Step one

Writing the Business Plan

A business plan is an essential road map for business success. This document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues. A business plan is constantly revised and refined to ensure the growth of your business and help you determine your niche in the market. The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center offers several resources to assist you in preparing your business plan.

Step three

Finance Your Business

Access to capital is a vital component of business success. Several of our partner organizations offer resources to help you gain access to government-backed loans, venture capital, and research grants to help you get started.

Step four

Choose a Location for your Business

The right location can make or break your business. Also, the Economic Development Division has access to a comprehensive property database to help you find a location that meets your needs and complies with the City's zoning code. Looking for a site in Riverside? Contact Jonathan Marks at

Step five

Determine the Legal Structure of your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file.

Step six

Register a Business Name

If you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authorities. A fictitious name (or assumed name, trade name or DBA name) is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation. It’s important to note that when you form a business, the legal name of the business defaults to the name of the person or entity that owns the business, unless you choose to rename it and register it as a DBA name.

Step seven

Get a Tax Identification Number

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity.

Tax Service Center- Provides a one-stop shop for tax assistance, including information about income tax, payroll tax, sales & use tax, and other taxes and fees for businesses.

Step eight

Register for State and Local Taxes

In addition to business taxes required by the federal government, you will have to pay some state and local taxes.

Step nine

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

All businesses operating in the City of Riverside must obtain a City of Riverside business license. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need certain other types of licenses specific to your business issued by other agencies. To see a full list of possible licenses and permits you will need, use the CalGold Permit & Licensing Tool.

Obtain a Riverside Business License

Step ten

Know Your Responsibilities as an Employer

Hiring your first employee or building your business team requires you to comply with a special area of law. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees federal employment and labor law; however, individual states also have their own specific laws. Depending on where your business is located, there may be potential hiring tax credits available through the Governor's Economic Development Initiative.