners who manage the business and have unlimited personal liability, along with one or more limited partners who contribute capital but have limited liability. To establish an LP in Missouri, you must file a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” with the Missouri Secretary of State.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    An LLC is a versatile business structure that combines liability protection similar to a corporation with the tax benefits and operational simplicity of a partnership. To establish an LLC in Missouri, you need to file articles of organization and a “Limited Liability Company Operating Agreement” with the Missouri Secretary of State. The operating agreement outlines the company’s management and ownership structure.


    A corporation is a legal entity separate from its shareholders, providing limited liability protection. There are two types of corporations in Missouri: C-corporations and S-corporations. 

    Creating a corporation involves filing either articles of incorporation for a for-profit corporation or articles of incorporation for a nonprofit corporation with the Missouri Secretary of State, depending on your business’s nature. Corporations require additional formalities, such as adopting bylaws, issuing shares, and holding regular board and shareholder meetings.

    When deciding on a business structure in Missouri, consider factors like liability protection, taxation, and management requirements that align with your business needs. Seek guidance from legal or business professionals if you need assistance in making this crucial decision.

    >> Register Your Missouri Business Name with ZenBusiness >>

    Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name in Missouri

    When it comes to registering a business name in Missouri, there are three distinct approaches to consider: registering a legal entity name, securing a trademark, or operating under a different name while having a legal name registration. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines for naming businesses in Missouri, as each state has its own requirements.

    The naming route you choose will depend on your entity’s unique needs and circumstances. You have the option to pursue all three naming methods to ensure exclusive rights to your business name, or you can opt for a single option that aligns best with your entity’s requirements. While not mandatory, maintaining consistency in your chosen name across all registration methods is advisable.

    Let’s delve into the available naming options in Missouri:

    In Missouri, businesses are required to register a legal entity name, which serves as the official identifier recognized by the state for your company. It’s crucial for this entity name to be distinct, preventing potential conflicts with other businesses using the same name.

    Missouri’s naming regulations include specific guidelines regarding the use of company suffixes such as LLC, LP, or Corp. Additionally, the name must accurately reflect the nature of the business being registered. To check for name availability, you can utilize the Missouri Secretary of State’s online database, ensuring your chosen name is unique and available for use.


    Obtaining a trademark in Missouri provides intellectual property protection for your business name or logo at the national level. It’s essential to conduct a comprehensive trademark search in the USPTO database to ensure your intended name or logo is n’t already registered by another entity.

    Registering a trademark successfully grants you nationwide protection, preventing others from using an identical or similar name or logo for similar goods or services. However, it’s crucial to understand that obtaining a trademark does not automatically confer unrestricted rights to use the name or logo in all circumstances. Certain limitations may apply based on the scope and nature of the trademark.

    Doing Business As (DBA)

    In Missouri, you have the option to operate your business under an official name while using a different name, known as a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To establish a DBA, you must file a Fictitious Name Registration with the Secretary of State’s office. Unlike the legal entity name, DBAs are not subject to state-level requirements for uniqueness. However, they’re still subject to federal trademark laws.

    By thoroughly understanding and carefully considering these naming options, you can effectively register your business name in Missouri and protect your brand identity

    Take the time to research and ensure that your chosen name aligns with your business goals and complies with all relevant naming regulations. This step will not only safeguard your business but also help establish a strong and recognizable presence in the market.

    >> Try Out ZenBusiness Now >>

    Step 3: Check Business Name Availability in Missouri

    Before registering your business, it’s crucial to ensure that the desired name is available and not already in use by another entity in Missouri. To conduct a comprehensive business name availability search, follow these three steps:

    Begin by conducting a federal trademark search to check if your preferred business name is already trademarked. Trademarks hold authority at the federal level, surpassing state-level registrations. If your chosen name is already trademarked, you will need to select an alternative business name.

    To perform the federal trademark search, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and utilize the TESS Search tool.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    After confirming that your name isn’t trademarked, proceed to check its availability for use within the state of Missouri. Utilize the Missouri Business Entity Search tool to search for registered business names in the state.

    During your search, ensure that your exact business name is available and that there are no significantly similar names being used by other businesses.

    Once you have verified that your business name isn’t trademarked and is available for use in Missouri, conduct a search to see if the .com version of your business name is also available. While not every business may need or plan to establish a website, we recommend securing the .com domain of your business name if possible.

    Registering the .com version of your business name with ZenBusiness ensures exclusive ownership of the website name, protecting it from potential misuse by others at an affordable price.

    Step 4: Form Your Business With the State of Missouri

    Once you have chosen your business structure and name, the next crucial step is to formally establish your business with the State of Missouri.

    For a Missouri LLC, you will need to submit the Articles of Organization to the Missouri Secretary of State. You can complete this process either online or by mail. Similarly, if you’re setting up a Missouri corporation, you must file the Articles of Incorporation with the Missouri Secretary of State.

    You May Also Want to Know

    Protect Your Business Name With a Trademark

    Once you have confirmed the availability of your business name and secured it, you may consider applying for a trademark to protect your brand. While this is an optional step, it can offer nationwide protection under federal law. In case others attempt to use a similar name for their business, having a trademark can provide you with legal support. However, for most small businesses planning to operate locally, this may not be necessary, given the associated costs.

    >> File a Trademark with IncFile >>

    How to File a Missouri Fictitious Name – DBA?

    To file a Missouri Fictitious Name (also known as Doing Business As or DBA), follow these simple steps:

    1. Choose a Name: Select the fictitious name you wish to use for your business. Make sure it’s unique and not already in use by another business in Missouri.
    1. Check Availability: Search the Missouri Secretary of State’s website or conduct a business name search to ensure that your chosen name is available and not already registered by another entity.
    1. Download the Form: Download the “Registration of Fictitious Name” form from the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.
    1. Complete the Form: Fill out the form with the required information, including your current business name, the fictitious name you want to use, and your contact details.
    1. Notarize the Form: Some counties in Missouri may require the form to be notarized, so check the local requirements before submitting.
    1. File the Form: Submit the completed form to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office along with the filing fee. You can mail it or deliver it in person to the appropriate office.
    1. Wait for Processing: After submitting the form and fee, the Secretary of State will process your application. If everything is in order, your fictitious name will be registered, and you’ll receive confirmation.

    Remember, filing a Fictitious Name in Missouri allows you to operate your business under a different name without having to change your legal business name officially. It’s an essential step if you want to use a trade name that differs from your legal entity name.

    How to Change the Name of a Missouri Business?

    If you need to change the name of your business in Missouri, you have two options:

    1. Filing for a Fictitious Name (DBA Name):

    This method allows you to operate your business using a different name without changing its legal name. It’s the preferred option for sole proprietorships, general partnerships, as well as LLCs and corporations that wish to operate with brand names that do not include the mandatory LLC or Inc. suffix required in a legal name.

    1. Submitting an Amendment for the Legal Name:

    If you want to officially change the legal name of your LLC or corporation, filing an amendment for the existing business name is the appropriate choice.

    For both options, you need to submit the necessary forms to the Missouri Secretary of State along with a filing fee of $25.

    >> Get Expert Assistance from ZenBusiness >>

    Business Name Registration Laws in Missouri

    In Missouri, if you want to operate a business under a name other than your legal name, you usually need to register that business name with the state. Here are some key points regarding business name registration laws in Missouri are as follows:

    • Choosing a Name: Choose a unique and distinguishable name for your business. It should not be confusingly similar to the name of an existing business or any registered trademark.
    • Business Entity Registration: Before registering the name, you must select a legal structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.
    • Search for Availability: Before registering the name, perform a business name search through the Missouri Secretary of State’s website or office to ensure that the name you want is available and not already in use by another entity.
    • Registration: Once you have ensured that the name is available, you can register your business name by filing the appropriate form with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. The registration form and requirements may vary based on your business structure. For example, if you’re forming an LLC, you will file Articles of Organization, and for a corporation, you will file Articles of Incorporation.
    • Fees: There is typically a registration fee associated with filing the necessary documents. The fee may vary depending on your business structure and the type of registration.
    • Duration: Business name registrations are usually valid for a specific period, after which you may need to renew the registration to maintain the right to use the name.
    • Trade Name vs. Trademark: Registering a business name with the state only provides you with the right to use that name within the state for your business operations. It does not provide trademark protection. If you want exclusive rights to your business name throughout the United States, you should consider federal trademark registration.

    To get accurate and up-to-date information about business name registration laws in Missouri, it’s best to visit the official website of the Missouri Secretary of State or consult with a qualified attorney or business advisor.

    Bottom Line on How to Register a Business Name in Missouri

    To conclude, registering your business name in Missouri is the catalyst for an exciting journey into entrepreneurship. By selecting a unique name and appropriate business structure, fulfilling all essential registrations, and considering trademark protection or a DBA name, you lay a strong groundwork for your business. With the assistance of LLC services like ZenBusiness, the registration process becomes more manageable, setting the stage for your registered business name to thrive in Missouri’s flourishing business landscape.

    >> Use ZenBusiness To Register a Business Name in Missouri >>

    How to register a business name in every US state: