/Tag:small business marketing

How To Choose And Legally Use Your Business Name

The name you choose for your business will be one of your most powerful and valuable assets. As one of the primary ways customers distinguish you from your competitors, your business name wields a lot of power. The right name can help propel you to success; the wrong name can put you at a disadvantage.

Besides choosing a business name that:

  • Projects how you want people to view your business (e.g., edgy, professional, high-tech, academic, approachable, etc.)
  • Makes it easy for customers to identify what you do.
  • Is simple enough to be memorable.

I encourage you to have all your legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed when selecting a name.

How To Choose A Business Name That’s Yours To Use

Start on the right path immediately by making sure another company doesn’t already have dibs on the business name you’d like to use. If someone else has already claimed it, you could end up in legal trouble if you start using it online and printing it on business cards, checks, marketing materials, etc.

How can you know your preferred business name isn’t spoken for already?

Use a business name search tool or contact your state filing office to see if the name you want to use is currently claimed within your state. Also, I encourage you to use a trademark search application tool to see if the name is available in all of the United States. That will allow you to identify if anyone else has registered for, been granted, or abandoned a trademark for your name.

How To Make The Name Officially Yours

So, you say your name is available? Great!

Now it’s time to make it legally yours within the state you’ll operate your business. As I mentioned earlier, your name represents your brand. If another company offering similar products and services were to use the same (or a very similar) name, it could confuse customers and damage your professional reputation.

If you’re a sole proprietor or partnership, filing a DBA (“Doing Business As”)—also known as a fictitious name—to protect your name in the state doesn’t cost a lot of time or money. If you plan to use your own personal first and last name in your business name, you will not need a DBA. For example, Celia Washington wouldn’t have to register “Celia Washington’s Bookkeeping Services ” as a DBA.

By registering your business as a formal legal entity (Limited Liability Company or Corporation) in your state, your business name will automatically become protected in that state. Realize, however, that another business in another state could use your name there. Also, it’s legal for a sole proprietorship or partnership to use your name as a DBA in your state.

If simply registering in your state doesn’t put you at ease about your rights to your business name, I recommend you consider filing for a federal trademark. If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants your trademark request, it will be illegal for others to use your business name in any of the 50 states.

Don’t Hesitate To Seek Expert Assistance

To avoid lost time and money when choosing a name and taking legal steps to protect it, I encourage you to consult with professionals who can guide and assist you. Consider seeking the input and feedback of branding experts with experience in zeroing in on a business name that will serve your company for the long term. Other helpful resources include attorneys who can advise you in making sound decisions and step you through the legal process of securing and registering your business name. And when you need to prepare the necessary documents to register your business with your state or file for a federal trademark, you might save a heap of time and money by using a reputable online business document filing service.

As you can see, choosing a business name demands more than just slapping words together. You need to devote some thought and time to it. But I assure you, it will be time and energy well spent. Remember, your business name has influence that could make or break your brand.

By | May 22nd, 2017|Naming Your Business|0 Comments

6 Ways to Get Better Results From Your Facebook Marketing

Have your Facebook marketing efforts stopped getting the results you want? Facebook is constantly changing, and that means your Facebook marketing strategy has to change, too. Try these six tips to get better results from your Facebook marketing.

  1. Be consistent. Have you ever visited a company’s Facebook page, only to find they haven’t posted in months? It’s important to post regularly on Facebook to maintain your business’s presence. Consistency is more important than quantity: One study found the 100 most successful companies worldwide post, on average, just five to 10 times each week. To maximize your post results, use Page Insights, a free Facebook analytics tool, to see exactly when people engage with your posts the most; then post at those times.
  2. Post photos and videos. Images attract attention. In addition to posting photos or videos from your business, such as pictures of your restaurant’s latest specials or a video demonstrating a new product, share relevant photos or videos from elsewhere around the web. Add brief text to image posts. Shorter text gets more attention—plus, if you keep your text under 140 characters, you can re-use it on Twitter.
  3. Include a call-to-action. The point of Facebook isn’t just to get likes, comments and shares. You want people who see your posts to take an action that leads to a sale—such as visiting your business website, coming into your store or calling your business. In addition to putting a call-to-action in your posts, you can also put a Facebook Call to Action button at the top of your Business Page. There are seven options, including Sign Up, Book Now, Contact Us and Shop Now. Just make sure the hyperlinks in your calls-to-action go to the correct landing page on your website. For example, if your call-to-action is “Book Now,” users should go to a page where they can book an appointment online.
  4. Piggyback on trending topics. Posts related to hot topics of the moment, such as The Olympics or the Academy Awards, generate buzz. Check out the trending topics on the right side of Facebook to get ideas. You can create your own posts about these topics or share others’ posts. Keep them non-controversial to avoid offending potential customers.
  5. Use tags and hashtags. Tag other people or businesses in your posts, and the post will show up in their news feeds so their friends see it. You can also ask customers to tag or check in to your business in their posts—for example, if they post pictures of a meal at your restaurant. Finally, use one or two relevant hashtags to make your post stand out to people interested in that hashtag.
  6. Advertise. If you really want to improve your Facebook results significantly, try advertising. Facebook advertising is extremely affordable for small businesses and allows you to target your audience very narrowly.

One Facebook advertising option is to boost your posts, which puts them higher in your audiences News Feed. Just click the Boost Post button to see your options, schedule your Boost and set a budget.

You can also create Facebook ads to do everything from getting viewers to your website to promoting special offers. Use Ad Targeting to target specific demographics based on age, gender, location, special interests and more. Custom Audiences lets you deliver Facebook ads to your existing customers, while Lookalike Audiences allows you to target Facebook users with demographic profiles similar to your existing customers. You can also add call-to-action buttons to ads to really drive sales.

By trying these six tactics and monitoring your Facebook results, you’re sure to improve your engagement and ROI on this important social media channel.

Is your Facebook marketing strategy now back on target? It may be time to consider taking your business to the next level and incorporate or form an LLC. Call CorpNet.com for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+  and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Image: Adobe Stock

 

                               

Start Your Business with CorpNet on Cyber Monday & Save $50!

76_4328070As if “Black Friday” wasn’t enough, now America’s retailers have invented “Cyber Monday” to tempt and torment us with fantastic holiday shopping deals. As an online business that helps customers start a business and process business filings online, CorpNet has decided to be part of the Cyber Monday trend as well.

To help celebrate the spirit of the holiday discount season, we’re offering a special Cyber Monday coupon to help customers save $50 when they choose one of our Deluxe or Complete business incorporation packages.

Cyber Monday isn’t just for browsing websites and buying holiday gifts – it’s also the ideal day to start a business with the help of CorpNet’s online incorporation services.

In fact, we’re taking Cyber Monday beyond “Monday” alone. Read on! Continue reading “Start Your Business with CorpNet on Cyber Monday & Save $50!” »

By | November 26th, 2012|Events & Announcements, Starting a Business|0 Comments

Start a Business with CorpNet & Get Black Friday Savings!

778_4563602Today is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it is “Black Friday,” fast becoming an unofficial American holiday. Along with big discounts on flat screen TVs, electronics, clothes and other consumer goods, we want to celebrate “Black Friday” here at CorpNet by offering some special savings on our business incorporation services. There’s no better day than Black Friday to start a business with the help of CorpNet’s online incorporation services.

What is the CorpNet Black Friday discount?

From November 22-24, 2012, you can receive $50 off any Deluxe or Complete CorpNet business formation service package. Our Deluxe and Complete packages help you incorporate a business with a full range of additional services and features.

Use the following discount code when you place your order: BLACKFRI

CorpNet’s Deluxe package starts at $149 and the Complete package starts at $249 (in addition to state filing fees, shipping and handling), so this Black Friday discount represents at least a 20% or 30% savings, depending on your specific purchase. Continue reading “Start a Business with CorpNet & Get Black Friday Savings!” »

By | November 23rd, 2012|Events & Announcements, Starting a Business|1 Comment

Entrepreneur’s Thanksgiving: Reasons to be thankful in running a business

83_4238945Thanksgiving is such a special time, and for those of us who have been fortunate enough to be able to start a business, we have more to be thankful for than ever. I was thinking of my own life as an entrepreneur and CEO of CorpNet. Every day running a business, marketing my business, working with my treasured small business employees and customers, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for so many things.

Here are a few of my favorite reasons to be thankful:

  • I’m thankful for the flexibility and freedom of entrepreneurship. Ever since I decided to start a business, I get to work my own hours, chart my own course, have an awesome career and still get to be a mommy to my four children. I’ve written before about how when women decide to start a business, they can truly “have it all” – I’m grateful every day for being able to spend time with my kids, and the flexibility that comes from being my own boss makes this even easier.
  • I’m thankful for my husband and business partner, Phil Akalp. Because we decided to start a business together, we get to work together as best friends and business partners every single day, and we get to spend time together at work and at home. It’s not always easy being married to your business partner, but we love it! I feel like we have our very own Ron and Nancy Reagan kind of love story going on – and I’m grateful for every day that we have together.
  • I’m thankful for CorpNet’s employees. I don’t really consider my small business employees as “employees,” I consider them family. I love coming to work and spending time with them and laughing together all day – we have a great time together! Who says that work has to be boring? and remember great employees are the foundations for great companies!
  • I’m thankful for our amazing team of talented bloggers who help me create the content for the CorpNet blog and continue to serve as a valuable resource to our readers.
By | November 22nd, 2012|Running A Small Business|1 Comment

Fears of Entrepreneurs: The “Scariest” things about Starting a Business

367_2885661In honor of Halloween, I’d like to discuss a few “frightful” topics. I’ve helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs over the years start a business by setting up an LLC or Corporation. Here at CorpNet.com, we talk to entrepreneurs every day who are starting on an exciting journey to pursue their dreams.

But the truth is, entrepreneurship and running  a business is not always a dream. Sometimes it can feel like a nightmare! People who decide to start a business often experience a lot of fear and uncertainty. So as we prepare for trick-or-treating and all the fun things that go along with Halloween, I’d like to discuss some of these most common fears of entrepreneurs, and explain how you can overcome them.

Top Fears of Entrepreneurs:

  • Fear of failure:Every entrepreneur has moments of being afraid that the business won’t succeed. What if customers go away? What if the positive “buzz” that surrounded your new business launch dries up? What if your business slides into complacency and mediocrity, and enters into a slow death spiral? How to manage this entrepreneurial fear: Accept and embrace the possibility of failure. Failure is a constant specter for any entrepreneur. Every successful business might eventually fail; it’s a fact of life. The “creative destruction” of the U.S. economy is constantly rewarding winners and weeding out the companies that can’t keep up. Don’t become paralyzed by fear. Instead, every day, look to find proactive ways to make a positive difference. Embrace failure. If you try a new idea or introduce a new product and it doesn’t succeed, use the experience as a learning opportunity. Find out what works. Keep adapting and exploring and connecting with your customers. Failure doesn’t have to be something to fear. Instead, facing up to the prospect of failure is part of the discipline of keeping your company on track.

Continue reading “Fears of Entrepreneurs: The “Scariest” things about Starting a Business” »

By | October 31st, 2012|Starting a Business|5 Comments

Mars Cafe and the ultimate small business marketing compliment

 

430_3119396This is a true story about a local coffee shop in my neighborhood called Mars Cafe. Mars Cafe was a wildly successful local coffee shop and hangout for creative types in the Dog Town district of Des Moines. It was in business for 6 years and everyone loved it – it became a friendly local institution and an anchor of a part of town that used to be struggling economically.

Back in July, the owner of Mars Cafe suddenly announced that he was going to close the business. Even though the business was successful, he decided that he was too busy with other commitments and didn’t want to run the cafe any more. Everyone was shocked to hear that Mars Cafe was going to close. This was a beloved local cafe with a devoted following. Facebook lit up with people begging the owner to reconsider, saying, “Please don’t close, we love your cafe,” and so on. People even openly pleaded on Facebook, “Can’t someone else buy Mars Cafe instead?”

Then in August, after the cafe closed, it was announced that it was coming back. The café had new owners and re-opened on September 15, 2012. The new owners are 4 former longtime customers (now owners) who love Mars Cafe and want it to continue.

Here are a few questions to consider about why the rebirth of Mars Cafe is an amazing story, with some inspiring lessons for other small business owners: Continue reading “Mars Cafe and the ultimate small business marketing compliment” »

By | October 26th, 2012|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

3 ways to boost your small business marketing beyond “order taking”

285_2695654The other day I was having breakfast with my family at a restaurant, and the waitress came to take our order. She was very nice and polite, but her method of taking our order was very, well, ordinary – she just kind of stood there with a notepad and wrote down our order without really asking us any questions about what we were hungry for or helping us decide. The waitress could have helped us by asking questions, suggesting popular items from the menu, and offering ideas for food and beverages that we might enjoy – and she probably would have earned a bigger ticket for the restaurant and a bigger tip for herself.

Whether you’re a restaurant server, sales person or small business owner, being an “order taker” might be perfectly polite, but it’s a missed opportunity to help the customer and make more money for the business. When you’re an entrepreneur trying to market your business, don’t just be an “order taker” who waits for customers to tell you what they want. To really add value for your customers and drive better results for your business, you need to help your customers figure out what they want.

Here are a few ways that your small business marketing can go beyond simply taking orders:

Suggestive selling: One of the oldest sales techniques is exemplified by a good restaurant server who knows how to suggest items on the menu. “Do you want fries with that?” is the classic line from a fast food restaurant, but suggestive selling is often a lot more sophisticated. If you’re a consultant, you might say to a client, “Based on your situation and what we’ve discussed so far, here is what I think you might need.” If you run a retail business, and your customers have been browsing a particular item on the shelves, “If you like that piece of merchandise, I think you’d really love this one too.” Suggestive selling doesn’t have to mean forcing things on people or pressuring people into making a purchase. Suggestive selling doesn’t have to be about suggesting a more expensive choice. Instead, it’s about offering up a broader array of choices than the customer might have known about. Good marketing can help educate the customer and make them aware of better choices that can leave them in better condition.

Continue reading “3 ways to boost your small business marketing beyond “order taking”” »

By | October 23rd, 2012|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

One simple question that can help you keep customers

1540061What do you do when a customer tries to leave your business? Whether you’re a freelancer who wants to avoid getting “fired” by a long-time client, or a retail location that wants to keep up steady traffic of repeat business and referrals, it’s important to maintain your customer relationships. But sometimes, what happens when a customer decides to no longer do business with you can be one of the most important ways to keep making your business better. If you learn from it, even going through the experience of losing a customer can help you gain more customers in the long run.

I recently needed to cancel a life insurance policy because I had bought a new policy from a different agent. So when I contacted my existing policy’s insurance agency (State Farm agent James Lunders) to cancel the policy, instead of just saying “OK” and sending me some cancellation forms to fill out, James Lunders did something interesting: he asked if he could talk further with my wife and me to make sure we were getting a good deal on the new policy.

“I just want to make sure you’re getting good advice from this other insurance agent,” James said. “And I want to make sure you’re getting set up with a policy that’s a good fit for your needs. And if not, I want to see if we can offer you something that would be better.”

This was an interesting experience from a customer service perspective. And it made me wonder, how often do small businesses let their customers walk away without taking a moment to ask them why? Continue reading “One simple question that can help you keep customers” »

By | October 19th, 2012|Running A Small Business|1 Comment

Do you have the right character for entrepreneurial success?

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Bob Lefsetz is a widely influential expert on the music industry whose blog “The Lefsetz Letter” is must-read material for anyone interested in the latest trends and underlying motivations driving the music and entertainment business. Lefsetz recently posted an article about the ingredients of success in the music business, and how successful succeed not because of their cognitive skills, but because of something more intangible: their character.

If character drives our success, what are the true components of character? Anyone who is trying to succeed as an entrepreneur by starting a business can learn from these ideas about the character of successful people.

Here are the most important aspects of character mentioned in Bob Lefsetz’s article, and some ideas for how you can exhibit and strengthen these characteristics in your journey of starting a business:

  • Persistence: When you start a business, you need to be prepared to keep trying and trying and trying, even in the face of failure, rejection and disappointment. But persistence doesn’t mean simply blasting out a lot of e-mails and making lots of cold calls and handing out business cards – it means learning from your mistakes and adjusting your tactics as you go along.

Continue reading “Do you have the right character for entrepreneurial success?” »

By | October 3rd, 2012|Starting a Business|0 Comments