Starting a business involves making many key decisions. This webpage has been set up to provide you with information to help plan, prepare and operate your business.

Take a look at our Business Quick Start Guides for the 10 most common business types in California.

Choosing a Business Structure

When starting a business, you must decide which form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines the amount of paperwork you have to file, your personal liability regarding investments into your business, and the taxes you have to pay. Go

Choosing a Fictitious Business Name

A fictitious business name (FBN) statement is required if the company name is different than your own. FBN statements are obtained through local County Clerk Recorder offices. Contact information for your County Clerk Recorder office can be found using CalGOLD, our online permit assistance too. Go

Want to learn more about choosing a fictitious business name? Go

Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of the several free counseling and training programs that are available to assist you in starting your business. From low cost business training and free mentoring, to information on selling to government, finding access to capital and expanding your business internationally, these partners can help get you started. Go

Choosing a Location

It’s important to consider several factors when deciding on the location of your business, including ease of access, proximity to competitors, availability of skilled employees, and zoning and signage regulations. Learn more about resources that will help you choose your location. Go

Registering a Business

Generally, all businesses that wish to conduct business in California need to register and form their legal entity with the California Secretary of State's Office, file appropriate taxes, register as an employer, and obtain business licenses and other permits from appropriate cities or counties.  Depending on your business type there may be additional permits, licenses or certifications that your business needs to acquire.   More Info

The following tools and webpages are also provided to help you determine what those requirements are.

You can also visit our Start A Business Guide webpage.

You can also use our online permit assistance tool, CalGOLD, to identify local, state, and federal permit information for businesses. The online tool provides webpage links, application forms, and contact information for the various agencies that administer and issue these permits. For permits and registrations administered by the State of California, CalGOLD also includes a Forms and Fee Finder with direct links to applications and fee information. Once at the website input your city and type of business. If your business is not listed you can select "General Business Information.”

Business Quick Start Guides

Take a look at our Business Quick Start Guides for the 10 most common business types in California. 

Researching and Planning

The process of developing a business plan will help you think through some important issues that you may not have considered yet. Your plan will become a valuable tool as you set out to raise money for your business. It should also provide milestones to gauge your success. Learn More

Financing a Business

Through partnerships with local organizations and state programs, California helps business owners access the funding they need to manage their businesses. Go

Registering for Taxes

The California Tax Service Center is a partnership of tax agencies, including the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration(Formerly the Board of Equalization), Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board, and Internal Revenue Service. The Tax Service Center provides information related to payroll, personal and business corporate income, franchise, and sales and use taxes. Go

Hiring Employees

Learn about the requirements for hiring employees, incentive programs, and resources available to you as an employer. Go

Small Business Webinars

GO-Biz regularly hosts Small Business Webinars to educate small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs about available resources and important requirements. View one of the previously recorded webinars below:

Get in touch

About Us

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) was created by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to serve as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts.  GO-Biz partnered with the State's Information Technology Leadership Academy 22 to create this website.

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