How to Start a California Small Business

A Quick Start Guide on California Small Businesses

Start a Business in California by Following the 10 Steps Below

If you want to start a California Small Business, there are a few steps you will need to follow. Use the following information to help you create your plan and operations.


1. Select a Business Idea or Concept
Think about what kind of business you want to create? Maybe you already have a business you run as a sole proprietor or maybe you already have a few ideas in mind. Make sure the business you have in mind will suit your abilities, achievements, and likes.


2. Carefully Plan the Business
You won’t be successful with setting up a business without a business plan. Therefore, you need a plan to analyze your start-up and to create an outline. 
That is why you will need our help. I can help you with the legal details, so you can comply with state and federal laws. Email for further information and to schedule a consultation.

When you create your plan to start a small business in California, you need to answer the following questions:

  1. What should I name my business? To name your business, you need to follow the legal rules for naming in California. You will also have to check with the Secretary of State’s office or SOS to make sure the business name has not already been taken. The name should be simple or unique to remember, and should be easy to use as a domain name as well.

  2. What problem will my business solve? How is the business different than the competition? Answers to these questions fall under the category of product development. You need to know the answers before you can proceed.

  3. Who are the potential leads? How can I convert them into paying customers? These questions need to be answered so you know how to sell and market your product(s) and/or services.

  4. Who should I partner with to increase my company’s chances for success? This question must be answered first before you form alliances or business relationships.

  5. What do I need to sell to realize a profit or break even? You need to address this question when making budget projections.

    As you can see, planning plays a big part in establishing a successful company. Therefore, you have a lot to consider. You also need to have a professional in the legal field in your corner. Email to make sure your company complies with the guidelines for forming in a business in California.


3. Start a Small Business in California Faster by Establishing a Virtual Office
Besides obtaining legal assistance, you can start a small business in California faster by establishing a virtual office address. 
Not only will this help you save money on office furnishings and paying a staff, it will lend professional credibility to your organization. The attorneys at AJK Law Office can help with in all aspects of starting your California Small Business, even help you find a virtual office.


4. Create Your Business 
While you can establish yourself as a sole proprietor superfast and start working immediately, it is still better to register your business as an entity, such as an LLC or corporation, with the state. Doing so will reduce liability and increase your professional presence locally and online.

If you remain working as a sole proprietor, you increase the risk of getting sued for your personal assets. Therefore, to protect your home and/or cars, you need to establish your business so you erase any risk along these lines.


5. Register Your Business
Most start-ups choose to register as a corporation (with S Corporation Pass Through status) or as a limited liability company (LLC). In either case, you can enjoy pass-through taxation. In other words, you are not subject to taxation on your business – only on the income on your personal tax form.

If you choose to form a corporation or LLC, you will need to register with the secretary of state. Once you have determined a name, you can fill out the appropriate paperwork and create the documents needed to set up your business entity. Most start-ups register their business as an LLC, as it goes faster and there are fewer formalities. Plus, you can establish the business at a reduced cost. 


6. Set Up Your Business for Taxes
Most businesses require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to operate. This number is needed to file taxes or open up a business bank account. I can help you secure an EIN for your business. You can easily contact me anytime. Email 


In California, you need to know when to register for state sales tax if you plan to sell a physical product. If you plan to hire employees, you need to register for state employer taxes, which include unemployment insurance tax, disability insurance tax, and withholding tax.

7. Set Up Credit Accounts and Business Bank Account to Start Your Small Business in California
You need to set up business credit and banking accounts to start your small business in California. Separate these accounts from your personal banking and credit accounts to protect your personal assets. 
By taking this approach, you also will keep things more organized for paying taxes. 


8. Establish Your Accounting System
By setting up an accounting system, you can quickly review your company’s financial activities. It also simplifies the tax filing process. Besides retaining the services of an accountant, you should install accounting software to make everything go easier.


9. Obtain the Necessary Licenses or Permits
To comply with local, state, or governmental regulations, you may need to apply for one or more licenses and permits. For instance, if you operate a restaurant, you will need to apply and obtain signage permits, building permits, and health permits.


10. Buy the Required Insurance to Start a Small Business in California
You will need to buy business insurance to start a small business in California. The most popular forms of business insurance include general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and workers compensation insurance.

All small businesses, including businesses operating out of the home, should see about getting general liability insurance. If you work as an accountant or consultant, you will need to purchase a professional liability insurance policy. Any business in California that has one or more employees, including LLC members and officers, must, by law, purchase workers compensation insurance


Other things to consider:.


Define Your Company’s Brand and Establish Your Online Presence to Start a Small Business in California.
You will also need to define your company’s brand and establish an online presence when you start a small business in California. It does not matter if your company is an ecommerce business or a brick-and-mortar location, you need to set up a website.


Branding Questions


  • What are your company’s core values? 

  • How do you want to impress your customers or clients? 


By answering the above questions, you can determine your company’s brand and name. 

As previously noted, you will also have to comply legally with the name you select. By contacting me for help, you can be assured that your brand and name will successfully meet your business’s objectives. Email so you can start initiating some of the steps to start a small business in California fast.


Setting Up Your Website to Start Your Small Business in California

Once more, you cannot start a small business in California without setting up a website. You will also need to support your online presence by doing the following:

  • Setting up social media profiles on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  • Creating accounts at review sites, such as Yelp.

  • Registering your Google profile locally.


How to Start a Small Business in California Right Now

Speak to a top business lawyer to start a small business in California right now. Again, my team and I are always ready to help you realize your business’s goals and dreams. Book a call to speak to us today. 


How to Register an LLC When You Start a Small Business in CA

You will need to follow specific steps for registration, depending on the business entity you plan to set up. For example, if you plan to set up an LLC to start a small business in California, you will need to do the following:

  • Choose a name for the LLC and make sure it has not been taken by checking the SOS data base.

  • Complete and file Articles of Organization.

  • Select a registered agent to handle the receipt of legal documentation.

  • Decide on whether you want to set up a manager- or member-managed LLC.

  • Comply with the regulatory and tax requirements for set-up.

  • Draft an operating agreement. This agreement does not need to be filed with the SOS, but will be used to avoid disputes and help with any questions about operating or managing the company.

  • File an annual report.


Email us at to speak with a top California business lawyer today.


How to Register a Corporation When Your Start a Small Business in California

If you want to start a small business in California and incorporate, the following steps need to be taken.

  • Select a business name and check its availability with the SOS.

  • If desired, register a DBA name, again checking its availability with the SOS.

  • Appoint the directors for the corporation

  • Draft and file Articles of Incorporation.

  • Create the Corporate Bylaws. These do not need to be filed, but will guide you in managing the company. 

  • Draft and create a shareholders’ agreement.

  • Hold an initial Board of Directors’ meeting.

  • Issue shareholder stock.

  • Obtain the required local permits and licenses.

  • Register the business with the IRS and state and local tax agencies.

  • Open a corporate bank account.


How to Start a Small Business in California with Less Hassle

When you start a small business in California, you will find that an LLC is easier and faster to set up. If you want to establish your business quickly, this is the preferred route to take. However, if raising venture capital is important to you and you want to build a stronger presence online and locally, you may want to set yourself up as a corporation. If you want the process to go faster, you might think of registering as an LLC first, then transitioning to a corporation at a later date.


What To Do Next

If you want to start a small business in California in a relatively short span of time, you need to seek legal counsel. Email to set up a consultation and to go over your business plan or idea. 

You will also need to decide on the type of entity you wish to register. What you choose in this respect will depend on what you are seeking. If you want to protect yourself from liability and speed up the business set up, again, you should strongly consider forming an LLC.


Get Your Small Business Off the Ground by Seeking Legal Assistance from AJK Law Office.

If you plan to conduct most of your main business activities in California, you need to set up a California LLC. Filling out the necessary paperwork and naming and branding your business will go much faster with the help of an attorney. You will not save money in the long run if you do not rely on the services of an accountant and an attorney. You need to depend on both of these professionals to keep your business afloat as you grow and expand. 

The legal team at AJK Law Office are poised to help you succeed as a small business in California. You can give us a call or email us at

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Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

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