Starting a Business in Georgia
A new business in Georgia can be within your reach. Have you been wondering: precisely how do I start a business in Georgia? And more importantly, can I do so no matter what the economic conditions are? Can I start a new business in Georgia during a recession?
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New Business in Georgia: Pros and Cons
According to a 2016 article Business Insider, Georgia is the tenth worst state in which to start a new business. One plus is the cheap cost of living in Georgia. But one huge problem for business owners is potential hires’ poor education levels.
Fewer than half of Georgia’s college students graduate. Only 2.04% of the state’s population finished college with a degree. Still, there is one positive: Georgia has a higher density of startup firms than most states.
Though small businesses make up 97% of all companies doing business in the state. Georgia defines a small business as one “which is independently owned and operated and must have either fewer than 100 employees or less than $1 million in gross receipts per year.”
In a 2018 article, Forbes put Georgia in the number six slot! Keep in mind, of course, that Forbes and Business Insider have differing methodologies.
Why the amazing difference? Per the 2018 article, Georgia does really well in economic growth, its regulatory environment, and its growth prospects. Is this enough to counter its issues with the educational level of its populace? Only a startup entrepreneur can truly answer that.
New Business in Georgia: State Programs
Furthermore, Georgia companies which employ 50 or fewer people also are eligible to receive $250 per certified “Work Ready” individual hired. This is up to $1,250 total. It is intended to help cover hiring and training costs. Work Ready is Georgia’s online employment service, and it is designed to help businesses and job seekers find each other faster.
In addition, Georgia’s “Entrepreneur Friendly’ (“EF”) Initiative exists. It is designed to help local leaders build sustainable support programs for small businesses. These all can be folded into a community’s overall economic development plan.
Start a New Business in Georgia – Top Industries in Georgia
According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the top industries in the state of Georgia are aerospace, arts, agribusiness, and contact centers. More top Georgia industries are data centers, automotive, defense, and energy and environment. Georgia top industries are also digital entertainment, financial services, film and television, and food processing.
Another set of top Georgia industries are information technology, headquarters, life sciences, music, and manufacturing. Also, top industries in Georgia include logistics and transportation, and tourism. Since Delta Airlines has a major hub in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport, aviation or at least travel should also be included.
Smart business owners should be able to spot opportunities amidst the larger and more established industries. These can include trucking for any industry, data support, food service and hospitality. They could also include consulting on more efficient manufacturing.
Here is how to start business in Georgia.
Start a New Business in Georgia – Georgia New Business Secretary of State Requirements
Register a Business Name
If you’re doing business in Georgia under a business name different from a business owner’s, you must register a fictitious name with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where you conduct business.
A fictitious name filing of “Doing Business As” lets a business owner operate a sole proprietorship or general partnership under a business name. They do not have to file a DBA if the business is a nonprofit, corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership.
Business Permits and Licenses
Local Permits and Licenses
The official website of Georgia keeps contact information. You can get information on local permits and licenses.
Start a New Business in Georgia – Business Registration
Check out the Georgia Secretary of State’s First Stop Business Information Center for Georgia business registration.
Visit the Business Taxes page on the Georgia Department of Revenue website.
Start a New Business in Georgia – Virtual Offices
Alliance Virtual Offices offers a few city choices for Georgia virtual business offices. They include: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth, and Peachtree Corners.
In addition to many of the cities above, DaVinci has Georgia virtual business space in several cities, including College Park, Marietta, Milton, Norcross, Roswell, Snellville, and Woodstock. For other areas of the state, business owners might want to ask local entrepreneurs. Or they might talk to computer user groups to try to find help in this area.
How much does it cost to start a business in Georgia? You may need to take the costs of virtual offices into consideration.
Start a New Business in Georgia – Build Business Credit
Small business credit is credit in a company’s name. It doesn’t connect to an owner’s consumer credit, not even when the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the company.
As such, an entrepreneur’s business and consumer credit scores can be very different.
Given that company credit is separate from individual, it helps to secure a business owner’s personal assets, in case of court action or business insolvency.
Also, with two distinct credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two separate cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles purchasing power.
Another advantage is that even startups can do this. Visiting a bank for a business loan can be a formula for disappointment. But building company credit, when done correctly, is a plan for success.
Individual credit scores rely on payments but also additional factors like credit utilization percentages.
But for business credit, the scores actually just hinge on whether a business pays its invoices promptly.
A company needs to be Fundable to credit issuers and merchants.
Therefore, a business will need a professional-looking website and e-mail address. And it needs to have site hosting bought from a company such as GoDaddy.
Plus, business telephone numbers ought to have a listing on ListYourself.net.
Also, the business phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the equivalent).
A small business will also need a bank account dedicated strictly to it, and it must have every Georgia business license necessary for running.
Working with the IRS
Visit the IRS website and get an EIN for the company. They’re totally free. Pick a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc.
A business can get started as a sole proprietor. But they should switch to a kind of corporation or an LLC.
This is in order to decrease risk. And it will optimize tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it pertains to taxes and liability in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the entrepreneur is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. No one else is responsible.
Setting off the Business Credit Reporting Process
Start at the D&B website and get a cost-free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a small business into their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.
Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the small business. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for correctness and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.
This way, Experian and Equifax will have activity to report on.
And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin to get more credit.
These varieties of accounts often tend to be for the things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.
But first of all, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are ordinarily Net 30, versus revolving.
Therefore, if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you must pay that money back in a set term. Such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.
You want 3 of these to move onto the next step.
Start a New Business in Georgia –Monitor Your Business Credit
Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and fix any errors as soon as possible. Get in the habit of checking credit reports. And dig into the specifics, not just the scores.
Update Your Data
Update the information if there are inaccuracies or the info is incomplete.
Start a New Business in Georgia –Fix Your Business Credit
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any errors in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be corrected. Fixing credit report mistakes means you specifically spell out any charges you challenge.
Start a New Business in Georgia –A Word about Building Business Credit
Always use credit smartly! Never borrow beyond what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for payments. Paying off in a timely manner and in full will do more to elevate business credit scores than just about anything else.
Establishing small business credit pays. Excellent business credit scores help a company get loans. Your lending institution knows the company can pay its financial obligations. They understand the business is bona fide.
The business’s EIN connects to high scores and lending institutions won’t feel the need to demand a personal guarantee.
Business credit is an asset which can help your small business for many years to come.
Want to start a new business someplace else in America? Then check out our handy guide to starting a business in any state in the country.
Georgia’s Response to COVID-19
This is what Georgia is doing about COVID-19. On March 16, Governor Brian Kemp declared a public health state of emergency. There are now Georgia SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
In October of 2020, Governor Kemp explained the CARES Act’s provisions with reference to Georgia.