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How to Run a Business in California

Date: 08/04/2021 | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to Run a Business in California?

California is considered by experts and first time entrepreneurs as the first choice for setting up a business. Apart from the $3.2 trillion economy, the robust logistics & infrastructure makes running a business in California quite uncomplicated and smooth. If you have chosen this state for your startup and are wondering how to run a California business successfully then this guide will provide you an insight into the benefits and challenges for running a small business and the steps you can take to make your business operate smoothly.

Doing Business in California

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of America was approximately $21.5 trillion in 2019 with California ranked number one for being the largest state economy. One of the top industries in California is manufacturing as it accounts for approximately 10.67% of the total output generated in this state, which was $316.76 billion in 2018. There are more than 35,000 entrepreneurs running a business in California in the manufacturing industry. The state is also home to some of the biggest corporations and hosts events and meets where as a first time entrepreneur you can learn how to run a California business successfully like others have before you.

Why is California good for small businesses?

There are 4.1 million small businesses in California and there are plenty of reasons why so many businesses are registering in the state. As an entrepreneur or first time business owner, you may wonder whether doing business in California is beneficial or not. The honest answer is that the state offers several small business programs, incentives, and provides an overall business and economic value that can be considered the most competitive.

Today, 99.8% of all businesses in the state are small businesses and each of these owners have faced the challenges of running a business in California and succeeded in achieving the intended growth. Each business has its own reason for choosing to form in California but there are some general aspects of this state that have benefitted each new and existing business in the state. They are:

  • Customer Base: One of the underrated aspects related to running a business in California is the customer base. Yes, every new business forming in the state has access to over 39 million residents or prospective customers. Whether you are running a retail store, a pharmacy, a home-based business, or an online business; if you can tap into the customer base then you will never have to worry about how to run a California business successfully.
  • Talent Pool: One of the challenges of running a business in California or any other state is hiring the right employees. On the bright side, California is home to some of the top universities and large research institutions, which provides businesses with the talent pool as required. Some of the top institutions include Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of California—Los Angeles, and University of California—Berkeley among others.
  • Small Business Assistance Centers: Whether you are running a business in California or any other state; you may require assistance in a variety of areas. You can find assistance on business related areas from the several small business assistance centers located within California. They provide assistance in areas like drawing up a checklist for starting a new business, information pertaining to various state business programs, financing a startup, contracting opportunities, getting import or export licenses or permits, and small business resources like taxes and planning assistance.
  • Business Incentives: If you have been wondering how to run a California business successfully then here is a tip – take advantage of the various state business incentive programs. Some of the top incentive programs include California Competes Tax Credit, New Employment Credit (NEC), Manufacturing and Research & Development Equipment Exemption, California Research & Development Tax Credit, California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP), California Capital Access Program (CalCAP), and the California Opportunity Zones program.

Challenges for running a California business

Doing business in California has its many benefits but at the same time, there will be hurdles and challenges to overcome. It is never easy to operate a business in any state and there are certain challenges of running a business in California that you will need to work around or overcome during various startup lifecycle stages. Although, California is the land of opportunity and innovation, the various challenges that your startup may face are:

  • Tax: One of the first challenges of running a business in California is taxes. The state is known to have one of the highest state business tax rates in the nation. The sales tax is at 7.25 percent and goes up to 10.75 percent if local sales tax is included. California also has a minimum franchise tax of $800, which is the highest in the country. If you are planning to set up a small business then these taxes will increase the average cost of doing business in California significantly.
  • Regulations: California is known for experimenting with new regulatory measures and this creates challenges to running a business in California. A new business in the state will have to keep itself updated with regulatory changes and also ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Cost of living: This is one of the major challenges of running a business in California as it can be quite an expensive affair from a purely operational standpoint. Higher cost of living translates into higher rent for commercial property and higher wage. The cost of living and doing business in California can vary from one city to another. For instance the cost is higher in Los Angeles as compared to lower costs in Camarillo or Simi Valley.

How to Run a Business in California?

California is not just an economically strong state but is a heaven for startups as it promotes innovation and technology. If you are thinking of doing business in California then you can establish your startup in any industry as all industries and sectors are highly growth oriented. For example: The hospitality sector is one of the top industries that has a dynamic and vibrant economy with $65.1 billion in travel-related spending in 2020 while the restaurant industry shows estimated sales of over $97 billion. The question is how to run a California business successfully in any industry and the processes that will help in making your business fully operational. Let’s take a look at the fundamental requirements for starting a new business in this state.

1. Understand your target market

A target market is essentially a specific segment that constitutes your potential customers whom you can reach out to or attract using various marketing strategies. The target market is often known as the target audience and hence it is important to define your audience prior to launching and running a business in California. Let’s look at an example to understand this:

If your business believes in selling or supplying or retailing PlayStation Games then your target market will be in the age group of 18 to 40 but if your business is in the hospitality industry then your target audience can be any age group. At the same time, you have to also determine what exactly you are offering in the hospitality industry because for example, a business spa or conference center will not cater to children, teenagers, and even retired senior citizens.

Defining the target market will also help you in positioning your brand properly thus helping you overcome initial customer focused challenges of running a business in California.

2. Set revenue goals

The ultimate objective of doing business in California or any other state is generating revenue (profits) and achieving growth. Revenue and growth are interrelated as higher revenue will open the door for expansion, which is a type of growth that every business aims for. Hence, it is important to set your revenue goals early. Revenue goals will revolve around generating profits and this is possible with a strong sales and marketing strategy that will help develop a strong customer base. One of the challenges of running a business in California is to create a fine balance between generating income and controlling operational costs. An illustrative example of revenue goals is:

You are starting a restaurant that caters to a wide target base. You want to increase your revenue goal to enable market expansion or lateral growth. In such a scenario, you can permit weddings and events like live bands to cater to a larger customer base and also generate higher revenue. Your short-term target should focus on improving the gross revenue of the restaurant by at least 30%.

3. Prepare business plan

If you are wondering how to run a California business successfully then a business plan is what you need. Even before you register your business, a business plan needs to be in place. A robust business plan has the following benefits:

  • It will help you to steer your business in the right direction
  • It will help you in creating an effective business growth and expansion strategy
  • You will be able to identify the various marketing and sales strategies for creating brand awareness
  • It will help you to overcome the challenges of running business in California
  • A good business plan will attract investors as well as lenders
  • You will gain a higher understanding of your existing market and competition

If you are thinking of running a business in California, your business plan will take into account several factors like the city you want to operate from, the product or services being offered, and what do you expect to achieve in 5 years or 10 years. The plan will vary according to the requirements of each business but the general plan will incorporate the following:

  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Description of products or services
  • Marketing strategies
  • Management and operational structure
  • Staffing requirements
  • Financial projections

4. Choose a business location

One of the rules of “how to run a California business successfully” is to always choose the right location for your business. It is important to understand that choosing a business location is like a strategy playing out and a number of factors will help you to decide the location you choose. Some of these factors are:

  • Business activity: The location for retailing or selling products will be different from those in the service industry.
  • Accessibility: Your business location should be accessible to customers/clients as well as vendors and suppliers
  • Competition: Competition can make doing business in California challenging hence choosing a business location not saturated by competition will be beneficial
  • Utilities and Rental: If the cost of rented commercial space and utilities is high then it will increase overall startup costs. Hence, you need to look for a location that is within your budget

5. Choose a legal structure for your business

A legal structure for your business is as important as operating or running a business in California. The legal structure of any entity will play a key role in influencing several aspects of the business right from day-to-day operations to filing of taxes and even asset protection. It is hence always recommended to choose a legal structure that doesn’t create challenges of running a business in California and instead provides benefits and legal protections. You can choose any of the following business structures:

  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship

The most popular business structures in California are corporations and limited liability companies although you can choose to form any of the above entities depending on your requirement. If you are planning on doing business in California and are wondering how to form your business then IncParadise can help you with the incorporation/registration process in California.

Do you want to form a California LLC or a Corporation?

6. Obtain necessary license and permits

If you plan on doing business in California then one of the foremost requirements is a business license. If you don’t have the necessary license or permit then you will be unable to make your business operational in the state. In California, there are business licenses or permits that are categorized under two types, they are:

  • General business license
  • Regulated professions and industries licensing

You can apply for a general business license in the city your business is based in. A general business license is also known as a business tax certificate in certain cities and counties in California. General business licenses and permits are issued by the city or county clerks offices.

For example: If you plan on doing business in California and form your startup in San Francisco then licenses and permits will be issued by the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. A business license has to be renewed annually or on the date as prescribed by the Ordinances or Regulations Code of the issuing city or county. The fee for general licenses vary from one city to another and the renewal fee depends on the business activity.

Some businesses may require additional licenses in the form of regulated licenses, which are also known as regulatory agency permits in certain cities and counties. These are normally issued by different regulatory bodies or agencies like the Department of Public Health, Police Department, Fire Department, Entertainment Commission, and Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) among others.

You may face certain challenges of running a business in California without a proper business license. You can always order our California business license check report as it will provide detailed information pertaining to the type of license required by your business, fees, renewals, and filing instructions.

7. Secure funding

It is never easy running a business in California but with the right strategies you can achieve all your business objectives. Every business is unique and so are its requirements. One of the challenges of running a business in California is the high startup costs. So how do you manage the cost? The best option is to secure funding. There are several ways to secure funding or financial aid in the state and they are:

  • Approach venture capital firms
  • Look for Angel investors
  • Find the top business incubators or accelerators
  • Apply for government grants and subsidies
  • There is an option for bank loans
  • Apply for business incentive programs like the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

8. Hire right employees

One of the challenges of running a business in California is finding the right employees. California is home to some of the most prestigious universities as well as a highly motivated talent pool. The first step is to introduce a formal hiring process as it will improve your chances of finding and hiring efficient and professional talent. Here is a checklist of points to consider prior to hiring employees.

  • Job analysis is necessary as it will define responsibilities, skills, and outcomes of a specific job
  • Have an Employee Recruiting Strategy in place
  • Prepare a well structured interview using evaluation scorecards and behavior-based interviewing techniques
  • Always try and look beyond the resume or CV of a probable candidate
  • Ask for references of previous employers

It is not always necessary to hire employees for running a business in California successfully especially if most of your business is online. In such a scenario, you can outsource the work or have employees work from remote locations. This move can help bring down the overhead costs.

9. Comply with taxes and other state regulations

Once you start doing business in California, you will be required to comply with state regulations and other requirements including filing of taxes. As a business owner in California you will have to comply with federal, state, and local tax requirements. California has different types of taxes including sales tax, franchise tax, corporate tax, and alternative minimum tax (AMT). You need to identify the taxes applicable for your business and ensure they are filed on time. One of the challenges of running business in California is following all state regulations. In order to do so, you will have to identify the annual business requirements and fulfill them so that the business remains in active status.

10. Keep finance in order

One of the key challenges of running business in California is keeping business finances in order. There are many small business owners who are unable to use the various technologies available in the market to keep their finances in order. One of the options of doing business in California is opening a business bank account, which can help separate your personal expenses from the expenditure and revenue earned by your business. This will also ensure that your annual tax filing is smooth. Here are some tips that will help you to maintain organized and clean financial records.

  • Use accounting software like QuickBooks Online, Xero, or FreshBooks
  • You can also use a custom enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for complex accounting
  • You can set aside 20% to 25% of your net income for income taxes
  • Use a cloud based tool for better management of payments across customers and vendors
  • Hire a professional bookkeeper to ensure tax filing is correct while maintaining optimal cash flow

11. Implement right tools for business growth

Small businesses can achieve high growth quickly but it requires strategy and tools to achieve that. Running a business in California will not necessarily translate into business growth as achieving your short-term and long-term objectives may take time. There are several variables that influence business growth like:

  • Customer loyalty
  • Adoption of technology
  • Cultural, political and economic conditions of the market
  • Business location
  • Brand positioning
  • Marketing & sales strategies

It is nearly impossible to control the above variable but with the help of specific tools, you will be able to overcome most of the challenges of running a business in California. Some of the tools you can use or implement are:

  • Business contact database tools to help grow contact or customer database
  • Influencer marketing campaign tools and community intelligence marketing platforms
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools to create higher visibility online
  • Tools for Social Media Monitoring & Publishing
  • Email and Marketing Automation tools

12. Focus on giving a great customer experience

The essential aspect of running a business in California is to create a loyalty base of satisfied customers. This is possible only when a business offers a positive customer experience. What is customer experience? It is an impression developed by your customers regarding the brand through their journey of using your product or service. This impression is basically how a customer views your brand and this can have short-term and long-term impact on the bottom line including revenue generation. The following tips will help you focus on giving a positive customer experience:

  • Measure your customer experience by analyzing results of a customer satisfaction survey
  • Identify the reasons and the rate for customer churn
  • Create a forum for customers where they can request new features or products
  • Make the process of returning a product easier
  • Identify the customer’s touch point with the business
  • Create promo runs offering products or services at discounted rates
  • Use customer experience management tools like Zendesk, IBM Tealeaf, and Satmetrix among others.

Need any Assistance in Running Your California Business?

If you are thinking of doing business in California, online or offline then you will require leading registered agent services to help you with the formation or incorporation of your small business. IncParadise is one of the top California registered agents and we have helped thousands of companies to register their business successfully in the state.

We will not only help you in running your California business successfully but also offer several additional services that your startup or business may require in the state. Our services are focused at assisting you with all business related annual and ongoing requirements. You can avail of services like EIN assistance, California Certificate of Good Standing, and filing of annual report, among others.

Start and successfully run your California small business!

How to Start an Online Business in California

Date: | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to Start an Online Business in California?

“Being online” is the new trend and having an online presence has been key to the growth and success of businesses today. Your business can also be a part of this increasingly beneficial trend if you start an online business in California. An online business is known as electronic business (e-business) where commercial transactions including sharing of communication takes place across the internet. Online businesses are an integral part of the electronic commerce (E-Commerce) industry. This guide will provide you with an insight on various aspects of online business including the benefits of doing business online, and the steps to follow to start an ecommerce business in California.

Online Business in California

There are different types of online businesses you can start depending on the business idea and the industry. If you start an online business in California then it can be:

  • A business-to-business (B2B)
  • A business-to-consumer (B2C)
  • Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)
  • Consumer-to-business (C2B)
  • Business-to-administration (B2A)
  • Consumer-to-administration (C2A)
  • Mobile e-commerce (M-commerce)

The Business-to-consumer (B2C) is one of the most common forms of online business in California where a business indulges in promoting services, selling products, or sharing information directly to the consumer. Due to easy access to the internet, a large number of entrepreneurs prefer to start an online business from home as it reduces the overall startup costs. Today, the state of California is home to the highest number of e‑retail or online businesses at 4,211 followed by Florida at 2,169 and New York having 1,920 online businesses.

The e-commerce industry is attractive enough for entrepreneurs to start home-based businesses. According to the Statista Digital Market Outlook report, the total revenue generated through online marketplaces in the US was $431.6 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to $563.4 billion by 2025.

What are the biggest benefits of doing business online in California?

California is considered as one of the hubs of the national and global emerging economy and has witnessed an increase in e-business as well as e-commerce. The steady growth of online businesses can be attributed to the integration of information and communications (ICT) technology. The continuous development and evolution of internet and web-based technologies have increased the access of business owners and consumers to the global marketplace. If you start an online business in California, the benefit and outcome of the said business is considerably higher and better than traditional brick and mortar businesses in specific industries. Let’s take a look at the biggest benefits of doing business online in California.

  • Lower Startup Costs: One of the advantages that entrepreneurs leverage when they start an online business in California is the low startup costs. In a traditional startup, there are several cost factors including renting an office premise, hiring employees, buying or renting equipment, and more. An internet based business negates most of the above mentioned cost factors like if you start an online business from home, you will be able to cut down on the cost of renting commercial space.
  • Easy Access to the Internet: The foremost requirement to start an online business in California is to have access to the internet. A survey conducted by the California Emerging Technology Fund and University of Southern California revealed that 91% of California households have access to high-speed internet.
  • Global reach: One of the major benefits and unique selling point of an online business is that you can reach out to a global audience. For example: if you start an online business from home, which focuses on providing business consulting or search engine optimization services then you can have local, state, U.S clients as well as customers and businesses from across the world. This is more so because internet driven social media platforms enable communication across the globe in real time. Similarly, if you launch an e-commerce or drop shipping website after obtaining an online business license in California then consumers from across the world can directly buy from your website.

Top online business ideas in California

There are over 4 million small businesses in California and a large majority of them are operational online. If you have a business idea that you want to pursue over the internet as an e-commerce business then you will require an online business license in California to make it operational. The online business industry and market in California is quite dynamic and hence is open to a variety of startup ideas. Some of the top online ideas to start online business from home in today’s internet-driven society are:

  • Dropshipping: If you want to start an online business in California, one of the popular and trending ideas is that of drop shipping. A drop shipping business will enable you to sell a wide range of products directly to customers. You have the option of selling your own brand or product or selling other branded products. The salient aspect is that you can set your own product pricing.
  • Digital Product or a course: You can start an online business from home with low investment and create a digital product like an e-book or an educational course like an Oracle SQL certification course or a Python programming course. This type of business is a low investment opportunity where you can monetize your learning and expertise by providing online tutorials to others.
  • Mobile App Development: The increased dependency on the internet has created several platforms and opportunities for first time entrepreneurs. One of the trending industry areas is that of mobile app development. The worldwide mobile app revenue in 2021 was $693 billion and is expected to cross $900 billion by 2023. If you have an interest in app development then with minimal resources and investment you can start an online business in California in this area.
  • Social Media Consultant: Social Media seems to exist everywhere in our business and personal life. It is a model that facilitates the sharing of thoughts, ideas, and information through virtual networks. According to Statista, by the first quarter of 2020, almost 420 billion people were active on social media thus opening the doors for new businesses to venture into social media marketing and strategies. As a social media consultant, you start an online business from home and generate revenue promoting your experience and knowledge of social media.

There are several other areas or industries in which you can establish your online startup including consulting, ghostwriting, affiliate marketing, graphic design, Podcasting, web development, and e-commerce.

Starting an Online Business in California

California enjoys dominance in several economic and business areas with small and internet based businesses playing a crucial role in the Golden State’s international competitiveness. You can also become an integral part of the state’s flourishing economy once you start an online business in California. The question is how do you form a startup? The following steps will provide an insight into the requirements and documentation required to start an ecommerce business in California.

1. Prepare your online business idea and plan

The business idea and plan is crucial towards the sustenance and success of every business. If you already have an idea then you can create your business plan around it. If you are researching ideas then it is important to choose an area that you have expertise and experience in. For example: If you possess knowledge of blog writing and do off-road hiking then you can combine the knowledge and experience to start an online business in California that shares information, travel itineraries, and more. Once you have identified your idea based on core strengths, it is time to create a business plan. The plan for every business will be different based on the industry, activity, target audience, etc., but there are some key areas that remain the same. If you start an ecommerce business in California then the key areas would be:

  • Your mission and how you will get there
  • Your short and long-term goals and objectives
  • Define your target online demographic profile or market
  • Define the online competitive market for your niche
  • Provide a value proposition
  • Create a revenue model
  • Define benefits of online services or products
  • Develop a strong internet marketing strategy
  • Define risks including future internet business issues
  • Create a financial plan and scaling your business

2. Choose your online business name and buy domain

If you start an online business in California, it is important to identify a name for the business first. A business name is an essential aspect of the branding strategy and should ideally be short, memorable, and easy to pronounce or write. A simple business name is also easier to translate across geographic or language barriers if you are planning to go global. At the same time, you have to check for availability of the business name as it will help you in reserving the name with the office of the secretary of state. If you are planning to start an ecommerce business in California then it is important to also check for the availability of the domain name. The domain name extension can be any of the following:

  • .com (commercial business)
  • .net (network)
  • .co (Commercial)
  • .org (organisation)
  • Country codes like .us or .uk
  • .info (information)
  • .biz (business)

The most common extension is a .com extension and you can research over the internet for domain name registration. There are some domain registrar and web hosting companies that offer free domain name registration if you opt for a web hosting package.

3. Register your online business with CA SOS

Once you have reserved your business name with the California Secretary of State and booked your domain, the next step would be to register the business. You can start an online business in California but prior to registration, you will need to define the structure of your business. The different types of entity that you can form in the state are:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • General Partnership

If you start an ecommerce business in California as a sole proprietorship then you will not be required to register but for all other businesses, you have to file new business formation documents in the state. The fee and the form will vary according to the business structure chosen.

We at IncParadise are one of the top registered agents in the state and have a team that is professional, and possess the necessary expertise to guide you towards new online business registration. We have helped many entrepreneurs and first time business owners to start an online business in California.

Register your online or e-commerce business in California today!

4. Obtain all necessary licenses and permits

Once you have registered with the California SOS, applying for an online business license in California is important to ensure the business is operational. In fact, all types of businesses have to apply for and obtain California business licenses irrespective of whether you start an online business from home or a store front. The business license or permits required will depend on your location (city or county) and the type of online business activity (selling products or service).

If you start a commerce business in California then the first requirement will be a seller’s permit. According to California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDFTA), a seller permit is required by online and offline businesses if they are engaged in selling or leasing in the state. A seller’s permit is applicable to individuals (sole proprietorship) as well as corporations and limited liability companies.

Every new business in the state will need to apply for a general online business license in California, which is issued by cities or counties. For example: If you start an online business from home in Glendale, California then you will need to also apply for additional permits or licenses like the home occupation business permit.

If you want to know more about the types of online business license in California that your startup may require then you can order our detailed California business license check report. This is a comprehensive report that elaborates on essential details like fees related to a business license, list of filing instructions, supporting document requirements, types of licenses and permits in the state and the issuing authority.

This is a comprehensive report that elaborates on essential details like fees related to a business license, list of filing instructions, supporting document requirements, types of licenses and permits in the state and the issuing authority.

5. Get EIN and File your taxes

Whether you are planning to start an online business from home or will be maintaining inventory in California, you will be required to file taxes in the state. There is California sales tax applicable on sales of $500,000 or more in tangible personal property in the state. You will be required to register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDFTA), if your online business does not have annual sales of $500,000 or more. If you start an online business in California then district taxes may also be applicable. These are voter-approved sales and use taxes that are imposed primarily by counties, cities, and other local jurisdictions. In order to file taxes in California, you will need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN), which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

6. Open bank account

Once you have obtained your online business license in California the next step would be to open a business bank account. A business bank account plays an important role when it comes to segregating your business expenses and revenue from personal expenses. This is especially important if you start an ecommerce business in California as the revenue generated and expenses will be higher. Having a business bank account will not only help you to keep a track of all business related expenses but also simplify annual tax reporting in California. IT is important to note that you may need to show your Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to open a business bank account.

7. Comply with taxes and other regulatory requirements

Once you start an online business in California, you will need to comply with annual maintenance and tax or business license requirements. Some of the important requirements are:

  • Most business licenses in the state have to be renewed annually or on a date specified by the city or jurisdiction in which the business is based.
  • Apart from this, you have to file an annual report known as the “Statement of Information” in the state of California.
  • If there is any change in the name, address, or ownership of the business entity then you will be required to inform the Secretary of State and update it in the records
  • You need to ensure your business is compliant with the zoning laws and regulations of the jurisdiction your business is located in.

8. Market your business

If you are planning to start an online business in California then marketing it is core to the long-term success of the business. The first step is to develop a strong marketing strategy and this will be based on three important factors, which are:

  • The type of online business
  • The target audience
  • The competition

If you start an ecommerce business in California then your marketing strategy should comprise of several elements like:

  • Company Website
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Visuals to strengthen branding
  • Mobile commerce (m-commerce) for maximum reach
  • Digital marketing campaigns
  • Organic content creation and sharing on social media
  • Promoting products or services through email marketing
  • Customer experience

Looking to start an online business in California?

There are several types of online businesses that you can pursue in the state of California as access to high speed internet has increased and people also prefer to shop online as it gives them the power of convenience. If you are planning to start a business in California then there is a process you will be required to follow and IncParadise can assist you with the same.

IncParadise is one of the most reputed California registered agents and we have helped thousands of companies to start their own business in California. Our team of experts will guide you through the process of starting your online business in California. We also offer a wide variety of additional services that will help you to maintain compliance in California. These specialized services include filing an annual report, and EIN assistance among others.

Start your California e-commerce business!

How to Register a Corporation in California

Date: | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to Register a Corporation in California?

There are different types of business structures that you can choose from in California but a business corporation is one of the most commonly chosen structures owing to a multitude of reasons. Some of the top businesses in California are actually corporations like Alphabet Inc., Adobe Inc., Apple, Cisco Systems, Cloudera, eBay, Gap Inc., and Intel Corporation among others. If you are planning to start a California corporation then this guide will provide you with an insight into the benefits of incorporating in California and the requirements of operating such a business in the state.

California Corporation

California‘s economy is the largest in the U.S and although 12 percent of Americans reside in California, the state has made a contribution of 14.8 percent to US GDP in 2020. Most of the GDP contribution can be attributed to 99.8% of California small businesses. A large percentage of the small businesses as well as big companies are corporations. You can incorporate in California as there are a multitude of advantages that you will be able to benefit from. You can register a California corporation online or offline in some of the top industries and have access to the state’s transportation gateways, tax credits, business incentives, and human and capital resources.

What is a California Corporation?

A California corporation is a form of legal entity, which is separate as well as distinct from its owners. If you register a corporation in California then it will enjoy the responsibilities and rights that an individual would possess. You can form a domestic or a foreign corporation although the requirements of incorporation will be different for foreign and domestic entities. There are several different types of corporations that can be formed in the US but the key forms include:

In the state of California, you can form social purpose corporations, C and S corporations, non-profit corporations, professional corporations, co-operative corporations, and benefit corporations. When you register a corporation in California there are certain regulations that you will need to be compliant with including maintaining a registered agent.

What are the benefits of incorporating in California?

California, home to some of the most innovative businesses, is one of the fastest economies in the nation. California has the distinction of being the largest manufacturing state in the nation with San Diego, CA being home to 25,000 manufacturers. The San Francisco Bay Area is famous globally as it is home to global technology companies based in the famed Silicon Valley. You can also start a California corporation and become a part of the expanding economy and the innovative business environment. There are also several benefits of incorporating in California like the following:

  • Separate Entity: If you form a California Corporation then it will be considered as a separate entity from the owners. Once you have incorporated, the corporation will have its own rights, liabilities, responsibilities, and capabilities. This means that a corporation can also buy or own real estate, lend money, invest in funds, and make guarantees and contracts. One of the salient aspects of a C corporation is that it will continue to exist even when owner’s change and management members are replaced.
  • Liability Protection: One of the primary benefits of incorporating in California is the limited liability protection it offers. When you register a corporation in California, it limits the personal liability of shareholders, officers, directors, and employees. Thus, the legal obligations of the corporation will not affect any individual associated with the organization.
  • Transferability of shares: One of the top benefits of incorporating in California is that a shareholder of the company can transfer or sell his/her stocks and shares. The buyer of such a share will then automatically become the shareholder of the corporation with all the applicable rights.
  • Attracts Investors: One of the reasons why entrepreneurs incorporate in California is because a corporation in this state is attractive to investors as compared to other business structures

Starting a California Corporation

If you are planning to register a corporation in California then there is a process that you will have to follow and also be compliant with the various state requirements and regulations. The process has several steps right from identifying and reserving a business name to filing the articles with the office of the California Secretary of State.

1. Name your Corporation

A name is one of the most defining aspects of any form of business entity as it creates an identity that prospective customers can relate to and also increase brand recall value. It is mandatory to have a business name in order to register a corporation in California. When identifying or choosing a business name, you need to adhere to the name regulations as mentioned in California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 7, Chapter 8.5, Section 21000 to 21005.

It is important to ensure that your proposed or chosen name is distinguishable from any other name existing in the records of the California Secretary of State. The name should not mislead the public by creating a false implication of any government affiliation. Once you have chosen a name, ensure it is available by conducting a business name search on the SOS website. You can reserve your business name for a period of 60 days prior to filing the Articles of Incorporation California.

2. Appoint a California registered agent

If you are planning to form a California corporation then one of the mandatory requirements is to maintain a registered agent in the state for service of process pursuant to CA Corp Code Section 202, §1502, §2105, or §2117. The primary responsibility of a California registered agent is to accept legal as well as tax documents from the office of the Secretary of State or other government agencies on behalf of the entity. Hence, such an agent is also known as agents for Service of Process.

A California registered agent needs to have a physical address in the state and it should be operational during regular business hours. IncParadise is one of the most reputable agents for service of process in the state. We can also be your registered agent in California as we are compliant with all requirements of the state. We can also assist you to register a California corporation online as well as help with annual business maintenance as required by the state.

Choose IncParadise today as your California Registered Agent!

3. File Article of Incorporation

In order to start a California corporation, you will be required to file the “Articles of Incorporation” with the California Secretary of State pursuant to CA Corp Code § 200.5 (2018). You will have to provide specific information in the articles pertaining to the business including name of the entity, business addresses, California Agent’s name and address, number of shares if it is a stock corporation, and purpose statement. The Articles of Incorporation California has to be submitted along with a “submission cover sheet” and a fee of $100. If you submit in person then there is a counter drop-off fee of $15.

Incorporate your new business in California Today!

4. Choose Corporation’s initial directors

The owners or incorporators or initial directors have to be named when filing Articles of Incorporation California. Hence, it is important to choose the directors. Appointing initial directors will help in appointing corporate officers, adopting bylaws, selecting a corporate bank, authorizing issuance of shares of corporate stock, setting of the fiscal year, and adopting an official stock certificate form along with a corporate seal. This process is important and has to be conducted before you register a corporation in California. The initial corporate directors will also serve on the board until the first annual shareholders meeting is held. The California state law advocates that a professional corporation should have a minimum of 3 directors unless the entity has less than 3 shareholders.

5. Prepare bylaws for Corporation

Bylaws is an internal corporate document that provides details of the entire operational structure of the business including the conducting of business and who, when, and how the decisions related to the business entity would be made. The rules and regulations contained in a corporation’s bylaws also known as company bylaws ensures the smooth, efficient, and consistent running of the said corporation.

It is mandatory according to California Corporation Code CA Corp Code § 200 – § 213 (2019) to set bylaws before you start a California corporation although they are not required to be submitted along with articles of incorporation California. You will need to keep a copy of the bylaws at your principal address of the business.

6. Get an EIN

One of the most important requirements to incorporate in California is an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a unique nine-digit tax ID number often known as the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). This tax ID number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to specific business entities. If you are planning to register a California corporation online then you will need to apply for and obtain an EIN. We at IncParadise are an experienced and reputable California registered agent and we can help you to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so that you are able to file your tax return conveniently.

7. Hold an organizational meeting

One of the requirements when you incorporate in California is holding an organizational meeting. This is a type of initial meeting where several tasks related to the business are initiated or completed including the plan to register a California corporation online. Some of the other tasks that are completed in an organizational meeting include election of officers and board of directors, issuance of stock or initial shares, adopting employee benefit plans, and approval of corporate bylaws.

The general agenda for an organizational meeting is normally as follows:

  • Signing a “Waiver of Notice” of organization meeting
  • Taking note of the people present
  • Presenting and accepting the articles of incorporation
  • Electing directors
  • Election of officers
  • Presenting and accepting the corporate seal
  • Adopting bylaws
  • Presenting and accepting the stock certificates
  • Adopting a resolution towards accepting stock offers
  • Adopting the banking resolution
  • Adopting a resolution for reimbursing expenses
  • Adopting any special resolution like IRS Form 2553 for S corporation election

8. Obtain a Business License

In order to form a corporation in California you have to file Articles of Organization in California but to make your business operational, you will need to apply for and obtain business licenses and permits. There are two types of licenses or permits applicable and they are the general business license and the regulated professions and industries licensing.

It is important to note that unlike in most of the other states, business licenses in California are not issued by the Secretary of State or state agencies. Licenses and permits are issued by the cities or counties where the said business is based. You can find detailed information pertaining to licenses and permits using our Business License Research Report service. This service will help you to apply for licenses or permits specific to your business.

9. Open a bank account

Once you register a corporation in California, your business is active but what about transactions? When you start spending (business expenditures) or accepting (revenue) money, it is time to open a business bank account. There are different types of business bank accounts like checking account, merchant services account, and credit card account among others. Some of the benefits of opening a checking account with a bank are:

  • Clean and accurate bookkeeping: When you opt for a business bank account, the expenses and revenues are kept separate from your personal account. This separation of personal and business transactions ensure clean and accurate bookkeeping for your accountant.
  • Tax: Once you register a California corporation online, you will need to file taxes with the state. If you maintain a business bank account, it will help segregate your business and personal finances thus ensuring you avoid any tax issues.

Some of the other advantages of opening a business bank account are:

  • Ability to accept credit card payments
  • Getting a line of credit for your company
  • Credit card accounts help increase purchasing power
  • Business banking offers limited personal liability protection

10. File taxes and reports (Statement of information)

Once you have filed your articles of incorporation in California and obtained the required business license then your company can be termed operational. Once your business is active, there are certain annual requirements that you will need to be compliant with like filing your taxes and statement of information.

  • The statement of information has to be filed within 90 days from the date of filing the Articles of Incorporation in California.
  • Once you start a California corporation, you will be required to file annual state taxes with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). This includes an annual minimum tax of $800, sales tax if required, and an additional tax based on total annual income.

Ready to Start a California Corporation?

There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S and more than 4 million are based in California. If you want to start a California corporation then there are several industries and business areas to launch your startup in. If you are wondering how to register a California corporation online then we at IncParadise can assist you with the entire incorporation process in the state while ensuring your startup fulfills all California formation requirements.

IncParadise also provides a host of additional services that you can choose from depending on your specific requirement. Some of the top services include foreign qualification, EIN assistance, S Corporation status election, among others.

Start a new California corporation quickly and efficiently!

How to Form Your LLC in California

Date: | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to Form Your LLC in California?

The state of California is considered a heaven for new businesses and you can choose any type of business structure. Although, you can choose any structure, a limited liability company is one of the popular business structures opted for in California. There are several benefits that prompt entrepreneurs and first time business owners to form a California LLC. This guide will help you to understand a limited liability company and its benefits in California and provide an insight into the process of registering an LLC.

LLC in California

California nicknamed the “Golden State” is home to some of the big companies of the world including JBL, Mozilla Corporation, Netflix, Warner Bros., Wells Fargo, Universal Pictures, Tesla, Inc., Seagate Technology, and San Jose Sharks LLC among others. You can also start an LLC in California and leverage the dynamic capabilities and innovation platforms in a rapidly evolving California business environment. Due to the fact that a limited liability company is a pass-through entity, they are the most popular legal entity in the state of California. Once you form an LLC in California, you will need to keep it active by filing California LLC statements of information and annual tax.

What is California LLC?

You can form a domestic or a foreign limited liability in California. You can also form a California LLC in any other state and move your business to California. The process for the registration of a domestic LLC is different from that of a foreign LLC. There are several different types of LLC that can be formed in the US and they are:

  • Single-Member LLC/Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Series LLC
  • Restricted LLCs
  • L3C Company
  • Anonymous LLC
  • Member-Managed LLC or Manager-Managed LLC

Of the above, California allows the formation of Single-Member LLC or Sole Proprietorship and General Partnership (LLC will with multiple members). The regulations pertaining to limited liability companies will vary from one state to another. For example, it is mandatory to hire and maintain a California LLC registered agent. If you register a California LLC, then you will be the owner and in the context of the LLC, be known as a member. It is not just an individual who can form a limited liability company but members can include corporations, foreign entities, non-US residents and even other LLC’s.

What are the benefits of forming an LLC in California?

Boasting a $3.2 trillion gross state product (GSP), California is the 5th largest economy in the world. This growing economy can be attributed to the 4 million small businesses along with the big names in the IT sector. You can also form a California LLC in such a thriving economy but that is not the only benefit the state offers. There are several other benefits of starting an LLC in California like the following:

  • Pass-Through Taxation: One of the primary reasons entrepreneurs start an LLC in California as opposed to other business structures is pass through taxation. Pass-through is a type of tax treatment where-in taxes of the LLC literally “flows through or passes through” to the tax returns of the LLC owner or members. Hence, when you register a California LLC, it will not be subjected to any double taxation like some other business structures may be subjected to. It is also important to note that when a limited liability company elects to be taxed as a corporation then pass through taxation will not be applicable.
  • Limited Liability Protection: California LLC incorporation will provide you with limited liability protection. This simply means that as the owner you will not be held responsible if the company suffers a loss. This also means that all your personal assets like home, car, and bank accounts will have necessary protection from lawsuits and business debts.
  • Credibility: If you register a California LLC then the company will help increase credibility in the market. In fact, a limited liability company is recognized as a formal business structure as compared to partnership or sole proprietorship.

There are several other benefits that a California limited liability company can enjoy including a wide variety of incentive programs like the New Employment Credit (NEC), California Research & Development Tax Credit, and California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP) among others.

Forming an LLC in California

California provides strong business infrastructure and a robust platform for startups and hence is considered a favorite location for starting a new business. You can form a limited liability with the help of a top California LLC registered agent like IncParadise although there is a process that you will be required to follow. The process has several steps right from the conception of a company name to actually filing the articles with the office of the California Secretary of State.

1. Choose California LLC name

Every business is known and defined by its name and hence choosing an appropriate name is crucial towards business operations. The business name is provided in most of the official documents including application for EIN tax ID, California LLC statement of information, and Articles of Organization. When you are ideating a name, it is important to follow the name regulations mentioned in the 2021 Revised Business Entity Name Statutes and the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.

According to the name statutes and Act, you need to ensure your business name is distinguishable from the name of any other limited liability company on record with the California Secretary of State. The name should be such that it doesn’t mislead the public. This can be made possible by conducting a California LLC name search on the SOS website. You can reserve your LLC name for a period of 60 days by filing the “Name Reservation Request Form” with the Business Programs Division.

2. Choose California LLC registered agent

One of the important steps towards California LLC incorporation is finding, hiring, and maintaining a registered agent. Most first time business owners would ask if hiring a registered agent is necessary or not. Apart from the fact that having a California LLC registered agent can be quite beneficial, it is also mandatory for all corporations, LLCs and other business entities to appoint and maintain a registered agent pursuant to the California Corporation Code Section § 1700-1702.

A California LLC registered agent also known as a Statutory Agent or an Agent for Service of Process needs to have a physical address in the state, which should be operational during regular business hours. IncParadise, is one of the most respectable agents for service of process in California. We can be your California registered agents as we are compliant with all regulations and requirements of the state. We can also assist with California LLC incorporation as well as other annual business requirements you may have in the state.

If your business is already operational in California or if you are planning expansion within the state, we as a reputed California LLC registered agent can assist you with several business related state based requirements. Any or all existing and currently operational businesses in California can change registered agent services in California to IncParadise.

IncParadise offers a wide variety of registered agent services in California!

3. File Articles of Organization with CA SOS

In order to form a California LLC, you will be required to file the “Articles of Organization” with the California Secretary of State pursuant to CA Corp Code § 17702.01 (2017). You will have to provide specific information in the articles pertaining to the business including LLC name in compliance with Section 17701.08, office street address, and name and street address of your California LLC registered agent among others. The filing fee for Articles of Organization is $70. If you submit in person then there is a counter drop-off fee of $15.

Register a California LLC Today!

4. Prepare LLC operating agreement

An LLC Operating Agreement is an integral aspect of forming a limited liability company in California. It is a legal document, which outlines the duties of members and owners of the company. It is not possible to start an LLC in California without the operating document although you are not required to submit it with the office of the Secretary of State. The importance of the agreement lies in the fact that it helps in setting down the working and financial relationship among members or business owners as well as between managers and members. The content of an LLC operating agreement will vary from one entity to another but the six key areas included in this are:

  • Organization
  • Management and Voting
  • Capital Contributions
  • Distributions
  • Membership Changes
  • Dissolution

5. Obtain EIN

EIN is an Employer Identification Number and it is also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number. This is a unique 9 digit tax ID number that is assigned to businesses by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is used for reporting employment taxes and most businesses in California would require this number bar a few exceptions. If you register a California LLC with one member (single member LLC) and are considered a disregarded entity without any employees then you will not be required to apply for an EIN. If your company is a multi-member LLC then you will be required to apply for and obtain an EIN.

We can help you get your EIN number in California!

6. File initial statement of information

Once you have filed the Articles of Organization for California LLC incorporation, there is another filing required by every LLC in the state. It is known as the Statement of Information (Form-LLC_12) and has to be filed with the California Secretary of State, within 90 days from the date of registration of the limited liability company. After the initial filing, the statement of information has to be filed once every two years. If your LLC has more than one member or manager then you will be required to also file an “Attachment to Statement of Information” during the initial statement filing. The initial statement filing fee is $20. As one of the top California LLC registered agents, IncParadise can assist you with the filing of the statement of information.

7. Pay California annual franchise tax

If you register a California LLC then there are certain annual requirements you will be required to fulfill including filing annual franchise tax. A limited liability company organized in California or conducting business in the state has to file an annual tax of $800. The tax is due on the 15th day of the 4th month from the day of registration of the LLC e.g., if you formed LLC on June 22, 2021 then your tax will be due on September 15, 2021.

8. Obtain necessary business licenses and permits

Once you register a California LLC, it will become operational only after you apply for and obtain necessary business licenses and permits. You can start your business in a variety of industries but the type of business license and permit will depend entirely on the business activity. In California, business licenses or permits can be classified under two categories, which are:

  • General business license
  • Business licenses or permits for specific industries

It is important to note that business licenses and permits also known as a business tax certificate are issued by cities and counties where an entity is located or conducting business from. A top California LLC registered agent like IncParadise can provide guidance on business licenses and permits and you can also avail of our Business License Research Report service for detailed information on licenses and permits in California.

9. Open a bank account

One of the important requirements pre or post California LLC incorporation is that of a bank account. Whether it is a single member LLC operating as a sole proprietorship or a multi-member LLC, having a business bank account always reduces any problems that may arise due to the mixing of your personal and business finances. Having a separate business account will also help in tracking your business cash flow while helping manage business specific budgets along with income and expenditure.

10. Comply with taxes and other regulations

Most businesses established in California will have to pay some form of tax. If you register a California LLC then depending on the business activity and the type of LLC, you may be required to file one or more forms of state tax. According to the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), an LLC classified as a partnership for tax purposes will have to file Form-568 for Limited Liability Company Return of Income. Some of the different forms of taxes that a California LLC may have to file include:

  • If you start an LLC in California as a retailer or are in the retail business where selling of goods and merchandise takes place then you will be required to file sales tax. You will have to first register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to pay this tax.
  • If your company is a single-member LLC then you will be required to file self-employment tax on your business profits
  • Owners of a California LLC will be required to pay federal income tax on profits earned less federal deductions or allowances
  • As an employer, you will be required to file payroll tax on any salaries paid to an employee

Ready to form a California LLC?

If you are planning to form a California LLC or you have an innovative startup idea then the state provides just the right balance of opportunity and growth. We at IncParadise are one of the most reputed California LLC registered agents and have helped thousands of startups and new businesses to register and operate in the state. We can assist you with the entire process of LLC formation as well as annual maintenance of your company.

We understand that each business has its unique requirements and hence are offering additional services that can be leveraged according to your specific business requirement. Some of our top services include foreign qualification, EIN assistance, S Corporation status election, and Statement of Information among others.

Start your LLC in California with the help of experts!

How to start a home-based business in California

Date: | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to start a home-based business in California?

In the digitally connected world of today, there is a higher engagement of home-based businesses with technology and online e-commerce platforms. There are a variety of industries where you can start a home-based business in California right from computer-based consulting to food delivery services. This is a guide specifically created to help you understand how to start a home business in California including business registration, tax registration, licenses and permits, and zoning laws and regulations.

Home Based Business in California

There are 4 million small businesses in California and a majority of such businesses are startups from home. There are almost 15 million home-based businesses in the U.S and it is not surprising that 69 percent of startups have sprung from home-based business ideas.

A home-based business also known as “HBB” is basically a type of small business, which operates from the residence of a business owner or entrepreneur. It is no hidden fact that some of the industry and global leaders like Apple Computer, Hallmark cards, Baskin-Robbins, Amazon, Disney, Microsoft, Google, Harley Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, and Nike were initially home-based businesses and some of them have their roots in California.

Your startup idea can also be started from a garage, home, or even the kitchen including California’s famous meal delivery kits, which has turned into a trend that entrepreneurs in other states are planning to follow. You will need to apply and obtain home business licenses or permits and ensure compliance with zoning laws for your home-based business to become operational.

Why start a home-based business in California?

If you are planning to start a home-based business in California then it is certainly a good decision as the state itself promises opportunities, infrastructure, and a robust platform for any form or type of business. The GDP of California is $3.09 trillion and much of it can be owed to the 4.1 million or more small businesses that are currently operational in the state. It has the second-highest number of small businesses in the nation and its economy has been growing at an annual rate of 3.5%, which is more than the U.S economy. If you are wondering how to start a home business in California then there is a process for the same but first it is important to understand what makes California one of the first choices for entrepreneurs and home based startups. There are several aspects that make California popular and this includes:

  • Networking: One of the biggest benefits of a home-based startup is the availability of networking opportunities. When you start a home-based business in California, you can join any of the networking groups and participate in meetups, conferences, and events. The important aspect of becoming a part of such groups is that you will be able to meet and communicate your business ideas to industry experts, investors, and probable customers or retailers. The networking groups provide a platform for showcasing your business ideas.
  • Diverse industries: If you have home-based business ideas then California offers you the platform to set up a new business in a variety of industries. The fastest growing industries include construction, hospitality, healthcare, agriculture, and technology although the biggest industries in the state are the services sector including tourism, film industry, and agriculture. The industries also vary from one city to another like the largest industry in San Francisco is tourism while the largest industry in Los Angeles is the high-tech industry and then there is the Silicon Valley. You can choose your industry in accordance with your startup idea, obtain home business licenses, and make your enterprise operational.
  • Robust Business Infrastructure: California, nicknamed the Golden State has a robust and strong economy, is ranked 5th largest in the world, and represents 15 percent of the U.S economy ($22.68 trillion). The clean and efficient economy along with innovative policies have helped change the industrial landscape thus helping new-age entrepreneurs to start a home-based business in California successfully. At the heart of the economy is the robust business infrastructure, which includes logistics infrastructure like railroads, ports, airports, trucking companies, and warehouses. The supply chain in California runs deep and is one of the key drivers of the economy.

Popular home-based business ideas

California is home to small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) and a majority of such entities have grown from home-based business ideas. In order to understand how to start a home business in California, you need to first identify the type of home business that will bring you growth and success. There are several industries or areas where you can form a startup but if you are looking for trending ideas then here are some:

  • Online Consulting Business: You can start a home-based business in California as an online consultant. The type of consulting will vary according to the knowledge and skills acquired over the years. Some of the key areas of online consulting include career consulting, leadership and team building, green living consulting, organization and efficiency, digital marketing, virtual assistant, social media consultant, and stress management among others.
  • Online Services: This is a wide area and the type of work you offer will determine the home business licenses and permits required. The scope and opportunity is huge and encompasses several areas right from blogging to affiliate marketing, publishing ebooks, graphic designing, information research, and selling home-made products through ecommerce websites.
  • Handmade Crafts: One of the areas that have gained popularity in recent times is handmade crafts. Entrepreneurs are actually converting their hobbies into serious businesses like jewelry designing, T-shirt designing, ceramics making, Wood DIY, handmade cards, pour paintings, stone or rock painting etc.
  • Home-based food services: This is an area where you can start a home-based business in California. Food services have always been a high-growth area and there are a variety of niches that you can experiment with. Some of the popular ideas in this category include creating and selling baked goods, specialty items like gourmet chocolate, cooking instructor, nutrition coach, food blogger, home-based cookie business, food photographer, and home chefs or home cooked meals.
  • Computer based businesses: There are different areas within this category that you can focus on depending on your strength and skills. It is important to understand that most businesses in this category will require home business licenses or permits. Some of the most popular areas include computer trainer or tutor, computer repair, desktop publishing, IT consulting, Tech blogging, technical writer, website design, App development, software development, and game development.

Steps to Start Home Based Business in California

If you are wondering how to start a home business in California then it is important to understand that there are certain aspects within the entire process that you will need to consider. There are specific elements that will drive your home-based business ideas from their conception stage to implementation and finally operational stage. Starting a business from home will provide you with greater flexibility in terms of time spent and initial startup expenses. So, let’s take a look at the key areas that you need to focus in order to start your home business successfully.

1. Create a business plan

Before you can start a home-based business in California, it is necessary to create a business plan. A business plan is considered to be a strategic tool for business owners and entrepreneurs. This type of strategic plan takes into consideration several aspects related to the conception phase, the operational phase, and the sustenance phase of a business. It helps entrepreneurs to focus on areas crucial to the overall success of the business like market research, need for home business licenses, short-term and long-term objectives. Some of the key areas of a business plan for home-based startup are:

  • An executive summary of your home-based business ideas
  • Research of the market you plan to launch in
  • Existing and expected competition
  • Marketing, Advertising, and Sales strategy
  • Ideal customer identification
  • Financial planning
  • Operating plan
  • Startup Expenses

2. Check zoning laws and regulations

Anyone can start a home-based business in California but it is always important to check local zoning laws and regulations first. It is important because if you start a home business without checking zoning regulations then your business can be red flagged by zoning officials and this can even lead to penalties. You are probably wondering what are zoning laws and how you can check out the laws in your area. Let’s look at an example.

You are planning to form a home-based startup in Los Angeles city and want to obtain home business licenses for the same. Your residence is situated at WILCO – 2525 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057. Now, you will need to visit the Los Angeles city Planning website and check what the zone classification for your residence is. If the zone classification is C-2 then it means that certain types of businesses will be restricted in that zone based on the City’s Zoning Code. You can also visit the public counter at Los Angeles City Planning’s Development Services Centers (DSCs) for consultation on the applicable zoning laws and the regulations you need to meet to start a home-based business in California.

3. Register Your Business

A business can have different forms or structures and if you are planning to start a home-based business in California then identifying the structure is important. When you choose a structure like a partnership, sole proprietorship, or LLC then the business registration requirements will be in accordance to the structure. If you form a domestic limited liability company then you will be required to file “Articles of Organization” to register the business. If you form a General Partnership (GP) then a “Statement of Partnership Authority” has to be submitted. If you are planning to form a sole proprietorship then you will be required to obtain home business licenses, permits, and zoning clearance. We at IncParadise can provide guidance on choosing the right business structure and also help you register your new business.

Start a California home-based business with ease!

4. Get Mail Forwarding

If you are someone who travels a lot or if you are residing outside California and want to start a business in the state then a mail forwarding service can be quite convenient and helpful. The service is also helpful if after you start a home-based business in California there is a permanent or temporary change of address. In such a scenario, all your important mail may get lost, stolen, or returned to the sender.

A mail forwarding service ensures all your important mails are not lost or stolen and instead are sent to a physical location in the state where your home business has been registered. Mails can include anything from business registration documents to annual report notices, health care information, and tax notice from IRS, bills, renewal notices for home business licenses and checks among others.

5. Check if you need to obtain EIN

Home-based business ideas can be transformed into a startup in California but the business structure will determine whether you need to apply for and obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Normally, if you start a sole proprietorship business then you will be required to file taxes using your social security number (SSN). Simultaneously, if you were to hire employees or form a partnership or a limited liability company, then you will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. You can also obtain an Employer Identification Number even if you don’t require one as it has several benefits like it helps avoiding identity theft.

6. Register for taxes

If you start a home-based business in California then you will be required to register for taxes in the state. Whether your business is an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship, you will need to file franchise taxes or income tax return. Once you have formed your business and obtained home business licenses and permits, you will have to report all your income or losses from the business through individual income tax return using Form 540. According to the Franchise Tax Board, California, you may be required to report your business income as well as expenses on the IRS Form 1040 Schedule C.

7. Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Once you have applied for formation of a home-based startup, the next important step would be to look up home business licenses and permits you may require. In the state of California, there are primarily two types of licenses:

  • General Business License: This type of license is applicable for any business owner including those planning to start a home-based business in California. The general business license will be issued by the city in which your home-based startup is located. This type of license is also known as a business tax certificate in some of the cities like the City of San Diego and City/County of San Francisco. You can find more information on the type of license or permits required from California’s CalGOLD website.
  • Regulated Professions and Industries Licensing: The “Professions and Industries Licensing” is required by businesses only if they fall under specific categories and this is apart from your general business license. If your startup falls under categories or professions mentioned in the California professional licensure guide then you will have to apply for home business licenses and permits with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). If you start a home-based business in California like a real estate salesperson or broker, acupuncture services, Manicurists (nail care), and veterinarians among others will require this type of licensing.

Identify business licenses and permits required by your California Startup

Ready to Start Your Home Based Business in California?

A home-based business is quite different from the medium sized enterprises in terms of business structure, operations, and market although there are several examples of California home-based startups becoming big corporations with time. If you start a home-based business in California, you can leverage the state’s economy, the business infrastructure, and small business incentives. The first step though is to form or register your startup in the state. If you have been wondering how to go about registering your home-based startup then IncParadise can provide you with valuable assistance. We are a reputed California registered agent and our team of experts can guide you with the process and filing for starting your business in California.

We are one of the top new business formation service providers in California and can also provide additional services to help start a home-based business in California like filing of annual reports, and EIN assistance among others.

Start a California home-based business with IncParadise!

How to form a startup in Silicon Valley

Date: | Category: | Author: Martin Pouzar

How to form a startup in Silicon Valley?

The foundation for the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem as we know it was placed in the 1940’s and the 50’s. The area between San Jose and San Francisco is famously known as the Silicon Valley and was almost single handedly created by one of the most successful entrepreneurs – Leland Stanford. There are several notable names behind the growth of this valley including Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, who went on to create the brand “HP” and William Shockley from Palo Alto was awarded the Nobel prize in physics. The success stories are many and if you are planning to register a Silicon Valley startup then this is the article that will provide you with a path towards establishing your business here.

Silicon Valley Startup Heaven

Some of the top entrepreneurs and first time business owners want to form a Silicon Valley startup as the business environment and startup ecosystem is just perfect when it comes to valuable resources and business growth enablers.

The Silicon Valley located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area is considered to be a global center for innovation and high-end technology. The largest city in this area is San Jose and is home to top startup industries in Silicon Valley. Some of the top names include PayPal, Cisco Systems, Adobe, eBay, Western Digital, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among others. Some of the other major cities in the Silicon Valley that are home to startups include Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Redwood City, Cupertino, and Menlo Park.

The valley is not only home to more than 30 Fortune 1000 businesses but also receives one-third of total venture capital investment being made in the United States. Today, it is a global synonym for any areas or regions that consist of high-tech research as well as enterprises. The question is what does the startup ecosystem constitute?

Silicon Valley startup ecosystem

Silicon Valley is home to different types of business organizations and institutions, which have facilitated the creation of a robust business environment. This environment is a part of the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem and is highly conducive towards the successful creation and operation of startups, leadership in several high-tech specialization areas, and disruptive business models. The ecosystem is driven by several components and has a variety of characteristics, which make the Silicon Valley system work in a synchronized manner thus making it conducive to register a Silicon Valley startup.

At the heart of the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem is the Silicon Valley Innovation and Startup Model. The model comprises of three different levels and they are:

  • The Micro level: Focuses on Product, People, and Pivot
  • The Meso level: Comprises of Capital, Universities, Government, and Support Networks
  • The Macro level: Revolves around Culture inspired by generations of startup founders

The 1,854 sq. miles of the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem not only represents the world’s 19th largest economy but is also home to several world-class research institutions including corporate research labs. The startup ecosystem of Silicon Valley is 3 times bigger than New York City and 12.5 times bigger than Berlin. Such a thriving and constantly evolving ecosystem helps top startup industries in Silicon Valley to achieve strong growth. The startup ecosystem of Silicon Valley comprises of six players and they are:

  • Startups
  • Large tech companies
  • Investors
  • Accelerators
  • Universities
  • Co-working spaces

Why is Silicon Valley good for startups?

The Silicon Valley startup ecosystem boasts of a dual ecosystem consisting of startups and large firms existing symbiotically. Silicon Valley is considered to be a comprehensively integrated as well as balanced business ecosystem that ensures startups are able to leverage from the leading-edge innovation, pro-startup culture, and pioneering entrepreneurship. The Silicon Valley ecosystem provides support to startups so that they can push forward their dreams into a global market. Some of the factors that play a key role if you plan to register a Silicon Valley startup are:

  • Successful entrepreneurs as well as startups can enjoy high financial returns
  • Availability of top-level global human resources for various stages of a startup
  • Existence of strong business and industry like accounting, IT, law, etc.
  • It is the most competitive market for venture capital (VC’s) and other investors
  • Ivy league and top ranked universities like Stanford, UCSF, and UC Berkeley
  • Most human resource clusters are anchored around these top universities
  • Availability of top startup accelerators in the Silicon Valley provide startups with advice, mentorship, and resources
  • The government plays an extensive role in shaping current and future technological trajectories
  • There is a fine balance between open innovation, secret protection, and intellectual property protection amongst highly competitive industries
  • There is a high mobility of labor at different management and talent levels
  • There is a strong and positive culture of accepting failures leading to effective evaluation as well as monitoring

Top startup industries in Silicon Valley

The Silicon Valley as well as the Bay Area is considered as the greatest hub for new businesses and startups. This is because when you form a Silicon Valley startup; the existing and continuously evolving and expanding infrastructure provides the necessary platform to a business in its nascent stages. Silicon valley also provides a favorable advantage when it comes to the tech industry but the truth is that there are several other top startup industries in the Silicon Valley area that have garnered equal attention and reputation. Let us briefly look at the hottest industries in Silicon Valley.

  • FintechFintech or Financial Technology is a form of emerging technology, which focuses on helping financial institutions improve and automate the delivery of various financial services. If you are planning to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup in the Fintech industry then it is one of the most rewarding and rapidly growing industries. In fact, a report by Ernst and Young estimated that the California Financial Technology market was worth $7.1 billion in 2015. In the near future, there will be enormous growth potential for startups in terms of revenue generation in this industry due to the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence in Financial Technology. Today, it is considered as one of the top startup industries in Silicon Valley and some of the highly successful businesses in this sector include Braintree, Varo Money, Brex, Morningstar, Gravity Payments, and Acorns.
  • Big Data – One of the areas or industries that are expected to even grow bigger in the years to come is Big Data. This is also one of the favored industries to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup as the existing market size globally was $41.33 billion in 2019 and its projected growth is $116.07 billion by 2027. This is more so because of early adoption of futuristic technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Predictive Analysis according to a report by Fortune Business Insights. Some of the top startup industries in Silicon Valley as well as global companies like IBM Corporation, Amazon.com, Microsoft Corporation, SAP SE, Oracle Corporation, Software AG, Infosys Limited, Cisco Systems, and Dell Technologies have been key players in the big data market.
  • Blockchain – The Blockchain technology was first outlined in 1991 and was first implemented in 2009 for transactions being made using bitcoin. It is essentially a public ledger or a distributed database of records that comprises any or all transactions or even digital events taking place and is normally shared among participating entities. The wide variety of applications of Blockchain has attracted many entrepreneurs to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup in this industry. The market size of the global blockchain technology was valued at $3.67 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow quickly. You can register a Silicon Valley startup in the Blockchain industry as it is expected to expand or grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 82.4% from 2021 to 2028. It is one of the most promising technologies in the IT domain and is projected to reach $69.04 billion by 2027.
  • AI & Machine Learning – Artificial Intelligence is a big concept and machine learning is a subset of AI and together they are increasingly being applied in a variety of industries and areas including eCommerce, Workplace Communication, Human Resource Management, Healthcare, Cybersecurity, Logistics and Supply Chain, Chatbots, Space Exploration, and Smart Homes. If you are planning to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup in this industry then it is surely going to witness expansion and growth in the near future as market research firms like Tractica believe that Global AI market revenue is projected to reach $118 billion in 2025 while Machine Learning market size will reach $96.7 billion by 2025. The market share in the North American region for AI was $11.40 billion in 2019 while that of machine learning was $2.40 Billion. You can register a Silicon Valley startup as California is considered one of the best platforms for this industry and is home to industry stalwarts like NVIDIA Corporation, Alphabet (Google LLC), Apple Inc., Cloudera, Salt Security, and DeepMap among others.
  • Medtech – Technology is at the heart of most industries today and this includes the medical industry as well. Medical Technology is commonly known as Medtech and it refers to a variety of technology enabled medical products, solutions, and services whose applications are mostly used for diagnosing and treatment of different diseases and medical conditions. Medtech applications can vary from ultrasound scans to high resolution laser machining, nano-medicines, and even electronic health records. The US Medtech market size for medical devices was worth $156 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $208 billion by 2023. This industry is an integral part of the US healthcare sector and one of the chosen areas for entrepreneurs to form a Silicon Valley startup. A report by Deloitte consulting revealed that the Medtech industry is well-positioned and geared up for driving the future of the healthcare industry and this is the right time to register a Silicon Valley startup in this industry.
  • Biotech – Biotech is a field of technology where organisms or their products are used primarily for commercial purposes. It is also known as Biotechnology and uses living cells for developing or manipulating products for a variety of purposes including genetically modified food. It is a growth oriented industry that attracts entrepreneurs to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup. In fact, the U.S. biotechnology industry is expected to expand and grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.2% between 2021 and 2027. This is more so because of its varied applications including in the field of genetic engineering, reducing environmental impacts of industrial processes, DNA fingerprinting, and increased crop yield among others. The US Market Size for biotechnology in 2021 is valued at $105.3 billion and its projected value in 2027 is $952 billion. This is an industry where entrepreneurs can register a Silicon Valley startup as it is considered to be expanding and evolving globally.
  • Cybersecurity – One of the key areas of technology today is Cybersecurity. Its importance lies in the fact that digital attacks of technology driven systems, networks, and programs have become prevalent in recent times and hence, such systems or technology needs to be protected. Cybersecurity is a type of unified threat management system that helps in detection, investigation, and remediation of cyber or digital attacks thus protecting sensitive data or information. Identity theft is one of the most common examples of cyber attack. It is one of the top startup industries in Silicon Valley as the Cybersecurity Market is forecasted to grow from $152.71 billion in 2018 to $248.6 billion by 2023. The North American market was valued at $156.24 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $352.25 billion by 2026. There are several areas of Cybersecurity where you can form a Silicon Valley startup like Deployment (On-premise and On-cloud), Manufacturing, Public Utility, Retail, IT, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), and Banking among others.

Start a new California business in Silicon Valley!

Forming Your Startup in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley located in the San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the top technology companies in the world. It is the headquarters of digital giants and other companies like Apple, Alphabet Inc.-Google, Netflix, Wells Fargo & Co., Facebook, Visa, Inc., and Chevron Corporation among others. The “Big 5” tech companies in the Silicon Valley generate revenue of $802 billion, which is more than the GDP of Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

Since Silicon Valley is one of the major epicenters of technology, innovation, accelerators, and startups; it presents an ideal business platform to register a Silicon Valley startup. Entrepreneurs and innovators have always favored the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem for launching their new ventures and so have venture capitalists and other investors. Let’s take a look at the fundamental requirements for starting a new business in the Silicon Valley region.

Prepare your startup idea and business plan

If you have a genius or innovative business idea then it’s time to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup. One of the first steps towards forming your new business is preparing and developing your startup idea and drafting a business plan. There are certain aspects that you need to consider while developing your startup idea as the business plan will be created accordingly. The most important aspect is to analyze the relevant market.

If you are planning to register a Silicon Valley startup then it is important to compare the markets in the cities situated in the valley like Santa Clara, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, and Cupertino. The next step is to execute a market survey in the chosen city and finally, develop your product, service or solution. Once you have defined your startup idea, it is time to create a business plan. There are some core areas that your business plan should focus on and they are:

  • Executive summary: This will include information about your startup and objectives in brief
  • Market analysis: This includes information pertaining to industry research, competition, and launch market
  • Company Structure: The structure of your startup like Corporation or LLC
  • Branding, marketing and sales: This area will focus on modes and plan of advertising, marketing, and selling
  • Product or service: Description of what your product or service is and how will it be beneficial for customers
  • Financial projection and business model: A broad view of the earning potential of your startup and future financial scope
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT): A SWOT analysis will provide a realistic view of challenges, bottlenecks, potential threats, and opportunities available.

Networking/connect with industry experts

In this digital age, it goes without saying that the more people you connect with; the better it will be for your business. If you are planning to form a Silicon Valley startup then networking or connecting with industry experts will help further your startup plans or business expansion. Whether your business is currently in an ideation phase or moving towards a minimum viable product (MVP) stage; it is important to connect with industry experts as well as investors through a variety of networking channels and platforms including events, opportunities, coworking spaces, and meetups. The opportunities you can leverage when you register a Silicon Valley startup are:

  • Meetups: One of the best options for networking within the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem is by becoming members of various Silicon Valley entrepreneur groups as they organize both events and meetups. Some of the top groups for meetups are Silicon Valley Young Professionals-SVYP (Santa Clara), Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Toastmasters Club (Santa Clara), SF Tech Ladies (San Francisco), and Bootstrappers Breakfast – Silicon Valley Startups (San Jose) among others.
  • Events: One of the greatest benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs or first time business owners in the Silicon Valley is the large number of tech and startup events that take place in the region. Some of these events are attended by executives of the top startup industries in Silicon Valley. The events can be categorized under:

    • Inspirational startup events
    • Startup Events on Best Practices
    • Events focussing on Network and forming a team
    • Hackathons
    • Investor Networking Events

Incorporate and register your startup

In most states including California, all you need to form a business corporation is submitting articles of incorporation to the office of the Secretary of State of the chosen jurisdiction. However, if you are planning to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup or a high-growth tech company then the business formation will require much more than simply submitting the articles and bylaws. Some of the aspects integral to Silicon Valley startups are rapid growth, issuance of equity incentives to employees, scaling your business, and creating the ability to take outside investments. So, how are most Silicon Valley startups formed?

A majority of Silicon Valley startups have been formed as corporations and more importantly, they have been incorporated in Delaware. The primary reason for this is that Delaware laws and management are business friendly as opposed to California corporate laws. When you incorporate a Silicon Valley startup in Delaware, it also increases the chances of finding investors and they are familiar with the Delaware laws. Once you have formed in Delaware, you will not be required to re-incorporate anywhere else, which means you are not required to register a Silicon Valley startup but instead apply for foreign qualification.

IncParadise can not only help you to incorporate a Silicon Valley startup in Delaware but also assist with the process of foreign qualification in California.

Secure funding for startup

Every business requires a startup capital; some require higher investments while others can kickstart their business with minimal capital. If you are planning to form a Silicon Valley startup then depending on the industry the startup belongs to, you may need outside funding. The question is, how do you secure funding for your startup?

The good news is that there is a large number of funding resources in Silicon Valley right from angel investors to seed accelerators. One of the key aspects towards securing funding is a strong business plan that encompasses business objectives, strategies, competition, market research, and product or idea that you want investment for. The early-stage startups can approach Angel Investors once they form a Silicon Valley startup. Some of the top angel investors include Adeo Ressi, Alexis Ohanian, Andrea Zurek, Christine Tsai, Eric Reis, and Zachary Aarons among others.

There are also several Angel investor groups, which is essentially a pool of investors pooling their resources together. Some of the big names include Angel’s Forum, F50, Open Silicon Valley Forum, and Sand Hill Angels to name a few. Some of the top startup industries in Silicon Valley have businesses, which have achieved higher growth by securing funding through angel investors in the initial stages.

The other forms of funding available are Growth Stage Funding and Seed Accelerators. The latter accepts teams and not solo founders and the investment may vary from $15,000-$150,000 in exchange for an equity of 6% to 10%. Growth stage funding involves Venture Capital firms that provide growth equity or startup capital to promising ventures.

Looking to register your Startup in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is one of the most economically vibrant, technologically challenging Diaspora of innovation. It is home to some of the biggest tech or IT companies in the world and is considered to be the gold standard for technological advancement. If you have an idea and are planning to form a Silicon Valley startup then we at IncParadise are here to assist you with business formation requirements. We can help you to incorporate and register your Silicon Valley startup, so that you can begin operations at the earliest and maximize your benefits of launching a business in the famed valley.

IncParadise also provides a wide range of additional services like foreign qualification, obtaining an EIN (Tax ID) number and California Certificate of Good Standing among others.

Form your Silicon Valley Startup today!