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Doing Business in Napa

DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN

Your nearby Small Business Development Center has been established to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. Their goal for new business owners is to help them do the careful planning required to minimize the risks of launching a new enterprise. The Napa Valley College Small Business Development Center provides professional business counseling, excellent low-cost workshops, information and resources and an annual Rx for Business program.

Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center
2277 Napa-Vallejo Hwy., Bldg. 330 Napa, CA 94558
707-256-7250
www.napasbdc.org

JOIN YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The Napa Chamber of Commerce functions as a trade association for member businesses and professionals. Included in their services to members are business education and promotion, legislative advocacy, referrals, networking opportunities, community/business events and the primary source for community information. One of the first things a new business owner should do is join the Chamber and take advantage of its networking opportunities.

Napa Chamber of Commerce
1556 First Street, Ste. 104 Napa, CA 94559
707-226-7455 | Fax 707-226-1171
www.napachamber.com

7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be A Member of the Chamber of Commerce

1. Visibility. Yes, you’ve heard it said time and time again, that out of sight means out of mind. This is not a smart strategy for any business, especially when times are good.

2. Access. No one enjoys making cold calls all day long. When you join a Chamber and actively get involved you’ll discover that meeting prospects who may have an interest, or who can refer you to key contacts you’re trying to reach, is a huge benefit of membership. From being on committees, serving as an ambassador or attending specific events where prospects are likely to be, you’ll find yourself in situations where you can identify and meet decision makers face-to-face versus making cold calls.

3. Ongoing training and education. There’s no other organization in America that delivers timely programs at such an affordable price as the local or regional Chamber of Commerce. By spreading costs among fellow members through registration fees and sponsorships, members can stay updated, informed and educated at a bargain price.

4. Networking. From seminars, leads groups, luncheons to business expos and various business and community committees, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being able to meet new contacts, referrals and people who can help you with ideas and additional ways to grow your business. The Chamber gives you several different venues to meet new people. In addition, doing business with fellow members who offer wonderful products, services and ideas is also a big plus.

5. Low-cost advertising opportunities. As far as visibility at the local level, a Chamber offers a wide range of affordable advertising options and sponsorship packages for just about every business or nonprofit, regardless of how big or small their budget may be. For the price of a few ads within a major media outlet, you can often sponsor an entire program with the Chamber, give a short commercial about your company, and meet new prospects that may have a need for your offering. This is a wonderful way to hold your marketing dollars accountable and see them working hard right before your eyes.

A common area to get low cost or free advertising is submitting updates or news briefs for possible inclusion within the Chamber’s ‘Member News’ section of the newsletter or E-letter. The Chamber is always on the lookout for member related news.

6. Advocacy. A foolish belief among large companies, especially national retail outlets, is that they’re too big or not local enough to care about getting involved or joining their local Chamber of Commerce. A few things they should think about: Are their employees and customers local? Are taxes and school systems important to finding and retaining a high-quality work force? These are key areas that the Chamber researches, lobbies and routinely discusses with local and regional government units, politicians and the media to keep people up-to-date on central issues of importance pertaining to their membership and the community. What happens to your local employees and customers does have an impact on your business, even if you’re a national chain.

7. Money-saving discounts. If you fully leverage the cost-saving discounts ranging from health insurance and office supplies, to discounted phone service and other items, your business currently uses or will need, it’s not uncommon for a small business to easily find enough savings in the first 30 to 60 days upon joining with endorsed providers or member-to-member discounts to recoup most, if not all, of their membership dues.

Well, there you have it! Seven great reasons to join or get more involved and fully leverage the benefits that your hometown or regional Chamber of Commerce can provide your business or organization.

CONSULT WITH NECESSARY PROFESSIONALS
As a business owner, you will want to establish a relationship with several outside professionals. You will need to set up bookkeeping procedures; choose your legal structure and set up agreements and contracts; obtain financial information and financing; obtain insurance coverage for liability, fire, theft, workers’ compensation, etc. and find a location for your business to take place. This guide will give you contacts in many important areas such as accountants, attorneys, bankers, insurance agents/brokers, real estate agents and more.

FILE A FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT, IF APPLICABLE, WITH THE COUNTY CLERK
Also, publish the notice with a local newspaper and file an affidavit of publication with the County Clerk within 30 days of publication.

Napa County Clerk-Recorder
900 Coombs Street, Rm. 116 Napa, CA 94559
707-253-4246

Newspapers qualified to publish fictitious Business Names:

Napa Valley Register
1615 Second Street | Napa, CA 94559
707-226-3711

American Canyon Eagle Napa Valley Register
P.O. Box 150 | Napa, CA 94559
707-256-2269

St. Helena Star
1200 Main Street, Ste. C St. Helena, CA 94574
707-963-2731

Weekly Calistogan
1458 Lincoln Avenue, Ste. 9 Calistoga, CA 94515
707-942-4035

OBTAIN A BUSINESS LICENSE FROM THE CITY HALL COLLECTION DEPARTMENT
The city of Napa requires those doing business in the city to pay a business license tax. The tax on most businesses is based on gross receipts earned and must be renewed at the end of the applicable period.

City of Napa Revenue Division
955 School Street | Napa, CA 94559
707-257-9508
www.cityofnapa.org

CHECK THE PARKING/ZONING LAWS AND LAND-USE ORDINANCES THAT MAY APPLY

Napa Planning Department, Community Services Building
1600 First Street P.O. Box 660 | Napa, CA 94559
707-257-9530

APPLY FOR A STATE EMPLOYER TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
If your business will pay wages, contact the Tax Office for a state identification number. Also, contact the office for disability insurance tax, state withholding tax and unemployment insurance tax. Ask for the California Employers Tax Guide (Form #DE 44).

Franchise Tax Board
50 D Street, Rm. 100 Santa Rosa, CA 95404
800-852-5711 | Forms 800-338-0505

PURCHASE LABOR COMPLIANCE PRODUCTS FROM THE NAPA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

707-254-1143
Most of the employment posters businesses must post are required by law and carry a penalty for failure to post. The Napa Chamber offers compliance products from the required posters to handbooks on labor issues. These products can be purchased at www.napachamber.com in the Chamber Store. Members of the Napa Chamber receive a discount on all products. Visit our website at www.napachamber.com.

SCORE BUSINESS COUNSELING

Business counseling by seasoned executives is provided free of charge to small-business owners and budding entrepreneurs. Workshops on “Starting a Business” and “Business Plans” are also provided. For appointments, contact the Napa Chamber office at 707-226-7455. For general information contact David Mendelsohn at david@dmendee.com. SCORE is a Small Business Administration sponsored organization.

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