Small Business Guide

Small Business Guide

As part of the City of Georgetown’s Economic Development Department’s mission to support a business community where businesses can and want to grow, we’ve compiled this small business resource guide. This guide covers the basics for starting your own small business including a startup guide, financing assistance resources, data regarding the local Georgetown business environment, emergency preparedness information and much more.

If you don’t find everything you’re looking for encompassed in this guide, we encourage you to contact us with any questions.

How to Become a Small Business Owner (Checklist)

How to Become a Small Business Owner (Checklist)

Conduct Market Research and Competitive Analysis

Before you start a business, conducting market research and competitive analysis will help you better understand what you’re getting yourself into. Find resources to help you get started:

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Form a Business Plan

Your business plan will be the foundation of your business. Learn how to write a plan that fits your needs:

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Calculate Your Costs

It’s important to calculate your business costs early in the process. Learn how to do the math here:

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Locate Business Funding

Every business needs capital to get up and running. What types of funding are right for you?

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Determine Business Structure

Your business structure has a huge impact on all of your business decisions moving forward. Figure out what type of structure best fits you:

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Secure Business Name, Registration and Tax ID Numbers

This is the point in the process where you can finally bring your business into the light. Find out everything you need to do to make yourself official:

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Apply for Licenses and Permits and Complete Inspections

The permits and licensing your business requires differs for everyone. If you plan to open to the public, a facility inspection may also be required by the city or county. Find more information about next steps here:

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Business Employer Requirements

Hiring employees comes with certain federal and state requirements. Learn more about your responsibilities as an employer:

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Learn About Business Incentives and Assistance

There are a variety of programs with a mission of helping your business grow and prosper. Discover what resources are available to you:

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Find Your Business HQ

Begin searching for available commercial properties in and around Georgetown.

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Understanding the Georgetown Market

Understanding the Georgetown Market
Community Profile

Within the Community Profile, you can find all of the most current information regarding the City of Georgetown, including demographic, geographic, labor shed and economic data. Discover the building blocks that make Georgetown a premium destination for your small business.

Retail Analysis

This five-part retail study, conducted by Catalyst Commercial in partnership with the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Economic Development Corporation (GEDCO), delivers a customized, comprehensive retail merchandising strategy for our city. This report contains a Market Assessment, Primary and Secondary Retail Trade Areas, Market Analysis, Competitive Assessment, Property Analysis and Tenant Analysis.

Interactive Maps

See Georgetown for yourself. Click here to view maps detailing land use, transportation infrastructure, zoning and utility information and more.

Workforce

Workforce
Workforce Analysis

The City of Georgetown Workforce Analysis was conducted by Avalanche consulting in the summer of 2016. This analysis determines the supply, demand and gap of workers and skill sets of the more than 700,000 workers that make up our northern and southern labor sheds.

Texas Workforce Commission

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas. The major functions of TWC include developing the workforce, providing support services including child care for targeted populations participating in workforce training and adult education and literacy services, providing services for people with disabilities to obtain training and employment, and administering the unemployment benefits and tax programs.

For employers, we offer recruiting, training and retraining, outplacement services, assistance recruiting and retaining qualified employees with disabilities, and valuable information on employment law and labor market trends and statistics. Visit their website to learn more about:

GISD Career & Technical Education Program

The Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department, using integrated instruction and curriculum, current technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and business partnerships, creates a learning environment that empowers all students to enter the ever-changing workforce. CTE programs are designed to prepare students for life-long success in high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand occupations and career fields.

Click here to learn more about CTE courses and how your business can get involved.

Job Postings, Fairs & Employment Assistance

The Annual Georgetown Veterans Job Fair invites veterans and their spouses to meet employers in Georgetown and the surrounding area. The City hosts this event in partnership with the TWC Veterans Affairs and the Chamber’s Workforce Development Alliance (WDA). For more information about this event and other WDA programs, click here.

The Annual Georgetown Future Readiness Fair helps prepare our young residents for their future careers by broadening their focus to include colleges, vocational programs, military, careers in manufacturing and other job providers. For more information about this event, click here.

The Georgetown ISD High School Job Fair invites employers and students to connect for summer and after graduation employment opportunities. For more information about this event, click here.

Southwestern University HireSU is a free job board targeted to SU students and alumni. HireSU includes full-time, part-time, internship and volunteer opportunities. Learn more about posting a job opportunity to Southwestern students and graduates. Postings typically require one business day for approval by the Center for Career & Professional Development before being activated.

Labor Finders Georgetown helps connect employers with employees in a range of industries including construction, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, logistics and more. Their services include recruiting employees, interviewing, skills testing, background checks and more. You can visit their local office at the address below:

Williamsburg Village Center
3010 Williams Dr #106,
Georgetown, TX 78628
(512) 930-4820

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area is a community partnership providing no cost recruitment and employment services to businesses and job seekers in the Rural Capital Area of Texas. Through the Rural Capital Area Workforce Development Board, offices give employers and job seekers access to local workforce solutions and statewide services in one location. Learn more by getting in touch with them:

Park West Corporate Center
575 Round Rock W Dr Building H, Suite 240,
Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 244-2207

WorkInTexas is specifically designed by Texas Workforce Solutions for job seekers, students, case managers, employers, training providers, workforce professionals and others seeking benefits and services. The system provides fast access to a complete set of employment tools in one website. Employers can post job orders, find potential candidates, research labor market information such as salaries and economic data, automatically search the system to find desired candidates and communicate within the system.

City Resources

City Resources

The City of Georgetown offers multiple resources for your small business, including our Planning Department, permits for business and signage, economic development initiatives, and more.

Planning

Georgetown’s Planning Department ensures that all businesses within Georgetown adhere to the same standards and support the city’s goals and maintain the high quality Georgetown is known for. To that end, they offer access to:

The Development Manual

The Unified Development Code Manual page provides applicants with the information and forms necessary to complete the UDC application. Here you can find links to all of the forms and fees processed by the Planning Department can be found here, along with meeting dates. You can also find applications related to subdivisions and land use.

The UDC Document itself lists regulations for maintaining a unified Georgetown, which will include regulations involving signage, storefronts, landscaping, etc.

Comprehensive Planning

Georgetown has a comprehensive plan for future development, culminating in the 2030 Plan. Plans for parks, open spaces, land use and transportation will be relevant to planning your business.

Permitting and Signage

In order to put up signs for your business you need to apply for a sign permit, and in order to build or remodel for your business you need to fill out the appropriate permits.

Signage

The Sign Permitting Checklist includes the checklists for various types of signage (wall, freestanding, temporary banner) and the permit application itself. In order to find the applications, rules and regulations, HARC/Downtown/Old Town Overlay, and information about sign questions, inspections and the permits and inspection schedule you can go to the Sign Permits page.

Permits

If you are looking to construct a new building for your business or remodel an existing structure, you’ll need to fill out the Commercial Building Permit Application. The process to submit the application, with included links to relevant communication portals, may be found on the Commercial Building Permits page.

Georgetown Electricity & Water Services

Connecting utilities for your business differs from setting up residential utilities, involving another commercial application.

Connecting Utilities

Prior to occupying the space or opening for business, the City of Georgetown requires that all businesses have a valid Commercial Service Application or Certificate of Occupancy. After completing the application and paying the permit fee, the zoning for the space will be verified and then a fire and building inspection will be scheduled. If the fire and building inspections are not passed, utilities will be disconnected.

Economic Development

The City of Georgetown Economic Development Department encourages economic development and growth, with a focus on small and local businesses. You can check out the business climate in Georgetown and look at our retention program as well as the incentives offered for relocating your business to Georgetown.

Business Climate

The Business Climate page provides information as to Georgetown’s workforce data, major employers, annual economic symposium, development process, and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce.

Business Retention

Georgetown’s Business Retention & Expansion Program (BR&E) supports local businesses to grow and strengthen our economy. If you are looking to start your business in Georgetown the BR&E team can help connect you to current business leaders, and if you currently have a business in Georgetown the BR&E team can help you expand. More information and contacts can be found on the BR&E page.

The BR&E hosts events throughout the year intended to engage local businesses with the community and show appreciation for their contributions to Georgetown. These include the Annual Georgetown Business Appreciation Lunch and Bowl and the Economic Development Symposium, among others that can be found on the event calendar.

Business Incentives

Georgetown offers incentives for businesses that wish to relocate or expand in Georgetown. These benefits may include tax waivers, utility infrastructure reimbursement and other incentives. Business incentives may differ between Georgetown and Williamson County as a whole, and more in-depth information about the individual resources for both can be found on the Resources and Incentives page.

Main Street Program

Downtown Georgetown is a vibrant mixed-use district that is primed for redevelopment efforts. It’s not by chance that downtown is a destination for residents and visitors alike. Through concentrated efforts and careful planning, the heart of Georgetown continues to improve and thrive, growing each year as the bustling city center it was intended to be. The award-winning Georgetown Main Street Program is recognized as a leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

Click here to find additional information about annual downtown events, resources for small businesses and more.

Downtown Events

Downtown Georgetown hosts events throughout the year, including Second Saturday Markets, the Red Poppy Festival and Breakfast Bites. All of these events are open to the public and bring increased visibility to the involved businesses.

Public Library

The Georgetown public library offers many resources for aspiring business owners. Check out books on business and economics or utilize the Business and Financial Information resource page for databases focused on running a business.

Chamber Of Commerce

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce page offers general business resources such as links to local and state governing bodies, free small business counseling and information about starting a business in Georgetown.

Certificate of Origins

Importing goods from overseas? The Certificate of Origin is an important international trade document attesting that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. The Chamber of Commerce issues these writs.

Business Events/Industry Groups

The Chamber of Commerce hosts multiple events throughout the year, including the Annual Chamber Banquet. At the Annual Chamber Banquet the awards include Small Business of the Year, a good boost for your business.

The Business Network Lunch is held on a monthly basis and gives businesses a chance to speak about their organization and network with others.

Other Resources

Other Resources
County

The Williamson County Economic Development Partnership is a self-funded collaboration of city leaders acting together to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for the region. Here you can find resources to assist you in understanding local communities, searching for available properties and learning more about entrepreneurship in Williamson County.

DBA License

In Texas, if your business will operate as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, an Assumed Name Certificate or DBA for each name the business will use must be on file with the county clerk in each county where a business premise will be maintained. Visit the Williamson County Clerk to learn more about filing a DBA in this county.

SCORE

SCORE is the premier source of free business mentoring and education in the United States. They will help pair you with a mentor, and in addition offer webinars and courses on demand. Their blog is also kept up-to-date with helpful information.

Texas Secretary of State Guides & Resources

The Texas Secretary of State provides a comprehensive list of resources covering permits and licenses, patents, trademarks, copyrights, securities and other business resources that may pertain to you.

Texas Governor’s Office State & Federal Small Business Resources

The Office of the Governor provides information on a host of programs including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE), Small Business Development Centers, US Export Assistance Centers and more.

Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program

The Historically Underutilized Business Certification (HUB) Program requires all Texas state agencies to make a good faith effort to use HUBs for purposes of contracting for construction services or commodity purchases. To obtain HUB certification, a business must be at least 51% owned by an Asian Pacific American, Black American, Hispanic American, Native American, American woman or a service-rendered disabled veteran. Visit the Comptroller’s website to learn more about the certification process.

Small Business Advice, or SBA.org

While not government affiliated, the Small Business Advice website offers comprehensive advice for small businesses. This includes a list of licenses, permits, and registrations required for your business and the necessary links to find the forms.

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area is a community partnership providing no cost recruitment and employment services to businesses and job seekers in the Rural Capital Area of Texas. Through the Rural Capital Area Workforce Development Board, offices give employers and job seekers access to local workforce solutions and statewide services in one location. Learn more by getting in touch with them:

Park West Corporate Center
575 Round Rock W Dr Building H, Suite 240,
Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 244-2207

FDA Small Business Assistance

The FDA recognizes that dealing with a large organization can be frustrating and time-consuming, more so for a small business. To that end, they offer multiple, smaller activities for small businesses which can be found on their Small Business Assistance page.

Governor’s Small Business Handbook

The state of Texas provides a free PDF titled The Governor’s Small Business Handbook. It offers a general, yet comprehensive in scope, overview of starting a small business from planning to financing to the Texas economy.

BiGAUSTIN

BiGAUSTIN provides resources to small businesses such as education, business consulting and funding solutions.They offer microloans up to $50,000 and disaster loan assistance. You can check out their calendar to find one-time educational events or take a look at their programs page to find recurring and long-term educational programs and workshops.

Women’s BiZ Inc.

BIGAUSTIN is home to the Central Texas Women’s BiZ Inc. (WBI), specializing in meeting the needs of female entrepreneurs. Through education, consulting, round-table discussions, innovative networking opportunities and lending programs, BiGAUSTIN helps women start and grow their businesses. They offer help with business planning, finding funding solutions, marketing and much more.

Veterans Business Outreach Centers

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business. The state of Texas has two offices:

Veterans Business Outreach Center at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Coverage: Central, West & Southern Texas
1407 E Freddy Gonzalez Dr, Ste 1200,
Edinburg, TX 78539
(956) 665-8931
juan.santosflores01@utrgv.edu

Veterans Business Outreach Center at University of Texas Arlington College of Business
Coverage: Arkansas, Northern Texas, Oklahoma
701 S West St, Ste 635,
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-6789
utavboc@uta.edu

Local, State & National Emergencies

Local, State & National Emergencies
FEMA Emergency Preparedness Resources

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a variety of preparedness checklists and toolkits that businesses and organizations can use to perform self assessment with an eye toward improving preparedness.

IRS Guide on Preparing for a Disaster

The Internal Revenue Service provides tips for taxpayers and businesses to help prepare for a disaster. Tips include paperless recordkeeping, documenting valuables, continuity of operations planning and more.

IRS Disaster Assistance & Emergency Relief

The IRS provides information on special tax law provisions that may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster. You can learn more about the latest tax relief guidelines, what to do if you’re affected by a disaster and how to receive assistance during a disaster by visiting IRS.gov.

SBA Emergency Preparedness

The Small Business Association provides checklists and tips to help you prepare for specific disasters such as floods, tornadoes and cyber attacks.

SBA Disaster Assistance

The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. You can apply for assistance here.

COVID Resources

COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of trusted local, state and federal resources to aid businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. To find more information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, grant programs, CDC recommendations and more, click here.

COVID-19 Small Business Resource Grant

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the City of Georgetown have also developed a COVID-19 Small Business Support and Recovery Grant Program. This program provides grants up to $5,000 for businesses that have been significantly impacted by this pandemic. All small businesses in Georgetown are eligible as long as they meet program criteria. However, priority will be given to those businesses that have frequent or close contact with customers. To learn more about this grant program and how to apply, click here.