SJPL Works: Business
Start a Business
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business.
- Step 1: Write a Business Plan – Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
- Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training – Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
- Step 3: Choose a Business Location – Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
- Step 4: Finance Your Business – Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
- Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business – Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
- Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As") – Register your business name with your state government. Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
- Step 7: Register for State and Local Taxes – Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
- Step 8: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits – Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
- Step 9: Understand Employer Responsibilities – Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
- Step 10: Find Local Assistance – Contact your local SBA office to learn more about how SBA can help.
Manage & Grow Your Business
- Understand Your Market – To run a successful business, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and your industry. Get access to data and statistics on your competitors, industry and target customer groups.
- Obtain Your Federal Business Tax ID – Learn where you can obtain your federal tax ID.
- Determine State and Federal Taxes – Knowing when the tax year starts for your small business is important to meeting filing requirements. Learn more about your tax year and when you need to file.
Financials and Investment
- Estimating Startup Costs – Assess the costs associated with starting, managing and growing your business.
- Developing a Cash Flow Analysis – Learn how to determine the amount of cash you need to start, operate and expand your business.
- SBA Financial Assistance – Start or expand your business with loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.
- Preparing Financial Statements – Learn about the importance of understanding financial statements for your small business.
- Investopedia – Investor education articles and tutorials
- Investor.gov – Investor education and tools provided by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
- Morningstar – Investor/investment related articles and research
- SEC - EDGAR – Search U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission public filings
- Yahoo Finance – Locate stock prices including historical prices and dividends. Includes investor education center.
- Value Line – Access in-depth financial information, research, commentary, and analysis for stocks.
Location and Equipment
- Buy Assets and Equipment – Figure out which assets you need, how to pay for them, and whether you should buy government surplus and/or lease equipment.
- Business Laws – Keep your business compliant with state and federal business laws. Your legal responsibilities will depend on your business and location.
Explore Business Information
- Is It A Business or a Hobby? – Learn if the activity you are engaging in qualifies as a business or a hobby and what the tax advantages and requirements are for each.
- Starting Your Own Business – Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can offer numerous advantages such as being your own boss, setting your own schedule and making a living doing something you enjoy. But, becoming a successful entrepreneur requires thorough planning, creativity and hard work. This guide walks you through what it takes.
Types of Businesses
Local Resources and Organizations
- Business Owner Space.com – One stop resource for starting, growing, and maintaining a business in Silicon Valley
- City of San José – Business Assistance – Funding and assistance programs compiled by the City of San José
- Going into Business in San José – What you need to know about doing business in the City of San José
- Doing Business in Santa Clara County – What you need to know about doing business in Santa Clara County
- Opportunity Fund – Business loans for small Bay Area businesses that may not qualify for conventional bank loans
- Silicon Valley SCORE – Offers free business counseling and other services to support entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center – Offers free consulting services and other services to support entrepreneurs and small businesses
- AnewAmerica – Offers new Americans business training, coaching, and resources to start or grow a small business
- Alliance for Community Development – Non-profit organization aimed at increasing access to capital for minorities, women, and disabled veteran entrepreneurs
- Find a Mentor or Counselor – When starting a business, advice from partners organizations can help you avoid common pitfalls.
Upcoming Business Events
Career & Business Pages
- SJPL Works: Career & Business