- Economic Development
- Starting a Business Toolkit
Starting a Business Toolkit
Starting a successful business takes planning. Below are many essential steps to consider to get you going.
Use the companion PDF to make notes and keep track of your progress.
Everything starts with a good plan. Research and develop a business plan for your proposed business.
- No cost professional business consulting from Valley Sierra Small Business Development Center.
- Examples of business plans from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
- Business Plan Template from SCORE.
Finding the right name for your business is integral to your success. You want it to reflect what you do and help market to your customers.
- Helpful considerations from SBA
- Helpful considerations from CalOSBA
Selecting a location is one of the most important decisions a new business owner must make—and it should not be made in haste.
- Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development offers no cost site selection services. Contact them to request services here.
- In every county and city, land is regulated by its allowed use. Use the maps below to determine if your type of business is permitted in a particular area.
- Zoning for Tuolumne County
- Zoning for the City of Sonora
- Research regulations and requirements with your local Building and Planning Departments
- Unincorporated area of Tuolumne County
- City of Sonora
Depending on your type of business and location, licenses may be required.
Local Business License
This is a permit that allows you to conduct business in an area.
- If you are conducting business within the incorporated City of Sonora, a business license is required. Find more information at here.
- If you are conducting business in the unincorporated area of Tuolumne County, a business license is not required.
State Professional Licensing
Determine if a professional license is needed for your type of business and apply.
There are over 150 professional license types issued through the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
- Search on the types of boards and bureaus and their license requirements
- Use BreEZe to submit license applications, renew a license, change your address, and other services.
Depending on what type of business, you may be required to register for a seller’s permit or license.
- Determine if a permit and license is required – Using the CDTFA (California Department of Tax and Fee Administration) online registration, you can identify which permits and licenses are required, and register.
- Resource Center for Special Taxes and Fees
- Resource Center for Sales and Use Tax in California
- Manual: “Your California Seller’s Permit, Your Rights and Responsibilities Under the Sales and Use Tax Law”
- CalGold – This website assists you in finding appropriate permit information for your business.
- Local Environmental Health – The role of the Environmental Health Division is to prevent human injury and illness and promoting well-being by identifying and regulating environmental sources and hazardous agents
A business structure is a government classification that regulates parts of your business.
The business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations, to taxes and how much of your personal assets are at risk. You should choose a business structure that gives you the right balance of legal protections and benefits.
- Learn more about business structure
- Consult with an attorney or tax accountant to determine what type of business structure is best for your business.
- If you are considering becoming a corporation, (either stock or nonprofit), a limited liability company or a partnership (limited, or limited liability), you must file with the Secretary of State's Office at here.
There are real consequences for failure to file tax information. Take time to understand what is required.
- Annual Business Income Tax Statement – Every business in California must submit a yearly Business Income Tax Statement to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). For filing information, contact a private accountant or the FTB
- Businesses that sell tangible property in California that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail must apply for seller’s permit/resale numbers. See the “Research Possible Additional Permits Needed” for more information.
- All employers and self-employed individuals must pay Social Security taxes
- List of agencies that can assist you in determining your tax obligations
- IRS Helpful Resources concerning Federal Taxes
- FTB Helpful Resources concerning State Taxes
A good understanding of state and federal laws will help you manage employees properly and protect you.
- Get a Tax Identification Number – If you plan to employ anyone who is not a member of your immediate family, you must obtain an Employee Identification Number or Employer Tax ID from the Internal Revenue Service.
- You must register with the California State Employment Development Department within 15 days of hiring employees.
- Obtain Workers’ Compensation information
- United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- State of California Labor Commissioner
- Submit your job posting with Mother Lode Job Training
- Local Business Services for Employers with Mother Lode Job Training
- SBA Guide, “Hire and Manage Employees”
The purpose of a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) is to inform the public of the identities of persons doing business for profit under a fictitious name. This is also known as a “Doing Business As” (DBA).
A fictitious name is one that does not include the surname (last name) of all the individuals who own the business, or suggests the existence of additional owners, such as the words “company” or “association”.
An FBN is filed with the Tuolumne County Clerk. To find out more, including the application needed, click here.
It’s crucial to understand your client’s behavior and the economic trends. Market research helps you design and improve your business right from the beginning.
- Census Business Builder (CBB) is a suite of services that provide selected demographic and economic data from the Census Bureau tailored to specific types of users in a simple to access and use format.
- How to use the Census Business Builder.
- SBA, Market Research and Competitive Analysis
- Secretary of State, “Starting a Business”
- US Small Business Administration, “10 steps to start your business“