Preparing and empowering the "Over 40" worker for career opportunities in the new economy.



Business Readiness Checklist

Welcome to Bay Area New Business Network's readiness checklist for about-to-launch and newly-launched enterprises.*

[ ] Develop a Business Plan

  • As graduates of the Phase2Careers 'Start and Grow Smart' course, we should have a business plan in place

  • Our business plans need to be reviewed on a regular basis and adjusted as situations and goals change

[ ] Get Business Assistance and Training

[ ] Choose a Business Location

[ ] Finance Your Business

[ ] Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

[ ] Choose a Name for Your Business

[ ] Get a Tax Identification Number

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)

  • All employers who have employees, including business partnerships and corporations, must be assigned EIN or Employer Tax ID from the United States Internal Revenue Service.

[ ] Register for State and Local Taxes

  • Those businesses operating within the state of California are additionally required to register for more specific identification numbers, licenses or permits for different tax purposes

  • Examples of these include income tax withholding, sellers’ permits for sales and use tax, and unemployment insurance tax

  • Visit the California Tax Service Center for more specific information regarding business owner tax obligations and registration procedures.

[ ] Register for Fictitious Business Name

  • Filing for a fictitious name allows the creation of a business name which is then separate from your legal name. This is called Doing Business As, or DBA

  • Sole proprietors wishing to do business under a business or company name which is different from the proprietor's legal name will have to file a fictitious name with their county registrar at the county clerk’s office

  • Partnerships, corporations, or LLCs may also choose to file a DBA

  • The forms and instructions on Registering a Fictitious Business Name is available online at the San Mateo County Clerk's office

  • Three of the four copies you submit will be returned to you

    • One will be for your records

    • One will be for opening a business bank account

    • One will be for the newspaper that runs your Fictitious Business Statement

[ ] Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

[ ] Understand Your Responsibilities as an Employer

  • There are several registration requirements for businesses which have employees:

    • Withholding Employee's Income

      • IRS Employer's Tax Guide publication

      • Federal Income Tax Withholding (Form W-4)

        • All employees must fill out an exemption certificate for their employer (Form W-4) either on or before their start date of employment

        • The employer is then responsible for submitting the W-4 to the IRS for verification

    • Federal Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2)

      • Employers must report annually to the IRS the wage and tax information which has been withheld for all employees

      • This report is filed using Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement

      • A W-2 must be completed for each employee by January 31 each year

      • Copy A of the W-2 Form must be sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report employee wages for the preceding year

      • Employer W-2 Filing Instructions and Information

    • Employee Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form)

    • New Hire Reporting

      • Employers are required to declare all newly and re-hired employees within 20 days of hiring

      • This information should be submitted via the State of California New Hire Reporting Program.

    • Insurance Requirements

      • The State of California requires businesses to carry certain kinds of insurance

      • The Employment Development Department (EDD) administers California’s Unemployment Insurance and State Disability Insurance (including Paid Family Leave), as well as payroll and income tax withholding.

    • Disability Insurance

      • Temporary disability insurance benefits provide payment to workers, if needed, due to a non-work related illness or injury

      • Employers are responsible for deducting this tax from employee wages and reporting taxes to the state

      • For more information visit the State Disability web page

    • Unemployment Insurance Tax

      • Businesses are required to pay unemployment benefits to eligible employees

      • See the Unemployment page of the State of California EDD

    • Workers' Compensation Insurance

      • A Worker's Compensation claim can be filed by employees who are injured on the job

      • The California Department of Industrial Relations provides a list of frequently asked questions regarding Workers' Compensation coverage for employers

[ ] Obtain Insurance

  • Determine what kind of insurance will be required outside of employee related insurance

[ ] Establish Business Credit

  • Establishing business credit is for Corporations and LLCs, not for Sole Proprietorships

    • You will maintain a credit history separate from your personal credit history and experience the business benefits of having good business credit

    • You will be able to demonstrate separation between owners and the business

    • See eight-point list for establishing business credit

  • Decide whether to apply for a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) account

[ ] Set Up Your Books

[ ] Set Up Tax Reporting

[ ] Establish Business Identity

  • Logo

  • Business cards

  • Letterhead

  • Envelopes

  • Website and hosting service

  • Flyers and Brochures


[ ] Create A Website

[ ] Intellectual Property Protections

[ ] Develop Marketing Plan

  • Familiarize yourself with the various marketing channels available

    • Direct Mail

    • Advertising

    • Social Media

  • Use due diligence on materials used for marketing, advertisement and product development

    • Obtain permission and/or pay for license to use artwork for any purposes

    • Verify trademarks

  • Blog about your business and ideas

[ ] Social Media

[ ] Connect With Professional Organizations

[ ] Time Management Tools

* This is a compilation of information from the Small Business Administration, State of California, San Mateo County Clerk's Office,, and for the personal use of members of the Bay Area New Business Network group.

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