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City of San Diego's 10 steps to launching a small business or startup

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Posted at 11:52 AM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 14:52:31-05

(KGTV) - If you have big dreams for a small business, the City of San Diego wants to help by providing resources for your startup.

More than 400 startups have launched each year since 2013, according to the CONNECT Innovation Report, which reviewed the city’s Springboard program for small companies.

The City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department is encouraging business owners with the help of 10 essential steps to launch a business.

1. Research the basics

The EDD is one-stop shopping for resources including business licenses, zoning, permit, and other regulatory information. The OpenCounter Online Business Portal can guide you through the process. San Diego’s Central Library has information such as market research, trademarking, and patents.

2. Create a business plan

Your plan should outline your steps for success, and the Small Business Development Centers can help you create it. Banks will require you to have a business plan to be eligible to apply for a loan.

3. Determine your business name

Do you plan to use your legal last name? There are rules for how business names work, and they vary at the state and local level. The County of San Diego Assessor’s office can help.

4. Establish your business legal structure

This step will determine your income taxes and personal liability. The state has a breakdown on the options, but City of San Diego officials advise you to ask your accountant or attorney for information.

5. Choose your type of business activity

Are you opening a food truck or starting a solar panel company? There are dozens of choices, and they will determine your start-up requirements and where you can be located. The City Treasurer breaks down these options.

6. Find a location

Don’t sign that lease or fire up the home office just yet. You’ll need to check the city’s zoning portal to see if you’re allowed to operate your business at your chosen location. There are also permitting considerations.

7. Licenses and permits

Not all businesses are operated through a simple license. The San Diego Police and Fire departments may get involved, depending on your business activity. You may also need to file for special permits for food service, hazardous materials, or x-ray equipment.

8. Get tax information

Federal tax, state tax, property tax, alcoholic beverage tax… get the idea? You’ll need to determine what’s valid for your business.

9. Know your employer responsibilities

Hiring someone to share the work means you’ll need to learn about sick leave, taxes, and more.

10. Apply for a business license

Even if you’re self-employed or work at home, you’ll need to get a business tax certificate from the city.

These ten steps should help launch your startup or small business, and there's plenty of help. Contact San Diego's Economic Development Department for more information.