100% Satisfaction
Guaranteed
Toll Free 1.888.892.0311
Mon - Fri 6AM to 6PM PST | Se Habla Español
NOW OPEN Saturdays 7AM to 3PM PST

The Top 5 Startup Starting Line Blog Posts from 2014

436_3085706If you haven’t perused the amazing content we have here on our blog, let this be your short list of posts to start reading. These are the most popular posts from 2014, and there’s plenty of great information to help you start a business!

  1. The Panic Attack That Saved My Business

This post was incredibly personal for me, as I shared a particularly vulnerable time. We, as business owners, often feel we have to do it all — and do it all well, but in reality that only breaks us.

Read about how I overcame my panic attacks to focus on my business.

  1. Why No One Is Reading Your Blog

If you’re new to blogging, you may be frustrated to see little traffic there. In this post, Susan Payton identifies key problems that may be keeping you from reaching the maximum number of blog readers. Continue reading “The Top 5 Startup Starting Line Blog Posts from 2014” »

Michigan LLC Annual Report: Understanding Deadlines and Filing Requirements

609_3691304If you have formed an LLC in Michigan, you’re in one of a handful of states that have a specific deadline for filing your Annual Report. It’s important that you stay on top of the deadline and get your paperwork turned in on time so that your LLC remains compliant. Here we’ll cover the details you need to know to keep your company in good standing.

The Annual Report Deadline

If your LLC was formed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, your deadline for filing your Annual Report is February 15, 2015. The same deadline goes for your company if it is a Professional Limited Liability Company. Other business structures have other deadlines:

  • General For Profit or Professional Service Corporation: May 15, 2015
  • Nonprofit Corporation: October 1, 2015

If you filed your LLC after September 30, 2014, you can skip this year for filing your Annual Report. Otherwise, you are required to file one each year by February 15. Continue reading “Michigan LLC Annual Report: Understanding Deadlines and Filing Requirements” »

When a Social Media Page Can (and Cannot) Take The Place Of a Website

985_4787941Do I need a website or can I get by with just a social media page? This is a question you may have asked yourself, especially if you’re just starting out in a new business.

In one sense, both a social media page and a website serve a similar purpose.  Both provide the chance for you and the customer to connect with one another. Used the right way, both can be excellent promotional tools for your business.

Whether you can get by with just a social media presence as a substitute for a website depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

Advantages of a Social Media Page

Let’s first look at the benefits of having a social media page take the place of a website.

The biggest selling point in this regard is that social media is free. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Instagram, there are no charges levied, unless you want to pay up to get advertising or sponsored updates. This is good for businesses on a budget. Continue reading “When a Social Media Page Can (and Cannot) Take The Place Of a Website” »

Is Your Annual Report Due Soon?

740_4759197In some states, the Annual Report is due on the anniversary of your business filing date. But in others, there’s a set deadline. Miss this deadline and risk being noncompliant, and possibly incurring fees from your Secretary of State.

What is an Annual Report?

Once you’ve formed an LLC or incorporated your business, you immediately have more administrative duties than you did as a sole proprietor. While an LLC involves significantly less paperwork and formal administration than a corporation, both business entities generally need to file an Annual Report with the state. Here’s what you need to know about this important filing to keep your small business in corporate compliance: Continue reading “Is Your Annual Report Due Soon?” »

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers

449_4728396If you’re one of the millions of freelancers working in design, accounting, writing, marketing, SEO, or any other field, you have your own unique challenges as a business owner. But with the start of a new year, you have the opportunity to make 2015 your best year ever!

To that end, here are some resolutions you should consider adding to your list.

 

  1. Get Serious About Your Business.

 

There’s a fine line between a freelancer and a business owner. Ask yourself why you haven’t crossed that line, where potential customers might take you more seriously. Continue reading “5 New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers” »

How to Be a Rockstar Business Owner AND Parent

796_3799105If you’re a parent in addition to being an entrepreneur, you know the struggle you sometimes have in giving both roles your all (don’t even get me started about the other roles you’ve got: spouse, sibling, child, friend!). But trust me: you can kill it as both a business owner and a parent. It just takes a little planning and balance.

 

  1. Be 100%

 

If you work from home and have small children, you might think it makes sense to keep them home with you. But let me ask you a question: will your business thrive or suffer as a result? Most of us find it hard to fully dedicate ourselves to our businesses when we’ve got kids distracting us, and we don’t do our kids any favors by checking our email when we’re supposed to be watching them ice skate.

Whichever role you’re in, be there fully. That means you have to stop multitasking between the two, and you may get less done. But you’ll get it done well if you’re fully focused.

  1. Talk to Your Kids About Entrepreneurship

Children tend to feel a disconnect if you’re away from home and they don’t have a clue what you’re doing. So talk to them; tell them about the big project you’re working on, and explain why it’s keeping you working late for a few weeks. Take them to the office so they can see what you do. They’ll feel more vested in your success if they’re a part of it. Continue reading “How to Be a Rockstar Business Owner AND Parent” »

A 12-Month Plan to Better Content Marketing

630_4399256When you stand at the start of a new year, there are nothing but possibilities for your small business. What do you want to accomplish in the next twelve months? Make the most of the next year by creating a plan to develop your content marketing skills.

January – Tell a better story

Telling a compelling story is the germane aspect of content marketing — sometimes you tell the story with a picture, but usually words are involved in some way. This month focus on improving your ability to tell a story. Writing is the center of all storytelling, so make sure you examine the building blocks of writing. Use these tips to get started with your writing practice. Writing is a skill that develops with practice, so persevere to improve.

February – Create spectacular titles

A compelling title guarantees more readers. Just as the right cover can make or break sales on a newly published book, your title influences how many people will click through to read the rest of your article. This month practice writing irresistible titles that tantalize your readers and encourage engagement. Continue reading “A 12-Month Plan to Better Content Marketing” »

Get Up, Startup, and Fire Up Your Business with Nellie Akalp and Ramon Ray

What could you learn in an hour that could help you jet fuel your startup? Our CEO, Nellie Akalp, along with Ramon Ray, publisher of Smart Hustle Magazine, have dedicated their time this Thursday to help you do just that.

They are the hosts of the SCORE Live Webinar Get Up, Startup, and Fire Up Your Business. This event is going to give you the best practices of successful startups, as well as caution you of the pitfalls to avoid. You’ll learn tools and systems you can use to grow your business.

Both Nellie and Ramon are experienced entrepreneurs, and they will share some of their personal stories, challenges, and lessons learned.

You can’t afford to miss this free event.

The Details

When: Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 1 pm Eastern, 10 am Pacific

Where: Online. Register here

Why: Because you’re committed to starting an amazing business this year, and want to learn from the experts!

Don’t Wait to Register! You don’t want to be left behind for this webinar!

How to Form a Corporation: Appointing a Board of Directors

430_3141096If you’ve decided to form a corporation, congratulations to you! You’re on the right track to protecting yourself and taking your business more seriously. But the work’s not done yet. One of the steps you’ll need to do in the incorporating process is to appoint a Board of Directors.

By law, your corporation must have a Board to represent it and to make decisions on behalf of shareholders. The number of members required will vary from state to state. For example, if you incorporate in California, you’re required to have at least one Board member.

Having more can be advantageous, as it’s your Board that will help you make decisions about your company. Together, you can determine your business’ path for:

  • Strategic growth
  • Issuing shares
  • Raising prices
  • Adding new products

Continue reading “How to Form a Corporation: Appointing a Board of Directors” »

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Forming an LLC

609_3807878If “form an LLC” is on your list of goals for the year, listen up. There are plenty of benefits to setting your business up as an LLC, but you’ll need to weigh those against the benefits of incorporating and decide which is best for your business.

  • Forming an LLC “Scotchgards” Your Company

 

Just like a corporation, your LLC is a great protective shield for your personal assets. If your LLC incurs debts or is sued, creditors and the court cannot take your personal assets to cover expenses. This gives you peace of mind in knowing you won’t jeopardize your family’s home or savings accounts if you start a business.

  1. LLCs Require Fewer Hoops to Jump Through

Some people shy away from incorporating a business because they have to hold regular Board meetings, shareholder meetings, and file additional paperwork. That’s what’s neat about the LLC: you get all of the benefits of incorporation with less legwork.

  1. You’ll File Your Taxes Once

When you operate as a sole proprietor, you may have to file personal and business taxes separately. But when you form an LLC, you get what’s called “pass through” tax treatment, meaning that you report your business’ profits and losses on your personal income tax forms. Just one filing! Continue reading “6 Things You Didn’t Know About Forming an LLC” »