Business Startup: The First Step

Let’s Start With a Business Plan

There are two basic reasons for preparing an extensive business plan. First, it requires the entrepreneur to thoroughly investigate the factors that will have a bearing on the success of the business. Second, it will enhance the ability of the entrepreneur to secure financing by providing an organized summary of the venture for lenders and investors. It also provides insight into the entrepreneur’s ability to define and develop strategies for critical areas of the business.

The following outline will help you assemble the facts that are essential to good business planning. Complete your business plan using the accompanying outline to ensure that the necessary details are included. Keep in mind that thoroughness, clarity, and rationality of the plan are all factors that will play key roles in successfully financing, starting, and operating your business. Because these guidelines were written to cover a variety of possible businesses, rigid adherence to them is not possible or even desirable for all businesses. Not all parts of all sections will be necessary for each individual’s business plan.

You should include the following in your Business Plan:

  1. Goals – you need to determine your personal goals and your business goals
  2. The Industry, Company and Produce – list clearly the business you are in, the product you offer and the nature of your industry.
  3. Market Research & Analysis – the purpose of this section is to present enough facts to determine if your product or service has a substantial market in a growing industry and can achieve sales despite a competitive market.
  4. Determine Your Customers – discuss who your customers are for this product or service.
  5. Market Size and Trend – describe the primary market for your product.
  6. Competition – Make a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competitive products and services and name the companies that supply them.
  7. Market Share and Sales – Summarize what it is about your product or service that will make it salable in the face of current and potential competition.
  8. Market Plan – decide the best way to market your particular product or service.  Consider pricing, sales tactics, operating plan, location, labor force, management and organization of the business.

Selecting a Business Name

Individuals or entities doing business for profit under a name different from the owners(s) full name(s) must file a Fictitious Name Statement with the County Recorder – Clerks Office where the business will be conducted.  Corporations, LLCs, LLP’s, and limited partnerships register an assumed name as part of their business filings with the California Secretary of State.

For an existing business, balance sheets and income statements for the current and previous three years should be provided. After you have completed preparation of the financial exhibits, briefly highlight the important conclusions that can be drawn. Finally, explain all of you assumptions and the sources of your data.

Checklist for Starting a Business

This checklist is a good starting point for you as you begin your business. It is intended as a springboard for your business development and is in no way meant to be a substitute for professional advice or counsel. For further information about starting a business, contact your local SBDC by clicking here for a free confidential consulting session or for their next “First Step” business course.

  1. Choose a business idea, product or service Research the business industry
  2. What will you sell?
  3. Is it legal?
  4. Who will buy it? How often?
  5. Are you willing and able to do what it takes to sell your product?
  6. What will your product cost to produce, market, sell, and deliver?
  7. What compliance issues do you need to address?
  8. Can you make a profit?
  9. How long will it take for your business to make a profit?
  10. Write a business plan.
  11. Write a marketing plan.
  12. Using a domain registry service, see if the business name is available for use as an Internet domain name.
  13. Register the domain name even if you aren’t ready to use it yet.
  14. Choose a location for the business.
  15. Check zoning laws.
  16. File Partnership, Corporate, or Limited Liability Company papers with the Secretary of State’s office.
  17. File state tax forms with the Franchise Tax Board.
  18. Contact the Internal Revenue Service for information on filing your federal tax schedules.
  19. Apply for a seller’s permit.

If You Will Have Employees

Apply for an employee identification number with the Employment Development Department (EDD). 
Find out about worker’s compensation. 
Investigate business insurance needs. 
Get adequate business insurance or a business rider to a homeowner’s policy.

Get Tax Information On Withholding Taxes:

Riverside County Tax Assessor – (760) 778-2400
3255 E Tahquitz Cyn Way Ste 114
Palm Springs, CA 92262)
Riverside County Clerks Office – (760) 863-8732

  • Get tax information on hiring independent contractors
  • Register or reserve your federal trademark/service mark
  • Register copyrights.
  • Apply for patent if you will be marketing an invention.
  • Order any required notices of your intent to do business in the community.
  • Have business phone or extra residential phone lines installed.
  • Get tax information such as record keeping requirements, facts about estimating taxes, forms of organizations, etc.
  • Open a bank account for the business.
  • Have business cards and stationery printed.
  • Purchase equipment and/or supplies.
  • Order inventory, signage, and fixtures.
  • Get an e-mail address.
  • Find a Web hosting company.
  • Have your Web site designed and set up.
  • Have sales literature prepared.
  • Call for information about Yellow Pages advertising.


Getting a Business License

You must obtain a seller’s permit if you:

  • Are engaged in business in California
  • Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail
  • Will make sales for a temporary period, normally lasting no longer than 30 days at one or more locations (e.g. fireworks booth, Christmas tree lots, garage sale)
  • Please visit the City Website or call (760) 323-8289.

The requirement to obtain a seller’s permit applies to:

  • Individuals
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Organizations
  • Husband/Wife Co-ownership
  • LLP’s 
  • Both wholesalers and retailers must apply for a seller’s permit.

Federal and State Identification Numbers

All new businesses employing one or more persons must apply for a State Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the State’s Employment Development Department by calling (888) 745-3886, visit their website at

 You’ll also need a Federal Identification Number if you’re employing one or more persons. Contact the IRS Business Tax Line at (800) 829-1040, visit their website at

Naming Your Business

If you will be using a fictitious name for your business (a name other than your personal legal name), you will need to check with the County Clerk to be sure no one else is using that name before completing a Fictitious Business Name Statement.

Economic Development

Still have questions? Contact the City of Palm Springs Community & Economic Development Staff at (760) 323-8175 or email

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