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14 Days til Tax Day? 14 Things You Must Take Care Of Before Then

257_4577185If you’re like a lot of other small business owners, you drag your feet until the last minute to file and pay your taxes. It’s getting down to the wire, folks, so even if you want to wait until April 15 to file your taxes, you still have a lot of work to do to prepare.

1. Decide: DIY or Professional?

Your decision here can determine how easy it is to get your taxes filed. If you’re filing them yourself (easiest for solopreneurs with simple tax situations), you might need more than a day or two to do so. Start blocking off time to sit down and go over your taxes. If you’re planning to hire a tax professional, it might not take as long to do, but you’ll be competing for that pro’s time. Book your appointment now so you don’t miss the deadline.

2. Consider an Extension

If you’ve been frantically working to pull together all the necessary documents to file your taxes, but still don’t have them, you can file an extension. This can get you up to 6 months to work on your taxes. It’s not ideal, but sometimes it’s the best option.

By |April 1st, 2015|Taxes|0 Comments

How To Find Motivated Employees for Your Small Business

436_3085788When you first start a business, you may not need to hire, But as you grow, you start looking for people to help you take your business to the next level. But where can you find the right motivated people? Sure, you can post your job on a job board, Craigslist, or career site, but you can’t always know that you’re getting quality applicants.

So where DO you find the right people?

Referrals

The people you do business with, your existing employees, and your friends and family are a great place to start your quest for a motivated employee. There’s a reason why referrals account for 40% of all hires. The people others send to you tend to be more self-starters and enthusiastic workers.

By |March 30th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

Join Nellie Akalp at NMX April 13-16

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If you’re serious about using content marketing to grow your business this year, you won’t want to miss NMX Live, April 13-16 in Las Vegas. The event wgill feature top experts on blogging, podcasting, video, and other types of content. Whether you’re a newbie to content marketing or an old pro, you’ll get something out of attending this event.

I will be there, naturally! I will be speaking on a topic that’s important to me: “IP Protection: What You Need to Know.” It’s important that you protect your content assets, so I’ll walk you through three primary types of intellectual property protection, and help you navigate which is best for your needs.

Also, stop by CorpNet’s booth, #N8009, on Monday or Tuesday! I’d love to meet you!

Register for NMX now! 

By |March 28th, 2015|Events & Announcements|0 Comments

6 Hiring Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

438_3392848As you grow your business, you will inevitably need to hire help. If you’ve never been an employer before, there are certain pitfalls you need to avoid that many business owners make. Here’s your guide to what not to do in hiring staff.

1. Not Knowing Your Needs

Once you start a business, your responsibilities will grow quickly. You know you need help, but maybe you assume a part-time secretary will fit the bill. Only you need her to take on your social media management, answer the phones, and manage your accounting. You find out too late, after you’ve hired her, that the job is more than she’s qualified for.

It’s important that you assess what your hiring needs are before you start the search. Do you need a full-time or part-time person? What areas do you need help with? What level of expertise do you need? What’s your budget?

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

How to Incorporate in 6 Easy Steps

702_3518095There’s little you can do that’s more important than to protect your business by incorporating it. But so many entrepreneurs think the process of incorporating a business is complicated and so never bother with it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are six simple steps to help you incorporate.

Step 1: Conduct a Corporate Name Search

You first need to see if the name you want to use for your business isn’t used by anyone else. If it is, you’ll have to change the name slightly or choose a different state to incorporate in. We offer a free name search you can use to see if you can file your incorporation paperwork under the name you want.

Step 2: Choose Where You Want to Incorporate

The next step is to decide which state you will incorporate in. Many people choose to incorporate in Delaware because of its business-friendly environment. As a corporation in Delaware, you won’t pay state corporate income tax if your corporation was formed in Delaware but you do not transact business there (but there is a franchise tax). Still, it’s often easiest to incorporate in the state you operate out of. The decision is up to you.

By |March 25th, 2015|Incorporating a Business|0 Comments

Why You Don’t Need to Be Your Employees’ Friend

436_3122139I get it, I really do. You spend 40 or more hours a week with the people you hired, so it’s understandable that you’d start to form friendships. But once you start a business, you’ve got to draw a line between being friendly with your staff and trying to be their friend. The difference between the two is where the respect you need from them lies.

How to Be Friendly (Without Going Overboard)

Any office functions better when the staff gets along. In our office, you’ll hear people asking about their colleague’s weekends on Monday mornings, and often they’ll go to lunch together. I’m right there, engaging in dialogue with my team, but there’s a point at which I stop. Usually that’s in oversharing personal details. My motto is: if I’m willing to share it on Facebook, I can share it around the office. If not, I keep it to myself.

By |March 23rd, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

The Social Media Lie: How Not to Make Yourself Crazy with Twitter and Facebook Marketing

1019_4270607For a business of any size, it’s difficult to escape the constant recommendations about online marketing. If you want to reach customers, they say, you have to use social media. Set up accounts on Twitter and Facebook and business will explode.

Unfortunately for too many small businesses, this isn’t the reality. They fall into the social media trap, thinking that they can’t go wrong as long as they have accounts set up. In fact, having a social media presence can be worse than no presence at all if it takes an entrepreneur in the wrong direction. Here are four reasons some small businesses fail at social media.

  1. They Don’t Have Time

Once a social media account is setup and a business begins promoting it, the pressure is on. If all you do is blast out marketing messages to your followers, you’ll lose them quickly. Instead, you should start uploading interesting content that helps customers connect with your brand. This takes time—a commodity most small businesses have in short supply. Soon enough, customers visit a page, only to find it hasn’t been updated in months. This makes a brand look outdated and out of touch, making a worse impression than if there were no social media presence at all.

Starting a Business: What Roles Do You Need to Fill?

609_3542405When you first start your business, whether you are set up as a sole proprietorship, partnership, a corporation, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you may take on all the work yourself. After all, you consider yourself a great multitasker, so why not do it all yourself?

You’ll learn this lesson sooner than later, but I’d rather you do it now and save yourself a lot of headache later: you’ve got to delegate to be an effective entrepreneur. That means that from Day 1, you should have the right people on your team that will help you skyrocket to success.

Identify What You Need Help With

To that end, you first have to determine what areas of your business you need help with. Start with the areas you’re less skilled at, or that take more time than you’ve got. For example:

By |March 20th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

Incorporated in North Carolina? There’s an Important Deadline You Need to Know About

511_3098610If you plan to incorporate in North Carolina or file an LLC there, or already have, there’s a deadline coming up that you need to be aware of.

Your Annual Report is due April 15. This document keeps the Secretary of State for North Carolina up to date on your business contact information and ensures that you stay compliant with your business.

What Goes in Your North Carolina Annual Report?

If you’ve never filled out an Annual Report, it’s not too complicated. You will need to fill out:

 

  1. General Information on Your Business, including the name of your business entity, your fiscal year end — if you run a corporation, and the nature of your business.
  2. Registered Agent Information, in the event that you use a Registered Agent to handle your corporation or LLC paperwork. Provide the name of record and the address for the Registered Agent.
  3. Principal Office Information, including your business’s physical address, mailing address, and telephone number.
  4. Officers/Members/Managers Information, including a listing of all the officers, members, and/or managers of your business, as well as their titles and their business address.

It’s important that you update this information annually, especially if any of this data has changed in the past 12 months.

By |March 20th, 2015|Business Filings|0 Comments

The Difference Between a Trademark and a Copyright

1019_4569484If you’re interested in protecting your intellectual property, you’ve probably come across information on trademarks and copyrights, but maybe aren’t sure which you need. This post will break them down to help you make the right decision for your needs.

What is a Trademark?

You use a trademark on a product, word, name, phrase, or symbol you want to have exclusive rights to. There’s also what’s called a servicemark, which is used to trademark a service rather than a product. You can even trademark your domain names and social media usernames.

When you have a product or name that you don’t want others to use, you can trademark it. Now, others can’t copy your efforts, and if they do, there will be fines and penalties to deal with.

By |March 18th, 2015|Trademarks|0 Comments