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Whip Your Business Into Shape: 6 Tools to Be More Productive

progress bar, funny design with concept of productivity loading

Productivity. It’s a buzzword for every entrepreneur as we continually strive to find tools and tricks to help us get more done in the time we have to work on our businesses. I don’t know what business owners did 20 years ago to be more productive, because they didn’t have nearly the apps and software that we have today. Here are a few tools that will complement any small business owner’s arsenal.

  1. Google Calendar

I have a friend who managed to triple book herself one weekend. She was a fan of the paper agenda, but that situation made her immediately start using Google Calendar. When you’ve got too many meetings, deadlines, and phone calls to keep up with, a paper calendar (that won’t ding when you need to be somewhere) just doesn’t cut it.

Google Calendar syncs across all computers, tablets, and mobile phones, so you always have your most recent appointments and you’ll never miss anything.

  1. CorpNet’s B.I.Z.

If you’ve incorporated your business, you still have important paperwork to file each year. That’s where the Business Information Zone is great: it automatically reminds you of any paperwork that needs filing or updating. No need to remember, and you’ll never get hit with a late penalty fee.

  1. Insightly CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) has evolved in the past few years. Now you can use it for more than just recording contact information; with Insightly, you can even follow your contacts on social media or scan business cards right into your CRM. It’s clearly not your brother’s CRM. Continue reading “Whip Your Business Into Shape: 6 Tools to Be More Productive” »

By |October 13th, 2015|Business Checklists|0 Comments

Getting Your Calendar Lined Up with Your Corporate Filing Deadlines

CalendarAs you get organized for the end of the year, add cleaning up your corporate filings calendar to your to do list. It’s important that you keep track of important filing dates, as well as when incorporation or LLC fees are due to avoid late penalties.

When Is Your Paperwork Due?

If your state requires you to file an Annual Report (some states don’t require them, while others require a Biennial Report), find out when it’s due each year. Some states make it due a year from your incorporation anniversary, while others require these documents to be submitted during a specific month each year. Whichever your state requires, it will be the same each year.

For example: when you create an LLC in Nevada, the Annual List is due on or before the last day of the first month after filing your articles of organization. So if you first filed your LLC paperwork in June, your Annual List would be due by July 31. Continue reading “Getting Your Calendar Lined Up with Your Corporate Filing Deadlines” »

By |October 12th, 2015|Business Filings|0 Comments

Your Questions Answered: What Are The Fees for Forming an LLC in Nevada?

Fire Wave - beautifully striped sandstone rock formation, Valley of Fire State Park, NV.

If you’re thinking about starting a business in Nevada, or already have and want to set it up as an LLC, you probably have a lot of questions about why an LLC is best for you.

Before we get into the costs for forming an LLC in Nevada, let’s address some of your other questions.

What are the Benefits of Forming an LLC in Nevada?

Nevada LLCs provide plenty of benefits for entrepreneurs in that state. For one, your personal assets are protected. If your business were ever sued, your personal assets could not be taken as long as you operate an LLC (or corporation). If you operate as a sole proprietor, your assets are vulnerable in this situation.

Another benefit for LLCs in Nevada is that you can take advantage of what’s called pass-through tax. Rather than filing a separate tax return for your business, you simply pass on the profit and loss to your personal income tax forms come April.

Business owners like the LLC business entity because the business structure can outlive them, and can be transferred to a new owner should they sell their business in Nevada. Also there are fewer formalities with the LLC than the corporation, which is a benefit for busy entrepreneurs.

What are the Costs to Form an LLC in Nevada?

Now the question you’ve been waiting for: what are the fees to form an LLC in Nevada? If you do the paperwork yourself, you’ll need to pay a fee of $75 when you submit your LLC paperwork with the Nevada Secretary of State. If you want your paperwork processed faster, you can pay a $125 expedite fee. Continue reading “Your Questions Answered: What Are The Fees for Forming an LLC in Nevada?” »

By |October 8th, 2015|Fees for Starting a Business|0 Comments

Get More Out of Content Marketing with Infographics

Infographic digital design, vector illustration eps 10

Infographic digital design, vector illustration eps 10

Now that you’ve been using content marketing to build a better relationship with your audience and make it easier for potential customers to find you, you might be wondering how you can make your appeal stronger and provide more captivating content. As part of our 12-month analysis into how to improve your content marketing, we’ve looked at how to write engaging titles, boost social media strategies, and utilize email to connect with your audience. This month the focus is on infographics and how they can help grab your audience’s attention.

Infographics are a fusion of strong visuals and key ideas. They take information and create an easily digestible, portable way of compressing content. Think about the last time you flipped through a news magazine. You may have disregarded articles that did not grab your interest, but as you fanned through the pages, was your glance captured by a chart or other means of data visualization? If so, you’ve experienced the allure and power of infographics. You should think about using infographics for many reasons, but here are the most compelling:


1. They Tell a Story


Infographics digest a narrative into a small chunk of intelligence, but they are still masterful at conveying a story. You can use them to share a product’s path to market or talk about variances in your customer base, or even the types of products or services you offer. Their power is that they transfer information to your audience visually. Continue reading “Get More Out of Content Marketing with Infographics” »

By |October 7th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Have you Maxed Out Your Tax Deductions?

US tax form 1042, foreign person's US source income subject to Witholding

While you have still got several weeks before the end of the year — and therefore the end of the tax year — now is a good time to think about your tax deductions and make sure that you maximize your business expenses  to benefit when you file your taxes Every expense you invest in your business can be an expense that helps you reduce your taxable income. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you max out your tax deductions before the end of 2015.

What is Tax Deductible?

If you’re new to filing small business taxes, you not might not be sure what expenses qualify as deductible ones on your tax return.

Essentially anything that you use to grow your business, including advertising, office equipment, software, and payroll, are considered business expenses that you need to list on your taxes come April.

Don’t overlook your home office if you work from home. The IRS allows deductions based on a calculation that takes the size of your home office into account, as well as your rent or mortgage.

In this post, you can learn about some other commonly overlooked tax deductions. Continue reading “Have you Maxed Out Your Tax Deductions?” »

By |October 5th, 2015|Business Finance, Taxes|0 Comments

Nellie in the News – October 2, 2015

Around the web this month, Nellie Akalp has been talking about what state to incorporate in, business licenses, and how to find a good mentor. Enjoy this roundup of posts and interviews!

nellie in the news

Interviews & Press Mentions

Continue reading “Nellie in the News – October 2, 2015” »

By |October 2nd, 2015|Nellie in the News|0 Comments

What is Bootstrapping?

Hand writing Bootstrapping with marker, business conceptWhen you start a business, it’s inevitable that you’ll need funding: funding for equipment, inventory, payroll, and oh yea, you might want to pay yourself as well! While you’ve got many options to consider for how you’ll get that funding, bootstrapping is one that might move to the top of your list.

What It Is

Bootstrapping simply refers to funding your startup on your own. The saying “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” means to help yourself without assistance from anyone else. The same applies to your startup. By not relying on a bank loan or investors to fund your company, you are essentially pulling your business up by its own bootstraps.

Why to Consider It

When you take out a small business loan, you owe monthly payments, and are beholden to that loan until it is paid off. If you bring on investors to enhance your finances, you give up a piece of equity in your company in exchange. Often, they’ll want to give input on how you run your business. If you pay for business expenses with credit cards or a second mortgage, you’re also financially responsible for that debt. Continue reading “What is Bootstrapping?” »

By |October 1st, 2015|Business Finance, Startups|0 Comments

Bone Up on Podcasting

podcast word in metal typeAs you learn how to run a business, it’s always a good idea to add variety to your content marketing strategy. Podcasting, or an episodic series of digital audio broadcasts, is another way of distributing content to your audience. People may argue the specifics of what makes a podcast a podcast, but the only thing that is not disputed is that the audience for podcasts grows each month. Meanwhile the experts argue about whether the medium is in “the middle of a long boom or a short bubble,” but everyone agrees that podcasting is an emerging way to nurture an audience.

While the term initially referred to “pod” devices (remember those?), now all you need is an Internet-connected computer with some sort of speaker or a smartphone to quickly and easily download and listen to podcasts. The draw is that you can listen to conversations and dialogues on a wide variety of topics, involving passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated storytellers and thinkers whenever you have the time.

In this installment of our twelve month series focused on improving and developing your content marketing skills, we’ll investigate the ins and outs of podcasting as a marketing tool and how you can explore this emerging space for interesting content.


  1. Investigate podcasts that focus on your industry.

You have your work cut out for you this month. If you’ve never listened to a podcast and feel like you’re bumping around in the dark, you should be able to use a simple query in a search engine to find your way to a curated list. Some smartphones offer a “Podcast” app that you can use to find suitably themed podcasts. Focus on casting a fairly wide net which helps you find a broad variety of voices and perspectives. Continue reading “Bone Up on Podcasting” »

By |September 30th, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Young Entrepreneurs: 10 Tips For Business-Savvy College Students

If you’re a young entrepreneur who dreams of starting a business after graduation, congrats. Becoming an entrepreneur is a wonderful goal for someone your age. To get you off on the right foot, here is my Starting a Business Checklist for you:

1. Learn What You Can Now

You’re lucky that you’re in college, because you’re in the perfect environment to learn. No matter what your major is, consider taking classes that will make you savvier as an entrepreneur. These might include courses on:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Industry-specific knowledge, like hospitality or education

2. Pay Attention on Social Media

Even if you’ve got nothing to contribute to the social conversation going on about small business, it’s another great training resource. Sign up for Twitter. Join business groups on LinkedIn. Follow hashtags on your industry. Pay attention to what thought leaders are talking about and read the content they share.

Before long, you’ll be ready to jump in with your own thoughts. You don’t have to wait until you have a business to be active on social media. Now is as good a time as any. Continue reading “Young Entrepreneurs: 10 Tips For Business-Savvy College Students” »

By |September 28th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments

5 Ways to Lower Your Risk When Starting a Business

It’s important to understand when starting a business: there is no 100% guaranteed way to eliminate the risk that entrepreneurship brings. You can’t be sure your customers will pay you on time. Your employees can quit without notice. Your vendors might deliver damaged products. All of these, among other risks, make it difficult for you to know what’s going to happen tomorrow, much less next year.

And while you can’t completely get rid of that risk, there are at least a few measures you can take to lower it.

Trademark a Business Name

You want your business to be the only one with its name. But without the proper precautions, it’s simply vulnerable. That’s why it’s a good idea to trademark a business name to legally protect it from being used by anyone else.

Keep Money in Reserve

Don’t wait until you have a cash crunch to make a plan on how to keep cash flowing. Sometimes clients don’t pay you on time, and you don’t want that to disrupt your ability to pay your own bills. Set aside a portion of every payment you receive in a savings account that will be available should you have a costly emergency and need to access funds quickly. Continue reading “5 Ways to Lower Your Risk When Starting a Business” »

By |September 24th, 2015|Starting a Business|0 Comments