Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business:
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Step 2: Get Business Assistance & Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")
Register your business name with your state government.
Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
There are a number of available programs in the Fresno area. If the above links don't provide the information that you are looking for, please call our office directly at 559.490.9966 or email Cole Judge for business assistance.
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Small Business Resources
California Chamber of Commerce: As a not-for-profit, the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is a business advocate and HR compliance resource for California employers. Their program, HRCalifornia, easily guides you through the legal requirements for hiring, managing and terminating employees, and helps your business avoid costly fines and employee lawsuits.
CA High Speed Rail: The California High Speed Rail is a $9.95 billion project to connect Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Riverside, Irvine, and San Diego with 800 miles of rail, traveling 220 mph. Construction for the Fresno to Bakersfield portion of the line is expected to be completed in 2017. California's High Speed Rail Authority has committed to 30% small business participation. This means that the primary contractors will be required to have at least 30% of the work subcontrated by small businesses. Receive the California High Speed Rail Business Newsletter here.
California Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Visit the SBDC for business planning and management, licensing, marketing, money management, tax planning, business trainings, business library access, startup, expansion, bookkeeping, procurement/BID match services, consulting, workshops/training, research, online learning services, and general business support. For more information, call 559-241-7406 or email email@example.com.
California State Department of General Services Procurement Division: The California Department of General Services (DGS) Procurement Division partners with BidSync to host California’s online procurement service (eProcurement). eProcurement allows suppliers to upload bids/proposals in response to online solicitations. You can also track bid progress, learn about pre-bid events and access contract award and other relevant information. Become a California certified small business or disabled veteran business enterprise at the SB and DVBE Certification Program site. Use the California State Contracts Register (CSCR) for your one-stop, central information source for your state contracting opportunities.
City of Fresno Startup Guide: The City of Fresno offers the Fresno Startup Guide, a consolidated booklet of startup resources, available from participating agencies, providing a checklist that helps you through the process of registering your business and getting it started. It also identifies other programs that may be useful as you continue to operate your business.
Central Valley Business Incubator (CVBI): Utilize CVBI Online, an innovative and effective online resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners. When registering for the program, please use the code 12dtfp1 to gain access to the program at no charge. The CVBI Online Virtual Incubator Program (VIP) was developed as a mechanism to provide incubation services and technical assistance to entrepreneurs desiring to move an idea to market while working in the convenience of their own space (home/office/community/etc.). The VIP is a robust, content-rich technical assistance and training platform that leverages a unique user-friendly and intuitive interface in both English and Spanish.
Comcast Business Services: The majority of downtown has access to high speed internet via Comcast service. Downtown is actually better wired than other parts of Fresno. Comcast Business Product Suite provides business class internet, business voice services, video, upware, business voice edge, metro Ethernet, the fastest business services in the market, customer value, increases the attractive of properties to prospective tenants, and is highly scalable to support future customer growth.
Downtown Business Hub and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: The Downtown Business Hub provides economic development support to strengthen individuals, businesses and the community. It hosts a community center, training, a bilingual business incubator, micro lending, workshops and referrals. It also provides bilingual assistance. (559) 222-8705; INFO@FRESNODBH.ORG; 1444 FULTON ST FRESNO, CA 93721.
Downtown Fresno Central Library: The Fresno County Public Library has a wealth of business, investing and fundraising information including the assessor’s database for Fresno County, Business Source Complete, Starting and Growing a Business in Fresno County, Reference USA, Small Business Reference Center, Morningstar Investment Service, FINRA.org, Investor.gov, SaveAndInvest.org, Foundation center grants to individuals, Foundation center philanthropy, Foundation directory online professional, grants and nonprofit central. Visit the library at 2420 Mariposa St, Fresno, CA 93721 or call (559) 600-7323.
Economic Development Corporation Bear Action Network: The Economic Development Corporation’s Business Expansion, Attraction, and Retention (BEAR) Action Network program is designed to enhance the stability and growth of Fresno County’s existing companies by connecting them with specific resources, information, and services offered through the Network. Our primary objectives are to assist businesses with expansions, survive economic difficulties, and make them more competitive in the wider marketplace.
Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals (FLYP): Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals is a grass roots non-profit organization that serves young professionals. Our purpose is to attract and retain young professionals in the greater Fresno area who are committed to professional and civic leadership. FLYP has created a formalized leadership program to cultivate young professionals' skills and springboard them into the business community and the community at large. FLYP also provides opportunities for professionals to serve, connect, and network.
Fresno Regional Business Service Center (BSC): The BSC, in partnership with nine local public/private organizations, has united to create Fresno4biz.com to help your business find solutions. Here you will be able to connect with the organization(s) that fit your needs as well as have access to information on assistance for your start-up company, tips on how to expand your business, and much more. Visit the Fresno4Biz Tools for Business Success here.
Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC): The EOC’s mission is to humanely focus all available resources to empower low-income families and individuals working toward the skills, knowledge and motivation for self-sufficiency. The EOC focuses on employment and training, seniors, community, economic development, energy, transit, etc. The Fresno CDFI is housed at the EOC. For more information, call 559.263.1000.
Fresno Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI): A certified Community Development Financial Institution providing affordable financing, training and technical assistance for small businesses including microloans. Located at 1900 Mariposa Mall, Suite 100. Call Jeremy Hofer or Aaron Hill at 559.262.1351.
Fresno Small Business Development Corporation: The UC Merced Central California SBDC Network provides entrepreneurs and small businesses with high quality education, consulting, support for innovation, access to information and tools necessary to build successful sustainable businesses.
Fresno Small Business Administration (SBA): The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. Fresno’s SBA is located downtown at 801 R Street, Suite 201. Contact Carlos Mendoza at 559-487-5791. Visit the website to find webinars, workshops, business resources, connect with local mentors and lenders, and general business support. Download the Fresno SBA Small Business Resource Guide.
KIVA Zip Microloans: The Central Valley Business Incubator was named a trustee of Kiva Microloans. Kiva Zip is a pilot program, launched by Kiva that enables you to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in Kenya and the United States. You can make a loan today for as little as $5. Over time, as your loan is repaid, you get your money back, and you can then withdraw it, or relend it to another entrepreneur. Kiva Zip is a website that enables individual lenders around the world to ‘crowd fund’ interest-free loans directly to small business owners and entrepreneurs in the US and Kenya. The three primary objectives for this program are to: expand borrowers’ access to capital, by making loans to people who may not qualify for conventional loan; lower the financial costs of borrowers by leveraging new technologies; and develop personal connections between Kiva Zip lenders and borrowers by enabling them to communicate on the Zip website.
Negociantes Unidos: The Downtown Business Hub and the Hispanic Chamber host a monthly Hispanic business networking breakfast, providing business owners with an opportunity to meet and do business with other members and network with individuals who are committed to do business locally. It also serves as a platform to keep abreast of Fresno Area economic and social issues. The average attendance is 80-120. For more information, call 559.222.8705.
Northern California Community Loan Fund: The Northern California Community Loan Fund promotes economic justice and alleviates poverty by increasing the financial resilience and sustainability of community-based nonprofits and enterprises. Through flexible financial products and sound advice, we create opportunities to make socially responsible investments that revitalize Northern California communities. The Fresno office is located at 4949 E. Kings Canyon Road, Suite 108, Fresno, CA 93727. Call 559.452.0327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. We have been doing this for nearly fifty years. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 11,000+ volunteers, we are able to deliver our services at no charge or at very low cost. Get expert advice from a nearby mentor, get access to resources online, learn how to start a business, learn about business plans, technology, and more.
Technical Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) Program: Funded by a grant program from Union Bank, the TRAC program provides information, counseling and technical assistance to small businesses (two years and older) throughout Fresno. TRAC clients can receive one-on-one counseling focused on “loan readiness,” technical assistance on financial trouble-shooting and training on core business financial concepts. The goal of the program is to create economic and financial impact with existing small businesses and primary areas of information, counseling, training and technical assistance that include understanding commercial lending products, key elements of financial capacity, loan packaging, managing internal financial systems, and fiscal responsibility and successful loan servicing. Contact Rich Mostert for more information: email@example.com or call 559.222.8705.
Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC): VEDC has consistently provided services to small and medium sized business owners, entrepreneurs and members of the communities it serves. Visit the VEDC for loan packaging, lending, entrepreneurship assistance, workshops, loan referrals, microloan program, and the SBA women's business center. VEDC is a statewide direct lender and loan guarantee provider for small businesses up to $5 million, with the average loans around $250K to $500K. For more information, call Joi Eubanks at 559.354.6795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valley Small Business Development Center (VSBDC): VSBDC was started in 1981 as a nonprofit Financial and Business Development corporation under contract with the State of California and other government agencies to administer small business loan programs. Visit VSBDC for a variety of microloans, business assistance and consultation, loan packaging, operational review of your business, agricultural loans and small business loans. For more information, email email@example.com or call 559.438.9680.
If your business plans call for travel for any reason, remember to book through our partner travel agency, and our organization will receive a portion of the proceeds. Click on the image to the right to begin your booking.