How To Start a Business in California

The decision and implementation to start a new business can be a complex one and starting a business in the state of California is no exception. The state has put together five simple steps for creating a business in its geography, however, we strongly recommend that you “proceed with caution” and hire an attorney or CPA at this point to help navigate through what can sometimes be treacherous waters

Here are the five steps that the state recommends following:

Step 1: Starting a business in California, the state recommends beginning your business venture with a business plan to help you get off on the right foot. Please go to the home page on this website to see details for creating a business plan. You can also go to the Small Business Administration to search there for information on creating a business plan. The SBA, as it is also known, has quick guides on this page for plan your business, launch your business, manage your business and grow our business. As we like to say, the business plan is your GPS to success.

Step 2: If you would like help deciding where to locate your business, the Governor’s office can help you with a lot of detail. They also offer the California Business Investment Guide on this page. This 20-page guide is jam-packed with valuable information.

Step 3: The state recommends picking a business structure at this point. We cannot recommend enough that you spring for a lawyer or CPA to help you on this one. Picking wrong can saddle you with a less than satisfactory business structure for years. You choices in California are sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company and Corporation. Click here for more information on each.

Step 4: You now need to file your tax and employer ident docs and the state has lots of information to help you on this one by clicking here.

Step 5: You need to find out if your particular business requires any additional licensing to operate within the state. There are few things more terrifying than to start in business thinking you are playing by all the rules, only to get hit with a hefty fine because you did not get the proper licenses. Go to this page to help you with licensing in the state.

Naturally, another thing to ask your attorney or CPA is how to register a business in California.