Starting Your Business In La Jolla

Thinking of starting a business in La Jolla? Well let’s get started! If you don’t know already you should know that La Jolla is a small village on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. We are technically located in the City of San Diego. You may find reference to our addresses with a San Diego or La Jolla city listing. We typically use La Jolla and have our own zip code of 92037.

Now that you know we are in the City of San Diego you must be prepared to meet all of the zoning and permitting requirements, as well as business license and special assessments in the city when starting your business here.

We have local groups that you must connect with if you are going to build a new building or renovate an existing one, change the front of an existing business (color of paint, type of material, or put signage on the exterior of a building) all of which requires local approvals prior to permitting with the City of San Diego Development Services.

La Jolla Community Groups

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA)

There has been long-standing citizen involvement in planning in the City of San Diego. The City Council adopted policies in the 1960s and 1970s that established and recognized community planning groups as formal mechanisms for community input in the land use decision-making processes. Community planning groups (CPG) provide citizens with an opportunity for involvement in advising the City Council, the Planning Commission, and other decision-makers on development projects, general or community plan amendments, rezoning and public facilities. The recommendations of the planning groups are integral components of the planning process, and are highly regarded by the City Council and by staff.

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La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (LJPDO)

For all new projects in the Village, including building façade, exterior signage approval, as well as new and renovated buildings in La Jolla you must go through a presentation of your project concept to the PDO. The committee will review and decide if the project falls in line with the City of San Diego – La Jolla Community Plan. If approved the project will be recommended to LJCPA to proceed to the City of San Diego Development Services for permitting.

City of San Diego – Development Services Department

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La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA)

www.LaJollabytheSea.com is contracted by the City of San Diego to manage the La Jolla Business Improvement District (BID). When you start your new business in La Jolla you will apply for a City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate – you have 15 days to obtain this from the date you open your business. After that date significant fees and penalties will be added to your tax statement, so don’t delay this task on your check list! I can get quite costly.

You will receive an additional invoice from the City of San Diego if they determine that your address and business fall within the La Jolla Business Improvement District (LJVMA). Those fees range from $45 – $350 annually depending on your business type and location. After the 1st year the annual business tax and Business Improvement District (BID) assessment will be invoiced together. The number on your City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate is your membership number for the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

Benefits of a BID

  • A BID unifies all businesses to work toward a common goal, which often economically revitalizes a Business District.
  • A BID mitigates retail sales leakage by allowing the area to compete more effectively for regional market share through the generation of greater local marketing resources and strengths.
  • A BID supports businesses in the area through commercial recruitment, retention and promotion as well as through the sponsorship of “shop at home” and downtown image-building campaigns.
  • A BID creates a strong unified voice to represent business interests to local government agencies.
  • A BID funds other projects such as clean-up programs, decorations, parks and special events.
  • A BID assists in leveraging public and private resources for program activities, development projects and other commercial revitalization efforts.

City of San Diego’s Office of Small Business

Some people know exactly what they want to do but don’t know exactly how to carry it out while others aren’t immediately sure what kind of business they should start. Consider your interests and skills in developing your business idea. Research business potential by gathering information from industry associations, Web searches, periodicals, federal and state agencies, and other resources. Develop your idea by putting it in writing; outline the tools and strategies for your business success. This written Business Plan is your roadmap for starting and growing your business.

To access resources to assist you in this process contact the Office of Small Business at (619) 236-6505. Our staff will provide referrals to agencies and resources to help you explore business ideas, research opportunities, write your business plan, and kick-start your business.

Once you know what kind of business you want to start, learn about the key regulatory steps of starting and operating a business within the City of San Diego. If you have additional questions or concerns you may contact the City’s Small Business Ambassador at (619) 533-6474. If you are interested in local policies which affect small business, attend a Small Business Advisory Board meeting.

Once you have decided on a business and know the next steps, then you may start thinking about opening a business storefront. The City offers design and financial assistance with personalizing an existing storefront to fit your business needs. Learn more about the Storefront Improvement Program.

Ten Key Steps

There are several key steps to starting a business in the City of San Diego. The steps may vary according to the type of business you intend to start, but the following guide for 10 Key Steps to Starting a Business will give you a general idea.

Note:Many of the following steps can be researched and accomplished by first visiting the respective web sites listed, rather than calling or visiting agency offices.

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Other Business Resources

Acción San Diego

ACCION San Diego provides credit and training for low-to-moderate income micro-entrepreneurs throughout San Diego County. With micro-loans ranging from $300-$75,000, clients can increase their inventory, buy equipment and raw materials and stabilize and grow their businesses. ACCION also helps clients build favorable credit histories and improve their business skills with one-on-one training in bookkeeping, preparation of financial statements and credit repair.

T: 619.795.7250 Ext. 410

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City of San Diego Community and Economic Development Department

There are many financial resources for small businesses in San Diego that work in conjunction with the City of San Diego. Activities include small business loans and issuance of industrial development bonds. Most loan programs require that businesses demonstrate one year of business history.

(619) 533-5187

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City of San Diego Office of Small Business

The Office of Small Business manages a variety of programs to directly assist small businesses, ranging from providing detailed information on City and regional services to help with startup questions and providing assistance with permitting issues. OSB also provides matching grants to businesses in targeted areas for storefront renovation projects. Staff serves as advocates for small business concerns and coordinates several programs to ensure that small businesses have a voice in many issues that affect their ability to succeed.

(619) 533-5305

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The Small Business Development Center

(SBDC) helps potential and existing companies achieve business success. The staff and counselors are there to assist with your business goals in the global market. Services include one-on-one counseling, seminars and training, information and referral resources, import/export assistance and trade leads, procurement assistance, a business resource center, as well as English and Spanish resources and assistance.

(619) 482-6391

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