If you're looking for quick tips on how to start a business, then you've come to the right place!  The Highland Area Chamber of Commerce is your leading, local business resource and support center.  We can connect you to other local agencies who specialize in providing entreprenuers the training necessary to successfully launch a small business. 

But first, there are a few things you need to get started:

1.  SOLIDIFY YOUR BUSINESS IDEA
Financial guru Larry Burkett advises that entreprenuers ask themselves two key questions before solidifying their business idea: First,  "Do you have a strong desire to provide a product, a service, or a specific talent or idea that could be marketed better by you than by someone else?" And second, "What values and/or needs are not being met in my community and can starting my own business meet those values and/or needs?" (credit: "Should I Start My Own Business" by Larry Burkett; published by Crown Financial Ministries in 1996.)


2. WHAT LICENSES AND PERMITS DO YOU NEED?
 Visit www.calgold.ca.gov and enter your location and type of business.  This site will tell you exactly what you need to operate.

3. DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN
 Attend a Business Paln writing workshop in your area offered by SCORE.  For more information visit www.score.org for workshop calendar and Business Plan templates.

4. DETERMINE WHICH "BUSINESS ENTITY" IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR BUSINESS 
 A "Business Entity" will determine which laws will govern the way you conduct business and what level(s) of personal and taxible liability will apply.  It is important to understand the most common business entity classifications and determine which entity is appropriate for your business.  The most common forms of business entities are, Corporation (Inc.), Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), General Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Professional Corporation (PC), and sole proprietorship (DBA)


3.  CHOSE A NAME FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Sounds easy, right?  But selecting the right, workable name for your business requires strategic thinking and diligent research.  The State of California will not allow you to conduct business using a name that is misleading to the public or confusingly similar to the name of another competing business.  In addition, many business names are registered trademarks and belong solely to the naming business entity.  Before selecting a name for your business, browse the State of California Business Registry accesible online at http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/list.html. You may also chose to conduct an in-depth search of the U.S. Trademark Registry which is accessible via the USPTO website or clicking this link http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=4002:2c93mh.1.1

Once you have a better idea of business names that are legally "off-limits", you should now consider a few other factors before selecting a business name.  If you plan on creating a website for your business (as you well should!), you may wish to chose a business name can be easily converted into a web address that is readily available and not confusingly similar to competiting web addresses.  For example, "Tamera's Photography" may be a legally available business name, but a quick Google search of websites related to "Tamera's Photography" may produce pages of website results - tammysphoto.com; tameraphotographystudio.com; photosbytammi.com, etc.  In this case, we recommend selecting a business name that can quickly be adapted to an identifiable, corresponding web address.  Other factors to consider when naming your business are alphanumeric hierarchy ("A1 Auto" will appear in the phone book before "Zippy Automotive") and other identifying factors critical to your business success ("Just 4 Kids Dentistry" clearly identifies the product and service being provided by this small business.)

4.  FILE YOUR TAX AND EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS
Required tax forms and Employer Indentification documents will vary depending on your business entity.  The State of California provides great information and links to help navigate you through this process.  Please visit http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/starting-a-business.htm for more information.  If you are a Highland Chamber Member, the Chamber may also be able to provide additional, HR resources available through the California Chamber of Commerce at a discounted price.

5.  JOIN YOUR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Your local Chamber of Commerce should be the leading supporter and advocate of business in your area.  The Highland Area Chamber of Commerce designs specific activities and programs to help our members become involved in the community, gain access to affordable maketing resources, network with other business owners, advance their knowledge and skillsas entreprenuers, and advocate for pro-business policies and legislation.  

Need more information?  These local organizations provide regular seminars and practice sessions to assist entreprenuers in building a successful business.  The best part?  Many of the seminars are offered for free!

Inland Empire Small Business Development Center - Riverside
(951) 781-2345
http://www.iesmallbusiness.com/

View training calendar

Inland Empire Women's Business Center - San Bernardino
(909) 890-1242

http://iewbc.org/
View training calendar

U.S. Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov/
Santa Ana District Office
(714) 550-7420