Step-by-step guide for California entrepreneurs

A businessman in a suit reading Business newspapers.

Starting a business in California is no easy task. But, if you ask any entrepreneur out there, he/she will tell you that it was all worth it. This is a process that will consume a lot of your time, energy, and, of course, money. Thus, be prepared for some sacrifices. And, whatever you do, make sure that your business meets all the requirements set by the state. Yes, there are plenty of those requirements, but meeting all of them is the only way to ensure your business runs efficiently and, more important, that it runs legally. However, there is nothing to worry about. Our step-by-step guide for California entrepreneurs will cover all the important steps of starting a business right here in California. Thus, if this is something that interests you, well, keep on reading. 

Choose a Business Structure and a Name 

When you figure out your business idea, the next thing you will need to figure out is your business structure. Namely, one of the most important things you have to know when starting your business in California, or anywhere else for that matter, is that there are four business structures you can choose from – sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, and corporation. Which structure you will choose depends on the type of company you are planning to start, taxes you are willing to pay, risks you are willing to take, etc. 

Then, the next thing on our guide for California entrepreneurs is choosing a business name. To do that, make sure that that name suits your company well (it should be something catchy and distinguishable), and more importantly, make sure that it is not taken. For more information about this, you should contact the California secretary of state – they are the ones that will set you on the right path. 

A woman sitting in front of a laptop and thinking about a step-to-step guide for California entrepreneurs.
Really think through what you choose for your business structure and your business name.

Create a Good Business Plan 

Having a business plan before starting your business is the same as having blueprints before building your home. A business plan is your foundation! It is a plan on how you will build and grow your business from scratch. Thus, in it, include everything from broad basics to specific details. And, do not take this lightly. Creating a good business plan will require months, maybe even years. It must cover finances, taxes, plans for growing and expanding, marketing, dealing with problems and competition, etc.

So, if you are a first-time California entrepreneur, you might also want to do a lot of research on this topic before you start ‘creating’. And, if you encounter some problems on the way, do not hesitate to talk to some kind of business advisor as well. Have all the details figured out before you call your movers to move you to California, and especially before you start opening your business there. 

Register Your Business and File the Taxes 

The next step for California entrepreneurs planning to start their business is actually registering their business. How you will do this, again, depends on your business structure. But, do not worry. The previously mentioned California secretary of the state will tell you exactly what you need to do – they will give you samples, tell you which forms to fill out, which fees to pay, etc. In addition, they will also tell you that you need to register as an employer with the IRS and get the EIN (employer identification number). 

Moreover, it does not matter whether you are opening a brick-and-mortar store for selling your clothing line, or whether you are starting an online cake business, paying taxes is mandatory! In the majority of cases, you will have to pay either a franchise tax, corporate income tax, state tax, federal tax or income tax. 

The word taxes on dollar banknotes.
Paying taxes is a big part of running any business.

Find a Suitable Location

Location, location, location! Location is one of those things that either make or break your business. Of course, this does not apply to companies selling their products online. But, it surely applies to those planning to open a brick-and-mortar store somewhere in California. First and foremost, the location you choose must be somewhere where your business will be able to grow and expand. That means being somewhere where there is good foot traffic, somewhere where your target market is, and somewhere far from competition. Moreover,  it must be somewhere where it can ‘hold’ all your equipment and products. 

Finding that perfect location is not easy – be sure about that! It would be best to hire a real estate agent that specializes in commercial locations, for instance. Only an agent of this kind will be able to find you a location that will suit your and your business’ needs and budget. Also, if you already have some working equipment, again, it would be best to hire a professional. A professional, commercial moving agency can have everything transferred in no time and ensure that everything arrives at your new location intact.

A man in a suit coming down the stairs.
Be extra careful when choosing a location for Your California business.

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits 

Last but certainly not the last thing we will mention in our step-by-step guide for California entrepreneurs is obtaining licenses and permits. Without these, you cannot open a bank account for your company, you cannot get funds, etc. But, most importantly, without these, your company will not be able to function legally. So, before you officially start your small business (or a big one), be sure to have everything you need. To know what you need to obtain, go on sites such as Economic Development of California or California Governor’s Office of Business – there you can find a list of all licenses and permits you need to obtain for your type of business. 

To sum things up, this step-by-step guide for California entrepreneurs is a great place to start educating yourself on how to start your business. Of course, you will need to research a lot more and dig a lot deeper if you want to start your business in the right way. So, give yourself enough time to do all of this and be prepared for making a lot of sacrifices.