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Nellie in the News – May 29, 2015

We’re starting something new on The Startup Starting Line. Each Friday, we’ll bring you great content that Nellie Akalp is writing around the Web, as well as press mentions and interviews. This week, get tips on starting and building a business, making sure it’s legal, and improving your productivity.

nellie in the news

Interviews & Press Mentions

  • Smart Hustle Magazine – Experts from Infusionsoft, CorpNet & GoDaddy Share Tips on Starting & Building a Business http://bit.ly/1Qdr3iA
  • NerdWallet – For CorpNet CEO, Helping Small Businesses Get Started is Good Business – http://nerd.me/1RAU8YP
  • GoDaddy – Starting and Building a Business – Hangout w/ Nellie, Ramon & Shawn live on the GoDaddy YouTube page http://bit.ly/1J2VDeg
  • Barry Moltz Podcast – Learn Three Tips to make sure your Business is Legal – http://bit.ly/1J1EvXQ
  • Carol Roth – tips for Improving Business Productivity – http://bit.ly/1FNgUYy
  • LearnSavvy – 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Incorporating Your Business – http://bit.ly/1A6tLEA
  • Hearpreneur – 19 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Businesses – http://bit.ly/1K4qCIR
  • Vernon Ross Podcast – How to Not Get Sued with Nellie AKalp – http://bit.ly/1cpUvoF

Expert Contributed Posts

 

By |May 29th, 2015|Business Tools|0 Comments

5 Tips to Creating Loyal and Long-Term Employees

609_3770018One of the things that I’m most proud of in running CorpNet is how long our staff has been with us. Many were there at the start. Our turnover is incredibly low. Clearly, we’re doing something right to keep our employees happy! Here are a few of the ways we do that.

1. Make the Job Fit the Person

Sure, when we first post a job description, we are looking for a specific set of skills in our next hire. But as we get to know each individual, their strengths begin to shine. We look for ways to enhance what they’re already passionate about. So if Katie in our Sales department is also adept at managing social media, we’re happy for her to take that over.

We want our staff to love what they do, as well as to be able to take on more of what they really enjoy doing. We don’t let those initial job descriptions limit them.

2. Implement Their Ideas

Around the office, our team knows if they have an idea on how we can run CorpNet smarter, they can bring it to me or Phil. And we don’t just smile blankly and say, “Uh huh. Great idea. We’ll take it into consideration.”

We actually use our employees’ ideas for improving productivity, marketing better, and overall being a smarter company. They appreciate being a part of the brains behind the company.

By |May 27th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

Facebook Adds New Tools for Marketers

1266_4926866Social media is a vital part of business marketing today and sites like Facebook and Twitter are well aware of it. Facebook’s powers-that-be know that if they don’t provide enough options for marketers, they’ll take their campaigns to the competition. As a result, social networking giants seem to constantly be searching for ways to help marketers connect with customers.

Proving its dedication to win the business customer over, Facebook has spent the first part of 2015 rolling out tools to make it easier to advertise on the site. Here are three tools that businesses can now use to deploy and manage successful campaigns.

Ads Manager App

Launched earlier this year, the ads manager app lets businesses manage their campaigns using a mobile device. This app is a follow up to Facebook’s decision to make a mobile-friendly version of its ad manager, letting users track the performance of ads, edit existing ads and budgets, and create ads. A push notification feature will alert campaign owners when an ad timeline is about to end or when a business’s spending limit has been reached.

Unfortunately, the ads manager app is currently only available for iOS. Facebook promises to release an Android version of the app later this year. To add Facebook’s ads manager app to your iPhone or iPad, visit the iTunes Store.

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

Knock Your Next Networking Event Out of the Park with These Tips

775_4216338All your social media efforts, blogging, and emails might not get you as far as one simple strategy: in-person networking. By building relationships with people in real time, you can pave the way for future sales success.

Still, few people actually master the art of smart networking. I’ve gleaned a few helpful strategies over my years of attending networking events to help you.

Practice Pre-Networking

Many events have an RSVP list available online, such as through Meetup.com or Eventbrite. This makes it easy for you to see who’s attending an upcoming event and do a little investigating on them. Connect with people you want to get to know on LinkedIn and other social platforms. If, after reviewing their profiles you find you have something in common with some of the other attendees (or they sound like your perfect customer), memorize their faces and make it a point to seek them out at the event. You’ll be able to say “I connected with you on LinkedIn” as your icebreaker.

Set a Goal

You’re not going to the event just to hang out. Nor are you going to cash in on $100k in sales. Find a goal somewhere in between, such as “to meet 5 people that fit my target demographic” or “to find a mentor.”

Having a goal for your event will make it easier for you to stay focused. If you end up talking with other people in your industry (and they’re not your ideal customers), then remembering your goal can nudge you to venture out to meet other kinds of people.

By |May 25th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Ways to Improve Your Sales Skills

863_4917428Selling is no easy feat, no matter if you’re selling cookies or corporations. In my 3 years working at CorpNet, I’ve picked up a tip or two that have improved my sales skills. Let me share what I’ve learned with you!

1. Be a Good Listener

This is relevant if you sell face-to-face (or ear-to-ear if you make sales over the phone), since you interact with customers a lot more than a business would, say, selling candles online. Once you stop pushing your sales agenda and just sit back and listen, the interaction between you and the potential customer becomes human-driven. The customer feels heard, and if you pay attention, you can learn valuable things that can actually help you close the sale.

Here’s an example: I was on the phone with a contact that had questions about starting a business. In between us talking about LLCs and corporations, I found out she has a daughter that was headed to a big dance competition that weekend. At the end of our call, I wished her daughter good luck in the competition. She seemed a bit surprised that I’d said it. Not 10 minutes later, I had an online order from her. It’s the little details that can really pay off!

2. Be a Resource, Not a Seller

This is where sales and marketing really align. If you’re doing a good job in marketing your small business through your blog, social media, email, and the rest, people will buy from you. But it’s not about blasting a “buy our product now!” message, but rather becoming an industry thought leader and giving people valuable information about your field. If what you provide is genuinely helpful, they’ll connect the dots and buy from you because they trust you.

By |May 22nd, 2015|Running A Small Business|0 Comments

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs: Why They’re Set Up for Success

201_4286315While it might surprise you that Baby Boomers — those 50 and over — make up one of the fastest growing segments of entrepreneurs, it shouldn’t. They are, it seems, pretty well-equipped to handle the ups and downs that running a business brings. Let’s look at the reasons Baby Boomers may be more likely to succeed than entrepreneurs of other ages.

Boomers Aren’t Looking to Get Rich Quick

Young, impetuous entrepreneurs and startup founders are known for building their businesses fast so they can cash out and go hang on a beach somewhere. Boomer ‘preneurs, on the other hand, have usually made their money and are on their current business endeavor out of passion and love. It’s not about the money, in other words.

They’ve Seen it All

Younger entrepreneurs tend to get rattled by recessions and economic downturns. Boomers, on the other hand, have been through many bumps in the economy and know that things always work out. That makes them more capable of seeing the big picture through rough times, and can make decisions accordingly.

By |May 20th, 2015|Running A Small Business|0 Comments

Fees for Incorporating by State: Understand Your Costs to Become a Corporation

672_4675869Here’s a question I get almost daily: what’s the best state to incorporate in?

The second most asked question I get is: “what are the fees for incorporating in [state]?”

It’s interesting that the fees vary so much. For example, to incorporate in Connecticut, it costs $455. That’s on the high end! On the opposite end is Mississippi, at just $50.

Answering the First Question

But before we look at the state fees for incorporation, let’s answer that question of where to incorporate.

The first states that people think of to incorporate in are Delaware and Nevada. Delaware has very pro-business laws and regulations, and Nevada has no state corporate income, franchise, or personal income tax. Even though they are both popular choices for incorporating, they aren’t always the best choice.

Here’s why: many states will charge you filing fees for the state you incorporate in, even if you don’t do business there. It can be difficult to open a business bank account in a state where you don’t actually do business.

My suggestion is if you start a business with five or fewer shareholders, incorporate in the state where you have a physical office and/or do the bulk of your business.

By |May 19th, 2015|Business Filings|2 Comments

6 Ways You Might be Keeping Yourself from Being a Rockstar Entrepreneur

158_2900969I fully believe that every entrepreneur has the potential for success. But sometimes, unfortunately, we get in our own way. Here are a few ways you might be limiting yourself from becoming that superstar business owner we all know you can be.

1. Not Asking Enough Questions

It pays to be inquisitive in every aspect of your business, from initial planning (“who will buy my product?”) to ongoing development (“is my product still relevant?”). The worst thing you can do is rest on those proverbial laurels and think because you’re on top of the world now, you will be tomorrow.

Questions lead to answers, and answers should lead you to make changes that will help you improve your business. If you’re not asking, you’re not growing.

2. Overlooking Market Research

I’ve met so many small business owners who think that market research is only for giant corporations. The opposite is true! Businesses of every size need to investigate their market, whether there’s even an audience for this product, and who the competitors are.

By |May 18th, 2015|Running A Small Business|0 Comments

The Formation of an LLC or S Corp: What You Need to Know

511_3060466This is a guest post from Jason Watson.

The most common way to create an S Corp is to first form a limited liability company (LLC) then elect to be taxed as an S Corporation.

But, the S Corp election can wait. And more importantly should wait. Why? $40,000 net income after expenses is the break-even point for an S-Corp. Not sure what you’ll earn? Not to worry, we can elect S Corp as far back as 3 ½ years using special IRS Revenue Procedures (as opposed to the 75 days provided in the Form 2553 instructions). Stay tuned for our next blog article on the late — as in super late — election.

Therefore our advice is to wait until November or December to decide if the election make sense, and then make it retroactive to the start of the LLC or January 1. So, get the LLC in place today and wait on the S Corp trigger until it makes sense (spoiler alert, you could be in the middle of March 2016, elect S Corp status back to January 2015 and run a late 2015 payroll event- all legit, pain in the butt for everyone, but all legit and routinely successful).

How it Works

Let’s say you are teetering on that $40,000 net income figure, and not sure about running payroll and all that jazz. You could still run your business income and expenses through your tax return as a sole proprietor or another single member LLC, and take the small self-employment tax hit. Then simply file a No Activity tax return for your S Corp.

If you expect to lose money the first two or three years, the S-Corp election should be avoided. A single-member LLC or sole proprietor can theoretically have unlimited losses where a partnership or S Corp cannot because of shareholder basis rules. Briefly, as an S Corp you are an investor and an employee. As an investor in any company, you cannot lose more than your investment. Same thing here.

By |May 16th, 2015|Business Filings|0 Comments

5 Tips to Smarter and More Efficient Business Meetings

430_3140256Nobody likes business meetings. So why do we have so many? Unfortunately, they’re a necessary evil when it comes to running a business. Having led my fair share of meetings at CorpNet, believe me: I hate it as much as my employees when I see them glaze over and stop listening to what I think is essential material. So I’ve devised my own strategies for waking them up and making the meetings more productive.

1. Meet More, Not Less

I know how this sounds, but hear me out. When you meet once a month (even once a week might not be often enough), your meetings tend to go on and on. People stop listening 15 minutes in. So while you have plenty of material to cover as you try to minimize your meeting frequency, you’re actually less productive when you try to get it all covered in a single meeting. Instead, opt for more meetings, but keep them short. Like: 15 minutes short. More on that next.

2. Keep Those Meetings Brief

I know, you’re still reeling from me suggesting that you hold a 15-minute meeting. Crazy, right? Hear me out. If you’re holding more frequent meetings, you don’t need them to all be an hour long. You’ll keep your staff’s attention span for such a short meeting, and they’ll be more likely to be productive as a result of the meeting. Set a timer if you have to, otherwise the meeting will go on and on.

By |May 15th, 2015|Business Operations, Managing People|0 Comments