7 Key steps and legal information for entrepreneurs establishing a new business in Atlanta, GA
Congratulations on your decision to start a new company! You are one step closer to becoming a business owner. I can certainly relate to the range of emotions you might be experiencing now that you have begun your entrepreneurial journey. The decision to establish your own business can lead to a potent mix of feelings, including excitement, confidence, doubt, and uncertainty, but it’s important to know that you are not alone.
When I started my law firm, I had to take many of the same steps to legally organize my business that you will be taking in the coming weeks and months. With that in mind, I’ve created this guide to help make the journey a little easier. Below, you’ll find numerous resources essential to the process of establishing a new business that will help you kick off your entrepreneurship journey as smoothly and swiftly as possible.
- ENSURE YOUR INTENDED BUSINESS NAME IS AVAILABLE
The first step in establishing a new business in Atlanta is to ensure the name you intend for your company is available by performing a search on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. If your search results in the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Database show that your proposed company name has not already been taken, then that is a good sign. However, I would strongly encourage you to also search the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Federal Trademark Database for your proposed business name. Try to pick a business name that is not already trademarked so that you can register it as a trademark and fully protect your brand.
- REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS WITH THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE
Now that you have done your research and picked a corporate name that’s not already in use, the next step is to select a corporate business structure for your company and register your business online with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office Corporations Division. Entrepreneurs in Georgia can choose from several types of business entities, including registering their company as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Limited Partnership, among other options. If you are unsure as to what business structure suits your company best, the legal professionals at Stacey-Ann Taylor Law can explain the differences between each entity and help you determine the right fit for your company from a tax standpoint.
- APPLY FOR A FEDERAL EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (FEIN)
A Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is assigned to you by the IRS. It is a unique, nine-digit number that basically functions as your business’ Social Security Number. You can apply for your FEIN with the IRS on their website.
- APPLY FOR A GEORGIA TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
A Georgia Tax Identification Number is the state’s equivalent of the FEIN. You will need a Georgia Tax Identification Number if you eventually plan to hire employees for your business. You can apply for your Georgia Tax Identification Number online through the Georgia Tax Center portal.
- APPLY FOR A GEORGIA SALES TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (IF APPLICABLE)
Depending on what type of products or services you sell, you may need to apply for a Georgia Sales Tax Identification Number. If you are required by law to collect sales tax for your physical or online business, you can apply for your Georgia Sales Tax Identification Number online through the Georgia Tax Center portal. Stacey-Ann Taylor Law can help you determine whether or not you need to apply for a Georgia Sales Tax Identification Number.
- OBTAIN A LOCAL BUSINESS LICENSE(S)
Depending on the type of business, you will need to obtain a business license(s) to legally operate your company in your local county and/or city in Georgia. We can provide legal assistance to help you determine which business licenses you will need to procure.
- REGISTER YOUR FEDERAL TRADEMARK(S)
Although registering one or more federal trademarks for your business is optional, it is an extremely important step in protecting your brand. The federal trademark registration process takes about a year. Registered trademarks protect your branding elements. Branding elements include brand name, logo, marketing slogans, hashtags, and even certain audible sounds associated with your brand. Each branding element should have its own trademark.
Once you have a registered trademark, you can send a Cease-and-Desist Letter or eventually even file a lawsuit against anyone who uses your registered trademark without your permission. Note that registering your LLC (or other business entity) in your state or getting your domain name on the internet does not protect your brand. The only action that fully protects your brand in the United States is registering one or more federal trademarks. Handling trademark registration yourself can be very challenging, so it is best to hire an experienced business or trademark attorney to assist you.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney in Atlanta Today for Help With Properly Structuring and Organizing Your New Business
Establishing a company is an exciting, yet complex process. Stacey-Ann Taylor Law is here to support your entrepreneurial journey every step of the way and provide you with experienced legal guidance so your new business can be up and running as quickly as possible. Contact the firm today for assistance with the registration process or any other business-related matters.