Starting a business in California can be a terrific opportunity to work for yourself while also contributing new products, services, and ideas to your community. Thousands of businesses in California use Shopify to run their online stores, and more entrepreneurs are beginning their enterprises every day. We’ve compiled some materials to assist you in getting started.
1. Choose a business idea
You’re ready to get started if you already have something distinctive and commercially viable in mind. If you don’t yet have a completely developed concept for your product or service, Shopify offers business resources to assist you in learning how to start a small business in California and figuring out what things to sell and who to market them to.
2. Name your business
Not only is naming your company vital for branding purposes, but it’s also a necessary step in the registration process. Most regulatory organizations require your business name on forms, so you’ll need to think of something catchy first.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, look them up online to see whether any other firms are utilizing them. You can also check the US Patent and Trademark Office to discover whether your preferred name has already been trademarked by another company.
Because your website’s address is so vital to your brand, it’s a good idea to investigate if a related domain name for your website is accessible.
You’ll need to do at least two things when you’re ready to make your name official:
- To be sure your name is legal, see the California Secretary of State’s Name Regulations.
- Register your company name with the Secretary of State of California.
- Register a domain name for your company.
3. Create a business plan
Whether or not a business plan is required for registration, the majority of successful enterprises begin with one. A solid business plan may help you keep organized and focused throughout the startup process, and it’s sometimes required when applying for a loan.
Although developing a business plan may appear to be a difficult step in determining how to establish a business in California, it is a rather simple document.
4. Start by deciding on a business structure.
It’s critical to choose the correct structure for your small business in California when you’re getting started. Sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations are the three most popular company formations. Below will have a small introduction to these three company formations.
What are sole proprietorships?
The simplest form accessible in California is a sole proprietorship, which is an unincorporated business held by one person. They’re simple to set up, affordable to start, and you get to keep all of the profits. The disadvantage is that you may pay more tax than other business structures and lack the legal protection provided by a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation, which means you may be personally accountable for debts, litigation, and other liabilities.
What is an LLC?
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a hybrid business structure that combines the benefits of sole proprietorships and corporations with less administrative overhead and some legal protection against debts and liabilities. They are relatively simple to handle, albeit not all industries have access to them. Furthermore, LLCs may be subject to both state and federal taxation, necessitating the completion of additional paperwork.
What is a corporation?
A corporation is a legal entity that completely separates the firm from its owners, protecting personal assets from financial and legal consequences. Corporations in California often pay fewer taxes than individuals and are easier to sell than LLCs or sole proprietorships because they are independent legal entities from their owners. Corporations can issue stock to raise money from investors for expansion, development, and other purposes. Corporations, on the other hand, are subject to the most onerous regulatory and administrative requirements, even during the inception phase.
5. Obtain a business license and permits
Your business license and permits are the next items on your starting a small business in California checklist. To function in California, regardless of the structure of your business, you may need to obtain a business license, permits, or both. If you want to sell alcohol, for example, you’ll need a license. The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has a useful search engine that will help you figure out which licenses and permissions you might need for your business. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration also has information on licenses and permits, as well as a simple registration page.
6. Examine insurance options
Even if you have the protections of an LLC or corporation, it’s a good idea to get insurance for your business these days. The California Department of Insurance can help you figure out what kind of insurance you’ll need for your business, such as general liability, professional liability, and worker’s compensation.
7. Understand financial considerations
You can get ready to start operating your business by creating a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, and possibly hiring a business accountant, especially if you have formed an LLC or corporation. An accountant, in particular, can help you balance your records and put your company in a position to succeed financially.
8. Market your business
After you’ve registered your sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation, it’s time to make your business ready to show off to the public.
Brand your business
Branding is the public face of your company that allows potential customers to understand the value and personality it delivers to the market. Visual aspects such as your logo, official colors, and imagery; text elements such as your slogan or tagline, tone, voice, and fonts; and intangibles such as positioning and brand persona are all included in branding. Building a brand can be a lot of fun and allows you to be incredibly creative with your company.
Promote your business
The final step in the starting process is promotion. Create a marketing plan that gets your product or service in front of your ideal potential customers, keeps your strategy on track, and makes sure your brand is being leveraged to its greatest potential.