Starting a Business Check List

The Dana Point Chamber is comprised of business leaders both young and established.  We understand the importance of starting on the right foot and we want your business to be successful. That’s why we’ve comprised this list of “To Do’s” that can help you start a business in Dana Point.


Before you decide begin your venture to owning your own business, we recommend taking the time to answer these valuable questions so that your goals and expectations are aligned with you abilities.

  1. Do you know why you want to start a business?
  2. What are your goals?
  3. What services or products will you offer?
  4. Is the idea practical?
  5. Will your business fill a need?
  6. What companies will your business compete with?
  7. What advantages will your business provide that other companies do not?
  8. Is there an existing demand for your business?
  9. What skills and experience do you have that are relevant to your business?
  10. What will the company’s legal structure look like?
  11. How will you maintain business records?
  12. What type of insurance is necessary?
  13. What equipment and supplies will you need?
  14. How will you generate profit?
  15. What financial or other resources do you have?
  16. What financial or other resources do you need?
  17. Where in will your business be located?
  18. What will you name your business?


Keep all plans in writing and ensure they are updated as necessary to meet your future financing and growth needs.

  1. Write Budget.  Include profit and loss projections for both first and second years of operation.  Be aware of the worst-case scenario.
  2. Get to know the Orange County market: check licensing requirements and zoning regulations. Decide whether you will operate a sole proprietorship, a limited partnership or a corporation. For information on Dana Point, download the How to Do Business in Dana Point Guide.
  3. Create and define your long and short term goals.
  4. Call the Chamber at (949) 496-1555 and let us help you find the best professional team to work with i.e. accountants, attorneys, brokers and insurance agents.
  5. Outline your company’s financial needs and secure financing. A good rule of thumb is to set aside enough money to operate the business for two years without external income.
  6. As necessary, register your business with the city, county, state and federal government. Contact the Dana Point Economic Development Department at (949) 248-3501. Applications can be found at


Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance Your Business

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Step 6: Register a Business Name (“Doing Business As”)

Register your business name with your state government.

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number

Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities

Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

For more information regarding Doing Business In Dana Point please contact the Chamber at 949-496-1555