Do you have an idea for a Georgia business? To provide a complete guide to Georgia’s business, we interviewed lenders and small business owners.
- Georgia has 1.1 million small businesses that employ 1.7million residents.
- Georgia’s varied geography and diverse industries make it a great place for businesses of any type to thrive.
- Georgia’s low unemployment rate (3.1%) makes it a very competitive market for labor.
- This article is intended for entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business in Georgia.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, Georgia is home to more than 1 million small businesses. These businesses account for 99.6% of all Georgia businesses and employ nearly 43% of Georgia’s workforce. Georgia is home to many large corporations, including Delta Air Lines and Home Depot, UPS, UPS, and Coca-Cola. However, small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy. Georgia’s entrepreneurial scene is thriving with a vibrant startup scene and a growing tech industry.
What should entrepreneurs expect from Georgia?
Below is a snapshot of Georgia’s current business and economic landscape, based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
- Georgia’s real gross national product (GDP), grew 5.8% in 2022, just ahead the 5.7% national change.
- Georgia’s economy, which is worth more than $683 billion annually, remains healthy and eighth in the U.S.
- Georgia’s unemployment rate is steadily declining since 2011, with the exception that it spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, it has fallen to 3.1%.
- A combination of low unemployment rates and a growing technology sector has created a labor crunch, particularly for those with technology-related skills.
We talked to entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and advisors about the prospects for new businesses in Georgia. While they were optimistic about the future, there were also some challenges.
Georgia is well-known for its business-friendly laws and taxes.
Peach State business owners believe regulations and small business taxes are reasonable. Ryan Keeton (co-founder of Carvana online used auto dealer), stated that regulations and taxes in general are fair. We had to deal with many government agencies, but the founding process was smooth and positive. Georgia is generally fair in terms of the sale and transfer of these cars.
Georgia imposes a personal income tax of 5.75% and a corporate tax rate similar for C-corps. The state also has a sales tax of 4%. Local sales taxes are also important for businesses. They vary among the state’s 159 county. The rate for both local and state sales taxes is typically between 7% to 8%, but can go as high as 9 percent if you include the two.
There could be some bumps along the way, even with moderate taxes rates. Andrew Poulos, serial entrepreneur and founder of Poulos Accounting and Consulting said that it can be difficult to file sales tax information with the state. This is required monthly.
Poulos stated that it can be simple or complex depending on what type of business an owner runs and whether they need to collect and charge in one or more counties. It becomes more complicated when a company has business in multiple counties. They have to keep track of each sale and report it every month.
Georgia has supportive communities and opportunities for networking.
Small business owners often cite customer loyalty as one of the reasons they love doing business here. Georgia’s communities offer support to small entrepreneurs in the local and regional areas, which helps boost local businesses.
Georgia has strong networking groups that help entrepreneurs find mentors, accelerators and business incubators as well as funding sources. Tonya Lanthier, founder and CEO of DentalPost, stated that the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) has been a pillar in her company’s growth.
Lanthier stated that EO is a global network and has a chapter in Atlanta. It’s almost like having your own board. There is also an incubator and accelerator. If you have a revenue of $200,000 to $250,000, they will connect you with mentors to help get you to $1 million. The support network was invaluable to me.
Lanthier also mentioned that Startup Chicks, a support group for women entrepreneurs, was crucial in helping her get a head start when she launched.