How to start a business in Georgia

Editorial Team

5 min read
Atlanta skyline and interstate

Georgia consistently ranks among the most business-friendly states in the country in survey after survey, but it’s not just large corporations that gravitate to Georgia. The state’s business-friendly climate also attracts entrepreneurs looking to launch new and exciting ventures in various niches.

If you want to open a business in Georgia, use the information below as a guide to help you get started.

Steps to starting a business in Georgia

1. Choose a business concept

Of all the steps involved with starting a business in Georgia, this is one of the most important. It involves identifying a problem or need that people or other businesses have and figuring out how your startup can help deliver solutions.

2. Write a business plan and acquire funding

Next, write a formal business plan – complete with financial breakdowns of startup costs and profit potential. Business plans are recommended for internal strategizing. They’re all but required when seeking outside funding from banks and investors, and possibly even family and friends.

If you need help writing plans or finding funding, visit the state’s Entrepreneurs and Small Business Hub for guidance.

3. Research business name and trademark availability

Before you can choose a name for your venture, make sure it’s not already taken by another Georgian business in the same niche. To verify this availability, visit the state’s Business Name Database. You can also check the availability of trademarks within Georgia and with the U.S. Patent Office

If your proposed name isn’t taken, you’re ready to choose a domain name, logo, and other brand characteristics for your new business.

4. Choose a business structure

Georgia requires that all businesses choose one of several legal structures, with the four most common being:

  • Sole proprietorship: This corporate structure can be one of the easiest to set up, but offers the least legal protection since your personal assets are not separated from your business.
  • General partnership: This structure is similar to a sole proprietorship, except there can be multiple partners involved. The partnerships can be structured to provide more liability protection for the owners.
  • Corporation: This structure is the hardest to set up and maintain, but it provides the most legal protection of all the business structures. This explains why corporations are typically more common among larger enterprise companies than they are with smaller startups.
  • Limited liability company (LLC): For many small business owners, LLCs offer the perfect blend of legal protection and setup ease.

If you have questions about the advantages and drawbacks of each structure, you should consult your legal or business consultants.

5. Obtain an employer identification number

Employer identification numbers (EINs) are to businesses what Social Security numbers are to citizens. To obtain your EIN, start by filling out the IRS’s free online application form.

6. Acquire licenses and permits

Doctors in Georgia need medical licenses to practice. Lawyers must pass the state bar, etc. To see whether your niche or occupation requires some type of license, visit the state’s Regulatory Permit Directory.

7. Set up employer obligations

From child labor laws to workplace safety to minimum wages, the Georgia Department of Labor regulates any number of employer obligations. For a complete list of legal requirements employers must meet when opening a business in Georgia, visit the state’s Employment Laws and Rules portal.

8. File relevant local, state, and federal taxes

As a sole proprietor working out of your home, filing taxes for your business is only somewhat more complicated than reporting your personal income. As the complexity of your operations grows, the tax forms can quickly become overwhelming. It may be advantageous to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) to help you navigate this terrain.

9. Be prepared to take payments

To make that first sale, you need a way to get paid. Although there are many payment processing solutions from which to choose, Clover can help small business owners in Georgia benefit from:

To learn how our payment processing solutions can help your small business scale, schedule a free consultation with our merchant services team today.

10. Open a business bank account

While it’s possible to use a single bank account for all personal and business finances, this is not recommended since it makes bookkeeping and tax prep more complicated. Instead, open a dedicated business bank account that you can use to cover operational expenses and deposit incoming sales.

11. Launch a marketing strategy

Your marketing plan is how you get those initial customers through the door. Learn more from our resource on how to write a marketing plan for your business.

12. Engage in continued business development

Continued business development is how you keep those initial customers returning. Although there are many strategies to achieve this, few approaches work better than customer loyalty programs.

Additional resources for starting a business in Georgia

We hope this guide offers you some insight on how to start a small business in Georgia. For additional information, be sure to check out these resources, which are designed to help startups get off the ground:

When you’re ready to make that first sale, schedule a free consultation with a Clover Business Consultant to learn how our point of sale and payment solutions can help your business grow.


This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.

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