North Coast SBDCEureka and Crescent City California

Helpful Links and Tools

Top Resources

These are the resources most frequently used by our clients:
  • Financial Templates by Stilson  - This Excel workbook has a 24-month profit and loss (P&L) statement, creates a break-even analysis, a cash flow projection, and a balance sheet from the data you enter into the P&L. It also includes a loan calculator. You can begin to learn how to use this in our “Get Your Finances in Order” Workshop, but the best way to build out these financial statements for your business is in one-on-one sessions with a business advisor. You can sign up for your first advising session here.
  • NEW! Weekly cash flow planner - This Excel workbook is based on Financial Templates by Stilson spreadsheet but adapted for fast adaptability during the pandemic crisis.
  • Living Wage Estimate by Suzanne - This is an excel spreadsheet where you can enter your expenses, and the spreadsheet will estimate how much you need to make each month to cover your financial obligations. It can also calculate how much cash flow per hour you need to include your draws and taxes.
  • Business Plan Guide - This PDF document from North Coast SBDC provides a short outline for simple business planning useful for your own needs. In the end, it includes resources for building more detailed plans typically requested by lenders and investors.

Resources By Topic:

General News/Media Inventions/Intellectual Property | Trademarks/Copyrights | Import/Export | Financing | Business Planning | Government | Legal/Taxes | Human Resources/Payroll | California Businesses | Documents/Forms | Other

General Resources

Checklist for Starting a Business in Humboldt – Tips and tricks for starting a business in Humboldt County.

Business.USA.Gov - Official business tools and resources of the U.S. Government.

SBDCNet - Business information, help, and examples.

SBA Office of Advocacy - An independent voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and the source of small business statistics. 

SBA's Women's Business Center - Find the Women's Business Center, designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses, nearest you.

Disaster Preparedness Plan – Statistics show that if a small business cannot resume operations within ten days of a natural disaster, it will most likely close its doors permanently. The information provided in this document will help you make sure you are well prepared for whatever comes your way. 

News/Media Resources

The 100 Most Underrated Small Business Blogs  -  A list of 100 underrated small business blogs that compile original, unique, and invaluable content regularly, despite being lesser known.

The Wall Street Journal - Start-up information and databases of businesses for sale and venture capital. Wealth in the form of money or assets, taken as a sign of the financial strength of an individual, organization, or nation, and assumed to be available for development or investment. - The online magazine for entrepreneurs and small business owners. - Magazine with start-up ideas, resources, and articles. - Provides Innovative educational tools and informative resources covering the latest issues and insights affecting entrepreneurs.

About Business - A comprehensive site with articles written by experts in their field, including business practices, general business, industry-specific information, and small business.

North Bay Biz -  Provides monthly magazine dedicated to exclusive coverage of business in the North Bay area of California (Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties).

North Bay Business Journal - A weekly publication for online business news from the northern San Francisco Bay area. Including the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Marin.

Press Democrat This Sonoma County daily newspaper includes current news and archive files by subject.

Inventions and Intellectual Property, Trademarks/Copyrights Resources

Inventing 101 - Free Online Course By Stephen Paul Gnass

How to protect your invention while pitching it. - From protecting your designs, ideas, and product names to the public domain and fair use rules, you can find everything about intellectual property in articles and information here.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office- Information, research, and registration of U.S. patents.

California Secretary of State - The Secretary of State’s office maintains registration and all updates of California state trademarks and service marks.

U.S. Copyright Office - Research and register a copyright.

Import/Export Resources

Six Steps to Begin Exporting - A fact sheet from the SBA Office of International Trade that explains how to begin exporting.

SBA Export Business Planner - SBA provides counseling, training, and financing to small businesses looking to increase sales and profit by taking their businesses global. 

Office of International Trade - Federal agencies regulate many exported and imported products. If you export or import the following types of products, you may be required to obtain specific licenses and permits or complete additional paperwork. - The primary federal government exporting site to serve beginning exporters better.

Centers for International Trade Development (CITDs) - CITDs are the state's top source of trade assistance. CITDs offer a variety of free or low-cost programs & services to assist local companies in doing business abroad. These include one-on-one technical support and consulting, market research, training, and educational programs, trade leads, and special events.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes - If you know the SIC code for your business or industry, you can research employment, productivity, import/export, etc., for that industry. SIC codes were established in the 1930s primarily to help measure and compare statistical information.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - A more detailed classification system that covers the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, NAICS codes allow for closer comparisons than SIC codes. Almost all business research is more accessible if you know your SIC and NAICS codes (some agencies and publications, including the SEC, still use SIC).

Tradeport Comprehensive international trade information, trade leads, and company databases. It is intended to guide you through the export process.

Financing Resources

Your First Steps Towards Financing – Everything you need to know about getting business loans, courtesy of the Norcal SBDC Lead Center. 

Business Loan Application Checklist – Use this checklist to make sure you have the typical items required for any small business loan application. - An excellent site to use when searching for Federal grant funding.

SBA Loan Programs - SBA offers a variety of loan programs for particular purposes. Take some time to study the programs described on this site to see if you qualify to participate.

8(a) Business Development Program Suitability Tool - Respond to a series of questions to determine if the 8(a) program is for you. 

SAFE-BIDCO - State-owned, non-bank financial assistance. Access to federal and state loan programs for small businesses.

National Venture Capital Association Member Directory - The NVCA serves as the definitive resource for venture capital data and unites its member firms through a full range of professional services.

U.S Economic Development Administration - Porivdes links to all California Economic deveopment agencies. 

Small Business Loans - Find loans from this trusted website, and see which loan may work best for you. 

SBIR/STTR Funding - Can be used to pay for research and development for innovative companies.

Trends in Venture Capital Funding in the 1990s – A report about who supplies venture capital, who receives it, and how is it changing the U.S. economy, written by Nicole R. Onorato, former intern in the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. 

Business Planning Resources

Start and Manage Your Business - SBA's website has resources for helping you, including templates for planning a business and advice blogs. and Center for Business Planning - Have sample plans and writing tips for business owners.

CalGOLD - Offers direct internet links and contact information to state, local, regional, and federal permitting authorities for more information. Assists you in finding appropriate permit information for your business.

Business - It can be hard to understand the associated terms and concepts. With over 20,000 definitions, search this site for a specific term, or choose a general category and read a definition for any word.

SCORE - The Service Corp of Retired Executives offers informational sites along with online expertise in starting and owning a business.

Government Resources

Business Matchmaking - The nation's premier public-private initiative supporting procurement opportunities for small business in every industry.

Procurement Opportunities for your Small Business – If you have been considering contracting your services to the procurement marketplace, this webinar, hosted by the Northern California SBDC, tells you all you need to know about resources and leads for business matchmaking with federal, state, and local government agencies, how to prepare for a business matchmaking conference, how to get paid, etc.

Practical Guide to Doing Business with the Federal Government - Includes a directory of federal procurement offices in California.

Useful Government Contracting Websites - SBA's list of small business issues and information via the Internet.

California Department of General Services - Central location for businesses wanting to do business with the State of California. Information about minority certification, etc.

How to Do Business With California State Government - Brochure from the California Department of General Services explaining the four-step process.  

Finding Government Customers - Contracting opportunities listed by the SBA.

Minority Business Development Agency - Web portal dedicated to helping small businesses benefit from minority certifications.

Federal Business Opportunities - The single government point-of-entry (GPE) for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet and commercial vendors seeking Federal markets for their products and services can search, monitor, and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.

Legal and Taxes Resources

Forming a corporation in California - An outline of the steps you need to follow in order to form a corporation (specifically, a "C corporation") in California.

FindLaw's Small Business Law - legal information, guides, sample forms, and other legal resources.

What New Business Owners Need to Know About Federal Taxes - IRS links to basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business, as well as information to assist in making basic business decisions.

California Tax Service Center - Forms and services you need as a California taxpayer.

Nolo - Nolo is the nation’s leading provider of do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers and small businesses.

LegalZoom: LegalZoom is an online legal technology company that helps its customers create an array of legal documents without having to necessarily hire a lawyer.

Human Resources and Payroll

Hire an Employee in California Checklist - North Coast SBDC's comprehensive list is applicable to businesses located throughout Northern California.

California Business Resources

California Business Portal -  Explore access to features such as Business Navigators, Finacial Assistance, Cal Gold, Finacial Assistance, Quick start guides, international trade and investment.

Bay Area Council - The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored, public policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. It proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone.

California Chamber of Commerce - The California Chamber of Commerce is the largest, broad-based business advocate working at the state and federal levels to influence government actions affecting all California business. This site links to local chambers of commerce.

California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program - Ten initiatives provide a variety of solutions for business development, and workforce training needs to strengthen on-the-job performance and business competitiveness.

California Department of Consumer Affairs — Licensing and Permit Information - Information on types of state licenses required and how to obtain them. DCA licenses in more than 100 business and 200 professional categories, including doctors, dentists, contractors, cosmetologists, and automotive repair facilities. It includes 40 regulatory entities that establish minimum qualifications and levels of competency for licensure. They also license, register, or certify practitioners, investigate complaints and discipline violators.

California Department of Finance - This web site provides economic forecasts, county profiles, and economic indicators for the state’s fiscal matters.

California Electronic Job Listing Service This California state service is an Internet system for linking employer job lists and job seeker resumes.

California Employer Advisory Council The CEAC and local Employer Advisory Councils (EAC) are recognized and accepted by employers and government as the premier information resources for the employer perspective on employment and other workforce development issues.

California Employment Development Department - A direct link to job placement and referrals, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, employment and training, labor market information, employment taxes, and more.

  • Remember! As of 01/01/2017, it's California law for employers of 10+ people to file and pay employment tax returns, wage reports, and payroll tax deposits online only. Visit to learn how.

California Employment Training Panel ETP is a California State agency that funds training that meets the needs of employers for skilled workers and the need for workers for good, long-term jobs.

California Healthcare Foundation - Everything small business owners and their advisors need to know about offering health insurance. An unbiased resource on cost estimates, tax savings, coverage options, legal rights, and more.

California Labor Market Information -  Information by geographical area, subject or industry including occupational and career information, employment by industry, wages, and industrial classifications.

Sonoma County Economic Development Board Resources The Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) provides information and referral services to help local businesses to start up, succeed, and grow. Site includes a Business Assistance Guide, Resource Guide, International Resource Guide, Doing Business with the County, Expanding/Relocating in Sonoma County.


Financial Templates by Stilson  - This Excel workbook has a 24-month profit and loss (P&L) statement, creates a break-even analysis, a cash flow projection, and a balance sheet from the data you enter into the P&L. It also includes a loan calculator. You can begin to learn how to use this in our “Get Your Finances in Order” Workshop, but the best way to build out these financial statements for your business is in a one-on-one session with a business advisor. You can sign up for your first advising session here.

Living Wage Estimate by Suzanne This is an excel spreadsheet where you can enter your personal expenses, and the spreadsheet will estimate how much you need to make each month to cover your financial obligations. It can also calculate how much cash flow per hour you need to cover your draw and taxes.

SBA Build Your Business Plan - There are no set rules for drafting your business plan, but for the most success, it is best to follow consistent guidelines.  A great resource is this guide.

How to Read the Income Statement  This is an article that Colleen Trask wrote for the Times Standard that explains the Income Statement, sometimes referred to as the Profit and Loss statement.  Colleen shares how the information within the statement can be used to better manage business finances.

Legal Structures of Businesses - This is an article that Michael Kraft wrote for the Times Standard that explains several types of business structures and includes information that may be helpful when first starting a business.

Business Resource Directory This is a pdf of the famous local “Green Book.” A directory published by the North Coast Small Business Resource Center for businesses. A complete listing of important contacts for new and existing businesses.

State Small Business Guide - This publication identifies the key sites for small businesses interested in doing business with the state and finding financial resources offered by the state government.

Humboldt County Fact Book 2003 This book presents, together in one place, the most relevant and timely demographic, economic and financial information about Humboldt County.

Legal Guide to Small Business The “Masters of Business Administration” graduate students at Humboldt State University, School of Business, for the Spring 2003 semester created this manual to provide local small business owners a guide to legal topics relevant to their business formation and operation. The topics selected are a compilation from the knowledge acquired in our class with the guidance of Professor Ben Allen and from previous curricula learned in the graduate program.

Strategies for an Economic Downturn This material is intended to be an easy-to-review checklist with suggestions for surviving an economic downturn.  Implementing any of these recommendations requires careful thought and planning.

Local Benefit Policy - For Procuring Contracts with Local Companies - A chart of local companies that provide benefits for contracting with other local companies.

Contracting with the California State University System Information needed to contract with California State University system (Such as Humboldt State).

Other Business Resources - A meta-site with links to marketing-related topics.

FaxZero - Send faxes for free to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

FreeConference – Free conference calls and free online meetings with HD audio, video, and screen share.

iReuse – Recycling service for businesses to be notified about local, used furniture and supplies for their offices. Great for new or expanding small business, and sometimes free for non-profits. 

Costs of Merchant Processing – An overview of the cost drivers for merchant processing; describes how merchant processors categorize merchants and define the most common types of fees assessed by merchant processors.

Moving Your Business Online – The Internet can seem like a daunting place when considering moving your business online. This checklist will help you enter the online business world and give you access to customers you may have never been able to target.

EMV Chip Informational Webinar - Learn all about EMV chip technology: what chip technology is, how it works, what the impacts are to merchants who accept payment cards at their businesses, and what these businesses need to do to be prepared.

Strategies for an Economic Downturn – Be proactive in any cash crisis with our no-nonsense checklist to maximize profit and market share anytime, especially when times are tough.

Shopify's Free Business Resources - Shopify offers free business tools to help you run your business. Currently, there are 21 tools to assist small business with creating templates for bills of lading, shipping labels, purchase orders to calculators for business loans, profit margins, and advertising campaigns.

U.S. Census Information - Very useful census data available for market research.

U.S. Department of Labor The Department of Labor provides compliance assistance to small business through “e-laws,” an interactive exchange that allows small business owners to ask questions about labor laws.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency The EPA offers small business advice on how to keep the environment clean and how to comply with environmental regulations.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. The FTC offers creative, practical, plain-language business education publications that are a cost-effective and business-friendly way to obtain compliance with the law.

U.S. Small Business Administration - Valuable information on federal programs for small businesses as well as loan program details. A complete listing of SBDC’s throughout the country.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.