Over the past decade or so, Georgia has been put on the map as a changing state, and a sensible one in which to start a business. From a living perspective, the state offers a surprisingly broad spectrum of options, from coastal towns and lakeside retreats to charming suburbs, to college towns and larger cities.

Throughout these different areas, Georgia is also becoming increasingly diverse. Indeed, a survey ranking state diversity put Georgia at 13th in the country — a clear indication of the shifting nature of the population of a state that is often misunderstood.

Alongside changes in the state’s demographics, we’ve also seen something of a boom in businesses. The same survey we just cited, in fact, ranked Georgia fifth in the country in “industry diversity,” speaking to the sheer range of opportunities there are across different kinds of businesses throughout the state.

Add to this the significance of small businesses in Georgia — comprising 43.2% of the workforce in Atlanta, for example — and it becomes even clearer that there are opportunities to be had in this state. It is a growing and increasingly diverse state, attractive to virtually limitless industries and booming with new, small businesses.

If that’s enough to make you think about taking your own startup concept to the Peach State, we have a handful of simple steps concerning how to get started….

Research Industries

While we’ve established that Georgia is a busy state for a lot of industries, it’s still a good idea to do some research and determine what some of the busiest ones are before you decide to start your own business. Recent data on states’ biggest industries by GDP contribution suggests that broadcasting and telecommunications encompass the most impactful Georgia businesses — accounting for some 6.5% of the state’s total GDP.

The automotive industry, tourism, film production, and various types of manufacturing are also big throughout the state. Agriculture has always been a staple of the Georgia economy as well.

This doesn’t mean that your startup has to fall into one of these categories, but it’s good to know where some of the biggest businesses are so that you have a better idea of where opportunity and competition lie.

Clear the Official Hurdles

Clearing official hurdles is a necessity if you want to start an actual, registered business. So this is less of a tip than a requirement. Still, it’s never too early to look into what’s actually required in this regard, given that each state can be a little different.

Fortunately, launching an LLC in Georgia requires only that you adhere to a handful of simple steps. These begin with naming the business and appointing its registered agent; you then have to file an official form (the Georgia Articles of Organization and Transmittal Form), and it’s recommended (though not required) that you set up an operating agreement.

From that point on, all that’s left is to secure an IRS application for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). None of this takes too long, but it’s best to go ahead and start the process as soon as you know you’re starting a business in Georgia.

Make In-Roads with Colleges

We spoke extensively to the growing population and expanding demographics of Georgia. And rest assured, all of this includes a booming population of college students and young adults — who are often the keys to staffing a new business and growing client bases.

This depends somewhat on the type of business you’re starting of course, but generally, if you’re looking to hire promising people and expand activity it’s a good idea to connect with younger populations.

In Georgia, that should mean making in-roads with local colleges. Georgia ranked 11th in a 2019 list of states with the most colleges, with 68 in-state schools (including 30 public and 38 private). This makes for ample opportunities for new businesses.

Get Started!

Our final tip is to go ahead and get started! While many of the points above highlight why Georgia can be a particularly great place to start and grow a business in 2020, we’re not the only ones who know it.

A growing, diversifying population, coupled with countless thriving industries and a state full of college graduates makes for a competitive environment. Naturally, you need to have a sound idea in place before you get started. But in a competitive space, the sooner you can get going the better.