7 Steps to Building a Small Business

Starting a new business is exciting and challenging. To help you through the process, we’ve outlined the seven basic steps you need to follow.

1. Construct a Business Plan

Planning and preparation will help reduce risks that are common to starting a new business. A business plan helps to evaluate your needs and also acts as a guide to map out the course of your business. For assistance with creating a successful business plan, visit the Tools for Business Success link.

2. Check Zoning Restrictions

Before establishing and finalizing any location plans or lease agreements, check with the Development Services Center to see if your location is zoned for your type of business and verify if any special permits are required. Contact us for any specific Zoning questions.

3. Establish a Business Structure

Business structures affect your income taxes and levels of personal liability. If your business will be established either as a Partnership, Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC) or as a Non-Profit, you must register with the State of California. For more information, please visit the Secretary of State website or call 916-657-5448.

4. Register Fictitious Name & Obtain Business License

If you give your business a name other than your own, you must file a Fictitious Business Name with the Santa Clara County Clerk. After you have registered your fictitious name, you will need to obtain a business license from the City of Gilroy. Home-based businesses, self-employed persons, and independent contractors are also required to have a business license.

5. Obtain Important Permits

To ensure that structures are safe for occupancy, building permits are required for all new construction as well as structural modifications and remodeling. Permits for other uses, such as signage and food vending, may be necessary. Certain locations may also require payment of impact fees. Please call 408-846-0440 or visit the City of Gilroy website to find out which permits are required for your business.

Businesses selling tangible personal property in the State of California must apply for a Seller’s Permit/Resale Number. For more information, check the State Board of Equalization website or call 916-227-6700.

For a complete reference of regional, state and federal permits required in California, visit the CalGold website, sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

6. Check Tax Information

Various taxes may be levied on businesses, including employment and income taxes. The City of Gilroy has a transit occupancy tax (TOT) but no business or utility user taxes. For more information on California taxes, contact the Franchise Tax Board at 800-852-5711 or visit www.ftb.ca.gov. 

7. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If you plan on employing anyone outside of your immediate family, you must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Hiring other employees requires responsibilities including paying additional taxes, creating employee eligibility standards, and obtaining workers compensation insurance. Employer ID numbers may be obtained through completing SS-4 forms, provided by the IRS. Visit the IRS website to download forms or call 800-829-1040.

"Joining the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is one of the best business decisions I have made."

Anita Bedoya, Owner, Lapels Dry Cleaning

"While facing some delays opening our taphouse the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce intervened. Their creative approach to problem solving saved the day. The Chamber’s connections made a difference for us."

Ryan and Larissa Dickerson, Owners of Bitter Taphouse

"The Chamber has done a great job keeping me informed."

James Gargiulo, Spectrum Small Business Advisor

"We have been able to rely on the Chamber whenever we needed to be connected to people, resources and information."

Jaime Rosso, CEO, Rosso’s Furniture

"We have been actively involved in the Chamber for 20 years. We continue to stay involved because of the critical information they provide."

Bruce & Audrey Haller, Cafe 152 Bread Co.

"As a Gilroy Chamber of Commerce member, I’ve met more people, been able to give back to the community and be involved in decisions that affect our local economy."

Maria Cid, Farmers Insurance