Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Business Licensure in Atlanta

A Business "license" is not actually a license.

It is actually a tax document stating to the city what your business is worth so they can send you a tax bill, and the thing people actually call a license is the recipt for payment of city taxes. The penalty for getting caught in GA without one is $500. Then again, a tax bill is a goodly portion of that....

Step 1: Print and fill this form out

Step 2: Drive to City Hall (55 Trinity Ave)

Step 3: Find the Business Tax Division (down the hall on the left in City Hall on the ground floor)

Step 4: Find the Zoning department and get them to sign the zoning portion of the form you filled out. The official will ask you some questions about where the business is located and and what type of building it is and what it is used for. Right now the zoning department is hiding in the back of the HVAC department on the right side of the second floor. Renovations I guess.

Step 5: Go back to the Business Tax Division. The official will give you a $75 bill to actually file for the permit, which you will then...

Step 6: Take to and pay at the Cashier, who is located at the center of the building. The cashier will give you a receipt, which you take to...

Step 7: The Business Tax Division, which will then type up something, then give you a temporary permit which is good until the 1st of March.

Step 8: Wait for your city tax bill in the mail.

Step 9: Pay city tax bill

Step 10: Get your real tax certificate in the mail.



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reading List: The Illusions of Entrepreneurship

I've been reading the book "The Illusions of Entrepreneurship" by Scott A. Shane. He is a professor at Case Western who academically studies the process and occurrence of Entrepreneurship and wrote the book because he was tired of hearing about all the popular misconceptions that abound in the echo chamber of the pop-business bookshelf and on the web and in the media.

Each chapter centers on a couple unrelated facts about what is the fact about entrepreneurship, and what is the fiction. Examples of facts that are true but go against popular conceptions:
  1. Americans are becoming less entrepreneurial. Rates of business ownership were higher in both 1983 and 1910 than they are today. While the last 5 years have shown a slight uptick, the general trend is less businesses, not more.
  2. The United States is no where near the most entrepreneurial country in the world. Mexico and Turkey have 4 times the self-employment rate as the US
  3. Poorer and more agricultural places are more likely to correlate with high levels of business creation.
  4. The causal relationship between the presence of capital appears to be opposite what is assumed. The presence of entrepreneurs appears to attract capital to an area, not the opposite, as is commonly assumed.
  5. The typical business man is a white married man in his forties who started his business to not work for someone else and is just trying to make a living.
  6. More education makes you more likely to start a business (exception: PhDs)
  7. Immigrants are no more likely than native born to start a business
  8. Self Employed people are usually less well networked than peers in their demographic situations
  9. Less than 2% of startups think they're doing something innovative.
  10. Very very few businesses are started by more than 1 person. Of those that are, most are started by related people, usually spouses.
Some interesting stuff for now. I'll keep you updated on poigiant parts of the book, as well as summarize some other important facts from it.