For anyone looking to open a business in any part of the country (or world, for that matter), there are certain rules and guidelines you have to adhere to from local, regional and national governments.
We outline here the 10 absolutely essential steps you must take when starting a business in San Diego.
- Research research research. Assuming you’ve done your market research to determine if your business is viable in San Diego, you’ll want to know the zoning of the city, the permits you’ll need and where you can procure funding. The City of San Diego’s website is a good place to start.
- Create a business plan. You will never be able to procure funding to start your business if you don’t have a business plan. Having a business plan will also allow you to organize your thoughts and act as a road map to follow. You can create a comprehensive business plan with help from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Pick a business name. You can find myriad tips and what to do/what not to do when naming your business. Pick one that you’re happy with and then register it with the County of San Diego, Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk’s Office.
- Determine the legal structure of the business. Who is going to be doing what and who is going to have what title are the kinds of things you’ll need to determine here. Also will it be incorporated, limited or otherwise. You’ll likely need some assistance from a legal counsel for these details.
- Fill out the Office of City Treasurer’s Business Tax Certification application. You will need to determine the Business Activity Type from the list provided on the application.
- Select a site for your business. San Diego has many great real estate agents who can help you with choosing the perfect site for your business. You’ll need to determine what type of zoning you’ll need and get the requisite site permits. You can do this with help from the City’s Development Services Department. Perhaps your business will be run out of your home. If that is the case, you can obtain information about requirements for home occupations by contacting Code Enforcement.
- Obtain any special licenses and permits that you need. These may be for things like if you plan to sell alcohol or tobacco products. Make sure you know what permits and licenses you need because failing to obtain them can get you into a lot of inadvertent trouble.
- Ensure you know all the necessary tax information. You can get the tax information you need from the Office of City Treasurer, the California Tax Information Center, and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Learn about your employer responsibilities. You can do this at the state and federal levels from the Employment Development Department and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Apply for a Business Tax Certificate (License). You can do this from the Office of the City Treasurer, Business Tax Division.
These 10 steps seem pretty easy when you look at them on a computer screen, but they’re time consuming and will take a lot of work, but that’s not even close to the amount of work it takes to run your own successful business. But, don’t let the talk of hard work deter you, because if your small business does become a success there is no better feeling in the world than knowing you built it yourself.
So, if you have a great business idea, go out there and get started!
[Photo courtesy of Jenn Turner on Flickr]