In this age of job uncertainties, many are looking towards self-employment and business ownership in order to create a more stable life and future. It’s certainly not an unwise plan when living with the day to day stress of fearing your job may be next on the chopping block with few new positions open, as so many others have experienced. Though business ownership certainly presents a different set of stresses and likely even greater effort, it is building equity and a future that belongs to you and your family.
Regardless of your starting place for business ownership, a financial investment is required. Starting a business from scratch is one approach. This requires a smaller initial investment typically than buying an existing business, but it carries significantly increased risk. Purchasing an existing business is more costly, but you know what you are getting, with information about its financial earnings and potential. Franchise businesses have advantages of established brands and valuable advertising, along with operations assistance and industry knowledge. Purchasing an existing business or franchise will increase the odds of success and a quick return on the investment.
If you are considering business ownership, contact a local business broker first to find out what opportunities may exist in your area. Business brokers are third-party intermediaries who help entrepreneurs find the right businesses for their needs through a comprehensive search of available businesses, most of them not released to the public for confidentiality reasons. The broker will assist the buyer through every step from investigating the business to financing through to a successful closing. Business broker commissions are paid by the seller, making their valuable services to the buyer priceless, in every sense.
Unlike most major cities, Atlanta, Georgia is known more for its persona than its residents. Over the past decade, this destination city has become a treasure hunter’s playground and a businessman’s palace. From the worlds largest and most expensive ($290 million) aquarium to the most important runway in America, “The A” as it is called, is a little city with big ambition and lots of star power.
What cannot be done in a big city (usually because it has been done several times over elsewhere) is a must-do in, The A. What Atlanta lacks in size and location it makes up for in business, real estate, and entertainment (Forbes Magazine, June 2006). In addition to buzz from local celebrities, the city draws attention from the likes of New York City entertainment magnate, Sean “Diddy” Combs. Seven years ago, Combs opened a Justin’s restaurant in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Native-born music mogul, Jermaine Dupri also opened a Buckhead establishment called, Café Dupri (June 2005). Earlier this summer, real estate tycoon, Donald Trump shared plans for leaving his imprint on Atlanta’s real estate market (Trump Towers Atlanta).
Many great talents either got their start or their inspiration in Atlanta. Producer, Tyler Perry and native Atlanta recording artist, T.I. brought Atlanta national recognition by using the city as the backdrop and theme (respectively) for three box office hits: Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, and ATL. Among its other traits, Atlanta is a major Southeastern hub for urban music. In recent years, the city has emerged as a prominent power giving birth to crunk music–a bassy rap style pioneered by Lil Jon–and trendy dance crazes such as Young Dro’s shoulder lean. Mega churches led by prominent pastors such as Dr. Creflo and Taffi Dollar and Bishop Eddie L. Long are a mainstay. Between them, the churches have close to 55,000 members. Publicity about the city would not be complete without Ludacris’ “Welcome to Atlanta” song and video–the latter of which profiled prominent Atlanta residents and mapmaking hot spots in College Park, Decatur, SWAT (Southwest Atlanta), and Buckhead.
Not surprisingly, music in Atlanta is a staple economic stimulant. Generating at least $1 billion in revenue and creating 11,000 jobs, the Georgia Department of Economic Development confirms the notion that music is a great source of revenue for the state. In addition to entertainment law, copyright and licensing firms, music schools, festivals, and concert venues abound. According to Michele Rhea Caplinger, the senior executive director of the National Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Atlanta chapter, music-makers, producers, and engineers in Atlanta make the city a “legitimate music market.”
Among 40 U.S. cities, Atlanta ranks #1 for cost of living, #13 for online dating activity, and #14 for job growth. Atlanta is also the 16th “best [city] for singles (Forbes Magazine, July 2006). In order to maintain a competitive edge, Mayor Shirley Franklin says that championing “public-private partnerships [is] key to making [Atlanta] a magnet for talent and jobs” (Business Week, August 2006). Proof of Atlanta’s competitive edge is having the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 [http://www.metroatlantachamber.com/macoc/business/img/Fortune1000.pdf] companies in the nation for a total of 15–among them, Home Depot founded by Arthur Blank (now owner & CEO of the Atlanta Falcons) and Bernie Marcus (Georgia Aquarium benefactor).
My wife and I are thinking about starting a business to help provide some tax shelters and to make it possible to provide employment for some of our friends. We were doing research into what kind of corporation to set up, how to get everything registered with the state, and how to put everything together in a way that will provide the best benefit for the most people. In doing our research, we realized that we needed some help in making heads or tails of everything, and we started to ask around.
A friend of the family heard what we were planning and contacted us to let us know that he had a company on paper that he was willing to sell. He had set up a number of companies a few years ago to cover some of his interests, and he never ended up doing anything with this one. He sent us some information about what the company was originally designed to do, and everything looks pretty good, but we still want to make sure that this will do exactly what we need it to do before we jump on it. We contacted some professional business brokers to get their advice, and from what they were able to share with us, we feel confident that this is the right choice to make. I plan to contact my friend tomorrow and put the transaction in motion, and from here on out, we will be building something new of our own.
Forming a Georgia LLC is a smart move for the Georgia business owner because it is easy to maintain and provides a flexible business vehicle to operate most any business.
Plus, you get solid liability protection which is important in this litigious business environment. But proper formation in accordance with Georgia LLC requirements is a must.
Making a mistake during the formation process will cause delays and stress to fix the errors with the State. Your Georgia limited liability company is not formed until the filing has been accepted by the state and the processing has been completed.
You do not want to engage in business activity until formation is completed properly.
The first mistake made is a simple but common one. Many pay the wrong fee or make the check out to the wrong state agency. This is one that can be fixed by just following the requirements in the Georgia regulations.
Georgia currently charges an initial filing fee of $100 but there could be other fees if you are expediting your filing.
The second mistake which causes a rejection when forming a Georgia LLC is the use of a name for the LLC that is not acceptable in Georgia. Georgia LLC laws have strict requirements about LLC names. A new name cannot be the same or too similar to another name being used by a legal entity registered in Georgia.
Also, the name must end with an appropriate designation acceptable by the state. The most common designation is: LLC but there are a few others if you do not want this one.
The third mistake that causes many rejected filings involves not including all the required information in your filing documents. In Georgia, some requirements include the proper formatting or use of certain forms in the documents being used, disclosing an official principal office address and specific information about the registered agent and registered office.
Every Georgia LLC must have a qualified registered agent on file at all times.
The above mistakes are the main ones involved when forming a Georgia LLC. Avoid these mistakes will help with a smooth filing process. One great way to avoid the time, stress and uncertainty of forming a Georgia LLC is to use a reputable formation company.
Once your Georgia limited liability company is formed, know that formation only is not all you need to complete in order to preserve the liability protection of the legal entity.
Learn what you need to do afterwards to properly structure and maintain the Georgia LLC so it will continue to provide protection for you personally and your LLC business.
Diversification is a valuable tool to enhance the earnings of any investment portfolio. One of the common questions of those who are new to investing is, “Why don’t companies try to diversify on their own through mergers and acquisitions?” The reality is that diversification is far more valuable for the individual investor than it is for the larger corporation.
Part of the reason that diversification through mergers and acquisitions are more difficult for a corporation is because the markets for these companies are not as efficient, and valuing a company is very difficult. Part of the reason that the stock markets are regarded to be so efficient is because there are literally millions of investors participating every day, each working to determine the value of firms. In the corporate world, there may only be a handful of interested investors who are interested in buying the same company. This means that there is more room for error in determining value, which may be good if a company is bought cheaply, but may also be bad if it is bought for too much. In the process, many people are going to be paid to try and establish what a company may be worth and therefore, on average, the stockholders of such a merger and acquisition oriented firm would ultimately lose.
The only way a diversification strategy through mergers and acquisitions makes sense is if a firm can routinely identify and purchase companies that are underpriced. In order to find deals like this a team of Georgia business brokers would have to work together and have a keen sense of what the future cash flows of a business may be.
The ultimate goal of many companies is to be bought by larger corporations. The reason for this is that the business models of many firms are not innovative enough to change the markets they exist in, but do compliment and diversify the models of larger existing corporations. The genius of this is in complimentary competencies. For instance, say a smaller firm sells specialty shoes. The small company has a winning product evidenced by its ability to become profitable but lacks access to the manufacturing know how and distribution network of a larger corporation. In this case, a larger corporation which has both of these things would be interested in buying the firm because it can quickly and easily make it more profitable simply by using its existing resources.
One of the biggest issues in mergers and acquisitions is determining what a firm is worth. This is difficult because the future cash flows for a company may not always be known, and may be extremely difficult to accurately project. Using a Georgia business broker who specializes in valuing firms can be helpful in this situation because the last thing a company wants to do is invest millions into a merger or acquisition that will not provide a larger return that the stockholders can get by simply investing in the market.
The only way that diversification makes sense for a corporation is to look for companies that have complimentary competencies to their own. If these do not exist, the shareholders of the company can much more easily diversify themselves by investing in stock of other companies.
I don’t purport to have any answers, it is just a question I have pondered. I recently read the story of Larry H. Miller, owner of the Salt Lake City, Utah Jazz. He learned a lot in his early years and applied them when he owned his own business and they proved to be successful. The first thing he learned is that he could outwork anyone. For more than twenty years he worked 16 or more hours a day, six days a week.
He sacrificed his personal relationships, mostly his family with his drive and passion for work a decision he grew to regret. But the drive was almost instinctive, the drive to out work the competition, to out work the other managers, out work anyone else. This initiative helped him raise very quickly in the automobile industry. He was known as the man who could take any parts department regardless of the mess it was in and make it not only profitable but organized and efficient.
His book is fascinating, filled with lessons for live and mantras to live by. Treat your employees fairly, more than fairly, his upper level management sees almost no turnaround. Unheard of in today’s corporate world. Pay them above average and take a personal interest in them, be loyal to them and they will be loyal back. He also was of the mind set to take calculated risks and then work to make them profitable.
When he bought the Utah Jazz he had to borrow money from everyone and anyone that would help him, he begged and borrowed to buy a team that hadn’t seen a profit in 11 years or more. Than he worked to make them successful. Whether you are a corporate giant, a Georgia Business Broker or the owner of the Utah Jazz, the formula is still the same, be fair, be honest and work hard and I guess that is the formula for rising above the rest.
Just one year ago, Beth McCaskill, a Gainesville, Georgia competitive tennis player
began brainstorming ideas on how to grow the businesses that keep Georgia tennis
topping the charts nationally. With so many national companies advertising and selling
tennis essentials online, Georgia businesses fight for their share of the retail market.
Georgia has more competitive tennis players than ANY other state in the U.S. The
tennis clubs in Georgia have the best pros and facilities in the U.S. and need to reap
some reward. There had to be a way to connect the Georgia tennis community with all
the tennis-related businesses and facilities in Georgia. There was also a need to assist
the tennis clubs in bringing these tennis players to their courts.
The web site features monthly newsletters and informative articles including audio from
Luke Jensen (Georgia resident French Open Doubles Title Holder) and ‘Juniors Corner’
by collegiate player Brooke Nord. Other key features include maps to all Georgia tennis
clubs and stores (over 2400), weather, featured events and tournaments, tennis club
web-page links, tennis club event calendars and international professional tennis news.
Photographs taken at statewide junior tournaments will also be highlighted.
“Why should Georgia tennis players be purchasing online when Georgia tennis stores
have everything the internet offers and more right here in our own backyards?” says
McCaskill. “Now our players can easily know everything that’s available at ALL the
facilities in Georgia.” One Atlanta tennis store owner phoned McCaskill saying “Your
web site is just what we needed, let’s go!”
Tennis Players Network, which started as a twinkle in a tennis lover’s eye, has now
grown over 123% in a short period of time. In a message to McCaskill, one University
coach writes “Let’s put our tennis team on the map!” Atlanta club pro wrote “Thanks for
growing tennis, and giving us this opportunity.”
“No, I am not an internet mogul,” jokes McCaskill, “but I am delighted and proud to have
created a way to connect Georgia businesses to the tennis community. Tennis in
Georgia is tremendous compared to the other states with over 121,000 players, and
people work hard to make it that way. NO dollars should be leaving our state and going
to national or international companies. When Georgia businesses tap into the Georgia
tennis ‘family’ I will say that my job is a success!”
Even when Georgia experiences rare ice and snow, life must go on. But many Georgians are unused to walking in icy or snowy weather, not to mention that most Georgia municipalities, cities, and businesses are not prepared with sand, salt, and the other necessities for keeping pedestrians safe on the ice. These factors combine to create a perfect storm of conditions for slips and falls. Here is what you and your loved ones need to know so that you can protect your rights in case of a trip or fall on commercial property.
First, in all but a few circumstances business owners are responsible for your safety when visiting their storefront or parking lot. The precedent for business owner liability in icy conditions was set by Dumas v. Tripps of North Carolina, Inc. when the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that “the accumulation of naturally occurring ice does not negate an owner’s duty to exercise ordinary care in inspecting the premises.”
If you must walk outside in icy weather, the best thing to do is be prepare and extremely careful so you stay safe and unharmed:
* Take it slow! First and foremost, pay attention to the area around you, take small steps, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going. The route you walk every day can suddenly become different and dangerous in icy conditions.
* Choose your path with care. Avoid unnecessary chances to slip and fall by taking the shortest route to your destination, and stay out of shaded areas that might hide ice.
* Be especially careful around storefronts and entrances. Areas with heavy foot traffic tend to become slick with the combination of ice, snow, mud and sludge, making them a common site for slips and falls. While storeowners are responsible for cleaning the ice and snow and posting warnings for your safety, some are negligent, and that negligence could lead to a fall and serious injury.
* Wear shoes with good traction. Nobody expects to see a fashion plate in the snow and ice. If you must wear slick soled shoes or high heels for work, wear more sensible shoes while outside and change once you enter your building.
* Knock snow and ice off of your shoes before entering a building. Inside entryways can also quickly become slip and fall hazards. Though the business owner should post a warning sign if the floor is wet or slick, do not count on it.
The best planning in the world cannot prevent all slips and falls. If you do slip and fall at a business or on commercial property, you might be tempted to save face by apologizing or inadvertently admit fault by exclaiming “I’m just clumsy!” Avoid that temptation. This admission could later cost you your just compensation in court. Remember, it is the business owner’s responsibility to keep their premises free of snow, ice and other hazards. Any statements you give at the scene might just let them off the hook when it comes to compensating you for your injury.
If you do happen to slip and fall, be proactive. Take photos of the scene, get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses and employees, and collect all evidence. Then call an experienced Georgia premises liability attorney as soon as possible. An experienced slip and fall attorney will help you collect the evidence essential for you to win your case and claim your award.
The limited liability company has surpassed the corporation as the most popular business vehicle for small business. Why? Because it was created to provide all the advantage of other business entities but without their disadvantages.
The Ga LLC is such a simple entity to understand and maintain but at the same time it gives the owners many options when it comes to tax structures, how the business will be owned and how it will be operated.
The main reason to form a Ga LLC is to protect yourself and other owners from being personally liable for business debts and obligations. Without a limited liability legal entity such as a Georgia company LLC, you will be placing everything you own entirely at risk for potential loss. Given the growing litigious environment of our society and the aggressive plaintiff lawyers out there looking for small businesses to attack, every Georgia business should operate with this legal shield.
Specifically, section 14-11-303 of the Georgia LLC Act states that members (who are owners) are not liable for the business obligations, lawsuits and other liabilities of the business merely because they are owners. It does except out tax liabilities from operations and there are some conditions and exceptions. However, this protection is a tremendous advantage that only gets more significant as your business grows because successful business are targeted more for lawsuits.
RAISING MONEY FOR BUSINESS
When you form a Georgia company LLC, you gain more options for accessing capital to fund your business. Banks are often unwilling to lend money to a brand new business in whatever form it is formed. Another option is to issue ownership interests in a business in exchange for equity capital.
Issuing ownership interests is close to impossible in a sole proprietorship business. However, with a Georgia limited liability company, there is a concept of ownership interests and membership units can be issued in exchange for a percentage ownership in the business.
Having a separate structure as the business entity greatly facilitates the raising of capital and provides a well known structure to do so which in turn reduces the costs to raise money for your business needs.
PROFESSIONAL IMAGE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERCEPTION
With the many fly by night business and business scams out there today, potential customers are suspicious. A new business has quite a challenge to overcome these concerns .
By going through the process to form a Ga LLC for your business and having an official entity as your business, you automatically separate yourselves from others. You see, it only takes coming up with a name to call yourself a business.
But creating a Georgia company LLC is a clear sign of intelligent business planning which in turn creates more professionalism and trust when it comes to your business identity. This can be a great advantage when trying to get customers and build your brand presence in the marketplace.
FLEXIBLE BUSINESS STRUCTURE
The laws allow a limited liability company to be extremely simple when it comes to ownership and operational structures. There are less formalities imposed upon it. Accordingly, for the single owner business or one with a few related owners, a Georgia company LLC can be set up and structured fairly quickly and cheaply.
As a business evolves and grows over time, its ownership and operational structure may need to change to account for the growth and possible complexity. For example, the business may admit new owners or bring on a passive investor. Also, there may be a need for more official approval processes when it comes to major business decisions.
The Ga LLC allows each business and their owners to define for themselves, how the ownership will be structure and how the business will operate and run on a day to day basis. In business, there is no one size fits all solution to these matters and the Georgia company LLC thus provides ways to customize such fundamental matters for your particular business situation.