How to Start a Business in Georgia

You can start your business in Georgia, whether you are a solopreneur looking to make it big or if you have a vision of starting your own Fortune 500 business.

Follow our step-by-step guide to help you start a Georgia business.

Step 1: Make a business plan

Georgia is full of opportunity. However, advance planning can increase your chances for success and profits. Conducting thorough market research is the first step to creating a profitable business. This is the first step to creating a business plan.

You can quickly analyze your business idea and identify ways you will stand out in the market.

Business Location

What is the best place to base your business, for example? Fortune 500 companies like UPS and Delta Air Lines

Step 2: Select your Georgia business structure.

The first decision you make is which business structure to choose. Two of the most popular options are a sole proprietorship and an LLC.

Sole Proprietorships

Georgia sole proprietorships are “the simplest, most regulated and most common type of business organization” in Georgia. You don’t need to register your sole proprietorship with the Georgia Secretary of state.

This simplicity comes with its own set of disadvantages. A sole proprietorship will not allow for the legal separation of your business and personal assets. So, if your sole proprietorship is insolvent or has legal problems, your personal assets like savings and assets could be at risk.

LLCs

However, entities like LLCs and corporations provide separation between your personal and business property. You must file with the State’s Corporations Division to form one. There will be annual and upfront costs. Talk to a trusted financial or legal advisor to determine the best business entity for your startup.

Step 3: Calculate startup costs

Although Georgia welcomes business, your startup still needs to pay ongoing filing fees and upfront costs. You can check the Georgia Department of Revenue to see what taxes, sales, and net worth taxes your company may have to pay.

Other costs may also apply, such as:

  • Leasing a storefront, office space, buying property, or financing new construction are all examples of location.
  • Equipment such as copiers, computers, and office supplies.
  • Signage for internal and external purposes.
  • Accounting, legal, payroll
  • Marketing can include a website for a company, social media marketing and advertising (print, online, and/or broadcast), brochures, and postcards.
  • Transportation.

You should also consider what type of business insurance you might need. Three types of business coverage are common: general liability protection for commercial auto and cyber liability for general liability.

Step 4: Register a business name

What name will you give your Georgia business? This critical decision can be difficult, but it’s not always easy.

Business name rules

First, your business name must be unique. You could be in trouble if you use a name already being used by another company.

Georgia’s Business Name Database

To see if there is another company trading under the name you are interested in, search Georgia’s business names database. After you have identified a potential name, Georgia permits you to reserve a name for 30 days while you finish your setup.

A DBA Name is worth considering

A DBA, an assumed business name or “doing business as,” can be very useful. While your DBA could be the trade name under which you do business, you may have a different name to represent your company.

Register your domain name

After settling on a business name, check out the domain names you can register to host your company’s website and email. Are social media elements part of your marketing strategy? It’s a great time to check out which accounts or handles are available for you company.

Step 5: Register your Georgia business, get insurance, and open bank accounts.

Once you have the name of your company, you can set up the foundational work.

Georgia’s First Stop Business Guide will guide you through the various state and local steps that your business might need to take, such as:

Requirements for state regulatory compliance

  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Zoning
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Business licenses

Georgia businesses must obtain a business license from the county in which they are located. This includes Atlanta’s requirements for a permit and business license, as well as those in DeKalb or Cobb. You may also need to license other professions or industries at the federal, state, and local levels.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number

An LLC or corporation must also file paperwork to register with the Georgia state. Many businesses will need a federal employer ID number ( EIN ), which you can use to hire employees. You may be able use your Social Security number to identify your tax ID if you are a sole proprietor without employees. However, many experts recommend obtaining an EIN to avoid identity theft.

Georgia Taxes

You can apply to the Georgia Tax Center for your Georgia State Tax ID number. Along with obtaining a federal employer identification (EIN), this serves as your tax ID. You can use your social security number as your tax ID for sole proprietors, which could lead to identity theft.

Register for a Business Bank Account

Insurance can help protect your business. You can also open separate bank accounts for your business, such as checking and credit cards, to allow you to manage separate business finances and build credit.

If your company has annual registration requirements for business, they are due April 1.

Step 6: Promote your Georgia business

Marketing is how you get Georgia customers to choose your products or services over your competitors.

Social Media

Develop a strategy to post content on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, consider posting original, search-engine-optimized articles to your website or how-to videos to YouTube.

Promotions

Another option is:  You can spread the word about your Georgia company through postcard marketing, word of mouth referrals, and online, print or broadcast advertising.

Georgia is the fifth-ranked state in terms of women-owned businesses. Georgia offers additional assistance to veterans, minorities, and women. Georgia encourages minors and provides youth resources to help them become entrepreneurs. Georgia’s small-business owner aspirants have many resources at their disposal.

Monitoring Progress

How can you keep track of your progress? To achieve success and profitability, a business must know where it is now and where it is going.

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