DVO has many marketing resources to assist you in your business, whether you are established here or whether you wish to locate your business in our downtown. Links below point to downtown-specific retail strategies that may offer insight.

The City of Ventura

The City of Ventura provides a variety of support services to attract, retain, and expand businesses by collaborating with other city departments and outside economic development organizations. As a result, they can offer a “continuum of care” that provides valuable services to businesses, both big and small.

The City’s business enhancement programs and services work by partnering with local business assistance organizations. These partnerships allow the City to leverage the resources of each organization to provide much needed services for Ventura’s business community. Partner organizations with respective enhancement programs and services are listed below.

Rapid Response Program
Ventura County Workforce Investment Board (WIB)

The Rapid Response Program identifies resources and services for businesses and their employees affected by downsizing due to company restructuring, closure or relocation. The Program provides quick and comprehensive information and services aimed at minimizing job losses for employers. When a business closure is necessary, the Program can work with the business to help its workers make transitions to new jobs. Program services are free to both employers and employees.

To learn more about the Program, contact the WIB or click the links below:

Ventura County Workforce Investment Board
Rapid Response Program
505 Poli Street
Ventura, CA 93002

Contact: Theresa Salazar Vital, Program Administrator
(805) 652-7866

Business Enhancement Program
Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County (EDC-VC)

By way of its Business Enhancement Program, the EDC-VC offers free, confidential help for businesses with fewer than 200 employees. Whether your business is ready to sprout to still searching for fertile ground, the Program can help you plan for growth, develop creative marketing strategies, identify sources of financing, and learn other key business tactics.

For more information, contact the EDC-VC or click the links below.

Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County
Business Enhancement Program
1601 Carmen Drive, Suite 215
Camarillo, CA 93010-3103

Contact: Kelly Noble, Office Manager
(805) 384-1800, ext. 21

Related Links

In addition to the services and programs offered by the Economic Development and Revitalization Division, a number of partner organizations are available to assist your Ventura business.

Economic Development Collaborative – Ventura County (EDC-VC)
The EDC-VC offers free confidential help for businesses with fewer than 200 employees. Whether your business is ready to sprout or still searching for fertile ground, the EDC-VC can help you plan for growth, identify sources of financing, and learn other key business tactics.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
The SBDC offers free or low-cost consulting, financing, training and other special programs to any stage of business, whether they are start-ups or have existed for years. SBDC programs are fully available in Spanish, and in Cantonese and Korean on a limited capacity.

SCORE – “Counselors to America’s Small Business”
SCORE is a non-profit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide. SCORE volunteers provide free, confidential face-to-face and e-mail counseling to America’s entrepreneurs.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Since 1953, the SBA has provided financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their business. The SBA is the nation’s largest single financial backer of small businesses.

Ventura Chamber of Commerce (VCC)
The VCC is a private, non-profit business assistance organization dedicated to fostering the continued growth and vitality of Ventura’s business community. Membership with the VCC provides a number of benefits, i.e. training seminars, legislative representation on pro-business issues, and networking opportunities.

Ventura County Workforce Investment Board (WIB)
The WIB promotes workforce development in Ventura County by integrating employment, training, education and business services for job seekers, workers and employers.

Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB)
The VCB is Ventura’s designation destination marketing organization. It’s objective is to contribute to the economic development of the City and its businesses by selling and marketing Ventura as a destination for meetings, conventions, tradeshows, and tourism.

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV)
The WEV provides opportunities for entrepreneurs in every phase of the business life cycle: start-up, launch, grown, and sustain.  Programs and services offereed fall under the areas of training, access to capital and business services.  All services are open to men and women entrepreneurs interested in starting or growing their business.

Starting a Business

Starting a business is a difficult decision at best. While there is no single source that outlines all required procedures, the following steps have been developed to assist you in starting your business. Many of these steps can be researched and accomplished by visiting the websites listed, rather than calling or visiting agency offices.

The following information and links to various resources are provided for your convenience only. Please note that there may be omissions or additional requirements not represented here, which does not exempt any individual or institution from complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

1. Evaluate Your Needs and Determine Your Location

The City’s Economic Development and Revitalization Division can assist you in determining a path to start your business, expand an existing business, or find a new location. Division staff can provide information on business loans, workforce recruitment, available incentives, and site selection. The Division also provides an ombudsman program for new and existing businesses.

City of Ventura
Economic Development and Revitalization Division
501 Poli St., Room 218
P.O. Box 99
Ventura, CA 93002
(805) 677-3935

2. Create a Business Plan

A business plan is like a roadmap; it shows you where you are in relation to where you want to be. Whether you believe in a business plan or not, starting a business involves many ideas that need to be documented with actions taken. Many businesses fail without a business plan, and furthermore, banks require one prior to considering your loan application.

The following organizations can provide you with business plan consultations, workshops and referrals:

EDC-VC Small Business Development Center
1601 Carmen Drive, Suite 215
Camarillo, CA 93010-3103

U.S. Small Business Administration Information Center
330 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 1200
Glendale, CA 91203
(818) 552-3210

3. Determine a Business Name

The name you choose for your business is important. Aside from making sure that the name clearly describes your business, you need to ensure that the name is not already being used. If the name you choose is anything other than your own legal name, you are required to file a fictitious business name statement. The statement is filed with the County of Ventura Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

County of Ventura – County Clerk and Recorder’s Office
Hall of Administration, Lower Plaza
800 S. Victoria Ave.
Ventura, CA 93009
(805) 654-3790 or (805) 654-2263

4. Determine the Business Legal Structure

Several legal structures exist; your choice of legal structure will affect your income taxes and personal liability. Most businesses start as a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership and are legally the least complicated. Corporations and Limited Liability Companies must register with the Secretary of State. Contact your accountant or attorney for advice and assistance in determining the best legal structure for you and your business.

California Secretary of State
1500 11th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-6814

5. Check Zoning and Building Regulations

Determining zoning requirements prior to signing a lease or contract is imperative. Check with the City to see if the type of business you plan to operate is legal in the desired location.

City of Ventura Planning Division
501 Poli St., Room 117
P.O. Box 99
Ventura, CA 93002
(805) 654-7725

6. Obtain Important Permits and Licenses

The business type chosen determines the licenses and permits needed to legally operate your business. For a list of regulated occupations and professional services, contact:

California Department of Consumer Affairs
400 R St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(800) 952-5210

The State also operates CalGOLD, a website that provides detailed information on required permits, licenses and regulations. The information provided is specific to your type of business and its location in California.

7. Get Tax Information

Several types of taxes may be levied on businesses including income tax, employment tax and the City’s business tax. For City taxes, contact:

City of Ventura Business Tax Office
501 Poli St., Room 107
P.O. Box 99
Ventura, CA 93002
(805) 658-4715

For state taxes, contact:

Franchise Tax Board
300 S. Sprint St. Suite 5704
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(800) 852-5711

For a copy of “Striking Gold in California”, which outlines state taxes for businesses, contact:

State Board of Equalization
(805) 677-2700

For federal tax information and a copy of the “Small Business Resource Guide,” a document that helps business owners understand the basics, contact:

Internal Revenue Service
District Business Office – Camarillo
751 Daily Drive
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 445-4771

8. Get a City Business License

To conduct business in Ventura, you must obtain a business license and pay an annual business tax. A City business license is required prior to conducting any business activity in the City, even if your business is located outside the City’s corporate limits.

For more information and to obtain a business license application click here or, contact:

City of Ventura Business Tax Office
501 Poli Street, Room 107
P.O. Box 99
Ventura, CA 93002
(805) 658-4715

9. Acquire Employer Identification Numbers and Worker’s Compensation Insurance

If you will have employees, acquire employer identification numbers and Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Maybe even some car insurance for the business vehicles, you can get that onesureinsurance.co.uk.

For an employer identification tax number and federal tax withholding information, contact:

Internal Revenue Service
District Business Office – Camarillo
751 Daily Drive
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 445-4771

For an employer identification tax number and state tax withholding information, contact:

State of California Employment Development Department
District Business Office – Ventura
4820 McGrath Street, Suite 250
Ventura, CA 93003
(800) 300-5616

All employers are also required to carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance. It covers your employee(s) for work-related injuries. To obtain an insurance policy or for more information, contact:

State Compensation Insurance Fund
Oxnard District Office
2901 North Ventura Road
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 988-5300

10. Recruit and Train Employees

The Ventura County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) offers employers with work-ready employees. Contact the WIB for more information.

Ventura County Workforce Investment Board
505 Poli Street
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 652-7684

The CLUE Group

More Info: http://www.cluegroup.com/Pages/WhatWeDo.html

The Community Land Use and Economics (CLUE) Group is a consulting firm that helps communities create vibrant, dynamic downtowns and neighborhoods.

They help local and state governments, developers, and nonprofits design innovative downtown economic development strategies, cultivate independent businesses, recycle historic buildings, attract young talent, strengthen downtown management programs, and craft planning and land use tools that mitigate sprawl and stimulate town center development.

They specialize in downtowns. Kennedy Smith directed the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center for 13 years and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on downtowns, downtown economics, independent business development, and the economic impact of sprawl, with a career in downtown revitalization spanning 23 years. She created the retail market analysis methodology now used by most historic downtowns in the US. Josh Bloom spent ten years as a program officer at the National Trust’s Main Street Center , focusing on the economic and organizational dynamics of commercial district revitalization, particularly in urban neighborhoods.

Their work is driven by several key principles:

Comprehensive action
No community development challenge exists in a vacuum. They examine all the interrelated problems and opportunities together to get beyond symptoms and address the core issues.

Practical implementation
The best plan in the world is useless if it isn’t implemented. They provide step-by-step guidance on putting their market analyses, business development strategies and historic preservation plans to work right away.

They recognize that communities have tough decisions to make. They help in carefully and objectively weighing the many factors involved in community development decisions.

Clear goals
Strong, rewarding collaboration begins with a clear sense of a project’s ultimate purpose. They work closely with the city to explore the project’s possibilities and clearly define its goals.

They provide a broad range of economic analysis, business development, planning, policy and evaluation services for downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

Economic analysis and business development planning:

  • Retail market analysis
  • Business mix and land use analysis
  • Retail sales gap analysis
  • Business development plans for commercial districts
  • Independent business development and recruitment planning
  • Business profile development
  • Economic and fiscal impact analysis
  • Identification and development of niche markets and clusters
  • Adaptive use and rehabilitation finance strategies for historic commercial buildings

Strategic and implementation planning:

  • Practical, detailed implementation plans for revitalization programs
  • Strategic planning for downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization initiatives
  • District marketing and promotion strategies

Consumer and public opinion surveys:

  • District intercept surveys
  • Community-wide surveys
  • Business surveys
  • Economic and lifestyle profiling of key customer groups
  • Focus groups and community input processes
  • National Downtown Business Survey

Policy and program performance:

  • District assessments
  • Evaluations of district management organizations
  • Economic benchmarking
  • Local, regional and state policy planning to stimulate and support revitalization initiatives

Training workshops, speeches, and keynote addresses:
They offer speeches and workshops on a broad range of downtown and neighborhood commercial district economic development topics. Clients include local and state governments throughout the United States; local, state and national nonprofit organizations; private developers; and government entities in Canada and the United Kingdom.