Thinking about Starting a Business? Start Here.

From our Business Bootcamp courses to online resources to one on one consulting, the Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help your business or idea start, grow, and thrive.

Many of SBDC’s clients start by selling something they are creating at home. Muffins, jewelry, websites, you name it — home based businesses are popular in the Sierra. In the beginning, recordkeeping is easy. But what happens when you grow, your Instagram takes off, and Oprah features your product? What’s the first step to go from a home-based hobby to a full blown successful venture? Well, that’s where we come in. SBDC GeneralAd 2017

First, familiarize yourself with the various ways you can structure your business. Learn more about what it means to be a sole proprietorship, how to incorporate, or how to structure a partnership. The resources available online for this are endless, but a good link for an overview can be found on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website.

Next, learn about what licenses or permits might be required for your business by going to the State of California permit website, There you will find resources specific to your industry AND community, especially those necessary for things like a Fictitious Business Name statement, or a business license, if it’s required in your county.

We often direct people to the SBA website’s Learning Center. This post, 10 Steps to Starting your Business, is one of our favorites. There, you will walk through the steps it takes to really kick off your business. Learn how to write a business plan, evaluate your idea, and develop a financial plan. After all, you’ll want to make at least some money, right?

The business plan is an important step for any business owner. It helps to guide your start up right from the beginning. It can be the roadmap to your success. Although many people don’t write a business plan, and that’s fine too, it should be a living document acting as a resource throughout the life of your business to help you overcome obstacles and give meaning to your direction, including your exit strategy.

Exit strategy? But you’re just getting started! Well, if you plan on dying at the desk with your boots on, don’t worry about it at all. But, if eventually you’d like to retire on all the money and good feelings that Oprah spotlight got you, you may want to think about how to pass along your success. This could look like selling your homemade chocolate business to Ghiradelli, taking on your children as successors, or simply liquidating your assets.

As you advance along the path to success, keep your exit strategy at the back of your mind and use it to help inform your next steps. If this post has your head spinning, or if you’ve jumped through these hoops and need further support, please give us a call. We have start-up, general business, and financial management consultants standing by to help your idea become a reality. While none of our clients have been on Oprah (yet!) many have found success. It takes a village to start a business, and in the Sierra, we have an awesome village!

The mission of the Sierra Small Business Development Center is to create a strong regional economy by providing technical assistance and access to capital for small businesses. We are all about equipping you with the knowledge, tools and skills to start, grow, and thrive. Visit us at or call 530-582-5022.