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Add Hours to Your Business Day by Handling These 5 Tasks Online

775_4297457When it comes to being more productive, you’ve got to give a hand to technology. Just think of how much less we’d get done when it comes to business efficiency if we didn’t have the Internet and all those amazing apps we use to get work done.

Still, I’m amazed at how many people still do certain tasks the hard way, when there are easier ways to do them online. Take a leap into the 21st century by updating these business processes.

1. Scheduling Your Staff

If you run a business that operates with an ever-changing schedule, you might be manually hand-writing the weekly schedule or entering it into an unwieldy spreadsheet. There’s a better way.

Employee scheduling software takes all those moving pieces and parts — who can work when, who’s on vacation, who needs to shadow a more seasoned employee — and puts them together. You can create a repeating schedule, see vacation requests, and even email or text your staff their weekly schedule. Continue reading “Add Hours to Your Business Day by Handling These 5 Tasks Online” »

By |August 27th, 2015|Running A Small Business|0 Comments

Marketing From the Ground Up

962_4076598I meet a lot of small business owners who are frustrated because they try one or two marketing strategies like email or blogging, and then don’t understand why those techniques don’t send them traffic.

What I tell them — and will tell you — is that you have to start with the right foundation and have marketing goals if you want to actually move the needle and get results.

Why Goal-Setting is Key

Any marketing technique you could do — from having a strong online presence to sending promotional emails — needs a tether. That tether is your plan, along with your goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish can help you measure results.

Making SMART Goals

There’s a popular strategy for setting goals that I’d like to apply to creating marketing goals. It’s the SMART strategy, which says to make your goals: Continue reading “Marketing From the Ground Up” »

By |August 26th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

HR-in-a-Box: Which is the Best for Small Businesses?

Human resources spinning wheels conceptThis is a guest post by Meredith Wood.

As a small business owner, you may not have enough revenue to justify hiring a full-fledged human resources department. But this doesn’t mean you can overlook the importance of HR-related tasks. Luckily, there are many companies out there whose mission is to help young businesses like yours tackle the complicated world of HR (without costing you a fortune).

There are many benefits of working with an HR service. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • You save major time by handing these tasks over to an outside service
  • You save a ton money as you don’t have to hire as many (if any) dedicated HR professionals
  • You can have peace of mind in knowing that you are in the hands of an experienced team
  • You’ve got somebody to answer all those insanely difficult HR questions
  • It’s easy to scale your business without any HR-related concerns

Hopefully you’re excited about these potential benefits. But, where do you start? Which “HR-in-a-Box” service is best for your small business? Continue reading “HR-in-a-Box: Which is the Best for Small Businesses?” »

By |August 25th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

Get Back Your Time: 5 Tools to Help You Manage Your Small Business Tasks

112_2825531I have to be really disciplined to ensure that I make the most of my time at work. After all, there’s so much to do and so little time to do it! For business time management, I’ve discovered a few cool tools that help me do more with the time I have.

1. Wunderlist

Who doesn’t have a giant list of things to do? I try to remember them in my head, but given that my wife, Nellie, often wags her finger at me for forgetting, I guess that doesn’t always work so well. So now I use Wunderlist. I can jot down something as I remember it on my phone, then mark it off when it’s done.

I like it as well because I can assign employees tasks and we can collaborate via a chat function about the task.

2. Slack

I’ve got so much going on on any given day, I feel like I don’t always have the time it takes to walk through my office to talk to the employee I need to communicate with. That’s where Slack comes in handy. We use it to communicate about projects we’re working on, and we can set up different channels for each project to keep our chats organized. Continue reading “Get Back Your Time: 5 Tools to Help You Manage Your Small Business Tasks” »

By |August 24th, 2015|Business Tools|0 Comments

Surviving Your First Year As A Small Business Owner


This post originally appeared on Forbes


small business ownerIf you are launching a business, you have probably heard the horror stories of business failure after business failure. Listen to some of the naysayers and you’ll start believing that 90% of new businesses are destined to fail. However, the reality is much brighter: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, 75% of new businesses survive the first year, 69% survive the first two years, and 50% make it to five years.

Granted, a 50-50 chance of surviving to year five may not sound that great, but you don’t have to sit back and let chance dictate your fate. After working with thousands of new businesses and having started several myself, here are some of the things I have learned to help set a new business up for success:

Create a business plan

When you’re not looking for an investor or bank loan, it’s tempting to skip a business plan altogether. However, the process of writing out your plans is a great way to hone your vision: what problem are you trying to solve? Whose lives are you trying to improve? What’s your realistic timeframe for launch, sales, and profitability? You don’t need a 100-page document, but your plan should be detailed enough to determine if you have a good target market and business model.

Keep your expenses low

New businesses typically fail because they run out of money, so it makes sense to keep your costs as low as possible until you build out your product and sales start coming in. Only hire people you desperately need; use contractors and freelancers for the rest. If you don’t actually need the space, forgo an office for as long as possible. And, in general, spend money on the things you need, not the things you think a business should have.

Reinvest back in the company

When going from a salaried job to entrepreneurship, it’s hard to give up the stability of a paycheck. But the first money you make should be reinvested back into the company, your product, and marketing. Many times, owners are the last ones to be paid during the first year.

Don’t mistake hyperactivity for productivity

In today’s culture, we are busy all the time. But how much of this busyness is actually moving the company forward? During the first year, you need to be very selective in how you spend your time and resources. Too many entrepreneurs burn the candles at both ends, yet only move sideways and not forward.

Don’t say yes to every request that comes your way. When considering each customer request, event, marketing, or partnership opportunity, think about how it fits into your overall game plan and priorities.

Focus on the customer

Your goal isn’t to create an awesome product or business; it’s to help your customer. Be very attuned to their needs and adapt everything based on their feedback. When you build something that people actually need and want, sales will follow.

Build your network

Generally speaking, the more people you know, the better. Anyone could be a potential partner, customer, source of inspiration, or sounding board. Reach out to professionals in your field or others who have started their own businesses. The more people you reach out to, the more opportunities will come your way and the more supporters you’ll have when you need them.

Be respectful of people’s time, but also fearless in reaching out for meetings. When you meet, ask questions, give others opportunities to talk about themselves, always pick up the tab, and send a follow-up thank you. Most important, remember the golden rule in networking: The more you give, the more people want to give back.

Measure and adapt

In the early days, resources are particularly tight, so it’s critical to make sure your money and time are being spent in the right places. Never assume you know what’s going on in your business; back everything up with numbers.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in analytics and charts, but you should have 2-4 key metrics for your business that you keep track of at all times. For example, where is your website or foot traffic coming from? What’s your gross profit percentage per product or project?

Make a longer runway

It’s common for new entrepreneurs to give themselves a test year to see what happens. Then, if they’re not profitable after that year, they decide to close shop. The problem is that many businesses need more than a year to reach profitability. One of the best ways to last beyond the year mark is to recognize and plan for the fact that it may realistically take 18-24 months for your business to get off the ground.

Launching a business is a risky, stress-inducing endeavor. But more small businesses actually succeed than fail in their first year. If you are ready, don’t be afraid to take the plunge and start your dream business, but be conservative in your spending, plan, measure, adapt, then adapt some more.

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Image by Photospin.

By |August 22nd, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

Nellie in the News – August 21, 2015

Where should you start a business if you’re a female entrepreneur? How can you start an ecommerce business? Should you go back to school to help your company thrive? These are all questions that CEO Nellie Akalp has answered through various small business channels.

nellie in the news

Interviews & Press Mentions

Expert Contributed Posts

  • Small Business Trends – Your 10 Point Checklist to Starting an Ecommerce Business http://bit.ly/1PgYMJd
  • Small Business Trends –  Do You Need More Education to Succeed in Business? http://bit.ly/1INIrqQ

By |August 21st, 2015|Nellie in the News|0 Comments

Businesses to Start: Home-Based, Retail, and Services

430_5024362When you first think about starting a business, you might not even know what type of business you want to start. There are so many options out there, so you want to make sure you choose the best one for your skills and interests.

Here I want to cover three types of businesses to start: home-based, retail, and service businesses. Whichever resonates with you the most is probably the one you should start.

Home-Based Business: Zero Commute and Plenty of Flexibility

Millions of Americans run home-based businesses and thrive on the benefits. After all, having zero commute, being able to be close to your kids, and having a flexible schedule are pretty attractive, aren’t they?

Some types of businesses are better suited for being run from your home, like those that don’t require you meeting customers face-to-face. Some options for your home-based business include:

  • Writing services
  • Customer service
  • Ecommerce (selling products online)
  • Accounting
  • Legal services

A word of advice: while it might seem easy and fun to work out of your home, it’s not for everyone. Many people find that they’re too easily distracted by the television, snacks in the fridge, or the kids to get any work done. Be honest with yourself about how disciplined you can be working from home. Continue reading “Businesses to Start: Home-Based, Retail, and Services” »

By |August 20th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

How to Research the Permits and Licenses You Need to Start Your Business

775_4538167One of the first things you need to do when you start a business is apply for any and all business permits and licenses that you’re required to have.

The 411 on Business Permits and Licenses

Every state, county, and city has requirements for the companies that do business there. It can be challenging to keep up with requirements at every level, but if you fail to apply for the appropriate business permits, your company could be fined or even shut down.

The purpose of business licenses and permits is to ensure that the businesses in your community are following certain regulations and procedures in their operations. For example, every single restaurant in your town has to have a Food & Beverage license in order to serve food and drinks. License holders are required to take a food safety course so they know the proper way to prepare and store foods, and keep their customers safe. Continue reading “How to Research the Permits and Licenses You Need to Start Your Business” »

By |August 19th, 2015|Business Checklists, Business Operations|0 Comments

3 Reasons You SHOULDN’T Take Out a Small Business Loan

545_4574386If you run a startup, in the beginning, things will be tight. You may dream of all the things you could do with just a little more cash. While small business loans are great in the right situations, there are specific instances where they can be more of a drawback.

If any of these are reasons you’d give for wanting to take out a loan, I encourage you to tighten your belt and find other ways to grow your business.

1. You Can’t Pay Your Bills

Seems like a good reason to take out a loan, right? But when you’re strapped for cash, with no knowledge of when money will begin to flow in, taking out a loan is like trying to fill a big hole with water…with a spoon. You may get the funds to pay  what’s due now, but what happens next month? And the month after that?

A Better Alternative: If you know you have invoices due and expect the money to come in soon, consider taking out a factoring loan against pending invoices. This is a quick, short term fix when you have money coming in soon, but need to cover expenses now. Continue reading “3 Reasons You SHOULDN’T Take Out a Small Business Loan” »

By |August 17th, 2015|Business Finance|0 Comments

CorpNet Named #2505 in Inc 5000 List

We are thrilled to announce that we are #2505 in Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 List. Each year, Inc. ranks the fastest-growing private companies in America, and the top 5000 make the list.

5000

We’ve been busy over the past few years, and our 149% 3-year growth is a testament to our hard work. We’ve grown our staff from just Phil and Nellie Akalp to an 8-person team, and have continually added new jobs to our business. Last year’s revenues were $2.4 million, which is just the tip of the iceberg of where we want to go.

We are so honored to join this prestigious list of businesses on the Inc. 5000 list.  Our team has worked really hard to get to where we are today, and when you have passion and purpose, coupled with a clear vision of what’s ahead, success is a natural outcome. This is simply another form of validation for the CorpNet team that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, which is continuing to set the bar in providing the best level of service out there when it comes to assisting entrepreneurs with their business filings in any state.

We would like to thank all of our customers who have contributed to our success. It’s because of the thousands of entrepreneurs who we have helped incorporate or form an LLC that we have earned such an honor.

View our Inc. 5000 listing here.

By |August 14th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments