Get Adobe Flash player


Search this site for:

Related Links

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Valid CSS!

10 Steps to Starting a Business in California

Are you contemplating starting a business in California? This is a guide to setting up a business in the sunny paradise of California. California is a fantastic place to start a business, with several enormous cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The population and diversity of the state is enough to begin just about any business you could imagine, and thrive.

Here are a few things you should consider when starting your California business:

1. Where in the city is your market demographic? - - The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are enormous, with many different pockets of demographics. Even the smaller communities in California like Sacramento, Stockton, Bakersfield and Palm Springs are large communities by any other state standard. You may want to research in what location of the city your particular business would be best suited.

2. What does business space cost in your desired location? - - Different parts of the city will have wildly varied monthly lease costs. For example, in Los Angeles, Melrose Avenue or Downtown LA will have much higher rates than Culver City or North Hollywood would.

3. What kind of business entity should you form? - - Learn how to set up a California Incorporation - - Read about places to form a DBA, or "Doing Business As"

4. Get a Federal EIN number - - You can file for an EIN as soon as you get your EIN from the IRS or you can have your incorporator get it when you file your incorporation.

5. Get a business license - - Get a L os Angeles business license - - Search in Google for the term "(city name) business license" and you will be presented with results for your particular city.

6. Set up a bank account - - You need your EIN and Incorporation (or DBA) paperwork before you can open a bank account and deposit checks made out in your company's name. Once you have this paperwork, it's a fairly easy process. You just walk into your local branch, and they should help you get set up. The only bank I don't recommend is Washington Mutual, who wanted original copies of paperwork that the state of California had kept. I had the certified copies from the state of California, but Wamu would only accept the originals. I've had better luck with California National Bank, they have very good customer service.

7. Find an accountant - - Lack of bookkeeping is one of the top reasons new businesses fail. As the owner of the business, you'll be very business running your operations, and the books will fall behind. Be sure to set up your books, and hire a good accountant at the outset so that this doesn't become a problem.

8. Find advertising space

- Any good business owner knows that the flow of customers into their store is the lifeblood of their business. But not all business owners know where and how to advertise their services. Here are a few ideas:

- Offline - Set up business in a high traffic area - Be sure your signage on the front of your business makes you easy to see. It should be big enough to be easily read from the road, and bright enough to stand out from those around it. - Your signage should make it immediately clear, to someone driving by with only a second to glance at it, exactly what your business does. - Yellow pages - Billboards - Bus benches - Poster boards - Hand out flyers - Host groups and clubs at your business - Attend local business networking functions - Local newspapers like the la times

- Internet - Los Angeles Citysearch - San Francisco Citysearch - Los Angeles Craigslist - San Francisco Craigslist - You can find a version of the above web sites for almost any of the larger cities in California by putting the city name at the front of the url. - PPC ads on Google or Yahoo - Pay-per-click ads can be targeted to a very localized area. You can ensure that only people surfing the internet in the Los Angeles area (for example) will see your ads. They will appear only when they're actually looking for your product, or reading something similar to what you offer.

9. Stay current on your California Tax Laws. - One thing that can ruin a new business quickly is falling behind on taxes. Make sure you don't make that mistake! Make a solid effort to understand what you need to know about California taxes - talk to your accountant about it!

10. Set up a web site - Customers expect to be able to find you on the Internet. - Without a web site, you take away a potentially lucrative advertising avenue (see the Internet advertising tips above). - Many places like Yahoo make it easy to setup your own website, with your own domain name. - Find a domain name. I always use GoDaddy to register my domain names. I've found that DomainsBot is a great tool to find a cool domain name. Once you find it with DomainsBot, you can register it with GoDaddy.

They say that 9 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 5 years. Most businesses are not financially or legally ready to succeed. If you follow the simple steps in this article, you'll be better prepared to run a long-term and profitable business. Los Angeles is ready for you - you need to be ready to handle Los Angeles!

Oh yeah, and have fun!

About the author:

Travis Giggy is a business specialist and one of the Founders of A website dedicated to reviewing and listing the best services that provide online legal services like incorporation, forming an LLC, getting your last will and testament, or getting a divorce.

Gig-a-blog = Doing Business on the Internet