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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


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

 - Fulton County Health Department
 - Dekalb County Health Department

 - 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

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

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Last updated: 1/22/2014 6:53:08 PM