/Tag:Protect Your Assets

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

Asset Protection 101: What is an LLC?

257_2701929In my previous post, I spoke of the potential risks involved in real estate investment – namely, the risk that your personal assets are vulnerable should you be sued by a tenant or property guest. There are measures you can take to prevent such a scenario from playing out. 

The LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a popular asset protection vehicle for real estate investors. It essentially forms a wall that shields individual owners from personal liability. In addition to this personal liability protection, the LLC can also offer tax advantages and other benefits.

So what is an LLC? It’s a hybrid of a partnership and corporation. It’s considered to be a “Separate Legal Entity.” In fact, a properly formed and maintained LLC will have both a state-certified filing date and an IRS-issued Tax ID Number (similar to an individual’s birth date and social security number).

The following example illustrates the LLC’s liability protection. Let’s say you have XYZ LLC that holds title to a vacation rental property. A guest falls from the balcony and the court awards a multi-million dollar judgment to the plaintiff. The defendant in this case is XYZ LLC, not you. And the judgment can be collected only from XYZ LLC’s assets, and not from your own personal assets. You may end up losing your investment in the property owned by XYZ LLC, but your other properties, your savings account, and any other investments are all safe.

Setting up an LLC is a relatively easy task. You can either contact your attorney or use a legal document filing service such as CorpNet.com(R) to file the necessary forms with your state’s Secretary of State. Continue reading “Asset Protection 101: What is an LLC?” »

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” »

3 Steps to Creating and Protecting your Business Name

511_3606933This is a reprint of a guest post written by me that originally appeared on Mashable last year that I wanted to share it with you today.

Your business begins with a name.  It’s the cornerstone of your company identity and impacts your branding, company tone, and first impressions. Think about it. The branding of Target would be very different if the retailer still went by its original name, Dayton Dry Goods Company.

Selecting the right business name for your company is important — and it should be followed by taking the right legal steps to make sure the name is yours to use for years, and decades, to come. A prudent approach to naming entails three important steps: brainstorming, investigation and registration. Continue reading “3 Steps to Creating and Protecting your Business Name” »

Avoid the Top Five Incorporation Mistakes

 

1019_4245625Forming an LLC or incorporating a business can be a relatively quick and easy process. And it’s an undeniably critical step to protecting one’s personal assets from any liability of the company. However, while incorporating may be straightforward, small business owners often make a few common mistakes that can have a significant impact on their business. Are you guilty as well?Mistake 1: Choosing the wrong business entity

The three most common types of business structures in the U.S. are the LLC (Limited Liability Company), S Corporation, and C Corporation. Choosing the right business structure can affect the amount of taxes you pay and how much paperwork you need to deal with.

The LLC is great for small businesses that want liability protection, but prefer minimal formality and paperwork. The S Corporation is a pass-through entity for federal taxes (like the LLC) and is great for small businesses that can qualify. Lastly, the C Corporation files its own tax report and should be selected by those companies that plan to reinvest profits back into the company or seek funding from a VC. So what are some of the mistakes made when selecting a business structure?

Continue reading “Avoid the Top Five Incorporation Mistakes” »

By | June 11th, 2012|Business Checklists, Incorporating a Business|0 Comments

HOW TO: Legally Structure your Startup

775_4589486Whether you’re the next big thing in social gaming or organic knitwear, each startup eventually faces the same gnawing questions: How should I legally structure my business? Should I form an LLC or an S Corp? What about an S Corp vs. a C Corp  These questions are only natural. After all, the legal and financial ramifications are significant. And your passion might be designing iPhone apps or analyzing Twitter data, but I’m pretty confident it’s not tax law. While circumstances vary among individuals and individual businesses, here are some general guidelines to help you jump-start your decision on business structures. There are other possible business types, but I’ll focus on three: the LLC, the S Corporation, and the C Corporation. Continue reading “HOW TO: Legally Structure your Startup” »

Protecting Your Big Idea

440_3625174If you’ve ever seen a new product advertised and said, “I’ve thought of that very same thing! Why didn’t I pursue it?” you know the importance of protecting your ideas. No matter how terrific your idea is, if you don’t protect it and make it exclusively your own, someone else just might beat you to the market.

In business, ideas are often property. They are the seeds for inventions, which require knowledge, time, money and effort to create. And transforming an invention into an innovation, a new product accepted by the marketplace, takes a great deal of effort – and a bit of luck.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of inventors and innovators file for protection under U.S. patent, trademark, and copyright laws.

The three entities are defined as follows:

Patent. The exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.

Trademark. Any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others.

Copyright. The exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.

Continue reading “Protecting Your Big Idea” »