Dos and Don'ts of Opening a Business in Los Angeles

Opening a business in Los Angeles is something many people dream about. All the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown has been attracting people to Los Angeles for many decades now, and being successful in LA is like a badge of honor among entrepreneurs. 

But opening a business in Los Angeles is not a guarantee for triumph. There are many risks to consider, and costly mistakes to be avoided. 

That is why we’ve compiled this list of dos and don’ts of opening a business in Los Angeles, to help guide you on your first steps towards becoming a successful LA entrepreneur. 

Do your research before starting your business in Los Angeles

Why LA?

First of all you must consider the advantages that LA can offer your business. One of the most important factors to take into account is the business ecosystem that already exists in the city. This will help you determine whether it makes sense to start your company there at all. 

Here is a list of the top industries in Los Angeles:

1. Entertainment

2. Manufacturing

3. Logistics

4. Banking

5. Aerospace

6. Bioscience

8. Transportation

9. Fashion


Another factor to take into consideration is the workforce that is available in Los Angeles and whether your company will be able to easily find adequate employees locally. In 2018 the most common job groups in Los Angeles were:

• Office and Administrative Support

• Sales and Related

• Management

• Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media

• Food Preparation and Serving

• Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

• Construction

• Production

• Business and Financial Operations

• Education

With universities such as Caltech, UCLA, USC, Loyola University, LA is a hub for scientists, researchers, and engineers. 

Do take advantage of all available resources

Local Government Programs

Los Angeles offers your business some unique advantages if you choose to start a company there. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development, through the LA’s Business Team can link your business to opportunities such as financing, tax incentives, real estate, low interest loans, job training programs, permits, and more. There are also 6 Los Angeles Business Assistance Centers which offer technical assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses. 

Don’t take unnecessary risks

Starting a company in LA can be a very expensive endeavour, especially if you get caught in the city’s glamour. Although it is more expensive to have an office in Hong Kong, Beijing, or London, LA still ranks in the top 30 most expensive office markets in the world. 

But there are ways of minimizing the cost of having an office without having to resort to renting a space in a dangerous area. 

Set up a virtual office

A virtual office is a great cost-effective option for any business, but for brand new companies it is a fantastic alternative to renting a traditional office space. For starters there is no need to be tied up in a long and expensive lease, you just pay the monthly fee and a one time setup fee and you are good to go. 

You get a professional business address in a well known office building that gives your company the legitimacy it needs to start attracting customers and constructing a solid network, all for a fraction of the cost and a significant reduction in the risk you would be taking on if you were to rent a traditional office instead. 

And when you need them, you can always rent a day office or a meeting room. This helps you minimize your costs while maintaining your top quality service. 

Do create Networking Opportunities

Opening a new business in Los Angeles, or any city really, requires that you build a robust network. And although you should definitely take advantage of any and all networking opportunities that present themselves, a better way to go about this crucial task is to create the opportunities on your own. 

Networking opportunities can be created in company specific events such as grand openings, product launches, etc, or they can be something more overt such as an actual networking event where you get together people from different groups. 

Choosing the right people should also be approached strategically. You could host a casual event for new entrepreneurs in LA, or set up a conference with some influential people in your industry, etc. Events can help your new business gain a valuable position within your industry and that can help you grow faster and access better opportunities than your competitors. 

With all the restrictions and concerns surrounding the covid-19 pandemic, your best bet is to plan hybrid events where you can host a small audience while broadcasting to a larger online audience. This will ensure that you keep your attendees safe, while still being able to get to more people. 

The key element for a successful hybrid event is choosing the right location for an in-person audience. A great option is to rent a large conference room that is fully equipped, not only with the right hardware such as screens, projectors, etc, but one that also has the bandwidth to broadcast the event flawlessly to your online guests. Ideally they would be able to also handle food and drink catering, as well as with any kind of business services (such as printouts, etc) you might need. Having the capacity to do all this at one place can help minimize the risk of exposing your attendees to the coronavirus. 


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