/Tag:operating a business

Million Dollar Question: Do YOU Backup?


775_4681350Last week my laptop started making the most awful noise. A noise that even I could not argue indicated that I needed to turn my computer off and give it a break.  The noise reappeared the instant I turned my computer back on, so off to the Genius Bar at Apple Computer, my laptop and I went.  After a number of consults along with the fact that the computer ceased making the noise as soon as I wanted it to led the geniuses to agree to keep MY LAPTOP over night.   Taking a laptop away from a blogger/writer is like taking a toy from a toddler.  Although I did not scream, I may have shed a few tears. Did I mention, I have now been without my laptop for a week! Anyway, I digress.

The first question the Apple Genius asked me was: ‘do you back up?’ Duh – of course, I do….but, I didn’t always. We all hear the horror stories of colleagues and friends.  Their computers just freeze up and poof everything is gone.  They can’t get it back no matter what they do.  We THINK that can’t happen to us.  Often, I fondly recall the Sex and the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw’s trusty hard drive fries and no, she doesn’t back up either.  Yet, I did not back up for years. Well, thankfully, a little over a year ago I started backing-up.

Continue reading “Million Dollar Question: Do YOU Backup?” »

By | November 7th, 2012|Running A Small Business, Women In Business|0 Comments

Taking Care of the Business End of Your Business

1062_4353606No one taught us how to do it.  Establish our boundaries, ask for what we want, say what we will and won’t do and then document it all in an agreement.

It’s no wonder that most businesses are rife with hidden conflict behind the scenes. If you haven’t experienced it yet and you aren’t documenting your agreements, it’s really only a matter of time.

This is where the truth-telling lawyer and my very close friend, Alexis Neely comes in. After having built multiple million-dollar businesses, she also accumulated over $1,000,000 worth of mistakes – most of which can be traced to spending little, if any, time getting clear on expectations and documenting agreements. Continue reading “Taking Care of the Business End of Your Business” »

Multiple Ventures? How to Best Structure your Multi-Brand Business

775_4297457I’m always in awe of the many talents of today’s entrepreneur…the wedding photographer who also writes children’s books, the copy editor who sells homemade soap, and the stay-at-home mom who doubles as a part-time caterer and jewelry designer. Today’s creative professionals often find themselves making income through a creative patchwork of diverse interests and talents.

Take Sue as an example. She recently called into the office with no fewer than five ventures. She has been selling children’s clothing, handbags, and craft supplies on Etsy. After a few solid years on Etsy, Sue was now ready to take the next step and launch her own websites outside of Etsy, as well as expand into handmade paper goods and home décor. Continue reading “Multiple Ventures? How to Best Structure your Multi-Brand Business” »

By | August 24th, 2012|Choosing A Business Structure|7 Comments

5 Tips for Keeping Your Email Organized

536_4206020Remember that important email you got weeks ago? Could you find it if you tried, or is it buried in a sea of replies and forwards in your Inbox?

Technology’s a double edged sword. It makes us more productive at times, but it also keeps us from being productive at others. I’m by no means an Organized Email Guru, but I have picked up a few tips and tricks I’d like to share with you.

1. Organize Your Inbox

One of the many reasons I love Google Mail is that you can create mini inboxes within your main Inbox. It’s called Priority Inbox, and it allows you to set up filters so that incoming emails fall under certain headers. So for me, I have my main inbox, then others for Story Ideas as well as individual clients. I can set each up to filter to a given box. For example, if Nellie sends me an email, I can set it up so that anything coming from her email automatically goes to an inbox called CorpNet. I can quickly scroll down and see where I have a new email.

I love this because there’s nothing more daunting than a giant list of unread emails. This helps me prioritize, because I know which categories demand my attention first.

2. Reply, Delete or Save

I adapt this tip from David Allen’s great book, Getting Things DoneWhen you view an email, immediately decide if you need to:

By | August 9th, 2012|Running A Small Business, Startups|0 Comments

Now that I’ve Incorporated…What’s Next?

740_3681478The most frequently asked questions AFTER incorporation

Over the course of my career, I’ve helped over hundreds of thousands of small business owners incorporate a business or form and LLC. And certainly there are many questions leading up to the process, such as…what type of business should I form? What’s the difference between a C Corporation and an S Corporation? But I’ve also found there can be just as many questions after incorporating a business or forming an LLC.

I’ve put together some of the more commonly asked questions to help you navigate life after the incorporation or LLC formation process:

I used to be a sole proprietor and I had a Federal Tax ID number. Do I need to get a new Federal Tax ID number now that I’ve incorporated/formed an LLC?

The answer here is yes. An LLC or corporation is its own separate entity (remember an LLC or Corp can sue, be sued, get a loan…) and as such, it needs its own federal tax ID number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Think of business formation like the birth of child. Once a child is born, it needs its own social security number. The same holds true for your business. Continue reading “Now that I’ve Incorporated…What’s Next?” »

By | July 28th, 2012|Business Checklists, Startups|0 Comments

Don’t forget to Trademark the ‘us’

609_3487910As women in business specifically (but not limited to), we continuously struggle with balance.  Just the faint mention of the word, balance, gives me the creeps because I know that it is rarely achieved.  Rather each day and week brings with it a new set of priorities and tasks which seem to dictate whether I am going to be a better mom or business woman or vice-versa on any given day.

In the balancing act, I always hear a lot of chatter about time for work, quantity vs quality arguments on raising children, and where to sneak in ‘me’ time, but the one detail that usually is skipped over is ‘us’ time.  By ‘us’ time, I mean time with your partner, husband, or significant other.  It is so easy to slide into a routine that focuses on  being successful as a mom and a woman in business while letting your relationship with the most special person in your life wait in the wings.

I often hear the ‘us’ part of a family referred to like retirement with comments similar to ‘When the kids go to college….’ and ‘One day we will take up this or that together.’  With only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we often place the people who mean the most to us on standby.  Well, as if you did not already have enough to balance like what is for dinner tonight and your 7:00 a.m. meeting tomorrow that conflicts with camp drop-off, I am making an argument to put the ‘us’ back in ‘us.’

I started this week with a to-do list that realistically could be accomplished in a month.  At the top of the list was finalizing the details on filing for TM on my brand, BacknGrooveMom.  Following a in-depth search, I have the green light to claim my brand name.  Nellie and her team graciously helped with identifying the steps in this process, and I am all set.  EXCEPT now I also want to Trademark (TM) my new and improved typemark.  What’s the problem? Continue reading “Don’t forget to Trademark the ‘us’” »

By | July 25th, 2012|Running A Small Business, Trademarks|2 Comments

The Seven Deadly Sins of Business

311_2966449We’ve heard the expression “You never know when inspiration will strike.”  I believe it whole-heartedly.

This evening, while my husband and I were watching the movie “Seven,” I mentioned that I wanted to come up with one or two topics that I might write about tonight. That clever man pointed to the TV and said, “There you go.”

Aha! The “Seven Deadly Sins of Business!”

Okay, maybe “sins” is a bit strong, but there are certainly seven potentially disastrous attitudes correlating to those sins that I hope our brainstorming can help you to avoid. (For the record, the Mr. has owned a construction contracting corporation for many years, so I value his input.)  Admittedly, some of these traits can be good as well as bad when it comes to business. But an over-abundance of any of them can lead to problems that might be difficult to resolve.

Pride. You’re proud of your business – and you should be. You’ve worked hard to get it up and running, and you’re doing well. But beware of too much pride. It won’t serve you well to be over-confident. It’s better to temper your pride with a little humility, or you might find yourself becoming complacent and not giving 100 percent to the business.

Envy. Though it’s a natural reaction, try not to envy a competitor’s business. You might see another entrepreneur as having attained a level of success that you’d like to emulate, but don’t be envious. It will take away your spirit of fair play and make you resent someone who could possibly be an ally down the road. Continue reading “The Seven Deadly Sins of Business” »

CorpNet.com: Helping Entrepreneurs Start New Businesses Online!

Nellie Akalp is a savvy entrepreneur, wife, and mother of four (inlcuding a newborn). As the CEO of CorpNet.com, she runs a small business that helps guide entrepreneurs and small business owners through the process of starting a business, incorporating a business, and filing business-critical legal documentation with an easy and cost-effective online service.

“With the downturn in the job market, more people are starting new businesses to take control of their own destiny and create opportunities for themselves,” says Nellie. “But the process of incorporating a business can be intimidating. A lot of people might not understand the legal requirements, or they might wonder, ‘Am I doing this right?’ CorpNet makes it easy. We take it off the ‘to-do list’ of our clients.”

If you want to start and grow a business in a way that complies with state laws and protects your personal assets, CorpNet gives free consultations to help choose the right business structure and file all the necessary paperwork. “You don’t need to hire an attorney to incorporate a business,” says Nellie. “CorpNet gives you a much less expensive way to start your business and comply with the specific requirements of whatever state you’re in.”

Nellie offers these four big reasons to incorporate your business: Continue reading “CorpNet.com: Helping Entrepreneurs Start New Businesses Online!” »

By | June 30th, 2012|Choosing A Business Structure, Starting a Business|1 Comment

Why I LOVE What I Do as CEO/Founder of CorpNet…

Last September,  I turned 40 and in about 2 months i will be celbrating my 41st birthday…which once seemed like a pretty HUGE milestone…now its just another day for me. When I turned 40 and now that I’m about to turn another year older, i don’t get sad about gorowing older, don’t dread it, and I have no attempts to forget the day. I realized I’m not just at peace with myself and my age, but I’m actually happy. And granted I have my health and a fabulous family (including a 9 month old baby girl!), but another key thing is that I absolutely LOVE what I do. And that’s a good thing, because I’ve now done it twice and wanted to share this message with you today…seemed like a great day to share!!!

Let me explain. Shortly after law school, I launched a business with my husband. We provided online legal filing services to entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. Basically that means we helped companies incorporate, form LLCs, and start their businesses the right way without having to pay an arm and a leg in attorney fees.

In 2005, we had the good fortune to sell that company to Intuit. We now had plenty of capital. We had the freedom to travel, spend time with our children, and dream up other business ideas. I had a great time during this interim, don’t get me wrong. But, the other ventures just didn’t carry the same spark for me. So, in 2009, we started all over again with CorpNet.com, our latest (and last?) document filing service. And every day since, I’ve been so grateful we made that decision.

First and foremost, I love helping other entrepreneurs. I love the concept of the small business. And I love giving small business owners access to resources they might not be able to afford otherwise.  Because every business, no matter how small, should have the right legal protection to help them thrive. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped form more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S. Continue reading “Why I LOVE What I Do as CEO/Founder of CorpNet…” »

The Small Business Mid-Year Tax Planning Checklist

991_4165310Now that we’re approaching  the the mid-way point of 2012, it’s the perfect time to review the financial and tax picture of your business. Too often small business owners wait until it’s time to file their returns to start thinking about taxes. Have you ever met with a CPA or tax preparer and been told you could have lowered your tax payments if only you had acted earlier?

Tax planning is an ongoing process and taking actions now can help lower your 2011 taxes, and for years to come. Here is a small business mid-year tax planning checklist for you to consider:

1. Meet with your CPA

Why wait until the busy tax season to meet with your CPA or tax advisor? Make a mid-year appointment when you’ll both have more time to discuss your financials. Most importantly, you’ll still have plenty of time to act on his or her suggestions within 2011.

2. Review your estimated tax payments for 2011

Now that we’ve hit the midway point, review what your business has made year to date and your forecast for the rest of the year. Then assess your estimated tax payments to avoid underpayment penalties or overpayments (you could be doing more with that money). Adjust your final two estimated tax payments for 2011 as needed. Continue reading “The Small Business Mid-Year Tax Planning Checklist” »