We all know that starting a business is VERY difficult, but add California to that and, well, you’re in for a roller coaster! So let’s keep it easy. What are the 13 basic steps on how to start a California business?
- Form your concept:
Think of ideas that suit your interests and utilize your natural abilities. Be sure that you are passionate about your endeavor – passion will help to motivate you towards success and keep you striving while facing the hardships of becoming a business owner.
- Choose a business name:
Check to make sure that your name is available and reserve your business name with the California Secretary of State.
- Brand Your Product/Service:
Build a solid brand. What will your business stand for? What will set your product/idea apart from the competition? Potential customers and/or clients will be looking for companies that offer high quality products and services.
- Develop a business plan:
Strategic planning will help you to build a successful business. Analyze your product or idea and decide what problem your product or business solves. Who is your target audience and how will you turn them into potential customers? What roles will you need to hire to allow you to focus on operating your business? What professions, relationships, or vendors will you need to acquire to help you succeed? How many sales or clients will you need in order to make a profit? How much money will it take and how will you get the funding?
- Secure a website domain:
Check to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you are not ready to make a website it would be beneficial to keep others from acquiring your business URL. GoDaddy is a popular choice, start there!
- Form your business:
Common options for forming a business are to start a sole proprietorship, a C-Corp, or an LLC. The best option for your business depends on what type of company you will be starting, how your company is structured, how it will be taxed, and how much risk is involved. It wouldn’t hurt to consult with a business attorney when deciding what option is best for your company & your needs.
- Register for Taxes:
If you are selling a physical product, you will need to register with the Franchise Tax Board of California. If you plan to hire employees, you will need to register for unemployment insurance tax and disability insurance.
- Open a Bank Account:
Now that you have formed your company you will need to take your newly filed documents and open a business checking account. You can also get a business credit card to separate business and personal expenses and build your business credit history.
- Establish an Accounting System:
An accounting system is absolutely critical in tracking the performance of your business and will simplify your annual tax filings. There are multiple options for accounting software, it is best for you to research available accounting softwares and decide how well it will integrate with your business plan or model. Quickbooks is a quality accounting software that will allow you to download credit card transactions/bank transactions, send automatic invoices and will simplify your overall accounting process.
- Obtain Permits and Licenses:
Depending on the business you will need to comply with federal, state and local government regulations. We recommend that you use a professional service to help you obtain all required licenses or contact your local government facility and request an appointment.
- Get Insurance:
All small businesses are going to need insurance of some kind. The most common types of insurance are General Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Professional Liability. There are multiple options to help small businesses to keep their earned capital, lower their premiums and deposits and even process payroll. Contact MartinoWest – we can set you up with the right insurance for your business.
- Establish Web Presence:
A website that is professional and setup correctly will allow potential customers to find your business and discover the products and or services that you offer. Consider hiring a 3rd party to build your website or review your website for content, SEO, meta tags and backlinks. Setup social media profiles such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Join business social sites such as LinkedIn or Alignable and register your business with Yelp, BBB and Google.
- Trademark your business name:
Consider trademarking your business name, a trademark gives you the exclusive right to use your business name nationwide in conjunction with the products and or services that you define in your registration. It will allow you to enforce your trademark legally.