How to start a business in Georgia (10 Simple Steps)

Step 1: Plan Your Business Idea

Write a Business PlanYour ideas are overflowing! Your products/services are going to be a huge hit! Friends and family are totally jazzed. But, let me ask you something, do you have an actual business plan? If not, consider ironing out the details step 1. These days there’s plenty of resources that make the entire business planning process much more effective (and enlightening for new entrepreneurs).

Take Action: Check out our 100% free Business Planning Guide designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.

Step 2: Choose Business Structure & Register

How to Choose a Business StructureThe next step is to come to terms with the type business structure you intend on forming. Once you’ve made your decision get the ball rolling on registration so that you can protect your personal assets (house, car, etc) and secure your brand name.

Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it harnesses all the benefits of a Corporation without taking on any of its disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you’re trying to take your company public via an IPO or raise substantial outside capital, consider forming a Corporation.

Take Action: Since this step is so important and expensive if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing 10 minutes to go over your options through our business structure comparison guide. You’ll get a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each while building a solid legal foundation for your business.

Step 3: Tackle Georgia Tax Obligations

Small Business TaxesWe know, very few people are happy to see the “T” word, but believe it or not there are a fair amount of upsides (incentives & credits) to following Georgia tax laws and regulations depending on your business structure. Besides, you can’t legally do business inside her borders until you get right with the state.

Take Action: Best place to start is the Georgia Department of Revenue. Here’s a link to their specific page with options regarding Business Taxes. Understand and follow it thoroughly!

Step 4: Obtain Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesThe red tape keeps coming, but once you get it out of the way it’s just an easy maintenance job. So your business structure is set and registered, you’ve got the tax balls rolling, now it’s time to figure out which licenses and permits you need to obtain depending on your location and industry.

  1. For the DIY’ers head to again and learn about Applying for a Georgia Business License.
  2. Business License Service is great if you need help with this step. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.

Step 5: Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountYour company needs its own account so that all your financials are in one place, clean and clear. Don’t make the mistake of mucking up your finances, and putting both yourself and your business at risk. Combining personal/business accounts is a mistake and eventually you’ll regret it. Instead, take action:

  • Shop around and compare banks like Bank of America to Capital One. You might be surprised by how different their offerings are in terms of fees, minimum requirements and more.
  • User-friendly, fast, secure, tons of automation, easier forecasting, more efficient marketing budgets…the benefits are near endless which is why this startup-tech is indispensable. Check out our guide to Business Accounting Software and sync whichever you choose with your fresh new account.

Step 6: Pick A Stellar Georgia Area

How to Choose a Business LocationHave you decided where you’re going to open up shop yet? Regardless, where you open your doors is going to go a long ways towards determining the first three years in business. Don’t take the choice lightly and do your homework.

Take Action: We know picking a location can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.

Step 7: Fund Your New Business

How to Finance a BusinessThanks to modern-tech you have more access to more resources than any other human being at any other point in history. And that can be part of the problem…which will work best for your business? CrowdFunding and Social Lending are still new, but growing by massive amounts. How about Georgia investors or VCs? The sooner you begin grappling with this the better it’s going to turn out.

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like peaches and tea. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.

Step 8: Build A Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteWhether all you need is a simple responsive one-pager with the basics of your brand, an agency-based site, or an ecommerce store, websites are no longer optional – part of the whole internet revolution thing. We understand it can be an undertaking, and websites are never “done” but considering the potential they bring to the table it’s a no-brainer.

Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are some great options out there. Head on over to our reviews of the top two in our book (Wix and Weebly) to get a head start if you don’t already have this in the bag.

Step 9: Market Your Business

Social Media ChannelGreat, you’ve covered all the previous 8 steps. Now what? Getting the word out doesn’t happen overnight so don’t expect it to. Georgia is a friendly place with astounding demographics, culture, and networks so the most important thing you can do is get out there! Don’t be shy and don’t use the internet as a crutch to avoid real contact with your ideal market.

Take Action: Every business day do whatever it takes to make an honest connection with just one current or potential client/user/customer. Digital marketing is another animal altogether, but there’s no better form of marketing than what’s known as referral marketing. It’s everywhere you look online too!

Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsWhile it can be somewhat easy to keep learning, staying inspired can be a challenge during the grind of building a business. Know what helps? Putting some of your daily focus on what other change makers in Georgia and elsewhere are going through.

Take Action: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to tap into our daily feed filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from entrepreneurs like you.