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

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

Free Accounting and Finance Consulting Services

For small businesses looking for consultation on accounting best practicesand implementing sustainable financial solutionsto ensure the success of your busineses.


Approximately 10 hours of free consulting services vased on the consultant's evaluation. Additional hours would be provided at the discretion of the City. 


  • Be a microbusiness (5 employees or fewer including the owner)
  • Be based in Seattle (must have a Seattle address)
  • Have a household income of the business owner(s) not exceeding 80% of AMI (area median income) - if there are multiple owners, all owners must meet the income criteria 
Household Size  80% Median Income 
1 $61,800
2 $70,600
3 $79,450
4 $88,250
5 $95,350
6 $102,450
7 $1090,450
8 $1116,500

Photo of Ellen Brown

Meet our Consultant 

Ellen Brown is the sole-proprietor of Accounting for Taste. Through years of owning and operating small businesses, Ellen has developed the tools and strategies for helping new or established businesses to open, operate, and thrive. She specializes in restaurant and retail bookkeeping services, small business consulting and financial training. 

Ellen also has several years of non-profit experience supporting and educating small vusinesses from conception, to establishment and through growth. 

With her experience as a small business owner, Ellen udnerstands small business inside and out and the challenges and obstacles they face every day - from labor shortages and cost of goods, to competition and time management. 

Ellen can provide specific tools for managing finances and cash flow, inventory control, labor costs, profitability and so much more! 

If you have any questions or would like to inqurie about receiving these consulting services and learn more about OED's Small Business Program, please contact OED's Small Business Advocate AJ Cari at or (206) 684-8090.

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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Economic Development

Markham McIntyre, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8090
Phone Alt: (206) 684-0379
Fax: (206) 684-0379

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The mission of the Office of Economic Development (OED) is to help create healthy businesses, thriving neighborhoods, and community organizations to contribute to a robust economy that will benefit all Seattle residents and future generations.