Skip to page body Home Government Residents Visitors Doing Business Newsroom How Do I...

Quick Guide

 

Start Your Business in 10 Steps!

 
Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

 - Small Business Administration (SBA): "Create Your Business Plan"


Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

 - Invest Atlanta
 - Small Business Development Center - Atlanta


Step 3: Choose a Business Location

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

 - City of Atlanta Zoning Enforcement Division
 - Obtain a Zoning Verification Letter


Step 4: Finance Your Business

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

 - SBA's Loans & Grants Search Tool
 - Phoenix Fund 
 - Business Improvement Loan Fund (BILF) Program


Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

 - SBA's: "Choose Your Business Structure"
 - Entrepreneur Magazine: "Choose Your Business Structure"


Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")

Register your business name with your state government.

 - Georgia Office of the Secretary of State
 - Georgia Office of the Secretary of State, Name Reservation Online Portal


Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number

Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency. 

 - Internal Revenue Service - Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online 


Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

 - Obtain your Georgia State Tax ID number from the Georgia Tax Center
 - Report wage and tax information to the Georgia Department of Labor and pay any unemployment insurance taxes due on those wages
 - Georgia State Board of Worker's Compensation 


Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

 - City of Atlanta Business License 
 - City of Atlanta Regulatory Permit Directory 
 - City of Atlanta Building Permits and Inspections 
 - City of Atlanta Sign Permit


Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities

SBA: "10 Steps to Hiring your First Employee"

Go the extra mile: Stay Green!

 - Get a bike rack for your business 
 - Get recycling set up for your business 
 - Encourage your employees to explore alternative transportation options with Clean Air Campaign

 

Sources: Small Business Administration, City of Atlanta, State of Georgia

 

Printable guides

Open a restaurant
Special events permit


Resources

City 
 - Invest Atlanta 
 - Startup Atlanta 
 - Office of Buildings 
 - Office of Revenue 
 - Atlanta Police Department 
 - Department of Public Works 
 - Department of Watershed Management 

County 
 - Fulton County Health Department
 - Dekalb County Health Department

State 
 - What Georgia employers need to know 
 - Small Business Incentives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development
 - Georgia Business Guide
 - Community Development & Finance Division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
 - Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Federal
 - Small Business Administration
 - Small Business & Self-Employed Tax Center
 - IRS Small Business Tax Kit (free PDF download)

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Download Acrobat Reader Download Flash Player Download QuickTime Download Windows Media Player Download Microsoft Silverlight Download Word Viewer Download Excel Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer
Last updated: 1/22/2014 6:53:08 PM