Espresso machine

Last modified date: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 08:05

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Start a Business

Starting a business can be challenging. Being prepared and well informed can help. Learn what it takes to make your business dream a reality and browse our Starter Kits.
Please note that the Business Portal will be shut down permanently at the end of August 2022. Content from the Business Portal is available at If you need further assistance, contact the Office of Small Business at or (415) 554-6134.

Last modified date: Wed, 08/03/2022 - 11:52

Create a Business Plan

Don’t just wing it – create a game plan. Writing out business goals and action steps not only helps you clarify and organize priorities, it gives potential investors a clear vision of your roadmap to profitability.

Last modified date: Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:21

Finance Your Business

Once you’ve developed your business plan, you should have a clear understanding of the amount of money (or capital) you need to start and run your business. If you need to raise or borrow money there are several options.

Last modified date: Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:34

Find a Location

Where should you set up shop? That all depends on your business type and needs. Choose between a home-based business (also called home-occupancy business) and a commercial location and assess other important factors like demographics, safety, traffic, and zoning and building requirements. 

Last modified date: Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:31

Register Your Business

Choosing the legal structure that best suits your business type is a top priority. All businesses – even small ones – that operate in San Francisco must register with the City. Depending on your business type, you may need to register with the State or Federal Government as well.

Last modified date: Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:41

Choose a Name

You’ve brainstormed and picked that perfect business name. So what’s the next step to make it legal and protect your brand? File a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) with the Office of the County Clerk.

Last modified date: Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:41

Building & Inspections

Planning to expand or build something new? You've found a space zoned for your business, but before you break ground, you'll need a building permit. During your project, prepare for inspections and verify you meet the building code, fire code, and other requirements, like ADA access.

Last modified date: Thu, 06/18/2015 - 16:15

ADA Compliance

Making your business disability accessible not only helps your customers, it’s the law. Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state regulations require that businesses be open to all.

Last modified date: Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:41

Permits & Licenses

Before you open, determine which permits and licenses apply to your business, using either our Permit Locator or a Starter Kit, built specifically for your business.

Last modified date: Mon, 05/04/2015 - 10:41

Hire Employees

Hiring your first employee is a big step and introduces new complexities. As an employer, you must consider labor regulations and payroll taxes at the local, state and federal levels.

Last modified date: Sat, 08/02/2014 - 16:57