Do you want to start a business in the Atlanta, Georgia area? You’re not alone. There are over 718,987 businesses operating in the state of Georgia. Operating a successful business takes planning, self-reliance, and perseverance; but those are just personality traits. It also takes business education, financial planning, and life altering time management skills. Find out the steps it takes to start a business after the jump, but first here are the numbers:
Over 99% of businesses in Georgia are considered “small business.” That is why we are making a stand for all the future business owners. We are a group of journalists who believe that we can make a difference in the city of Atlanta. Below is summary of the steps to start a business. Over the next year, we will go in depth into each of these steps, provide advice from experts, and let you know what obstacles you might face as you develop your business. Let’s get started!
Here is our 10 steps plan for business success in Atlanta, GA:
- Create a structured business plan including market research, budgets, and long term vision.
The first thing you should do when you are ready to start a business in Atlanta is write a business plan. You’re business plan must contain some basic information about your business model as well as financial outlooks and competitive analysis.
- Engage the business development community by signing up for classes on business education and finding mentors.
It is time to engage the business community and acquire resources. Both of which will enable you to open your business, protect your interests, and find help when you need it.
- Find, acquire, and set-up your business location.
Where you will do business. Do you work from home on your computer? Do you meet clients or customers face to face? Do you need a place to keep supplies, equipment, and inventory? Let’s answer these questions so you can find your ideal business location.
- Get your financing in order so your business can grow.
Finding grants, government backed loans, and venture capital can seem out of reach, but not in Atlanta. The city has a multitude of underutilized resources in association with local banks, the Small Business Administration, and a series of improvement programs. All of which are available to qualifying small businesses.
- Seek legal advice on your company structure.
Now, what type of business are your starting? Are you a one-woman operation? Do you have partners? Do you hire freelancers and contractors to do work for your company? Answering these questions will help you determine the legal structure of your business and keep you not only in compliance with the law, but it will help you plan for future growth.
- Contact the State of Georgia to register your business.
It is time to officially name your business and get it registered with the State of Georgia. This is one of the easier steps, and there is an online portal for completing the registration. You can even “reserve” your business name for 30 days, just in case you are worried that someone will use your business name.
- Contact the state/federal government for an employer’s id number and IRS compliance.
Now that you’ve registered your business name, it is time to get all of your taxes squared away. Taxes can be daunting, but we are here to help! Let’s talk a little about taxes and getting your Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN).
- Set up your business tax account.
If you are starting a business in Atlanta, then you will also need a Georgia Tax ID for your business so that you can pay state taxes. According to the City of Atlanta, you will need to, “Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.”
- Get your business license and necessary permits.
Once you have your business plan, a place in which to do business, mentors and partners to keep you sane, and all that tax knowledge you are going to need to talk to the City of Atlanta to obtain permits, licenses, and possibly inspections. Every situation is unique, here we will provide you with direct links to explore topics in each area. If you are working outside of your home, you will most certainly need a variety of permits to be in compliance with state, and local laws. Don’t worry, the process is quick and relatively painless, and City employees are actually very helpful when new businesses inquire for help navigating the maze of regulations.
- Get educated on employer responsibilities and requirements.
Now that you are at the last step, congratulations are in order, because you are now a business owner. You have a network of mentors, partners, and other businesses that will help you continue to grow and remain successful. You have knowledge of taxes, permits, business plans, accounting, sales, and customer service. Now, in this last crucial step, you need to make sure that you understand all of your responsibilities as a business owner. If you have employees (yourself included) then you will have to meet the labor standards, display the proper notifications, and properly account all earnings.
Click on the links above to explore each topic in depth. Are you planning on starting a business in Atlanta? Make sure you hit us up and tell us your small business story. Share this story on social media and make sure you follow The Atlanta Voice.