To do a business database search, it is necessary to know the state in which the business is located and then go to the governmental state agency or office that is responsible for maintaining the database of registered business names. Depending on the state, the state agency can be the office of the Secretary of State or the Department of State, such as California Secretary of State or New York State Department of State. For-profit corporations, nonprofit corporations, limited partnerships and other types of incorporated entities file their names with the state in which they do business, as noted by the New York State Department of State.
To do a search at the NYS Department of State, researchers can go to the official website and enter the business entity name in the space provided, check the status type as active or all and the search type, which includes begins with, contains or partial. This last search parameter is useful if the business' complete name is unknown but at least one word in the business name is available. Using the partial search type can yield more results, as noted by the NYS Department of State. By clicking on the "Search Database" button, a result page for the business is generated.
At the California Secretary of State website, researchers can simply choose from search options, such as the type of business (corporation or limited partnership) or entity number and then enter either the business name or number in the given search field. To perform business database searches in other states, it is possible to use the list of Secretaries of State websites provided by Coordinated Legal.