Establish, Manage or Expand

Entrepreneurial Advice, Programs, and Resources

About the Provided Resources

The purpose of these pages is to help you find a way to sort through the process of establishing, managing, and expanding business within our community. In addition to handling all the paperwork and government procedures to start your business, our extreme commitment is to help you stay in business with much continued future success.

This website is just one of many local efforts of assistance. On every page, we hope you will find a link, article, sentence, or contact you did not have before, which may help you complete a project, capture a sale, embrace a new program, etc., but the overall goal is to be successful!

It is our hope, by being supplied with information here, that you then become so successful within our Sumter community- that you Establish, Manage, and then Expand a new branch of your business.

Establish - Entrepreneurial Advice, Programs, and Resources

Establish a New Business

“Yup, it’s true-I found the courage to start a new business!”

1. Create Your Business Name

You know the saying, “The name says it all.”

When choosing your business name, you should always be creative. It would help if you differentiated yourself (or at least try) from every other business.

Other considerations:

Do any other businesses already have that name?

Is your chosen name a good fit with whatever your business will be doing?

Make sure the name you choose is available through the state.
Do a Quick Check of the Availability of Your Name (here) 


2. Trademark

Test your new name on an online search. See if anyone else out there has the same.

Check the availability of your potential trademark check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, file at your earliest convenience.


3. Logo

Start your logo by purchasing a graphics program and then “building” colors, lines, and segments the way you see fit. Otherwise, it may be best to outsource the creation of your logo. Many firms/ graphic artists can provide this service at a somewhat nominal cost.

Example: Logo My Way


4. Find a domain name, purchase it and start a website

If available, you can register your new business name in whole or in any part you desire. Your future website address will look something like this: mynewwebsite.com. You can also subscribe to make an accompanying email, which would include your company name. Sometimes there is a nominal cost. Your new email will look something like this: you @mynewbusinessname.com.

Your website is your customer’s first impression. Many web hosting companies can also give site templates, which may include shopping carts, counters, etc. As you grow, it would is suggested to hire a professional. Many web developers have tools, advice, and experience you may not.


5. Can you explain to others why your particular business is different or more substantial than others? Your Business Plan is your map to success. Planning is essential. Your Business Plan will be used by your accountant, lenders, and the like as you establish and manage your new business.

  •  What is the specific service you will be providing?
  •  What is your expertise with this particular service/ how will you fit into your own business?
  •  How extensive is your research?
  •  Where will you find customers?
  •  Who will help you with the business?
  •  How will you stay in business for the next 2, 5, 10 years?

6. Incorporation, LLC, etc.

All Georgia corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships are formed by filing with the state’s Corporations Division. The Division serves as custodian of the filings and provides copies and certifications of the documents.

  •  If you are ready to incorporate, it may be time to hire an attorney or use an online service.
  •  Read the Filing Procedures from the Secretary of State and download the Articles of Organization as requested from the site (follow the sample). Mail or transmit with appropriate registration and filing fees.
  •  Make one last check with the State Commission office to see if your name is still available.
  •  Within a few weeks, you will receive your Certificate of Organization.

7. You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is also known as a Federal Tax ID number. It is used for purposes of filing tax and other reporting purposes. Every business needs an EIN number.www.irs.gov


8. Calculate Your Labor Cost

  1. Calculate and total all wages within the company
  2. Analyze any other monies used for your employees: matching portions of retirement plans, etc.
  3. What are the health insurance costs per employee, including long and short-term disability
  4. What is the total amount you pay per employee in workers’ compensation premiums?
  5. What is the company’s contribution to employee taxes: federal, state, FICA?
  6. What are the costs associated with hiring an employee: advertising, employment services, etc.= LABOR RATE (per employee)

9. Business License/ Zoning & Building Permits

Verify your business meets zoning requirements.

Sumter County Contacts Sumter Permitting.

A business license is not currently required in the unincorporated areas of Sumter County, but you will need a Permit through the city of Americus.

Determine if you will need a state license or additional licensing through the Professional Licensing Boards Division

Ready to remodel or expand your building? Before making any changes, you will need a Building Permit.

Obtain a Fire Plan Review.

All businesses making an application for a business license within Americus will also need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Americus (Office of the Fire Marshall).

Also obtain a U.S. Citizen/ Qualified Alien Affidavit. You will need to file: Georgia Department of Revenue Sales and Use Reporting.

Anyone who performs any business, occupation, or profession is subject to an occupation tax or regulatory fee.


10. Check your Budget - OFTEN!

Your first operating budget is, of course, based on your current expenses. Update often to be most accurate. Pay attention to your operating expenses as a percentage of your gross revenue. The lower the number, the leaner your company is performing. Target your percentage to be below 30%. How to Create a Business Budget


11. Start your business/ bank account 

Don’t use a personal account for business activities. A separate accounting system is much better and more manageable when reporting to the government or giving your accountant records. Have ready when you open an account:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • New EIN Number
  • Personal Identification

12. Determine your North American Industry Classification (NAICS) Number

A NAICS number determines your small business classification (your business type). The first two digits usually designate your business “sector”; the third digit: the “subsection”; the fourth”: the industry group; the fifth: the NAICS industry and the last digit designates the national “industries”.-1- Georgia defines a small business as one which is independently owned and operated and must have fewer than 300 employees… Size standards have been established under the NAICS classification system. Check what you need to know at census.gov or sba.gov.


13. If you didn’t already have it in mind… It is time to shop for the perfect business site!

Again, the Sumter County Development Authority can assist with this.

Location* location*location can make all difference in a successful business. One tool this site provides is a list of locally active commercial sites. This is not a comprehensive list but will include many locations you and your real estate Broker may be touring. View our Sites & Buildings page. Need a real estate Broker? Sometimes the best source would be other entrepreneurs, like yourself. Many real estate websites, such as loopnet.com, may be able to help. Have you looked at everything and still can’t find that perfect site? Please call or have your Broker contact the Sumter County Development Authority. Sometimes we know of properties not yet on the market.


14. A “Press Release” would be a significant next step.

Consider a press release as free advertising. Use a Press Release to announce a move, your “new” business, a promotion, etc.
Suggestions for your press release: Sample Press Release


15. Don’t forget Business Insurance

Business insurance is a necessity. Shop around for policies and Brokers to help you with your insurance needs. Although requirements vary, standard coverage may include: Business  Interruption (Provides for ongoing expenses should a situation arise to halt your business.)

Automobile Liability
Errors and Omissions
Property Insurance: Protects your building, supplies, and inventory
Crime Insurance: Embezzlement, theft, robberies, etc.
Workers Compensation
General Business Liability: In case your employees cause harm to a customer.


16. Let’s do payroll

Corporation tax rates are different and sometimes difficult. It is, therefore, recommended to set up full payroll procedures immediately. It is also recommended to hire an outside payroll company- a payroll servicer proficient with mandatory federal and state withholdings and reporting. Always consult a professional on these matters..


17. Let’s get invoicing procedures down so you can have money coming in.Try this site.


18. Now comes health insurance & health insurance mandates

Although the future of company responsibility vs. health insurance is still not clear, a health insurance package for your employees, today, will be approximately $800-$2,000 per employee, per month, depending on premium expenses. Comprehensive dental? $80-$120 per employee, per month. Always consult a professional on these matters


19. Even if you are a business of ‘one,’ Establish 401K/ 529 and IRA benefits

Discuss retirement options with a specialized financial services company. Fringe benefits and tax advantages for you and your future employees are an excellent way to retain and acquire employees.


20. Human Resources

So many rules and regulations for this department! Important and sometimes costly ones. Start thinking about your human resources options and begin researching potential outsourcing services.

Advisement: For every employee hired, your HR requirements increase exponentially.


21. Create an Employee Hiring Package

After a candidate accepts an offer of employment, you will need to send them an offer letter. The Offer Letter is a legally enforceable contract.

After acceptance of your offer of employment, and before starting work, there are several things you will need for each employee:

  1. Employee Handbook- Book that explains company policies and procedures. Make sure one of the pages is a “Receipt of Handbook,” the employee will sign.
  2. Form I9 This is verification of legality (A driver’s license is not enough).
  3. Direct Deposit form and state income tax withholding exemption certificate- This goes to your payroll provider.
  4. Form W4 (Federal Payroll Withholding This goes to your payroll provider.

Need Help?

Georgia Quick Start Program- FREE HELP– Quick Start delivers training in classrooms, mobile labs or directly on the plant floor, wherever it works best for a company. 

Startup and Innovation Suggestions- How-to, by James Dyson- Video

Small Business Start-Up Basics- from the University of Georgia.

Manage - An Existing Business

Establish a New Business, Manage Your Business

You’ve made it through the first few hard/ establishment years. Maybe it’s time to look over and refresh your business strategies?

Navigating the Growth Curve, by James Fischer, 348 pgs.

Expand Your Business

Establish a New Business, Expand Your Business

“I currently manage a business and believe it or not- I am ready to expand.”

You have survived the establishment and daily management of your business!

Now is the time to stay engaged, informed, and “open to everything.”  Use the following links to keep updated and educated. We will continually revise this section, so check back often :

Magazines:

  • Atlanta Business Leaders – Human Capital- getting and keeping the best…
  • Site Selection Magazine – Corporate Real Estate Strategy & Area Economic Develop.
  • Entrepreneur Magazine – Strategies and aids to strengthen your business

Newspapers, News Articles, and Presentations:

Videos:

Booklets/ Books: