Resources & Support

Small Business Handbook

Check out the Small Business Handbook to help you find and navigate the requirements, regulations and resources available to you for opening or expanding your small business.

Small Business Handbook

If you have any questions regarding your business, please contact an OED Small Business Advocate who will help you navigate your business needs.

Succession Planning Toolkit

One of the most important things a business owner can do for their family and community before deciding to part ways with their business is to create a succession plan. While creating a succession plan may seem daunting, answering just a few questions can make the task manageable. The Succession Planning Toolkit is designed to help you answer those few questions. The Succession Planning Toolkit has three components:

  • Checklist - includes key questions and explanations to walk you through what you need to consider as you figure out how you want to pass your business and to whom
  • Information Summary - includes information about corporate or business entities and estate planning that provides details about legal concepts you will need to understand to create a succession plan
  • Worksheet - to help you organize information you will need to gather and help you prepare when you need to meet with a lawyer or accountant

Citywide Business Advocacy Team

The Citywide Business Advocacy Team (CBAT) is a multipdepartmental leadership team that works to address business issues and consists of representatives from the following offices and departments: Seattle Office of Economic Development, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, Seattle Department of Constructions and Inspections, Office of Labor Standards, Office of Civil Rights, Finance and Administrative Services, Department of Neighborhoods, and the Seattle Fire Department.

CBAT provides the highest level of customer service to all Seattle businesses in support of job creation, economic diversity, and racial equity. CBAT's functions include:

  • Resolving issues for small businesses;
  • Tracking issues and identify trends and/or systemic problems;
  • Reviewing new and changing City policies affecting small businesses as they arise by department and communicate those new and/or changing polices with fellow CBAT members;
  • Advising small businesses how to support their workforce and comply with labor standards;
  • Recommending regulatory and policy changes to the Mayor and City Council based on its experiences. Team members work proactively, whenever possible, as well as action through real time solution making,  in partnership with the Mayor's Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) and businesses, to resolve business issues in a manner that protects the public health, safety, and welfare of the city, and in a manner that meets the needs of businesses we serve.

Tell us about your small business issue

Fill out this survey and a representative from the Office of Economic Development will help get you in touch with the department that can best serve you. 

Questions? Contact AJ Cari, Small Business Advocate, at

Navigating City Government

Navigating the City's regulatory process can be lengthy and confusing. We are here to help. The small business team will advocate on behalf of small businesses to ensure that their input is considered on regulatory and policy issues. The following describes different ways in which we support small businesses on problem solving and advocacy issues:

  • City Permitting: Obtaining a permit can sometimes be complicated. Our team can help find answers and resolve complicated questions. For more information on permitting, visit our Rules & Regulations page.
  • Managing Construction Impacts: We can help advocate on behalf of businesses to help ease any impacts that may come as a result of construction. Additionally, we help small business owners prepare for future projects that may impact their business.
  • Utility Saving & Recognition: City programs can provide assistance identifying potential energy, water, pollution, and solid waste reduction and cost savings. Learn more.
  • WMBE Certification: The City's commitment to communities we serve is to include Women- and Minority-owned Businesses (WMBEs) in our contracts. Learn about the City's efforts and register your WMBE business with the City's online business directory. 
  • OMWBE Certification: Women- and minority-owned business can apply for certification from the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE). Certification may help do business with federal, state, and city agencies as well as private sector entities with Supplier Diversity programs.
  • New Laws Affecting Businesses: New local laws have been passed that impact business. We can help find answers and support businesses.

Business Consulting

We connect small businesses to consulting resources that help sharpen management skills and explore new opportunities for growth. These resources are available for a wide range of businesses - from the early stage entrepreneur looking to launch their company to the established business looking to attain the next level of growth.

  • Receive no cost 1-on-1 business consulting with a particular focus on business planning, financial management and marketing
  • Access classroom training and counseling, with specialized assistance available for early stage, low-income and immigrant owned entrepreneurs

Find a Location

Finding the perfect location requires careful planning and research. Check out our Business Decision Engine tool. It's an interactive tool that provides essential market intelligence for entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Additionally, it is a useful tool that can help you identify the perfect location for your business. 

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Learn about zoning, transportation, community facilities, and other opportunities that may affect where you chose to locate your business.

Know Your Lease Before You Sign

Once you’ve selected a space and you understand what is required to make the space uniquely yours. You’re ready to negotiate a lease! Make sure you fully understand what you are negotiating and what you and your landlord are responsible for in the lease. For example, who will be responsible for building maintenance? Will you be allowed to sublet your space? Will you be provided tenant improvements? Will it be a triple net lease or a gross lease?

Helpful Tool: Use the Commercial Lease Checklist to help make sure you have all the required permits and licenses.

"Six Commercial Lease Terms Every Small Business Owner Should Know"

Commercial Lease Checklist: Summary

Commercial Lease Checklist: Full Version

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