Startup Your San Diego Business

If you are planning to startup a business in San Diego, then StartupSAN has the information and resources you need.  In addition to writing a business plan, picking a name and choosing a legal structure for your business, you will also need to notify State and Local authorities about your San Diego startup.

Create a Business Plan for Your San Diego Startup

A business plan is an important tool for your San Diego startup.  This document normally includes a 3 to 5 year forecast of your sales and expenses.  It also covers other key aspects of your San Diego startup to help you succeed, including:

  • Executive Summary
  • Description of Your San Diego Startup
  • Marketing Analysis of Your Industry and Competitors
  • Management Team and Organization
  • Products and Services You are Going to Sell
  • How Your San Diego Startup will Sell the Products and Services
  • A Request for Startup Funding if You Need It
  • Money Projections for At Least 12 to 24 Months
  • Appendix for Additional Information

Select a Legal Structure for Your San Diego Startup

As seen below there are a variety of structures you can choose for your San Diego startup, and each of them comes with its own set of tax and legal advantages and disadvantages.  It is recommended that you consult an attorney that specializes in business formation and understands the local and state laws that govern San Diego prior to finalizing your legal structure.

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • S Corporation
  • Cooperative

Pick a Name for Your San Diego Startup

Choosing a name for any business these days gets increasingly complicated for a number of reasons.  Firstly you will want to determine whether your San Diego startup name is available to be registered as a dotcom.  Is the same name also available on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platform that might be important for your business?  Additionally, you will want to do a Google search and see if anyone else is already using the name and whether it has been registered as a trademark.

Make Sure You Apply for a Business Tax Certificate

All businesses that operate in the city of San Diego must apply for a Business Tax Certificate no later than 15 days from their business start date in order to avoid late fees.  Learn more at the City of San Diego website:

File Your Fictitious Business Name

All San Diego startups that will be doing business for profit in San Diego County are required to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the County Clerk’s office, within 40 days of first the first business transaction.  You can either apply in person or online.  For more information, visit

Learn How to Start a Business in California

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development provides and introduction for startups that includes how to register your business with the California Secretary of State.  It also provides guidance on researching and planning a startup, financing your business and choosing a business name.  You can learn more at

Register Your San Diego Startup with the Federal Government

If you are planning to start a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company then your San Diego startup will need to apply for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.  Sole Proprietorships usually do not require an EIN because they rely your Social Security number for tax reporting purposes.  You can learn more about EINs and apply for one online at

You Can Learn More About San Diego Startups from Local California SBDCs

California Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) help San Diego entrepreneurs by providing the information and tools needed to start successful businesses.  They provide support to help you create a business plan, learn how to start a business in San Diego, obtain funding for your venture, and walk you through compliance and regulatory issues.  To find an SBDC near you, visit: