Start a Business
Starting a business involves making many key decisions in order to establish your business. The following information will guide you to help plan, prepare, and operate your business.
For a quick reference, view the Business Quick Start Guides for the most common new business types in California.
Research and Plan
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
Choose a 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. Learn More
Choose 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. Learn More
Business Quick Start Guides
Looking to get started on your new business quickly? Take a look at the Business Quick Start Guides for some of the most common new businesses in California, and learn the basics to quickly get up and running.
Register a Business
In general, all businesses in California need to:
1. Register and form the legal entity with the California Secretary of State’s Office
2. File appropriate taxes
3. Register as an employer
4. 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.
Use CalGOLD, our online permit assistance tool, to identify local, state, and federal permit information for businesses. CalGOLD can provide available online resources, application forms, 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.
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.
Learn about the requirements for hiring employees, incentive programs, and resources available to you as an employer. Learn More
Incentives and Financing
California helps business owners access incentive programs they may be eligible for and the funding they need to manage their businesses. Learn More
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:
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California's leader for job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz partnered with the State's Information Technology Leadership Academy 22 to create the California Business Portal.