Starting a business in Walker County
I’m interested in starting a business. What should I do first?
Before you do anything, you need to have a business plan. While it may be required by your investors or lenders, it’s also an extremely critical step in building a successful business. A solid plan should include your mission statement, as well as short-term and long-term goals. Spending the necessary time on your business plan will help guide you in the upcoming months and years. We recommend this free business plan template from the Small Business Administration.
What type of structure is right for my business? An LLC, a sole proprietorship, or a corporation?
As part of your business plan, you’ll also need to decide how to structure your business, whether you choose a sole proprietorship, an LLC (limited liability company) or a corporation.
- Which business structure is right for me?
- Learn more about sole proprietorships.
- How do I file an LLC?
Do I need a business license?
Walker County government now requires a business license (called an occupation tax in the state of Georgia), and you can find more information about the application process here.
If your business is located inside of the city limits of one of the four cities (Chickamauga, LaFayette, Lookout Mountain or Rossville) then you will need to obtain a business license through city hall. No county business license is needed if operating in the city.
Do I need a DBA or Trade Name Registration?
If operating as a sole proprietor, you may need to establish a DBA or trade name registration. For example, if your name is John Smith and your business name is “ABC Tire Store,” then you would need to establish a trade name registration or DBA (doing business as) in order to do business under the store name. Trade name registrations can be filed through the Clerk of Court’s Office at the Walker County Courthouse. There is a fee, along with a requirement to run the registration in the legal ads of the newspaper. You can download a copy of the form here.
What other licenses will I need?
Certain industries require a professional license, issued by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. For a list of professions, click here.
What about business insurance?
From product liability insurance to home-based business insurance, there’s a variety of options that you need to be aware of. We strongly recommend speaking with an insurance agent who can guide you through the process, based on your specific type of business. If you need a recommendation, please contact us at the Chamber and we’ll be happy to refer you to one of our member businesses.
I need to find a commercial space to operate my small business. Where do I start?
We value our area’s small businesses. That’s why we go above and beyond to make sure they get the foundation they need to start and grow a successful business. If you are searching for an office or storefront, let us help you. We have a variety of resources and contacts beyond what you may find by searching online. Send us an email or call us at (706) 375-7702 to begin the process.