Starting a New Business
Thinking about starting a business in Simi Valley? There are so many things to consider before opening the doors. Is there a market for your product or service? How much do you sell the product for, and will people purchase the product at that price? What is the most effective way to market the business?
Creating a Business Plan is one of the most important steps you will take, because the Plan serves as your road map for the early years of your business. Business Plans generally project 3-5 years ahead and outline the route a company intends to take to reach its yearly milestones. A well thought out Plan also helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business venture and informs your decision-making on a regular basis. The body of the Business Plan can be divided into four distinct sections:
1) The Description of the Business
2) The Marketing Plan
3) The Management Plan
4) The Financial Management Plan
If you need assistance developing a Business Plan, look no further. There are several organizations that provide all types of workshops, consulting services, and courses on this subject that help business owners transition their business concept into reality. Access our Business Partners section in the City's Business Resource Center to determine which community partner can best serve your business needs. In addition, access The Business Plan - A Road Map to Success, a how-to guide of creating a successful Business Plan.
Creating a Business Name
With your Business Plan now complete and in hand,you are ready for the next step - filing for a Fictitious Business Name. The Fictitious Business Name is a public announcement that a business intends to use an assumed name or trade name, which does not include the full legal name of the owner or suggest evidence of multiple owners. You'll need to confirm that the proposed business name has not been selected by another organization before filing, and you will need to comply with Ventura County's filing requirements. For more information, please visit Ventura County's website.
Finding a Location
Before initiating a search, utilize the free services of the City's Economic Development Division. City staff can help find the ideal location and also provide you with useful information:
- Demographic reports
- Sales tax trends
- Local taxes and costs
- Labor force information
- Employer information
Starting a business is challenging and stressful, but the rewards can be tremendous. The City's resources and partners are available to you. Don't hesitate to contact the City's Office of Economic Development at (805) 583-6701 with any questions, or send us an E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Permits, Taxes, and Licenses
In order for a business to legally operate, there are several permits, fees, and other requirements that a business owner will need to obtain. Business owners will need to ensure that the proposed location and business type are compatible. The proposed location must be properly zoned for the business type. The City has created a web page to address these requirements and identify external agencies that may also require licenses or permits. Access the Permits, Taxes, and Licenses section of our Business Resource Center or download our "How to Open a Small Business in the City of Simi Valley" for additional information.
If you plan to operate your business out of a residence, a Home Occupation Permit will be required from the City's Planning Division. The permit places common sense limits on home-based businesses that are appropriate for residential zones; for example, home-based businesses cannot store hazardous materials. Please review our information brochure regarding Home Occupation Permits.
Most owners opening a business in Simi Valley will go through a process called a "tenant improvement." A tenant improvement involves an alteration to an existing building and may include adding new electrical or plumbing fixtures, moving or adding walls, or more extensive construction remodels. Construction plans showing the proposed work are required so City staff can issue applicable permits after ensuring the plans are safe, structurally sound, and in compliance with all applicable Building Codes. Visit the City's Tenant Improvement website, which contains a flow chart to walk you through the process and several documents to help your design professional prepared plans quickly and accurately.
Before placing a sign at your storefront or constructing a monument sign, you will need to obtain a Permanent Sign Permit. The Planning Division will issue a Permanent Sign Permit after reviewing the size and design of the signage. For more information regarding the City's sign ordinance and requirements, visit the the Planning Division's Temporary and Permanent Sign section on our website.