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Start Your Business

START YOUR BUSINESS

Starting a business involves planning, making financial and location decisions and completing legal activities. We’ve taken the local process of opening a business in West Point and broken it into simple steps. These steps can help you plan, prepare and manage the process. In order to establish a successful business, it is essential to plan well, stay motivated and execute effectively. You will find the City of West Point’s Economic Development Department to be Business Friendly and we are here to assist with the local process. Whether starting new, considering expansion, acquisition or renovation, we are here to assist you in avoiding unnecessary delays and expense. Your dream is important and with a plan and resources it can become a reality.

The Economic Development Department of the City of West Point should be your First Stop for information and assistance. Located at 707 3rd Avenue, we can provide: current vacant commercial buildings and contacts, Loan programs, Design Assistance, Façade Grant Assistance, Marketing Information and much more.

Meghan Duke

Economic Development Director

706.645.3518
meghan.duke@cityofwestpointga.com

Step 1 - Develop a Business Plan

Provide your business with an accurate and realistic path for success. Business start-up assistance and other programs are available from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC provides one-on-one counseling, business training seminars in marketing, financing, and business start-up; use these tools and resources to create a business plan. There are ample internet examples as well for developing a plan.

  • Contact the University of GA SBDC, 3100 Gentian Blvd, Suite119, Columbus, GA 31907 706-569-2654
  • Research internet for examples for Business Plans

Step 2 - Seek Assistance and Training

Do your research and take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing to expanding or relocating a business. Once you have a business plan drafted, determine if your prospective business has particular needs that can be met by one of the programs. The Economic Development Department has information on business loans, incentive programs, site selection, and market information and encourages you to talk to other business owners. Consult the small business community and utilize available resources, such as free government-provided demographic data. Understanding laws and regulations imposed on businesses in West Point is essential to your success. Consult with the Business License Officer and the Economic Development Department to get started. Call today for an appointment.

  • Contact Economic Development Director Meghan Duke, 707 3rd Avenue, 706-645-3518
  • Contact City Clerk’s Office, Business License Officer, 730 1st Avenue, 706-645-3526

Step 3 - Choose a Location and Confirm Zoning will Allow the Intended Use

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws. Work with a broker to find a suitable site for your business that is aligned with the model outlined in your business plan and city codes. Do not sign a lease until you have reviewed all zoning laws, building codes and fire codes. Zoning regulates the types of use allowed on each site. It is imperative that the type of business is aligned with the zoning. The Economic Development Department is also available to assist with site selection. Remember to consider parking for your employees and customers, as well as trash removal, recycling and utility consideration. All are part of making the right location decision.

  • Select a broker
  • Contact the Planning and Development Office 706-645-3534

 

Step 4 - Finance Your Business

Local banks stand ready to discuss your new business venture and are familiar with gap financing opportunities available thru the City of West Point’s Economic Development Department. Look for government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to get started. Open a checking account for your business and select an accountant.

  • Select a Bank
  • Select an Accountant
  • Contact the Economic Development Department early for gap financing, 707 3rd Avenue, 706-645-3518
           

Step 5 - Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business and Register the Name

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, S Corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.  Register your business name with the Secretary of State of Georgia and the Clerk of Superior Court of Troup County.

  • Select an Attorney
  • Register with Secretary of State online: http://www.sos.georgia.gov
  • Clerk of Court 706-883-1740 100 Ridley Avenue, LaGrange, GA 30241

Step 6 - Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses/Tax Permits

Obtain a business license and pay an annual business license fee from the City of West Point Clerks Office, City Hall, 730 1st Avenue. Additionally, they can tell you which permits are necessary before opening. ​

Zoning Permit

Zoning review is required and determines if your business may open in the district. ​

Building Inspection Permit

This permit is generally required if you are constructing or modifying your place of business. 706-645-3537. Any exterior changes (including a sign) will require Planning and Development Office Review. ​

Fire Inspection Permit

The Fire Prevention Division inspects all business, commercial, industrial and multi-family apartment complexes. The division is responsible for the inspection and compliance of all life safety code enforcements. Mitt Smith, Fire Chief 706-645-3508 ​

Certificate of Occupancy (CO)

Permit is issued by Building Inspection, states property is ready to be occupied. ​

Health Permit

Health Department. 706-845-4085 ​

Signage Permit

The Planning Department will require review before a permit can be issued to erect a sign for your business.

Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)

Exterior changes to a property require Historic Preservation Review.        

Utility Connections

The City of West Point Customer Service Department located in City Hall, 730 1st Avenue will assist with water, solid waste, and trash issues. 706-645-3526


Step 7 - Get a Tax Identification Number and Register for State and Local Taxes

Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency. Employers with employees, business partnerships, and corporations, must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. Internal Revenue Service 1-800-829-4933. Register with the state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. Businesses that operate within Georgia are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax and unemployment insurance tax. Consult your attorney and accountant.