Small Business

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There were more than 278,000 business establishments representing Georgia employment at the end of 2017, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Almost 76 percent of those business establishments have fewer than 10 employees. Small business is booming and with good reason. The state of Georgia has garnered a score of “A” for small business friendliness, according to Thumbtack, a business that connects professionals to consumers. Fayette County follows Georgia’s example as a welcoming community for small businesses. The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce notes that of its 738 businesses that are members, 90 percent are considered small businesses.

When your dream, idea or vision grows into a business, you’ve successfully moved from concept to reality.  After nurturing your business, it’s exciting to see your hard work begin to pay off. Once a few years have passed, you’ve begun to hit your stride. You’ve found a receptive market, and your services are well-received. You’re ready to take your business to the “next level”. From taking advantage of local resources to advertising and networking opportunities, you can implement strategies to go from small business to all business.


Ensuring your business is built on a proper foundation is necessary, no matter its size. When looking to make moves, the start has to be structurally sound.  

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What Should Be In Place

You should have filed your business license with the Georgia Secretary of State. If you have neglected this vital practice, take time to pay fees now. Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) should also be established, as it’s critical for tax filings and IRS identification.

Next Level

Ensure you’ve obtained the appropriate permits for your next step — whether it’s a permit to build your new building, or zoning permit to modify a space for commercial use. If you’re operating your business out of your home, you’ll want to make sure it’s not problematic for any Home Owners’ Association code, and that your neighborhood can handle your clients’ parking and increase in traffic. Also, does your occupation require a special license? You should also be well-versed in federal tax and state tax regulations for your business.


“A thriving business community helps the community overall be a great place to live and work,” says Paige Muh, Community Development Director of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

It stands to reason, then, that communities should have plenty of ways to build up and support small business owners. Fayette County is definitely on track in this area.

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What Should Be In Place

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce has a wide variety of offerings to help small businesses. It provides educational opportunities for business owners, exposing them to information geared towards growth and development. The Chamber also hosts events fostering connection with other business owners and the community at large. The website includes a comprehensive listing of their resources. Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) pairs business owners with industry mentors. The organization also hosts events to help businesses thrive.

Next Level

In addition to continuing to educate yourself on your industry trends, take advantage of other growth opportunities offered near you. University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center offers training in an abundance of areas, from procurement for business to capital acquisition. You can also vie for the opportunity to be recognized on a larger platform, with the Fayette Chamber’s Small Business of the Year award.

“For more than 20 years, we have been annually recognizing a small business for excellence in planning and operations and community involvement,” Paige notes.

What better way to get your business on the map than being recognized for all of the positive and beneficial things you already do.


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How many times has word-of-mouth helped you find the right product, or turn to the right contact for help? Connecting with like-minded business owners who can offer advice, serve as a sounding board for your ideas, or introduce you to the person you need, is invaluable.

What Should Be In Place

Each industry offers events and mixers where you can interact. You can form alliances or just gain insight into your craft.

Next Level

Being involved in a larger organization that brings together various industry professionals is highly beneficial. “The Fayette Chamber provides opportunities for (businesses) to build relationships and connect … and that provides visibility for their businesses,” tells Paige.

Jennifer Jordan, the Marketing Coordinator for Arch Advisory Group in Tyrone, says the Chamber has been helpful to the financial planning firm.

“It’s a place to grow relationships. That’s been integral to us, just being a part of the community,” Jennifer states.

“One of the best ways to grow business in Fayette County is to build genuine relationships with businesses and members of the community,” Paige advises.

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Seems obvious. Of course, you want to advertise. That’s how others will know what you do and where to find you. However, there are many places to spend marketing dollars. How do you decide where you can get the best bang for your valuable small business buck?

What Should Be In Place

Make full use of all free advertising. Social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, are great ways to leverage your market presence. One of the first places consumers will look for your company information is online, so having a functional website is a necessity.

Next Level

What can you offer that would meet a specific need in the marketplace?

“We really want to start hosting some seminars to address college planning, sandwich generation, and even just a basic financial class for young people,” Jennifer states. “It may even be things we do via the web. That’s kind of the direction millennials are going in. Your sales process for boomers is different than what millennials want.”

Customizing your product to consumer needs makes your name memorable. Engaging the community through sponsorship, participating in charity events, and serving on community boards also increases your visibility.

At the end of the day, when you’ve maximized your digital presence, contacts, networking and have a structure in place, you can’t forget the most important component of growth – the people who are on your team. “I think one of the pressures for small businesses is to grow, and a lot of times that means with people. But you don’t want to be in such a hurry to grow.” Jennifer continues, “Take as long as it takes to find the right people because the right people make all the difference.”

July 10, 2018