Santa Rosa SBDC

California Bicycling Development

Category: Incorporation/Structure

Coworking Spaces And Incubators In Santa Rosa

As the workforce becomes decentralized, coworking spaces and coffee shops continue to rise in popularity.

But what if you could create a startup “hive”? Some place where startups could not only work but work in a location where visibility was easy to obtain, coaching was around every corner, and venture capital was waiting with open checkbooks (ok, so now we are dreaming.)

Across the country, we see these incubators take shape. In 2011, the Share Exchange opened an incubator for our area.

Now, six years later, it appears that this project is technically still running. Whether you are struggling with funding or marketing or manufacturing, you are welcome to apply for coaching.

Our local culture revolves around the food and crafts industries. When you look at some of the current incubator projects, you see these industries heavily represented.

Unfortunately, it appears that these dreams didn’t work for many. The websites for the Spiral foods coop, Katzi designs, Preserve Sonoma and Spacious Economy Media, are all dead. (I could link to their old websites, but what’s the point? You can see their dead links, here )

Ironically, it looks like the incubator needs a Savior as much as our local small businesses do.

The idea is a good one. We have had a SCORE in our local area that not nearly enough companies take advantage of SCORE is free and pairs you with a mentor. Not only can you get needed advice from them, but they can also connect you to a much wider network of people for increased exposure or resources.

They also offer workshops and events to help you hone critical business skills.

Coworking Spaces In Santa Rosa

There is still coworking space available inside the Share Exchange. Besides, here are a few other locations that might help the small business that needs office space but wants to control costs.

Share Exchange
529 4th Street,
Santa Rosa CA

Sphere Pa
1714 Stockton Street #300
San Francisco, CA, 94133

Work Petaluma
Two locations. Call 707-721-6540


California’s New Electronic Employee Submission Requirements

Small businesses will now be required by the Employee Development Department to submit electronic employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits as of January 1st, 2018.

While this requirement was rolled out to business with 10 or more employees for the 2017 year, it is now being forced to any and all California businesses for the upcoming year.

The penalties for not filing electronically are fairly steep — if you don’t pay through the new system, then you will be charged an addition 15% of the payment due. That’s hefty. Also, there are per wage item and per return fees that would stack up very quickly if you had a few employees!

If you know someone running a small business who isn’t likely to be able to file electronically, there is a form they can fill out for a waiver that extends their freedom to pay the government through old fashioned post office services for another year. It can be found here and needs to be mailed or faxed to:

Employment Development Department
Document and Information Management Center
PO Box 989779
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9779

Fax: 916-255-1181

The goal with this new system is to improve data collection and security, reduce overheads, and eliminate lost mail issues. It also speeds up the payment process. While I’m all for efficiency and speed, mandating immediate changes and micromanaging small business owners with potentially thousands of dollars in fees seems to be fairly intense overreaching, in my opinion.

Grandma’s corner book store with its three part time college student employees could be put out of business with a pile up of fees because she didn’t get her waiver approved in time.

I would love to see small businesses prosper, but if our state keeps demanding more and more from our business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s going to get increasingly more difficult to make a go of a start up.

Hopefully, this change doesn’t cause some of our elderly owners to throw their hands up and surrender their family business.

For the rest of us, it may be a breath of fresh air to not deal with the stacks of paper, but for them it could be the final straw.




Ways to Incorporate Your Small Business, LLC, or S-Corp

If you happen to be a sole proprietor, you may consider incorporating your small business. There are a number of reasons why today’s small businesses have turned to incorporation. It’s challenging for a sole proprietor to increase capital since they don’t have any company shares to sell. At the same, it’s also difficult for banks to finance their small business.

Taxes are a big concern for owners running a small business since they’ll be required to keep up with the federal tax rate and self-employment taxes. In other words, you’ll be taxed twice (Depending on the structure of your business). One of the biggest risks when it comes to sole proprietors is the never ending liability they’ll end up with if their business is facing a lawsuit. This can place your assets and finances at risk. It’s through these reasons that owners of small businesses need to learn the aspects of incorporation.

If you intend to incorporate, there are small business solutions that involve internet-based incorporation. Currently, there are a number of such online services offering necessary information to help you attain the right kind of incorporation adequate for your small business needs.

When you’re thinking about incorporating, there are multiple options available. You may opt the Limited Liability Company structure (LLP), an S-Corporation or C-Corporation (S-Corp or C-Corp), or a non-profit model format. Through these structures, there are forms that need to be filled out and fees to cover in any state where you’ll be doing your business.

An LLC basically combines the upsides of being a sole proprietor with liability and tax protection that come with business incorporation. An LLC can consist of a single owner with other branches made up of a board of directors. Through this format, you’ll typically make self-employment tax payments on earnings you make out your current business. There are no shareholder meetings involved and keeping records is simpler compared to other incorporated business models.

Business owners often go for the C-Corporation model. Through this format, you’ll be required to select a board of directors and make shareholders in charge of making major business considerations. Meanwhile, the board of directors is in charge of managing the company on a daily basis. You can sell company stocks to shareholders — a good way to raise money for business ventures and operations — and you can minimize worker benefits from your current tax obligation. C-Corps typically have annual meetings with minutes being recorded. This model works ideally for bigger companies.

An S-Corporation is essentially named after a Subchapter S code of the tax laws from the IRS. A business owner/shareholder can hand over corporate earnings and business profits on his personal tax return. Employees in an S-Corp tend to receive acceptable compensation standards. Dividends of an S-Corp are needed for distribution to shareholders according the number of shares they’ve possessed.

Wrong Reasons to Start a Small Business

Entrepreneurship through small business is an enticing path but it’s not something for everyone. A good business idea, the need to create something, or a smart market opening can be a good foundation to starting a small business. But on the other side of the coin, it’s essential to know the wrong reasons for kicking off a business. Jumping into the small business bandwagon for the wrong reasons can doom one to fail even before they get started.


Here are the biggest bad reasons to staring a small business:

  • Making a quick buck

Regardless of how simple or inspiring your small business start-up appears, it’ll never take off. In other words, there’s no shortcuts to making a mint, much less if you happen to do it without help. Starting a small business is similar to prospecting. You may have heard of striking gold in business but the truth of the matter is, prospectors work hard to gain minor successes in the process. If you’re into small business for that lone nugget, there’s a good chance of you not finding any small nuggets that are highly essentially in get there.

  • Working for your own

In any position within an organization, you’ll have to answer to somebody even if you happen to be a lone worker. The people you answer to may include employees, business partners, bank, investors, etc…

There’s accountability tied in any business relationship you make. As a result, you’ll have to answer to all of them. If you’ve dwelled in an illusion where you won’t have to deal with what anyone has to say or want, you’ll likely fail. Working and answering to others is an essential aspect of a successful small business.

  • Demanding more time

Ask any small business owner — finding time for oneself is nothing but a myth. Running a small business is constant. As a matter of fact, your schedule may not be as flexible since you’re frequently on call even if you’re away from communicating with others. Even if things have come to a standstill, you’ll still be thinking about your business regardless. So if you think entering a business is to give more time and flexibility for yourself, then going for a start-up should never be pursued in the first place.

  • Everybody is doing it

If you want to start a business because everyone else is doing it then something is wrong with you. It seems everyone wants to get into business nowadays. Even if people don’t have any business, they’ll start talking about a start-up. It’s important to keep this mind: the main reason to start a business is because you have a good reason to so. Talking about a business may be easy but the process of starting one is difficult. Ensure you start one for the right reasons.

If you’re thinking of starting a business and taking the plunge, look into the reason why you want to make the move. If you want to succeed in a small business by working with others and dedicating your time to expand your customer base and product/services, by all means, pursue it!

How to Set Up a Small Business with a Small Capital

Starting a small business entails a lot of thinking and planning since faulty ideas, start-up capital, and monetary issues have led to a huge percentage of small business failures. Successful small business owners all too well that businesses should begin with small expenses in order to succeed. By keeping such expenses under strict control, there’s a good chance a small business to make huge profits in the long run.


Photo: Flick’r Dean Myers

Here are some ways to help you start a small business with minimal capital:

  1. Be knowledgeable of today’s business

Adequate research and a good knowledge of the latest business trends are a representation of essential requirements for a profitable small business. While there are certain business consultants who charge a lot of money to conduct such services, a successful business owner utilizes a number of hard copy and online sources to look into business requirements, determine possible competitors, and make start-up assumptions. Some businesses, such as medical and tech firms, require a huge capital and can’t be launched cheaply. There are other companies that lets entrepreneurs start off a small business with minimal capital.

  1. Maximizing Open-Source/Free Resources

A majority of success in today’s business depends on a consumer’s view in terms of company size. While commercial resources employ costly integrated voice response phone systems and virtual conferencing, there are other efficient resources available for free via open-sourced channels over the internet.

For instance, Google Voice lets small businesses acquire a phone number and create a big business phone image free of charge. On the other hand, Google Wave lets business personnel conduct virtual office meetings, collaborate on projects, and share documents. A plethora of open-sourced apps today lets small business owners create quality documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for free.

  1. Pay attention to cash flow

Know the essence of cash flow and recognize that poor cash flow can lead to failure in any small business. When certain big customers make an order placement, they typically hand out a purchase order as opposed to a pre-paid transaction. You’ll need to gain the required items, keep them stocked, processed, and have the order send prior to any payment. One thing that can really help cash flow is the astounding number of tax benefits that the business owner gets from the IRS.

Payment may take up to 60 to 90 days. Initially, you’ll need to foot the bill on the items and tie useful cash to be utilized for other essential business operations. Keep track on any cash flow or expenses to ensure your small business will remain profitable.

  1. Setting up a website

With a huge percentage of the world having access to the internet, small business owners shouldn’t ignore the power of a well-made and professionally designed website. While there are web designers that charge a lot for setting up a site, there are a plethora of free tools available that can create attractive web pages in a cheap and simple manner.

Certain open-sourced apps lets users craft a professional site with little effort, and there are even some that have a direct interface with e-commerce bundles that process internet-based sales. Utilizing an open-sourced app to create a web page minimizes expenses related to making an online presence. At the same time, business owners can find a dependable web hosting at an affordable monthly cost.

Regardless of the kind of small business you have, a little of bit of cash is necessary. This is due to the fact that it plays a big role in today’s business. The good news is, there are numerous small business opportunities available that involves a small capital. By playing it smart and being efficient with startup costs, small businesses will eventually be rewarded with profits in the long run.

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