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Archive for Business Tools

5 Strategies to Streamline Your Business — Cheaply

Fast locomotiveMaking your business more efficient doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. In fact, there’s much you can do without spending an arm and a leg. These ideas can help you realize more profits and be more productive in your small business.

1. Increase the Money You Make From Existing Customers

 It takes time and money to acquire brand new customers. In fact, one key metric you should be tracking in your business is your customer acquisition cost.  Typically it’s fairly expensive, so you want to keep that cost down. It’s a much more efficient use of resources to find ways to make your existing customers so thrilled with you, that they will want to spend more with you.

Continue reading “5 Strategies to Streamline Your Business — Cheaply” »

CorpNet.com Launches Comprehensive Business License Service

biz licenseWe at CorpNet are excited to announce that we have rolled out our latest service designed to help busy entrepreneurs keep up with legal compliance matters. Our new online Business License service makes it easy for small businesses to comply with every required local license, permit, and tax registration.

Virtually every business has to comply with a variety of business licenses, permits and registrations. However, the specifics vary by location and business activity and it’s easy for small business owners to overlook or not be aware of certain requirements. If caught without the proper permits and licenses, your business can face hefty fines and penalties, and can even be shut down or sued.

CorpNet’s Business Licenses and Permits services take the guesswork out of the licensing process, so small business owners can be confident they are 100% compliant with license requirements on the federal, state, county, and local level. With the service, a CorpNet business expert will perform thorough and customized research on every license or permit a small business needs, and even prepare the necessary forms and submit them to the proper licensing authorities. Continue reading “CorpNet.com Launches Comprehensive Business License Service” »

How to Leverage Your Social Contacts for Marketing

We know that social media is great for networking.

It also can help us expand our online reach and find new potential customers. But are you truly getting the most out of those social contacts when it comes to marketing?

I’m willing to bet your answer is “no.”

For most of us, time is an issue.  The reason you might not be doing more to monitor your social streams and pay more attention to what your leads are doing and saying might be because you don’t have the time. That’s understandable.

Knowledge is another issue.  Maybe you or your team are not clear on positive techniques to leverage your Twitter contacts, without coming across as too commercial.

Fortunately, there are tools out there that can help. Those resources, combined with a bit of advice, can help you benefit from your social contacts in ways you never imagined.

1. Start with Smart Tools

We’re seeing more tools enter the marketplace that integrate lead gathering and monitoring with social media. Nimble is a great example. It’s straight-forward Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with social listening added in.

Now, instead of simply recording notes for a contact, you can better keep track of what they’re saying on Twitter, follow their career moves on LinkedIn, and share their content on Google +.  So in other words, you can listen, connect and learn from them.  You can also help them become more successful.

You can also set up alerts in platforms like Hootsuite so you know when any of your customers Tweet something you can share or respond to.

Continue reading “How to Leverage Your Social Contacts for Marketing” »

7 Tips for Finding Health Insurance for the First Time Entrepreneur

Starting and maintaining a small business requires a great deal of focus and energy. While concentrating on establishing a foothold in the marketplace, raising capital, and conducting a marketing campaign, it can be all too easy to let other important aspects of your venture fall by the wayside. One of the most common of these is health insurance. After all, when you’re just starting out, you are the single most important element of your operation, and that makes taking care of your own health a priority. Fortunately, you have a few options.

1. The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is designed to offer affordable health coverage to people like you. If you live in a state that has its own ACA website, start there. If not, go to Healthcare.gov. Yes, it’s had its issues, but it is functioning much better these days. Go through the application process and review your options. Depending on your income and other factors, you may qualify for a tax credit which can reduce the cost of your premium. Continue reading “7 Tips for Finding Health Insurance for the First Time Entrepreneur” »

10 Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Business Owner

Most business owners are so focused on the day-to-day that they often forget to seek out tools and resources that will help them grow. Then they wonder why they aren’t growing! From software to human resources, here are my 10 favorite resources for entrepreneurs.

1. Good CRM

The busier you are, the harder it becomes to keep track of conversations you’ve had with clients, to dos, and projects. That’s where customer relationship management software comes in handy. Today, many CRM platforms, like Insightly, also incorporate a few project management features that help you keep notes on clients and assign and track related tasks to your employees. Continue reading “10 Resources That Will Make You a Smarter Business Owner” »

5 Tools You Shouldn’t Live Without as a Business Owner

By: zzpza

When it comes to working smarter, not harder, there are tools that each of us as small business owners rely on. You may have your own go-to list. Or not. At any rate, here are my preferred tools and apps that help me grow and manage my business.

1. Email Marketing Software

No business should market without using email. It’s simply one of the best ways to reach new potential customers and stay connected to existing ones. And today’s email marketing software is incredibly intuitive: platforms like AWeber can provide you with robust analytics that will tell you exactly who’s opening your emails and what they’re doing from there (visiting a particular web page? buying a product?). This helps you better target the content you send via email and customize for different market segments.

2. Employee Scheduling Software

One of the reasons I founded my company, Hello Scheduling, was to tackle the issue that so many small businesses had in wasting countless hours on creating paper schedules. In this digital era, it’s smarter to be able to create that schedule online and send out automatic updates to employees. If you’ve got a staff who works irregular schedules, employee scheduling software can help you keep straight who works when. Continue reading “5 Tools You Shouldn’t Live Without as a Business Owner” »

Why Employee Scheduling Software is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

If you read much of my content, you know I’m big on productivity tools that help me (and you) do more.  That might include Time Track Turbo, my new favorite web app for tracking the time I spend on client projects, or something like Google Drive, which I’ve said is my all-time go-to application for managing documents I can share with others.

But what about those of you who have a staff you have to manage? Are there tools that can help you be smarter about the time you spend creating schedules?

But of coursssse (say in a French accent).

First: the Headache

Once upon a time, I owned a Marble Slab Creamery in Florida. In addition to scooping the ice cream and doing the marketing, I also made the schedules for my staff of teens. I was sad to see that not much had changed in the scheduling process since I myself was a teen working at an ice cream shop (talk about coming full circle). We still used paper, and I had to keep track of who could work which days (I used a spreadsheet for that). Not the pinnacle of technological sophistication. Continue reading “Why Employee Scheduling Software is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” »

How to Minimize Risk When Crowdfunding on Kickstarter

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly viable option for startups who need to raise much-needed funds without the help of VCs, angels or banks. To date, more than $680 million has been raised on Kickstarter.

For a young, bootstrapping startup, crowdfunding is often seen as fast money that will help you build out the product or app you and your team have always dreamed about. Whether or not a project ultimately reaches its funding goals, it’s still relatively quick and easy to post your pitch and see what happens.

However, amid all of the hype and excitement surrounding crowdfunding, some of the less glamorous (but extremely important) aspects of running a business often go overlooked — particularly taxes and liability. Let’s look at what you should be concerned with.

Liability Issues With Crowdfunding

When you’re raising money from any source, it’s serious business. And while a Kickstarter project may not entail the mounds of paperwork and contracts associated with commercial lenders, project creators are still entering some kind of contract — in this case, it’s with hundreds or thousands of people. Continue reading “How to Minimize Risk When Crowdfunding on Kickstarter” »

What You Need to Know About Patents

Did you know your intellectual property and ideas are often more valuable than any physical asset?

Yet, how do you go about protecting your big idea? After all, you’ve probably heard that patents are costly, complex, and time-consuming, often burdening a young business before it gets off the ground.

However, navigating the patent world is doable, and it’s actually becoming more affordable thanks to legislation that came into effect this past spring. If you’re wondering if you need a patent, here’s what you need to know.

What is a patent?

A patent gives an inventor the exclusive rights to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.

Patents cover tangible things, including software processes, product design, and other inventions. For example, Twitter has a patent on the “pull-to-refresh” function found in Twitter’s iPhone app; Coca-Cola patented the unique shape of its original bottle.

When you register your invention with the government, you get the legal right to exclude anyone else from manufacturing or marketing it. Continue reading “What You Need to Know About Patents” »

How Can CorpNet’s B.I.Z. Compliance Monitoring Help Your Small Business?

Our clients love our new corporate compliance tool! Whether you’re about to start a business, or are managing multiple businesses, like our client, Darren Kavinoky, in this video, our Business Information Zone can help you organize your business filing documents and stay compliant with state and federal regulations.

If you’re traveling and need to access your business filing documents, our mobile version of B.I.Z. has you covered. You can download your articles of incorporation, LLC paperwork, or DBA filing.

And if you worry you’ll miss a filing deadline, trust us: we won’t let that happen. For each document you upload or store on B.I.Z., we keep track of important deadlines and reminders so you’re always on track and on time with your paperwork.

Watch this video to learn how Darren Kavinoky uses B.I.Z., and make sure to sign up today! It’s free!