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The Best Things About Being an Atlanta Business Owner

Atlanta is quickly becoming a business powerhouse between the low cost of living, reduced regulation, and a diverse talent pool. There is something for everyone in Atlanta, from the leading art museum in the Southeast to great festivals and conferences. But what else does Atlanta offer that makes business owners want to start a company here? 

What Makes Owning a Business in Atlanta So Appealing? 

There are numerous factors as to why Atlanta has become one of the centers for new business. Some of the top factors include: 

  • Atlanta’s metro population is the 5th largest in the U.S., with 5.9 million residents.
  • Atlanta has more than 150,000 businesses. 
  • The metro area continues to attract Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. 
  • Atlanta ranks 4th in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries, including The Coca-Cola Company, PulteGroup, Delta Air Lines, UPS, and The Home Depot.
  • The economy is the 10th largest in the U.S. and the 18th largest globally, with a GDP of $371.83 billion.
  • Atlanta ranked 2nd last year for the best business climate. 
  • Atlanta has the busiest airport in the country and the 2nd busiest in the world. 
  • The city also ranks 13th out of the top 25 U.S. cities where Millenials are flocking for employment. 
  • Atlanta’s unemployment rate is 5.4%, which ranks 17th out of 51 for large metropolitan areas. 
  • The average household income is around $65K, which remains above the national average of $59K.

“Probably the best thing about being a business owner in Atlanta is the endless opportunity. There are just so many good companies to surround yourself with and to try to gain inroads with to win new business,” said Porchlight Founder and Principal Greg Corey. 

Atlanta’s Top Industries

Atlanta has a lot to offer when it comes to small business culture. One of the reasons the city is seeing significant economic growth is due to small businesses and startups capitalizing on thriving industries, such as: 

  • Financial Technology (FinTech)
  • Logistics & Supply Chain
  • Healthcare Information Technology
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Television & Film

FinTech

Over the past decade, Atlanta has become a hub for financial transactions in the U.S., with 70% of all global sales passing through the city. The top 50 companies in this industry have generated over $72 billion, and they have processed more than $2 trillion annually. It is because of FinTech that Atlanta took on the title of “Transaction Alley.” FinTech succession is due to Atlanta’s smart regulation and civic partnerships between the industry and the government. The Georgia Center of Information Technology supports the growth of this industry by creating connections for firms from the perspective of the state. 

“Atlanta is a hotbed of educational tech institutions, from the Georgia Institute of Technology to the Atlanta-University Center, which encourages entrepreneurship along with innovation,” said Colony Roofers COO Zach Reece. 

Logistics & Supply Chain

With Atlanta having such a busy airport, it makes sense that one of the top industries is logistics and supply chain. Distribution centers are continually opening in both the metropolitan area and beyond. Amazon has been a leader in this industry and has inspired others to do the same, such as Lidl US, which announced its regional distribution center in January 2020. Companies like Roadie, a same-day delivery platform, have worked to revolutionize the industry. With more companies coming to Atlanta and seeking additional ways to revolutionize, this industry is slated to continue growing and defining the area’s landscape. 

“There is lots of opportunity and support [in Atlanta], tons of entrepreneurial groups to get involved in, networking groups, CEO groups, etc…just a heaven for small to midsize companies to do B2B sales,” said Flex HR CEO Jim Cichanski. 

Healthcare Information Technology

The metro Atlanta area is also home to healthcare companies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Piedmont Health, and the American Cancer Society. Due to these companies calling Atlanta home, the city has become synonymous with healthcare information technology. This industry leads the nation with more than 225 companies and approximately 30,000 jobs. In addition to these well-known healthcare information technology companies, several startups further push the city’s hold on bioscience and healthcare technology. 

Advanced Manufacturing

Georgia has surpassed the U.S. in 10-year GDP growth with machinery, electrical equipment, and fabricated metals. This industry employs around 270,000 employees and has reached a state output of $61.1 billion. Some of the major companies in this industry are based in Atlanta, including Kia Motors and Delta TechOps. The Georgia Institute of Technology,  a university that calls Atlanta home, also ranks 4th for Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs with Ph.D. programs, following MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. Companies in this industry thrive in Atlanta because of the available talent pool and expertise of potential employees. The advanced manufacturing industry is supported by the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Georgia Association of Manufacturers. 

Television & Film

The television and film industry in Georgia is the largest among all of the states in the U.S. for its vast production of featured films. Atlanta has also become the center of the film industry in the state with companies like Blackhall Studios, Turner, and EUE/Screen Gems. Governor Brian Kemp has worked to ensure a competitive tax credit and works to allow production to finish without government shutdowns, which have become common in California, New York, the UK, and Canada. This industry is valued at $10 billion and is growing as series, like “Stranger Things” and “Ozark,” and films, like the Marvel franchise, are attempting to make up for lost time during the COVID-19 pandemic. When Georgia opened back up, Gov. Kemp put the film industry as a top priority and hopes that Atlanta would be regarded as one of the top contenders rather than the just new city entering the industry. 

In Atlanta, you have more flexibility when building your business. This makes buying a business owner’s insurance policy and other necessary tools for your business possible.

— Imani Francies, USInsuranceAgents.com

Advice for Starting an Atlanta Based Business 

While the thought of starting a business may seem daunting, Atlanta has a wide range of support to help new business owners meet their goals. Experienced business owners also provided us with some advice they wish they had when they first started their business.

“Look for the helpers,” says Online Optimism CEO Flynn Zaiger. “There are many organizations around Atlanta that want to help you launch and grow your business.” Including more prominent organizations like the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Decide DeKalb, but smaller, more niche groups like Startup AtlantaSCORE, or FinTech Atlanta.

“I can’t emphasize market-fit enough,” Nour Group CEO David Nour said. “Before you start with a solution, profile your target market personas. Go deep into really understanding and empathizing with their wants, needs, pains, gains, and jobs to be done. Business people here are nice, accommodating, and will go out of their way to help, guide, and support you. They’ll open up their network, and strangers will meet with you to understand what problem you’re trying to solve and who else they know who can help you move your ideas forward.”

Jim Cichanksi added that for a new business to thrive, they need to become part of the Atlanta community, saying, “Network, there are so many opportunities, angel investor meetings, etc.”

Zack Reece also gave some advice for succeeding in Atlanta, going on to say that “one major aspect that you have to take into consideration when starting a business in Atlanta is the utilization of digital marketing efforts if you’re just starting to get set up with your business.”

Marketing Your Business in Atlanta

If you are just starting or want to revamp your business’s marketing efforts, choose our digital marketing agency Atlanta business owners trust. Online Optimism is here to help, our Optimists are experienced in various SEO and SEM strategies and social platforms, from LinkedIn to Tik Tok. Whether you want whitepapers or a website upgrade, we can handle it all. We’re optimistic that we can be an asset to your business, so contact us to speak to an Optimist! 

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