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11 Steps You Should Take to Improve Your Q4 Marketing

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment) with graphs

Businessman drawing ROI (return on investment) with graphs

As of September 30th, there will only be about 90 days left in the year and Q4 will be a reality. Rather than worrying about what you haven’t done, take time right now to research, prepare, and launch your Q4 marketing. So what do retailers need to be doing now to be ready for Q4? Here are 11 things you can do to to get your business ready:


  1. Look at last year’s campaigns and repeat what works.


Study last year’s Q4 trends to see which tactics worked and which failed. Be tough in your evaluations. Why waste your time on efforts that don’t produce results? If your business is more recent, you can use tools like Google Trends to investigate the what and when of relevant keywords in your field.

  1. Build campaigns around the products you want to push.

As a retailer, you may have a special or innovative product that you are excited to share with your customers. Use these distinctive products as the centerpiece of your Q4 campaign and build your efforts around this offering.

  1. Start your social media efforts now.

This is the prime time to develop your Q4 social media push by making Pinterest boards featuring your products, developing a unique Twitter contest or creating a Facebook ad to attract your target market. Continue reading “11 Steps You Should Take to Improve Your Q4 Marketing” »

By |September 2nd, 2015|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Happy Birthday Nellie!


Today we celebrate the birthday of our CEO, Nellie Akalp!

Nellie has been an inspiration to us all at CorpNet every single day encouraging everyone to go after our dreams and reach for the stars. We would not be the people we are today if she were not in our lives and we all want to wish her the happiest birthday!

Join us in celebrating and leave your birthday greeting for Nellie in a comment below!

Happy Birthday Nellie from all of us here at CorpNet!

“I wish you Happiness, Health, and a life filled with laughter and passion.” – Phil

“Happy birthday Nellie! Thank you for being such a constant inspiration and for also being so motivating for everyone here in the office. You always push us to be the best that we can and it is greatly appreciated. Enjoy you special day!” – Genevra

“Happy Birthday Nellie, thank you for being such a great boss, mentor and friend to be for the last 15 years. You inspire me to great every day. Love you and have a great birthday!“ – Amanda

“Happy Birthday Nellie, Thanks for being such an amazing boss, I’m Truly blessed to work for you. Hope you have a Fabulous day. You deserve it. XOXOXO” – Shannon

“Nellie, I hope this is your best birthday yet! Thank you for always being there to inspire me and make me laugh. We can’t wait to celebrate your special day with you!” – Katie

“Happy birthday Nellie! May God bless you with many more years full of love, family, friends, health, and of course…CorpNet!” – Milton

“Nellie, your passion and love for this company inspires me every day. You’ve been such a positive impact in my life and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. I’m so grateful to spend another year celebrating your special day!!” – Kaitlin

“Wishing Nellie the happiest of birthdays and many, many more to come! She is truly an inspiration to us all every single day!” – Allison

“Working with Nellie, I am always so impressed with her passion for helping small business owners. It’s truly inspirational.” – Susan

By |September 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Expect the Unexpected: Preparing for Surprises with Access to Capital

Glass bank for tips with money isolated on white

Regardless of the business you’re in, it pays to be prepared for unexpected expenses. While some surprises are less expensive than others, there are times when having access to extra capital can mean the difference between keeping your business moving forward or making do without.

A rainy-day fund is a good place to start. How much you should save to cover emergency expenses is largely determined by the nature of the business you’re in, but setting aside some of your profits every month to cover unexpected expenses down the road is just a good idea.

A short-term online business loan might also be an option to access capital quickly to cover an unexpected expense. Online business lenders are often able to offer approvals in a matter of minutes and have funds deposited in a business checking account in as little as 24 hours, making it possible to access capital quickly to address an emergency expense. Continue reading “Expect the Unexpected: Preparing for Surprises with Access to Capital” »

By |September 1st, 2015|Business Finance|0 Comments

5 Hard Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn

775_4704775Despite the fact that I’m now running my second successful business filing company, I continue to learn lessons in everything I do as an entrepreneur. Sure, they’re not as frequent as they were when I was first starting a new business, but they’re just as helpful in teaching me how to be an entrepreneur who succeeds in business and life.

Sometimes those lessons are harder to take than others. Here are a few new business lessons to add to your list.

Lesson 1: It’s Never Easy, and When It Is, It’s Temporary

Any entrepreneur will tell you that the path to success is a long and hard one. There’s simply no truth to the “overnight success” myth we get fed. A lot of overnight successes take years and years to actually happen.

You have to have a strong stomach to deal with the challenges. A recession. An angry customer. More competition than you can handle. These are all difficult challenges, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to overcome them, it’s so worth it.

Lesson 2: Failure is Acceptable

This is a lesson I’ve seen firsthand. First of all, know that you will fail. Not one of us on this earth is perfect, and failure is inevitable. But it’s not the end of your game in business. If you’re willing to learn from failure, it can bring great change that will help your business grow. It’s all in your attitude. Continue reading “5 Hard Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn” »

By |August 31st, 2015|Business Operations, Running A Small Business|0 Comments

Did You Overlook Trademarking Your Brand?

business ideasYou probably didn’t come up with the perfect business or product name overnight. Most likely, you brainstormed. You sought the advice of colleagues and friends. You tested out a few options, and checked what domain names were available. In short, you’ve invested a lot of time to create and build the brand.

How well are you protecting this valuable asset? Do you know if you’re legally allowed to use the name you picked, and what will prevent someone else from using the same name?

Whether you just launched a business, have been running one for years, or are considering starting a new venture, there’s always more to learn.

Here’s what you need to know about trademarks and branding.

What is a trademark?

Let’s start at the beginning. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design (or a combination of any of these) that identifies the source of a product or service and distinguishes it from competitors. Trademarks can be given for product names, company names, logos, and taglines.

Let’s use Nike as an example. “Nike”, the Nike swoosh design, and “Just Do It” are all trademarks owned by Nike to distinguish their products. But keep in mind, that trademark protection typically applies to a particular category of goods and services. In Nike’s case, these are athletic companies, sporting goods, clothing, shoes, etc. That’s why there’s also a Nike Corporation that’s involved in hydraulic jacks and industrial machinery.

Do you need a trademark?

One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of trademark law is you don’t actually have to officially register a trademark with USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office). If your company creates a brand new logo or name, you essentially have “common law” rights from the first time the name or logo is used in commerce. You can even attach the TM symbol by it.

However, if you register a trademark with the USPTO, you’re going to have much stronger brand protection compared to common law rights.

What are the benefits of registering a trademark?

By registering for U.S. Federal Trademark protection, you’ll be eligible for several benefits, including:

  • Treble damages in some cases where another company infringes on your mark
  • The right to use ® in your trademark (instead of just TM)
  • A streamlined process for securing your domains and usernames at social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
  • Significantly stronger protection than ‘common law’ (aka. unregistered) marks.
  • This can make it much easier to recover your property, let’s say if someone happens to use your company name as their Twitter handle.

I’ve already registered my name with the state. Do I still need a trademark?

When you incorporate, form an LLC, or file a DBA (Doing Business As) for your new business, this process registers your business name with your state’s secretary of state. Before approving your application, the state checks that your name is distinguishable from all other business names registered in the state. Once your application is approved, the business name is yours, and yours alone, to use within the state. This protects anyone else from using your name within your state, but it doesn’t offer any kind of protection in the other 49 states.

Let’s say you’ve started a business that’s physically tied to your state (like a restaurant) and you have no plans on expanding to another state. In this case, registering your business name with the state (either through a legal formation like an LLC or Corp or getting a DBA) is probably enough brand protection for you. However, if you’re planning on conducting business outside your own state, then you should look into trademark protection with the USPTO.

How can I tell if a name is available for me to use?

In addition to wanting to protect your own branding, you need to be careful to make sure you’re not infringing on a name that’s already in use by someone else. You should conduct a free trademark search to make sure the name you want to use isn’t already registered by another business.

How do I register a trademark (and how much does it cost)?

You register a trademark with the USPTO: you can either file directly with them or have a legal filing service handle it for you. Application fees are approximately $325 per class and it can take anywhere from 6-12 months once you submit your application.

You should always do a trademark search before you start the trademark application process. If your proposed name isn’t available, your application will be rejected (and you won’t get a refund on your application fees).

While registering a trademark costs a little more and is more involved than registering a name with the state, your brand will be protected by both the federal and state governments.

Business and product names are valuable assets, so take the right steps up front to protect them. Talk to us today about filing a Federal Trademark Application online.

By |August 30th, 2015|Legal Tips For Small Businesses|0 Comments

Why an Inactive Business is Costing You Money

dissolving an inactive business

Someone once told me that a true sign of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to know when it’s time to throw in the towel and move on. One failed business doesn’t define an entrepreneur… and the end of one venture means the start of something new.

Closing a business doesn’t just mean selling your assets and calling it a day. You’ve got to go through the right steps to ensure your business is legally closed and you’re primed for what’s next. Otherwise, you’ll still be responsible for filing annual reports, filing state/federal tax returns, and keeping up any business licenses.

At CorpNet, we don’t like paying any more than we have to – and we don’t think your business should either. That’s why you should officially close your business once you know it’s time to move on.

How to Close an Inactive Business the Right Way

Dissolve your LLC or Corporation

If you’ve been operating as a Corporation, LLC, or Partnership, all business associates need to vote on closing the business and the final vote should be recorded in the meeting minutes. If shares were issued in a Corporation, 2/3 of the voting shares must agree on the dissolution. If no shares were issued, the Board of Directors must approve to dissolve the company. Specific rules for LLCs vary by states and you should review the dissolution requirements in your state’s LLCA (Limited Liability Company Act)

After the vote, you’ll need to file a form called “Articles of Dissolution” or “Certificate of Termination” with the Secretary of State’s office in the state where your LLC/Corp was formed.

Contact a business specialist to file the paperwork to close your business for you today. We’ll make sure you follow your state’s instructions to the letter, so your dissolution will be processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Pay off any debts

In order to properly close your business, any company debts must be paid. In most states, an LLC or Corporation must settle its debts before you can distribute any money or assets to the members. If your business doesn’t have enough money to pay off the loans and debts, you should consult with an attorney.

Close your business’ federal and state tax accounts

Just because your business isn’t bringing in any revenue anymore, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically off the hook with the IRS. You’ll need to notify the IRS that your business is no longer operating by closing your Employer Identification Number (EIN). You’ll also need to file your final federal and state tax returns (check the box indicating that this will be the final return). And if applicable, your company’s payroll withholding taxes must be up-to-date. Members or owners can be held personally liable if the business’ payroll taxes aren’t paid.

Cancel any business licenses or permits

Contact the county where your business is located and cancel your business license, as well as your seller’s permit or any other permits you hold. Be active about cancelling these things, because you could still be assessed fees and taxes if the county doesn’t know your business is no longer in operation.

Notify any vendors, contractors, and clients

If you’re closing a business, you’ve most likely already made preparations for stopping work with your customers or clients. However, you should also notify any contractors, freelancers, vendors, and suppliers that you’ve done business with. Don’t just leave them guessing why they haven’t heard from you in awhile. By being considerate and upfront with your network, they’ll be more likely to join you on your next project.

Final thoughts

Walking away from your business is never an easy decision, but closing a poorly performing business can be the smartest thing you’ll ever do. You’re freeing yourself for the next big thing.

Remember to take closing your business just as seriously as you did opening it. Your credit and reputation are at stake. Start your Order of Dissolution online with CorpNet.

By |August 29th, 2015|Business Filings|0 Comments

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