How to Start a Business in Cupertino

Welcome to the world of entrepreneurs. This can be a very exciting and scary process at the same time. Here are a few resources and information that can help you in your path to success. Please be sure to look at the other resources section at the end. It is full of great organizations and services that are available to you.

Basic Steps for Starting Your Own Business

Step 1: Your Business Plan

A thoughtful and well-executed business plan is the first step for every potential entrepreneur. Good planning increases the odds of success. A solid business plan is your road map to success and a critical tool for funding. It will help you get everything that’s in your head onto paper, forcing you to plan for the challenges of starting or growing a business. Download a Business Plan template by clicking here. (Source: SCORE)

SCORE has also made workshops on developing a Business Plan available for free online. To register for a workshop, click here. (Note: To register for a workshop, you will have to register online for a free SCORE account.)

Step 2: Financing Your Business

Many entrepreneurs seek financing from commercial lenders; SBA loans are one of the most common.

Learn more by going to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website at

Step 3: Fictitious Business Name

Register your business name, after doing a search at the Superior Court Building to make sure it is not already being used. It protects you from others who might be using the same name and prevents your competition from using your name in the future.

Clerk-Recorder’s Office – Business Division

70 West Hedding St, East Wing, 1st Fl, 
San Jose CA 95110
(408) 299-5665

Step 4: Local, State, & Federal Business Licenses

Depending on what you plan to do there are many different types of business licenses. Check with the city, county, and state where you will be doing business in.

City of Cupertino Business License Department

10300 Torre Ave, 
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 777-3221

Tax Collector’s Office

70 West Hedding St, East Wing, 6th Fl, San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 808-7900

The Secretary of State’s Office

1500 11th St, 3rd Fl, 
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-6814

Step 5: Join the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce

Join the chamber and reap the benefits of chamber membership: promoting and enhancing your business.

Cupertino Chamber of Commerce

20455 Silverado Ave, 
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 252-7054

Other Important Facts

You must file your state business taxes separately if you are a partnership or corporation. If you are a sole proprietorship, you file through your personal income taxes. Contact the Franchise Tax Board at (800) 338-0505.

If you are self-employed your social security contribution is made through the self-employment tax. Contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

You will need a seller’s permit or a resale number if you plan to sell products. Contact the State Board of Equalization at (800) 400-7115.

If you have employees, you are required to have an employer identification number (EIN). You may also get one if you prefer not to use your Social Security number in business transactions. Contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

You are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees. You can obtain a policy from many private insurance companies or from the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

If you have paid more than $100 in wages to an employee in a given calendar quarter, you are required to withhold taxes for state disability insurance, personal income taxes, unemployment insurance, and employment training. You must register for an employment account number. Contact the Employment Development Department at (800) 480-3287.

Under certain circumstances, you are required to withhold income tax and Social Security (FICA), be liable for your employee’s portion of Social Security taxes, and pay federal unemployment tax. Contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

Other Resources

Small Business Learning Center

The learning center is a redesigned, online learning portal for small business entrepreneurs. It has a streamlined, searchable catalog of small business educational resources including self-paced courses, videos and web sessions. The resources may be sorted by topic, making it easier to quickly locate helpful information. For instance, if you want to take a course on how to write your business plan, the learning center is a one-stop destination to find the course as well as other supporting content. Click here to go to the Small Business Learning Center’s website.


1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100, Herndon, VA 20170

(408) 453-6237

The Service of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a FREE volunteer management-counseling program sponsored by the SBA, comprised of active and retired business executives who volunteer their time counseling and advising small business owners on many aspects of starting and better managing their businesses.

Silicon Valley Small Business Development Centers

Free consulting services for those of you who may experience problems in growing or expanding your business.
(408) 924-1402

Before the First Employee Starts Work

All California employers must meet the requirements before an employee begins work. For more information visit the Department of Industrial Relations.

Small Business Guide to Hiring Minors

Understanding Federal and State Child Labor Laws

Other Important Phone Numbers

Alcoholic Beverage Control (408) 277-1200
Building Remodeling (408) 777-3228
Concealed Weapons (408) 777-3182
Cupertino Building Division (408) 777-3228
Cupertino City Clerk (408) 777-3223
Cupertino Finance Division (408) 777-3221
Cupertino Planning Division (408) 777-3308
Day Care Licensing (916) 654-154
Employer Payroll Taxes Visit here!
Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (877) 345-4633
Home Office / Regular Office Zoning Approval (408) 777-3308
Import (408) 291-7388
Patent Office (800) 786-9199
SBA Cisco Systems San Jose Entrepreneur Center (408) 494-0210
Sign Approvals (408) 777-3308
United States Department of Commerce (202) 482-2000

For more information on how to start a business, click here to go to the City of Cupertino’s page.

Take advantage of the full value of Chamber membership.

Join the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce now!