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Owning Real Estate in a Limited Liability Company: Pros and Cons

775_4619475Owning investment properties can be an exciting and lucrative decision. However if you’re considering an investment in real estate (whether a vacation rental, long-term rental, or for re-sale), be aware that these properties can also create liabilities.

For example, a tenant might trip on a wobbly staircase. A guest could slip on an uneven sidewalk. Faulty electrical wiring causes a fire or shocks a tenant. A clogged chimney leads to a flue fire. Or a slow leak might result in mold that affects a tenant’s health.

Accidents happen. And when tenants or guests are injured on your property, victims can sue the property owner (you) for damages.

I don’t want to scare you off from real estate investment, but I do want to prevent you from falling prey to what could have been so easily avoided in the first place. Continue reading “Owning Real Estate in a Limited Liability Company: Pros and Cons” »

Reducing Business Risk Through Technology

438_3383186This is a guest post from Kimberley Laws.

You run a tight ship. The “i’s” are dotted, the “t’s” are crossed, everyone knows their roles, and everything is in its place. There is one thing, however, that even the most conscientious business leader can fail to anticipate–risk.

Thankfully, the marketplace is teeming with technology designed to combat potential peril and keep your company safe and secure.

By partnering up with technology, you can protect your business from both inside and outside threats.

Here are just a few ways that technology can safeguard your business from risks.

Risks Associated with Time

While your company does face external risks, one of the most common sources of loss and waste comes from within — lost productivity. Continue reading “Reducing Business Risk Through Technology” »

S Corporation Deadline: What You Need to Know

705_3548361Attention, people. If you want to have your company recognized as an S Corporation for the 2015 tax year, we’re coming up on an important deadline.

March 16, 2015 is the last day you can opt to convert your C Corp or LLC to an S Corp so that you can take advantage of the tax benefits of an S Corporation for 2015. You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 2553 (or have CorpNet handle it) in order to qualify.

What You Need to Fill Out on Form 2553

The form, like most IRS forms, sounds scarier than it is. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your company, including:

  • Contact info
  • Year you want the S Corp election to begin (2015)
  • Your tax year
  • Shareholder information
  • Reason for filing document late, if applicable
  • Information on your current corporation

Continue reading “S Corporation Deadline: What You Need to Know” »

How to Create Effective Social Media Landing Pages

740_4302765This is a guest post from Nick Rojas.

Much in the same way that desktops gave way to laptops, which morphed into tablets and smartphones, website home pages are being replaced with landing pages, and now those are becoming more effectively utilized as social media landing pages. How are these socially driven spots better than their predecessors?

According to the popular fashion clothesline, J.Crew, in a summary of their marketing and advertising campaign, they stated:

“We have found that J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer. Facebook is the current leading player in terms of size and time spent on site, but there are significant growth opportunities in our new visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram.”

Double their regular sales sounds like a significant enough reason to utilize social media landing pages. What can we learn from the fashion forward folks at J.Crew in terms of crafting the best social landing pages? Continue reading “How to Create Effective Social Media Landing Pages” »

Come Meet CorpNet.com CEO Nellie Akalp at the Women 2.0 City Meetup Los Angeles This Thursday!

If you live in the Los Angeles area, mark this Thursday, March 5 at 6:30 on your calendar. Nellie Akalp will be speaking at the Women 2.0 City Meetup Los Angeles.

Learn how Nellie got started as an entrepreneur, and take notes as she shares three pieces of business advice she wishes someone had told her when she first started out as a business owner.

City Meetup is a Women 2.0 networking event designed to promote new networks amongst the entire technology ecosystem in innovative cities around the world, including LA. This event is open to those who work, start, and fund tech companies. Both women and men are invited to attend. Continue reading “Come Meet CorpNet.com CEO Nellie Akalp at the Women 2.0 City Meetup Los Angeles This Thursday!” »

How Does Your Small Business Generate New Ideas?

1094_4756848When you first start a business, every day can bring something new and innovative to your business. But what if you run a more established small business? Wouldn’t you benefit from some new ideas as well? Here are four ways you can bring innovation back to your brand.

Open Up the Floor

Don’t get the wrong idea that you as the business owner are the only one who can come up with great ideas for your company. If you’ve got staff, their ideas are often great — and sometimes better than anything you could come up with.

Hold monthly brainstorm sessions and encourage their bright ideas. Let your team know that you value their opinions, and show that by implementing some of their ideas. They’ll soon start coming to you with their thoughts, now that they know you’re really listening.

Get Out of the Office

For me, my best ideas happen when I’m not at work. That lightning bolt might happen when I’m on a run or watching my kid’s ball game. When an idea comes, I make sure to jot it down so I don’t forget my genius thought. Continue reading “How Does Your Small Business Generate New Ideas?” »

Zero Dollar Marketing—How to Build Buzz with No Money

1019_4616159To grow, a business needs to get the word out. But to get the word out, a business needs money. Without the funds in place to launch a full-scale marketing campaign, how can an entrepreneur compete with the big dogs?

Fortunately, you don’t have to have a big marketing campaign to reach customers. There are more ways than ever to get the word out without spending a fortune. Here are a few ways you can generate buzz for your business on a limited budget.

Dispense with the Conventional

When you consider marketing options, you likely think of a few of the most popular ways to market. This includes hiring a firm, sending press releases, and deploying multiple social media updates. You should instead consider ways your brand can stand out. What unique features does your product or service have that can be used to build buzz? If you can find a way to make your social media updates stand out, you’ll be more likely to connect with customers. Continue reading “Zero Dollar Marketing—How to Build Buzz with No Money” »

How to Form a Corporation: The Lowdown on Issuing Corporate Stock

573_3572833One of the perks of forming a corporation in Texas, Tennessee, or any state, really, is that you have the option of issuing stock. Having stockholders can provide a much-needed cash infusion for your business.

Let’s look at what it takes to complete this super simple process.

Step 1: Decide How Many Shares You Want to Issue

Once you’re incorporated, if you want to offer stock and share ownership of your company you can purchase stock certificates. Now, if you formed an S Corp, you are typically limited to 100 shareholders, although you can fill out paperwork to raise that number significantly higher. But you don’t have to open up all your shares at first, especially if you think you might want to raise funds later. Continue reading “How to Form a Corporation: The Lowdown on Issuing Corporate Stock” »

6 Ways to Lead by Example

792_3723922Running a company — and therefore being in charge of people — is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it’s fulfilling in so many ways. But it can be a challenge because every day, regardless of how you feel, you have people looking to you for guidance. You’ve got to be on your toes and ensure that you’re doing your best to lead by example so that your staff emulates what you do and works their hardest for your company.

Here are 6 tactics I’ve found effective in my leadership strategy.

  1. Do What You Say.

I’m big on keeping my promises. Yes, I’m swamped, but when an employee asks me to do something, such as review their work or provide feedback, I make it a priority. That way, they know that my word is my bond, and that they can trust me.

  1. Say What You Mean.

I don’t believe in pussyfooting around something. I’m always honest. I refuse to lie or even expand on the truth to an employee, because I know from experience that it always backfires. People appreciate the truth, even if it’s ugly. Continue reading “6 Ways to Lead by Example” »

The Two Most Important Words In Franchising

35_2513660Forget the “hottest” franchises.

Ignore suggestions from franchise brokers on which franchises are “a possible fit” for you.

Take articles that rank franchises from 1-100 with a grain of salt. Consider them to be “light reading.”

Forget what you’ve learned about franchising up to now. Empty your mind. Clean your slate. I’m about to teach you about the two most important words in franchising. Ready?

What Franchising Is Really About

If you’re thinking about buying a franchise it’s important for you to truly understand what franchising is really about. Continue reading “The Two Most Important Words In Franchising” »