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Sunnyvale: How To Start A Small Business

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In Sunnyvale, it is common to find individuals who are running small businesses in online and offline formats. Business owners use their talents to create full-time jobs, temporary employment opportunities and groups of friends who share the same types of hobbies, interests or concerns within our Silicon Valley community. However, before leaping into business ownership responsibilities, it is always wise to explore the overall lists of rules and regulations that apply to Sunnyvale small business establishments.

How To Start A Small Business in Sunnyvale, California:

The Business Plan: The Small Business Administration provides helpful information for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. In most situations, whenever a business loan is needed for immediate working capital, a copy of the company business plan is needed to encourage lenders to share long-term visions. The business plan lists details about current affairs and long-term decisions and strategies. Visit the Small Business Administration Website to explore systematic guidelines for this topic.

Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov

Zoning Requirements:Before leasing business space or redecorating a spare bedroom into an online office space, it is wise to check with the City of Sunnyvale authorities to determine if the chosen business location is zoned to accommodate your particular type of business. In most situations, a City of Sunnyvale business license is granted only after all zoning requirements have been met.

Whenever a commercial building changes use, the new occupants might have a list of obligations to fulfill under the American Disability Act. ADA laws provide access to businesses for disabled individual; when violations are found inside or outside of any business building, a lawsuit can be filed under the ADA guidelines for injured parties to collect damages. Empty Sunnyvale commercial buildings are not always ADA compliant.

Online businesses in Sunnyvale are required to purchase an operating license in the same manner as the businesses that operate out of a storefront. The 'Home Occupation Permits' can be studied and filled-out by contacting the Sunnyvale One Stop Permit Center. These applications apply to Website owners, people accepting online freelance jobs, eBay or other auction site sellers and all types of online small business ownerships.

Information about Sunnyvale business zoning, home businesses and ADA requirements is found by calling Sunnyvale One Stop Permit Center: (408) 430-7444

Create A Business Structure: New businesses will normally visit a Sunnyvale attorney to create their legal business structure. For information about becoming a corporation in California, contact the Secretary of State: (916) 653-6814. A Federal 'Employee Identification Number' or EIN is normally needed from the IRS. This free ID number is used as identification on a variety of business forms for owners. See: IRS.gov.

Register A Business Name: After choosing a serious or catchy name for your Sunnyvale online or offline business, it is necessary to register the fictitious name with authorities. The name of a business must be registered with the Santa Clara County Clerk's Office before business licenses are issued. When people are operating a freelance business under their personal name, there is no need to register with the Clerk's office.

Santa Clara County Clerk: (408) 299-5665

State & Federal Tax Forms: New businesses will normally be required to pay taxes to local, state and federal authorities. For information about state and federal tax forms call to speak to an IRS representative at: (800) 829-1040. The IRS offers live telephone help on all topics when taxpayers ask to speak to a representative.

Sunnyvale Business Taxes: Whenever a business is stationed outside of the City of Sunnyvale, in all global locations, and doing business within the City, a local business license is required. Online and offline businesses from out-of-town can contact the City of Sunnyvale One Stop Permit department to determine the price of their business license fees. Business license fees act as a form of local taxes for businesses and fees can vary based upon the type of business dealings that are taking place in Sunnyvale.

For more information:

Sunnyvale One Stop Permit Center: (408) 430-7444

Sunnyvale Planning Division: (408) 730-7444

Sunnyvale Alarm Permits: After securing a lease on a Sunnyvale business building, do not turn on the fire, phone or burglar alarm system before registering for a permit. For more information about Sunnyvale alarm laws, contact the representative at the Sunnyvale One Stop Permit Center or Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

Sunnyvale Sign Permits: Sunnyvale requires merchants and businesses to purchase a sign permit for permanent signs, temporary sign displays, banners and all indoor or outdoor signs that can be read by people standing outside of the building. To learn more about the City of Sunnyvale sign regulations, contact the City of Sunnyvale through their handy One Stop Permit Center representative: (408) 430-7444.

Retail and Wholesale Businesses: Whenever people are selling goods in any part of California, they must obtain a sales permit from the Board of Equalization. This office may require a copy of the business EIN tax number and other forms of documentation before the seller's permit is issued. Contact: (800) 400-7115. The Board of Equalization seller permit is normally required for both full-time and special event vendors.

Restaurants, Food Vendors, Online Food Sales: All food preparation and food packaging facilities in California are subjected to strict health code requirements. If your merchandise includes foods of any kind, it is wise to contact the Santa Clara Environmental Health Department to determine the health laws that apply to your Sunnyvale business situation. Normally, periodic facility inspections are mandatory at start-up and periodically thereafter for all food-oriented establishments in and around the safety-conscious Sunnyvale area. Contact: (408) 918-3400 for information.

Consumer Affairs License: Many professional occupations require a Consumer Affairs License for permission to operate in the Sunnyvale area. These types of licenses apply to accountants, doctors, dentists and others. To determine if your service-oriented business is required to purchase a Consumer Affairs License, contact your personal business attorney or The California Department of Consumer Affairs for information.

California Department of Consumer Affairs: (800) 344-9940 during daytime hours.

Import-Export Permits: In the United States, there is a long series of laws that must be followed when resale products are shipped between countries. Each country has individual mailing laws that apply to U.S. merchants; further, the U.S. Government has rules that apply to import and export activities. To determine if your business is required to purchase an import-export license, contact the U.S. Customs Service office.

United States Post Office shipping rules for all countries: www.USPS.com

United States Customs Service: (415) 782-9210

Employees: The United States government and California authorities are cracking down on online and offline establishments that attempt to use freelance labor and independent contractors as a full-time source of labor. To determine if workers are filed as employees or independent contractors in your business, explore the IRS Website for complete up-to-date information and determination instructions. www.IRS.gov.

Sunnyvale Small Business Resources:

California Business Permit Information: CalGOLD (916) 322-7394

California Small Business Helpline: (916) 845-4669

Department of Consumer Affairs: (800) 344-9940

IRS Helpline: (800) 829-1040

Payroll Tax Helpline: (888) 745-3886

Santa Clara County Clerk: (408) 299-5665

Santa Clara Environmental Health Department: (408) 918-3400

Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov

Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce: (408) 736-1919

Sunnyvale One Stop Permit Center: (408) 430-7444

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