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County Administrator's Office

Sonoma County Cannabis Program

Cannabis Business Readiness Guide: 1. Initial Research and Development and Developing a Business Plan

Sonoma County Cannabis Program

Starting a business carries risks. Starting a cannabis business can involve additional risks. As an entrepreneur, you can diminish these risks by performing some due diligence as part of the initial planning stages. 

Start with the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB)

The Small Business Development Team at the EDB provides a host of services to help your business get up and running.  For detailed information on how the EDB can help, visit their Business Assistance page.

Your Business Plan

Your business plan communicates what your business does, your vision for the future, and the steps you will take to reach those objectives. Generally, the business plan should include:

  • An executive summary
  • An operations plan
  • A marketing plan
  • The proposed organizational structure
  • Financial projections

Your developed business plan should also include the following:

  • The Legal Structure of your Business
    • You have probably heard the terms Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, and Type C or S Corporation. The determination to form a company under a particular structure has much to do with the business activity, location, and organization. Information about each structure can be found at the California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA).
    • Since the legal structure of the business will dictate many of the entity’s operational functions, and tax liability, entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek legal advice when considering these choices. 
  • The Business Name:

Online Resource Guide

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has a comprehensive online resource guide for entrepreneurs. The SBA resource guide provides information on choosing your business structure, writing your business plan etc. However, as they are a federal agency, the SBA is unable to provide direct business assistance, loans, and mentoring to the cannabis industry.

You can find the online guide to starting a business at: