Expand your Business

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Planning the Next Stage for Your Company

Need help getting building permits for improvements at your established business? Looking for ways to pay for those upgrades? Trying to find qualified new employees to expand your workforce? No matter where you are in your business, we are here to give you the support to keep your business moving forward.

Whatever your situation, the EDB's Retention and Expansion (BRE) Manager can guide you to the help you need. After a one-on-one interview at your site (or virtually), our staff will assist you in defining your needs, and connect you to a wide variety of resources.

The goal is to help local businesses stay and grow in Sonoma County.  As part of that goal, our BRE Manager gathers feedback from Sonoma County businesses like yours, to let local leaders know ways that governmental policies and regulations can best support the business community. 

Review Your Business Strategy

Reviewing your original ideas will help you create a more current and relevant road map for continued success.

    Update Your Business Plan

    Check out resources for free or low-cost business coaching services.

    Assemble an Advisory Team

    Checking in with your financial and legal team periodically is always a good idea. You might also consider finding a  business mentor or informal advisory board to ensure that you continue to have a fresh perspective on your business.

Evaluate Your Business Needs

Now is the time to review your existing business operations and make decisions on how best to move your business forward.

    Evaluate Your Business Structure

    If you started your business as a sole proprietorship, you may want to update your status if you’re now in a partnership or have hired employees—so check with an attorney or accountant for a review of your structure. For a list of business types, visit the  State of California Type of Business Entity page.

    Consider Your Location

    When your business is in expansion mode, you might need more physical space.

    To find available commercial properties or get current lease rates, contact your real estate broker. The EDB can provide preliminary research on available properties and lease rates.

      You will also want to check with the Planning Department where your business is located to make sure that the property you are considering is zoned for your business use. 

      Maintain Licenses and Permits

      It’s a good idea to contact city, state and federal agencies for updates on licensing and permitting process and to keep your records up to snuff. Visit our  Local Licenses page and  State Licenses page for agency contact information.

        Master Your Operations

        Continue to establish proactive operational procedures to help you stay on top of what’s going on in your industry.

        Grow Your Market

        Looking for new customers or clients? Considering a business expansion? No matter where you are in your business, we are here to give you the support to keep your business moving forward.

          Research Your Market

          Customer behaviors change over time, so get up-to-date information about your customers and how to reach them. Visit our  business development tools page to find out how to obtain free and customized data for your business.

            Increase Sales/Marketing Efforts

            Continue to learn how to generate more business from your current customers or identify new customers. For ideas, consider attending a business workshop or utilize  free or low-cost business coaching services.

          Finance Your Growth

          As you move into a growth phase, make sure you have a good funding source that will sustain you through economic ups and downs. See below for local lending options.

            Banks and Credit Unions

            Alta Pacific Bank(707) 543-2704www.apbconnect.com
            American AgCredit(707) 545-1200www.agloan.com
            Bank of America(707) 293-2553www.bankofamerica.com
            Bank of Marin(707) 508-3377www.bankofmarin.com
            Bank of the West(866) 306-7254www.bankofthewest.com
            Beneficial State Bank(888) 326-2265www.beneficialstatebank.com
            Community First Credit Union(707) 546-6000www.comfirstcu.org/
            Exchange Bank(707) 524-3151www.exchangebank.com
            JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.(888) 536-3722www.chase.com
            Luther Burbank Savings(707) 523-9898www.lutherburbanksavings.com
            North Valley Bank(707) 522-5480www.novb.com
            Presidio Bank(415) 293-1005www.presidiobank.com
            Redwood Credit Union(800) 479-7928www.redwoodcu.org
            Sonoma County Grange C.U.(707) 584-0384www.grangecu.org
            Sonoma Federal Credit Union(707) 527-6216www.sonomafed.com
            Summit State Bank(707) 568-6000www.summitstatebank.com
            Tri Counties Bank(530) 895-7580www.tcbk.com
            U.S. Bank N.A.(415) 357-1722www.usbank.com/sba
            Umpqua Bank(415) 898-5400www.umpquabank.com
            Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.(707) 584-3165www.wellsfargo.com

            Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans

            SBA loans are federally guaranteed and geared towards small businesses and entrepreneurs. Typically, lenders require a completed business plan with financial projections, 20-30% equity or collateral, and evidence of ability to repay the loan.

            Bank of the West(866) 306-7254www.bankofthewest.com 
            Exchange Bank(707) 524-3151www.exchangebank.com 
            Community First Credit Union(707) 568-6000www.comfirstcu.org/
            JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.(888) 536-3722www.chase.com 
            Redwood Credit Union(800) 479-7928www.redwoodcu.org 
            U.S. Bank N.A.(415) 357-1722www.usbank.com/sba 
            Umpqua Bank(415) 898-5400www.umpquabank.com
            Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.(707) 584-3208www.wellsfargo.com 

            Alternative Lending Resources for Businesses

            These alternative lending resources can help businesses that encounter difficulty gaining financing through traditional means. These lenders can finance start-ups and existing businesses, and some offer pre and post-loan business counseling.

            Bay Area Small Business Finance
            (510) 830-3280
            Offers SBA Community Advantage Loans ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 for up to 10 years.

            Working Solutions
            (415) 655-5473
            Micro-lender that specializes in startups and existing businesses. Up to $25,000 is available for startups, up to $50,000 is available to existing businesses.

            Angel Investors and Venture Capital

            Angel venture capital investors provide funding to companies engaged in groundbreaking practices including, but not limited to the areas of; Agriculture, alternative energy, biotech, clean tech, communications, industry, high tech, and manufacturing.

            Cascade Capital
            (415) 456-1001

            Innovation Ventures
            (415) 383-8272

            North Bay Angels
            (707) 431-4201

            Technology Partners
            (415) 332-9999

            Environmentally-focused Financing

            California Capital Access Program (CALCAP)
            California Pollution Control Financing Authority
            (916) 654-5610

            CALCAP Lenders:
            Bank of America
            (707) 542-4433

            Wells Fargo
            (707) 584-3110

            Energy Efficiency/Conservation Loan

            (707) 577-8621

            Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ)

            California Integrated Waste Management Board
            (916) 341-5630

            Energy Upgrade Financing and Rebates
            Sonoma County Energy Independence Program 
            (707) 565-6470

            Crowdfunding and Other Resources

            Crowdfunding connects entrepreneurs with investors and/or donors who pool their resources to fully fund a project or venture. Each of the sites listed below differ in their offerings and requirements, so be sure to investigate each thoroughly.

            If you would like your institution or program listed here, please call the Economic Development Board at <a>(707) 565-7170, or email edb@sonoma-county.org.

          Hire Employees

          Don’t hesitate to invest in good staff so that they can help you grow your business more effectively. 

            Understand the Basics

            If you need extra staff, learn the difference between  hiring an independent contractor versus an employee at the State of California's page.

            If you decide to hire employees, you will be required to register them for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

            Research Wages and Trends

            Find out what is going on in the Sonoma job market by taking a look at our monthly  Job Market Tracker

            Finding Qualified Employees

            Our EDB team has been instrumental in helping to develop an effective workforce pipeline for Sonoma County employers. Our staff works collaboratively with workforce agencies throughout the County to match job seekers with relevant job openings.

            • To find qualified workers, consider  Cal Jobs/Job Link, where you can research wage information and post job openings.

            Services for Employers

            The EDB, in partnership with Sonoma County Job Link, can help businesses tackle some of their most difficult workforce problems and connect your business to valuable support services. 

            • Workforce recruitment and retention     
            • Customized workforce trainings
            • Subsidized hiring incentives
            • Specialized hiring events

          Incentives for Your Business

          EDB Staff works directly with Sonoma County businesses to identify possible tax incentives and provide useful tops on the application process.

            California Competes Tax Credit

            The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit designed to help businesses stay in California by encouraging investment and the creation of new well-paying jobs. For more detailed information on how businesses can qualify for this tax credit, visit the  State of California's California Competes Tax Credit page.

            Manufacturing and Research and Development Exemption

            Launched in July 2014, the Manufacturing and Research and Development Tax Exemption offers a partial reduction in state sales and use taxes for certain equipment purchases and leases. 

            Currently, the State of California imposes a statewide sales and use tax rate of 7.5% (plus applicable district tax) on sales and leases of property. With the Manufacturing and Research and Development Tax Exemption, eligible businesses would only pay 3.3125% of the statewide sales and use tax, saving $41.88 for every $1,000 in purchases of qualifying property.

            Who Qualifies?

            The partial tax exemption is available to businesses in the following the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) business categories: 

            • Manufacturing: NAICS codes 3111–3399
            • BioTech Research and Development: NAICS 541711
            • Physical, Engineering, and life sciences R&D: NAICS 54171

            What Qualifies?

            Certain equipment purchases and leases qualify for the partial sales tax exemption. They can include machinery and equipment; equipment and devices used or required to operate, control, regulate, or maintain the machinery; pollution control items; and certain special purpose buildings and foundations.

            Use of Property

            To qualify for the exemption, the property must be used 50 percent or more in one of the following activities:

            • Manufacturing, processing, refining, fabricating, or recycling tangible personal property
            • Researching and developing
            • Maintaining, repairing, measuring, or testing any qualified property


          Running a business can be lonely at times, especially if you’re a solo-preneur. Networking is a great way to connect with other business owners and get the support that you need. Here’s a list of where you can find local networking events and business organizations that you might consider joining.

          Contact Information

          Lauren Cartwright

          Business Retention and Expansion Program Manager

          Economic Development Board

          Contact me by Phone