How do I get a visa to setup a business in France?

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I need to go to San Francisco to get a visa. I am set to do a long stay visitor visa, and then would like to switch over once in France to a carte de comerçant étranger. Ideally, I would go strait for the comerçant étranger in applying for the visa, but it looks like they want you to already have invested into a business. My husband and I are looking to open a business, but we are still business shopping and trying to figure out what we want. This seems to be a catch 22. Does this mean, we have to go to France to set up, and then go back to SF to get the visa?

Here is a link to the San Francisco consulate and the two documents have to be downloaded to see the requirements. It is impossible to speak to anyone there. My residence is Washington state, so it is not easy to make an appointment just to talk to someone, and then another to do the visa process. I cannot find an immigration lawyer online who is well versed in French immigration for Americans. If you don’t know the answer for this, could you suggest someone who might. I have no problem presenting a business plan, but I don’t have a business bank account in France. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the San Francisco site. My hope is to get the long stay and then go straight to the prefecture to change over if possible.

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