GA Business Facts
Georgia is one of the ten most populous states in America and the largest state east of the Mississippi River. Atlanta, Georgia’s thriving capital, is a beacon of culture and opportunity with affordable real estate, a healthy economy and a temperate southern climate. Georgia is home to more than 700,000 registered establishments. Recently, American Express ranked Georgia 5th among all states with the most number of companies owned or managed by women.
Major Companies Headquartered in Georgia
Georgia is the headquarters of major companies including UPS, The Home Depot, The Coca-Cola Company, Hansen Beverage, Cox Media Group and Delta Air Lines.
Georgia Business Environment
Georgia is a great place for small business with 99.8% of its nearly 300,000 companies with employees categorized as small. Atlanta ranks among America’s top 25 regions considered to be the best in tech and was recently named number one in the US as the best state for business by Site Selection Magazine.
November 6, 2019: For the seventh consecutive year, Site Selection Magazine has named Georgia as the state with the Top Business Climate.
Steps on How to Start a Business in Georgia
Before starting a business in Georgia, there are some essential steps to complete.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from choosing the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that, the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Georgia, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Georgia state databases:
TIP: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
Note: Familiarize yourself with the Georgia naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Georgia Business Name & Business Purpose
The Secretary of State may limit the use, required consent, or further information before using an entity name.
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and picked your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Georgia.
How to form an LLC in Georgia
How to Incorporate in Georgia
Note: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
How to File a DBA in Georgia
Georgia DBAS are filed with the county. You’ll want to contact your local Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where your company does business to find out exactly what forms to submit and what their submission process is. You can find the local Clerk of the Superior Court office by searching “YOURCOUNTY Clerk of the Superior Court.”
Considerations when registering a Georgia business
Hire a professional Registered Agent. Many people list their home or business address on the Articles of Organization or Incorporation. This can cause issues because it becomes public record (you’ll get lots of junk mail). A professional Registered Agent will provide their address and forward any important documents to you, this is also convenient if you have to move (you don’t have to file forms or pay fees, just update your address with your agent).
Ready to register a business in Georgia?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and ask the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top Business Banks in Georgia
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you might need to obtain a business license for your company. This authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process). In Georgia, some small-business owners must apply for a business license that corresponds with the type of business they operate such as a restaurant or bar that sells alcoholic beverages.
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection. Click here to view our preferred provider of business insurance online.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with your county Clerk of the Superior Court.
LLC: Georgia LLCs are required to file an Annual Registration with the Georgia Secretary of State each year by March 31.
Corporation: Georgia corporations are required to file an Annual Registration with the Georgia Secretary of State each year by March 31. For-Profit LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $50. Non-Profit Corporations will pay $25.
Georgia Secretary of State
Georgia Corporations Division (for Corporation and LLC filings)
2 MLK, Jr. Dr. Suite 313
Floyd West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
Georgia Taxation Departments
Georgia Labor and Employment Departments
Georgia Startup Resources
Small Business Administration (SBA) Georgia District Offices
Georgia Legal Statutes
Angel.co Georgia Startups
Georgia Business News
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