11 steps for starting a business in Sacramento

Gettin’ all up in your business.


Starting a biz here is not quite as easy as 1,2,3 — but pretty close.

Photo by SACtoday Staff

Table of Contents

Jay-Z once said “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” We could all benefit taking lessons from Hov — whose net worth is a staggering $2.5 billion.

But for those of us in Sacramento who don’t spit hot fire on the track, city officials have put together a list of 11 steps you can take to get your business off the ground.

Step 1: Come up with a business plan

This will help you figure out what the needs of your business will be, such as location and operating costs. The Sacramento Valley Small Business Development Center is one resource that can help in the formation of your plan.

Step 2: Decide the structure of your business

The structure of your business determines its taxes and liability. Whether you plan to operate as a partnership, corporation, or a limited liability company, you’ll need to register with the California Secretary of State.

Step 3: Establish a base of operations

Be sure to contact the Community Development Department to make sure your chosen location is properly zoned for businesses — or get a home occupation permit to run a company out of your house.

Step 4: Secure startup funds

If the funds aren’t coming from your personal savings or an investor, head over to the Small Business Administration to see if any of the loan options they offer are right for you.

Step 5: Pick a name

Pick out a super catchy name and get it registered with the Sacramento County Department of Finance. This is a requirement unless the business takes its moniker from your name.

Step 6: Get a BOT certificate from the city

Sacramento doesn’t require a business license, but you will need to get a Business Operations Tax certificate and file that bad boy with the city’s Revenue Division.

Step 7: Prep for your employees

You’re almost ready to start hiring — but first you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number, contact Social Security, register with the Employment Development Department, and obtain Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Step 8: State and federal permits

If you plan on selling things — specifically “tangible personal property” — you’ll have to snag a seller’s permit from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. You can also check for any additional regional, state, or federal permits that may be required for your specific business through CalGold.

Step 9: Gotta pay those taxes

Nobody likes surprises — especially when they cost you money. So we’re telling you now that once per year, you’ll need to send in a Business Income Tax Statement to the state’s Franchise Tax Board.

Step 10: Even more permits

Depending on the type of business, there are a handful of local and state permits you may need — from building permits to alcohol sales to health permits — to acquire before officially opening.

Step 11: Take advantage of local programs

The Sacramento Employee and Training Agency can help you fill out your staffing needs, and The Sacramento Inclusive Economic Development Collaborative can provide one-on-one assistance for prospective business owners who experience difficulties navigating any of the steps above.

More from SACtoday