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Starting a New Business in California

Starting a new business can be exciting and also overwhelming, here are some basic pointers and hints to make the process easier.

Mission Statement

There is no greater important thing you must do when starting a new business than creating your mission statement.   This should be a written synopsis of your plans and expectations, it’s not always a necessity but it can be crucial to your success, especially if you have multiple owners, products or locations.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal but at the very least it should be a record of your initial ideas.

Your mission statement should embody all that is good about your business ideas,  it should not simply explain your products or services but your ideals and ethics in producing those products and services and also what is your intended use and disposition of your  products and services.

For example, you could impress upon the reader that you want to produce the best possible product or service for the best possible price and that profit for the sake of profit is not your prime motivation or you can explain how your company is more interested in making the world a better place than making huge profits.  Convince the reader that your company will never leave a place in worse shape than when it found it.

If these ideals are not what you had in mind then simply state what you want to do and how you plan to go about it. Regardless, the mission statement is, for some entities, a necessary legal document and for those that it is not, then it’s simply a good idea to write your ideas down, it will definitely help you get started and possibly help solve differences later.

They are Sole proprietorship, Partnership, C Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Partnership and Non-profit organization.  I left out Public Company purposely since it is unlikely that anyone reading this, at this stage, will be doing that.

Business Plan

Starting a businessfrom an idea or passion is exciting and can be an adventure butfrom experience we can say that to carry out  the idea you need a business plan, the devil is in the details, so be careful, think of everything, hope for the best, plan for the worst, call in as much advice as you can, it will help. A good source for this is the US Small Business Administration website http://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/search/training/starting-business.  Your business plan should spell out the details of business both present day and for the future.  It should begin with a synopsis of your Mission Statement and will lead into the details of various categories or facets of your business idea such as, Methods of Financing the business, Sales, Expenses, Profitability expectations, Marketing, Location, Management Resumes and Employee quotients.  It is essential to convince anyone reading the plan, that you are serious and have done your homework.  When looking for financing and/or future investors or partners, the one thing that can swing the vote is a sound business plan.

Type of Business Entity

Once you have gone through the initial idea process you need to decide what type of company (legal entity) yours will be, you have several choices. When deciding what type of entity your business will operate as, you must first beginning a business, you must decide which form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines the amount of paperwork you have to file, your personal liability regarding investments into your business, and the taxes you have to pay.

Defining a Business

This section highlights the principal differences between format and registration requirements in California of the following types of business entities:

Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number

Apply for a Resale (Sales Tax) Account Number – Seller’s Permit

Apply for a State of California Payroll Account Number (EDD)