8 Tips For Starting Your Business

1 - Get Assistance and Training

Small Business Development Center at SRJC offers one-on-one, no-cost professional consulting in business planning, loans and financing, marketing, taxes and bookkeeping. Call (707) 524-1770.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), counselors to America’s small business, is a nonprofit association dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with free, confidential face-to-face and email business consulting. Call (707) 571-8342.

3 - Financing Your Business

Find out which financing options are best for you – business loans, research and development grants, venture capital, or other options!  Here are a few guides:
Government grants
Seed and venture capital financing

5 - Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide whether you are going to form a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, non-profit or cooperative. SBA’s guide on determining business structure is a good resource.

If you will be starting a corporation or a limited liability company, you must contact the California Secretary of State’s Office and they will supply you with all the information and forms that are necessary.  It is optional for general partnerships to file with the Secretary of State and sole proprietorships are not required to file. Legal Zoom is also a great resource

7 - Get Your Federal And State Tax ID

All new businesses employing one or more persons must apply for a State Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the State’s Employment Development Department

You’ll also need a Federal Identification Number if you’re employing one or more persons. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Business Tax Line at (800) 829-1040

2 - Do Research and Develop a Business Plan

A well-written business plan is critical to starting and running a business. Business plans are generally required when applying for business loans and seeking investors, but are also essential in estimating costs and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.
Here are just a few of the many business planning resources available –

SCORE business plan templates
SBA’s business plan guide

4 - Determine Your Business Location

Depending on your business, location is a very important thing to consider. Even a home businesses can benefit from a good location.

6 - Name Your Business

If you will be using a fictitious name for your business (a name other than your personal legal name), you will need to check with the County Clerk to be sure no one else is using that name before completing a Fictitious Business Name Statement.

The Sonoma County Clerk is located in Santa Rosa at 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-177. You may also call the County Clerk’s office at (707) 565-3800.

8 - Find Out Your Responsibilities As An Employer

There are a number of legal steps you will need to follow before your business hires employees.  Here is a guide to this process.

 

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