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What You Need to Incorporate a Business

112_2712553So you’ve decided to form a corporation. Congratulations! This business structure will protect your personal assets and keep you separate from your business entity. But before you enjoy that peace of mind, you’ll need to take care of the actual process of incorporating. Here’s the process for forming your own corporation.

  1.  Get a Name Check

Before you can incorporate, you need to ensure no one else in your state is using the same business name. You can do that by using our free Corporate Name Search tool.

Note: Include words like “Inc.” or “corp.” if you plan to add them to your name once incorporated when searching.

  1.  Draft Your Articles of Incorporation

Most states refer to the formation document as the “Articles of Incorporation” or “Certificate of Incorporation.” The document contains information about your company, including:

  • Company name
  • Business purpose
  • Registered agent (that might be you or a third party)
  • Incorporator (that might be you or a third party)
  • Number of authorized shares
  • Share par value
  • Preferred stock
  • Directors
  • Officers

Continue reading “What You Need to Incorporate a Business” »

4 Ways to Secure Funding for Your Startup

According to a recent Forbes article, 8 out of every 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Some fail due to poor customer service, poor management or unclear knowledge of the marketplace. But on the surface level, many of these businesses simply run out of cash.

Good money management is the key to staying afloat as startups meet the obstacles of a starting a new business. Bplans, a blog for small business owners, covers some of the main sources of funding that SMBs can secure for their startup.

Bplans Funding Infographic

How to Get More Done (When You’re Out of the Office)

609_3504586For most business owners, traveling can really throw us off our routines. We may try to work while we’re out, but we still end up back in the office with a pile of emails to sort through, and plenty of things that slipped through the cracks.

I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me. Hopefully they’ll help you too.

Plan Ahead

If you know you’re traveling (for business or pleasure) in several weeks, start your planning now. Check your calendar to see if you have meetings or deadlines that week. For phone or Skype meetings, make sure your travel schedule allows you to still participate. Reschedule any others.

Then, for any work you have due that week, start chipping away at it the weeks before your trip. You’ll clear your plate while you’re out, and your clients will be thrilled to get their work turned in early. Continue reading “How to Get More Done (When You’re Out of the Office)” »

In Santa Monica? Come See Nellie Akalp Speak at General Assembly

fireside chatIf you’re thinking about starting a business and are in the LA area, please join us on September 30, 2014 from 7 to 9 pm at General Assembly Los Angeles. General Assembly specializes in full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops designed to help people start and run successful businesses.

Nellie will be sharing her inspirational story on how she went from being a law school graduate with an investment of $100 into a successful business owner who sold her first business to Intuit for $20 million, only to take a few years off and start a new successful business in the same industry.

She will also discuss the process of starting and selling her first business, and starting and growing her current business, CorpNet.com, which was launched at the height of the recession. If you are thinking of starting that business, this is a must-attend event, as Nellie will provide nuts and bolts tips for legally getting started like the why, where, when and how of incorporating a business.

What Are You Waiting For?

Register for the event to ensure you get a spot! The event is free to attend, so register here.

When: September 30, 2014 from 7 to 9 pm

Where: General Assembly Los Angeles

1520 2nd Street 

Santa MonicaCA 90401

Why: Learn valuable tips for starting a business

10 Ways to De-Stress This Fall

438_3399755If the end of the year signifies a lot of work for you in your small business, you likely feel the stress mounting up this time of year. While stress is certainly part of being an entrepreneur, there are strategies to help you cope.

1. Get Out of the Office

I’m not asking you to shut down for the day at noon. A simple walk around the building or quick trip to the local coffee shop can be enough to reset your stress levels. And it’s great for creativity!

2. Meditate

Consistent meditation has proven to be beneficial in the office. And hey, if it can make your staff 120% more productive, imagine what it could do for you!

3. Take Care of You

What does self-care look like for you? Perhaps a massage or a girls’ night out. You’re no good as a business owner (or a parent or spouse, for that matter) if you’re low on the list of priorities. Continue reading “10 Ways to De-Stress This Fall” »

Why You Should Rethink the LLC

609_3576256While the first business structure many sole proprietors think of is the corporation, many simply aren’t aware of the benefits that the Limited Liability Company provides.

While both the LLC and the S Corp (the most common corporation structure for small businesses) protect your personal assets, offer tax flexibility, and make it easier to raise capital, there are a few ways LLCs differ.

Number and Type of Owners

While S corps must be owned by individuals (or trusts) that are U.S. citizens or residents, and there must not be more than 100 shareholders, LLCs have fewer restrictions on ownership. LLCs may be owned by other LLCs or corporations and the owners don’t need to be U.S. citizens or residents. There may be an unlimited number of owners in an LLC. Continue reading “Why You Should Rethink the LLC” »

Recap of Nellie Akalp’s GoDaddy Hangout: Are You Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?

If you missed our CEO Nellie Akalp’s Google Hangout, you missed some valuable advice, as well as hard questions that anyone considering starting a business must consider.

Some of the highlights of Nellie’s presentation include:

  • Let people know who you are. Knowing who’s behind a company makes potential customers trust you more and buy from you.
  • Be ready to fail before you can succeed. Starting a business isn’t overnight success, and is extremely risky. Be ready for it.
  • Marketing as an expert on social media channels and elsewhere will get you further than self promotion.
  • Keep your company fun, but keep accountability. There’s a balance.
  • Consistency and organization will keep people coming back.

Enjoy Nellie’s entire presentation here:

5 Must-Read Marketing Blogs

1157_4625760In my line of business, I read a ton of content online about marketing. But you probably don’t. So let me share five of what are, in my mind, the best places to get fresh content marketing and social media ideas for small business.

1. Social Media Examiner

Not only does this blog offer great listicles of the latest and greatest tools in social media, but it also puts out some great research and reports (and they’re free). If you’re wondering what’s happening in social media, check out their annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

2. Mashable

Over the last few years, Mashable has slanted a bit more toward entertainment and pop culture, but its Social Media section remains a great place for how-to tutorials on using every social channel successfully. If you’re hands-on and like following instruction, you’ll get a lot out of it. Continue reading “5 Must-Read Marketing Blogs” »

3 Must-Have Documents for Filing an LLC

564_3338813If you’re considering filing as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), it’s probably in part because this business structure provides business owners with liability protection and pass-through tax status, while minimizing the business formalities and paperwork you’re responsible for.

Before you dive in, there are several important documents you’ll need in order to file an LLC. Let’s take a look.

1: Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization — also called Certificate of Organization — is the equivalent of the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation. Ir is the legal foundation for your LLC, and is required by every state. This mandatory document outlines the basic information for your business, including: Continue reading “3 Must-Have Documents for Filing an LLC” »

You Might be an Entrepreneur If…

379_3990259While every entrepreneur is as unique as a snowflake, we all do seem to share certain characteristics.

In the spirit of the old Jeff Foxworthy joke, “you might be a redneck if…” let’s look at the signs “you might be an entrepreneur if:”

1. You Fall Asleep with Your Smartphone Clutched in Your Hands.

We love what we do, and that’s why we’re unable to shut down at the end of the day. It’s not that we’re workaholics (ahem); we just want to work 24 hours a day doing what we love!

2. You’d Rather Invest in Your Business Than Buy a House.

Our companies come first, and that means sometimes those traditional life investments, like buying a home, come second. And that’s okay. Continue reading “You Might be an Entrepreneur If…” »