Starting a Business

Are you starting a business of your own? Congratulations! Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. The items below walk you through the basic steps to starting your business.

  1. Choose the legal structure of your business. Will you be a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation? Legal form should be chosen very carefully as it can impact your business in many ways. The state of Georgia has created a flyer to help in this consideration. It is recommended that you consult a lawyer specializing in business before making a decision. Visit the FAQ if you will be operating your sole proprietorship under a name that is different from your own name.
  2. Name your business. Be careful in deciding on a name and be aware that someone may already be using the name. Have a few back-up ideas. You can check to see if a specific business name is already in use, by visiting the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State website.
  3. Reserve a URL (domain name or web address) for your business website. Use something easy to remember and relevant to your business name. Create a website. Georgia has a partnership with Google to create a website for free. Visit for more information.
  4. Make a final selection for your business location. Make sure the location you choose is within your budget and fits into your business plan. The Joint Development Authority can provide demographic and business reports on prospective locations.
  5. This will be a very hectic time. It will be beneficial to have people you can call on to listen to your ideas, problems, and plans. These people should be able to provide you with guidance, constructive criticism, and feedback. They should be experienced and knowledgeable in business.
  6. Set up bookkeeping, accounting, and office systems. How are you going to operate your office? If you are going to keep your own books, make sure your skills are adequate. Will you need to hire a bookkeeper/bookkeeping firm?
  7. Continue working on your business plan.
  8. If you will be opening your business within the City of Dalton, you must complete an Occupational Tax Form. You can access the form here and a form for insurance purposes here. This is the equivalent of a business license. Whitfield County does not require this.
  9. Join the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will help with a ribbon cutting or grand opening. Follow these easy steps to planning your special event.