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One of life's most exciting and rewarding challenges is owning your own business.  It is as much a part of the American dream as owning your own home.  Small business owners represent the fastest growing segment of the business community.  While the risks are great, the opportunities and rewards are even greater.

Information included is both general to the state of California and specific to San Luis Obispo County. This guide outlines the different forms of business organization and the establishment of a basic business plan.  It assists you in securing adequate financial support, complying with federal, state and local tax obligations and obtaining necessary licenses and permits.  Most of all this guide tells you where to find assistance and whom to call for answers to specific questions.

  • Idea into a Business supplies some guidelines for judging business opportunities (startup, franchise, existing business).

  • Ready to Start provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of starting your own business, and guidelines to determine if you are ready to start and run a business.

  • Steps to Start furnishes appropriate procedures to start a business.

  • Marketing provides information on marketing and guidelines for developing a Market Plan.

  • Structure discusses the various forms of organizations, and their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Legal Requirements presents some of the legal factors in which the organization will need to survive.

  • Financing furnishes information on the financing process and optional financing vehicles.

  • Accounting shows why accurate record keeping is important and how to do that.

  • Taxes discusses the various forms of taxes, and how to conform to taxation requirements.

  • Insuring provides information on the various forms of taxes and why they are important to the health of the business.

  • Hiring furnishes information on how to attract and keep good employees and the various types of employees.

  • Outside Assistance provides information on local organizations that provide support to small businesses.

  • Business Planning provides guidelines for writing a business plan.  (See, also, Business Plan)

  • Financials defines and discusses the financials needed to manage the business.

  • Tips furnishes helpful hints provided by a successful local entrepreneur.

  • Resources supplies countywide contacts (county, city and financial institutions) and research resources helpful in starting and running a business.

How to Start a Business in San Luis Obispo County is designed to give you the information you need before you open your business.

Remember that getting off to a successful start requires much hard--and somewhat frustrating--work.  There are many agencies and organizations whose primary responsibility is to assist you in beginning or expanding your business.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Take advantage of the numerous addresses and telephone numbers included in the following pages.

The preparers of this booklet gratefully acknowledge the significant help from its own members and the Fresno County SCORE organization.

This book is available on-line, and as a CD.

Prepared by

San Luis Obispo County SCORE, Chapter 597

Telephone: 805-547-0779
Web site:


The material in this publication is based on work supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration under cooperative agreement 

SBAHQ – 13-S-0001.  Any opinions, findings and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Eight Edition © 2013

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