26 Tips to Start Agribusiness Importation in California

Agribusiness Importation: Small businesses are defined by the average number of employees they have in a year and their average annual receipts.

In addition, a small business can take any for-profit structure so long as it is registered in the United States; independently owned; and not dominant in their field on a national scale.

To start a small business in California, choose a business structure.

Plan your business out, register your business, and fulfill any additional requirements if necessary.

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Agribusiness Importation

1. Research and plan your business and personal goals.

Before you start your business, take some time and determine what you are looking to accomplish.

Starting a business is no small task and you should be confident in your abilities prior to starting on this path.

Write out your personal and business goals to help get an idea of what you are looking to do.

This exercise will also help you decide how to structure and plan your business.

  • The Small Business Administration offers an assessment to help you through this process.
  • In addition, they offer a small business planner to take you step by step through the creation process.
  • Use these resources as you see fit.

2. Get business assistance.

California offers a number of resources for entrepreneurs and business people.

Use these resources to get help starting your business.

Contact some of these resources and ask to set up meetings or go to events.

These organizations can help you determine the path that is right for you.

Agribusiness Importation

3. Some of these resources include:

  • The California Business Incentives Gateway website, https://cbig.ca.gov, which catalogs and presents many of the business assistance programs available in California in a searchable database.
  • Small Business Development Centers;
  • California Association for for Local Economic Development;
  • Service Core of Retired Executives; and
  • Centers for International Trade Development.

4. Hire an attorney.

When you choose a business structure, you will inevitably be making numerous decisions that will affect your legal rights and the legal rights of those who will work for you.

For these reasons, you should consider hiring a business lawyer to help walk you through the legal aspects of choosing a business structure and starting your business.

  • Ask family and friends if they can give you a referral.
  • Talk to people that have started businesses in the past or people that make a living in business.
  • Use the California State Bar lawyer referral service.
  • You can call (866) 442-2529 and talk with someone about your needs.
  • They will then get you in touch with a number of qualified attorneys.
  • Conduct initial consultations so you can talk to each potential attorney face to face.
  • This will give you an opportunity to get to know them and gauge their ability to successfully help you get your business started. Be sure you ask about fees.

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5. Choose a structure.

California offers a number of business structures you can utilize to accomplish certain things.

Choose the business structure that best fits your needs.

You can choose from the following types:

  • A corporation, which will exist separately from you, the owner.
  • While a corporation can shield you from personal liability in some cases, a corporation is taxed and so are the shareholders.
  • A limited liability company (LLC), which offers liability protection like a corporation but is not taxed as an entity. Instead, the LLC’s income is usually taxed through the individual on their income.
  • A partnership, which is created by two or more people engaging in business for profit. Every owner is personally liable for the debts of the partnership. Profits are taxed as individual income.
  • A sole proprietorship, which is a business owned by one person.
  • The owner is personally taxed on income and is personally liable for the debts of the business.

Agribusiness Importation

6. What is the benefit of structuring your business as a corporation?

7. Create a business plan.

This plan should include the financial, managerial, marketing, manufacturing.
And production information necessary to run your business successfully in the first 5 years.

You will be required to present your business plan to investors, potential partners and other professionals.

  • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) and other organizations have instructional articles on how to write a business plan.

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Agribusiness Importation

8. Finance your business.

Many people start to look for financing before they file official paperwork.

Look at California’s business website for ideas on who to contact.

In general, you should contact banks and other financial institutions, governments, and venture capital firms.

9. Choose a location.

Because of its large economy, different cities in California provide access to different clientele.

For example, San Diego is known for its science and engineering companies.

Los Angeles supports many entertainment companies and San Jose is known for its tech companies.

  • Contact local Chambers of Commerce in these and other cities to get an idea of how the infrastructure in each place can work to your advantage.

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10. Pick a name.

It is a good idea to choose a name that identifies the type of business you will have.

Fill out a Name Availability Inquiry form at http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/corp/pdf/naavinquiryform.pdf and address it to the Secretary of State’s office. You may check up to 3 names at once.

  • Reserve a name for up to 60 days before you file your official business paperwork.
  • You will be required to file a form and submit a payment of $10, in order to reserve it for this period of time. You can find the form at http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/corp/pdf/name-reservation-request-form.pdf.

11. Apply for intellectual property protection.

If you are going to have a unique name or logo.

Lou may want to consider applying for trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

If you meet certain criteria, your trademark will protect your intellectual property into the future.

You can apply online through the USPTO website.

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12. Appoint a registered agent.

This person or corporation must reside in California and will be designated to accept service of process (i.e., court papers) if you are sued.

  • There are businesses you can hire to act as your registered agent.
  • You will pay a small fee and in return they will be your registered agent.

Agribusiness Importation

13. Draft operating agreements.

It is always a good idea to draft documents that lay out how your business will run and be managed.

If you are starting an LLC, you will actually be required to have one.

Operating agreements touch on some, if not all, of the following subjects:

  • Members, their contributions, and their share of profits;
  • Management of the company;
  • Rights and duties of members;
  • Transfers of interest;
  • Cessation of membership;
  • Dissolution; and
  • Amendments to the operating agreement.

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14. What is the role of a registered agent?

15. Prepare your required documents.

 The type of document you will need to file with the Secretary of State will depend on the business structure you chose.
All of the documents and forms can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Use the following forms for the following types of businesses:

  • Articles of incorporation if you are starting a corporation.
  • This form will ask you to provide the Secretary of State with the business’s name, purpose, registered agent, and corporate address. The various forms can be found at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/forms/#cacorp.
  • Articles of organization if you are starting an LLC. This form will ask you for the LLC’s name, address, registered agent, and how the LLC will be managed. The form can be found at http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/llc/forms/llc-1.pdf. In addition to filing articles of organization, you will also need to have on file, but you will not need to submit, an operating agreement.
  • Statement of partnership authority if you are creating a general partnership. This form will ask you for the partnership’s name, address, names of partners, and appointed agents. The form can be found at http://bpd.cdn.sos.ca.gov/gp/forms/gp-1.pdf.
  • If you are forming a sole proprietorship, you do not need to file any documents at all.

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Agribusiness Importation

16. File your documents.

In California you must either mail in your required forms or drop them off with the Secretary of State in person.

  • To mail your documents, send them, along with the required fee, to “Secretary of State, Business Entities, P.O. Box 944260, Sacramento, CA 94244-2600.”
  • To drop your forms off in person, take them to “1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.”

17. Pay the required fees.

Each type of filing requires you to pay a fee.

    • If you are filing articles of incorporation, the fee is $100.
    • If you are filing articles of organization, the fee is $70.
    • If you are filing a statement of partnership authority, the fee is $70.

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18. Register your fictitious business name.

A fictitious business name must be registered if you are a sole proprietorship doing business under a name not containing your legal name; a partnership; or a corporation doing business under a name that is not its legal name.

  • You do not register this name with the Secretary of State. Instead, you must contact your city or county clerk or recorder where the primary place of business is and ask how to do this.

Agribusiness Importation

19. What kind of documents do you need to file if you are forming a sole proprietorship?

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20. Obtain an Employee Identification Number (EIN).

Your business will likely need an EIN, which is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes.
You can apply for an EIN if your principal place of business is in the U.S. and you have a Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification number. You can apply online through the IRS website and you will receive an EIN as soon as you complete the application.

Agribusiness Importation

21. Register for state taxes.

California requires certain businesses to register for state taxes that will be levied against you each year.

If you have filed the required documents with the Secretary of State in order to create your business, your information was forwarded to the California Franchise Tax Board and you do not need to do anything else.

  • You may also be responsible for certain corporate taxes, employment taxes, and sales, property, and use taxes. Be sure you register with all of the required departments.

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22. Obtain licenses and permits.

Most cities and counties will require you to file for and obtain certain licenses and permits in order to do business. These permits and licenses may include parking and fire safety.

  • Contact the business licensing section of your city government to determine what needs to be done.

Agribusiness Importation

23. File periodic reports.

Every so often you will have to file updates with the Secretary of State regarding your business.

In California, these documents are called Statements of Information.

They will usually need to be filed either every year or every two years.

  • You can usually file these reports online.
  • But sometimes you may be required to mail them or submit them in person.

24. How do you know which licenses or permits you will need to conduct business?

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25. What is the corporate tax rate for California?

California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84%, which is higher than average in the United States.

The corporate tax applies to corporations and LLCs that elect to be treated as corporations.

It applies to net taxable income from business activity in California.

Agribusiness Importation

26. More tips

  • Get training on any aspects of starting a business that you do not already know, before you file to start your company.
  • City colleges, the California Association for Local Economic Development and California Small Business
  • Development Centers run free or low-cost training programs for people considering starting a business.

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