Whether it’s because of the GRAD program, the 6 percent corporate tax rate, or one of the many grants and loans available for business relocation, many businesses decide to move to Georgia. As when any business moves from one state to another, there are slight differences in the way things are done.
A smooth, trouble-free relocation is essential for providing an uninterrupted service to your customers. To get the maximum benefit from your move but with minimum disruption to your business, you need to be aware of the key things you need to get absolutely right. With that in mind, here are the things you need to know when relocating your business to Georgia.
First of all, though, it has to be mentioned that you’ll be sharing your new home with some very big names. Georgia is also home to Google, NCR, UPS, General Mills, Boeing, and Home Depot, among many others. While you won’t exactly be rubbing shoulders with these giants, you may have competition when it comes to filling some of your top jobs.
However, Georgia’s well-educated young workforce should cater to whatever staffing requirements you have.
1. Finding your ideal location
This is #1 for a good reason. While mistakes in some of the other areas can be corrected later on, a poor choice of location can be impossible to rectify.
To decrease the chances of making this mistake, you need to have a very clear idea about what you want. Luckily, as you are relocating your business, you will already know what your business needs to operate well.
Relocating to Georgia means you may be able to benefit from the GRAD program though there are plenty of alternatives if your business is not reliant on any logistical links.
When you think of Georgia, the first place that springs to mind is Atlanta. You would be correct that it is very much the hub of the state from a logistics and administrative point of view, however, there are deepwater ports at Savannah and Brunswick in the south, which have large infrastructures.
If your business is service-based, there are places like Alpharetta, which have growing populations that will provide a customer base for your business.
2. Get the right insurance
Unless your business employs government, farming, domestic, or railroads workers (which is unlikely), as well as all of your business insurance, Georgia law requires that you have Georgia workers comp coverage.
Georgia workers’ compensation insurance works in two ways. Firstly it provides medical benefits to employees if they suffer a work-related illness or injury. Secondly, in the event of a work-related injury or illness occurring, it reduces the amount of liability you face and so protects you as well.
You’ll need this if you have three or more regular employees (either full or part-time), although, given the cost involved of an injury to an employee at work, it could be wise to get some anyway.
3. Boost your workforce
Georgia has a civilian workforce of around 5 million people, so any of your staff that is not relocating with your business can be replaced. As mentioned above, Georgia typically has a well-educated young workforce, so your worries should be minimal unless you are looking to recruit in the main growth sectors.
The growth sectors in Georgia, as with many other states, are healthcare and technology. This means you may face the same recruitment challenges in Georgia as you did in your previous location. However, if your business is in logistics or hospitality, you will have your pick from a wide range of candidates.
However, many of these trends may be particular to Atlanta. There are variations across the state according to which industries were prevalent in the area in previous years.
4. Check for any financial assistance or low-rate loans
While you relocated to either expand your business or make it more cost-effective, moving your business to another state tends to not be cheap. One of the reasons you chose Georgia, however, may have been because of the various financial assistance programs they have for attracting new businesses.
You would almost certainly be able to benefit from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and, dependant on your industry, the Strategic Industries Loan Program. You may also be eligible for help from Federal Grants for Research and Innovation, and if your business is eco-friendly (or has aspirations of becoming so), there are also Green Loans. You might also want to check your availability for Clean Energy Property Tax Credits.
Other funding is available via many local schemes trying to attract businesses that are not intending on relocating or starting up in Atlanta, which as the state’s capital and most densely populated area, tends to get the lion’s share of new businesses.
5. Explore your local client base for new customers
Finally, even if the location of your business does not matter to your customers because you provide a remote service as IT support, or if your business is based around e-commerce and you moved to Georgia for a logistical advantage, there will still be new customers to be found in a new area.
Reaching out to other businesses in your new location using social media, local advertisements, or leaflet drops will not only kick start your new network, but you will also attract new business from those that prefer to stay local, and you may be able to benefit from a few cut-price local services yourself.