Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Guide to the Law for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs in California

Group of business partners

Here you will find some basic legal information for businesses in California. For more general information, see our Guide to the Law for Business Owners in the U.S.

1. Choosing a business structure

Determining which form you will use for your business is one of the most important considerations. The structure you have, whether a sole proprietorship or partnership versus a “limited liability” entity like an LLC, can significantly affect your financial situation. See more at our Guide to Business Structures in California.

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a type of business that operates based on both “doing good” as well as making a profit. See our Guide to California Social Enterprises for more.

Get the new book for small business by Law Soup Media founder Tristan Blaine!

2. Hiring for your business

When you are ready to hire help in your business, you should consider whether you will have “employees” or “independent contractors,” or both. Once you decide that you will need to know what paperwork to file, what rights your workers will have, etc.

3. Taxes

How do taxes work for a small business? 

As a small business, you actually must pay taxes 4-5 times per year, not just once! See our Guide to Business Taxes in California.

4. Business name

Can I protect my business name and prevent others from using it?

Maybe. If no other ongoing business used the name before you did, in the same industry as you, you may have rights to your business name. This is called “trademark” rights.

What is a DBA or fictitious business name statement and do I need that?

DBA stands for “doing business as,” such as if Mary and Jose want to do business as “California Graphic Design.” If they have not formed an entity, they would need to file a DBA also called fictitious business name statement with the county where they are doing business. If they have formed an entity, such as California Graphic Design, LLC, they would NOT need to file a DBA to do business as California Graphic Design.

See more at our Guide to DBA in California.

5. Business Contracts

All businesses need to have a basic understanding of how contracts work. See our Guide to Contracts for more.

6. Retail and E-Commerce

See our Legal Guide for Retail Businesses, and our Guide to Laws about E-Commerce.

7. Business Banking

For information on bank accounts for your business, see our Legal Guide to Business Banking.

If you are looking for a business bank account that is very easy to set up and use, check out Novo Bank. If you sign up through our link, you will get a $40 bonus!1NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation if you sign up with Novo Bank. We stand by every company we endorse. Your purchases from these companies through our links help keep us around to provide you with free legal info! Thank you.

8. Other business law

You should also be aware of licensing & permitting requirementsconsumer rights, marketing regulations, particularly on the Internet, and other general law (See all Legal Guides).

Further Resources

Check out Rocket Lawyer2NOTE: Law Soup Media may receive compensation from Rocket Lawyer if you use any of their services. We stand by every company we endorse. Your purchases from these companies through our links help keep us around to provide you with free legal info! Thank you., which provides affordable and simple legal services for business & much more.

References[+]

Share the Legal Info With Your Friends: