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Archive for Wordy Wednesdays

Want to Start a Business in 2013? Questions to Ask Yourself

With the beginning of each New Year, many people take stock in their lives and what changes they may or may not want to make.  We set out to lose weight, improve our careers, spend more time with family and friends, and probably take up a new hobby or two.  A few years back, the New Year goals included growing my own business for me.

I had my reasons: Independence, Flexibility, Diligence, Pride, & Passion being a few.  I sifted through the ups-and-downs of growing a brand, made mistakes, and continue to do a lot of both still.  I wish there was a cheat sheet when I started.  Don’t get me wrong, I would never change my mind or not start my own business, I just would have loved to have these questions and tips set before me when starting.

Before Starting Your Business, Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Are you good at asking for help?  

Do not be TOO independent.  It is a great characteristic and extremely noble to be independent, but starting a business requires help, mentorship, and often a shoulder to lean on.  While being a self-starter is crucial to starting a business and staying on target,  one cannot shut out those around them who can be of help.  Building a new business often involves focus groups, skill-sets that are not part of your repertoire, and a solid sounding board.  Do not try to be so independent that you turn away a good thing like the advice or opinion of a confidante, spouse, friend, or business mentor. Continue reading “Want to Start a Business in 2013? Questions to Ask Yourself” »

Don’t Leave Home Without These Items in Your Bag of Tricks

As women we are notoriously [in]famous for carrying big, huge stuffed purses & totes.  Just think about it…you know you are guilty!

This got me thinking – what do we really need (and NOT need) in our small biz bag-of-tricks?

I took a long hard look into the deep dark depths of my blue tote bag that I drag everything around in, and realized it was a total mess.  Upon noticing this, I made a deal with myself — I could NOT go for my afternoon cup of coffee until I cleaned that sucker out.  The goal was to clean out items that I did not need to carry around and determine my must-haves vs. the non-essentials.  Of course, while I did this, I decided to make a list of my very own startup women in biz essentials.

With many of us splitting for the holidays, you never know what can happen or who you will meet.  Beyond travel, just heading out of the house or office on errands or appointments can be surprisingly fruitful. Continue reading “Don’t Leave Home Without These Items in Your Bag of Tricks” »

Keeping Your Small Business Safe During the Holidays

For small business owners who are parents, the last month and a half of the year are even busier than usual.  Not only is there work, the year to finish out and regular activities, but throw in holiday gatherings, holiday shopping, both work and neighborhood parties, present wrapping, cooking, baking, school plays, and often – traveling to see family.  Wait, I am forgetting something.  Oh right, let’s not forget winter break and/or day care closure or vacation time for nannies.

Stack the abundance of stuff to do and places to be during the holiday season with the least possible childcare options available thrown on top of end of the year responsibilities as small business owners, and I smell something burning in the kitchen…literally & figuratively.

During this time of year, it is even more important to have a plan in order to avoid an explosion (and I do not mean an explosion in sales or leads).

Here is a quick list of ways to keep both your business and apple pie from getting burned during the holiday season:

Make Sure Your Embers Burning Slowly.  Although your plate is extremely full with a million household items, keep your business spark alive.  Set aside very specific times to work and intersperse small chunks of time to check off holiday items.  Leave an hour at lunch to run holiday-related errands or wrap presents.  Scheduling the holiday stuff in allows you to put it in the back of your head on concentrate on work during work time with a peace of mind that everything will get done.

Have an Escape Plan.  With days off school around Thanksgiving and winter closures, have a place you can go to get some work accomplished when kids are home.  More than likely there are neighborhood kids home from college that want to make a little extra money babysitting or family visiting who want to spend some time with the kiddos.  Take advantage of a few hours of help and head to a local coffee shop or your office and knock a few work-related items out of the way. Continue reading “Keeping Your Small Business Safe During the Holidays” »

Tasty Business Lessons From Watching Food TV

Somehow the Food TV network manages to keep coming up with new television shows about food — and the business of cooking.  On one level the shows are entertainment and a way to pass 30 or 60 minutes.  But on another level, a number of them have lessons that we as business owners can use — regardless of what business we are in.

Here are some lessons from Food TV shows that you can take to heart when starting or running your business — and you don’t have to be in the food business to use them: Continue reading “Tasty Business Lessons From Watching Food TV” »

How’s the Business End of Your Business?

By: Sarah

Do you ever get those midnight sweats? You know the ones… you can’t sleep because you’re worrying about your business.

Can you afford to hire? Will you make payroll? Are the people you have hired doing what they are supposed to be doing and getting the work done?  Will it all come together before it falls completely apart?

These scary parts?  They start to ease up and even evaporate once you’ve got good, solid, clear expectations set with the people who work for you, with you and who you work for.

I can’t explain why, it just does.  Maybe it’s because when you know you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, you can trust the Universe will conspire for your benefit.

Setting clear expectations and creating agreements can be confusing and even overwhelming, especially when you’re holding it all yourself. Luckily, you have support. I’m here to tell you that the my beautiful friend and colleague, the truth-telling lawyer, Alexis Neely, is devoting an entire hour to answering YOUR questions, for free.

You’ll get trusted advice from Alexis, in a way you can understand and easily implement. Plus, if you’re thinking about starting a business, whether it’s incorporating your business, forming an LLC , or simply registering your business as a Sole Proprietorship/DBA, she’ll refer you back to us at Corpnet.com as her preferred trusted partner and resource to handle the filing for you. Continue reading “How’s the Business End of Your Business?” »

Watch: Corpnet.com CEO on Out of the Rough Show!

CorpNet.com Founder and CEO, Nellie Akalp, was asked to appear on Fred Arnold’s Out of the Rough show to chat about starting a business and the common mistakes small business owners make when incorporating a business or forming an LLC!

In the interview, Nellie talks about how CorpNet.com helps startups file the appropriate business entity, as well as aid existing businesses in staying compliant with state business agencies.

Looking Back

She talks about what the business filing industry was like in 2007 when she founded MyCorporation.com (which was bought by Intuit and is now owned by a private company). Imagine having to send a check to Earthlink to purchase a domain name! Times sure have changed.

Common Mistakes and Questions for Business Owners

When asked what the biggest mistake she sees in working with small businesses, Nellie replied that it was companies choosing the wrong type of business entity. CorpNet.com can assist in advising business owners of the most appropriate business entity.

Nellie also addressed the big question: where should I incorporate? Nellie dispels the myth that there are huge benefits in incorporating in states like Delaware and Nevada. If your headquarters are located elsewhere, you’ll still be subject to the state where you filed and its regulations. You may have to pay additional filing fees, and you’ll still be responsible for paying taxes in your home state. She says the best solution is to file a business in your home state where you conduct your business.

Tune in and listen to the valuable advice Nellie shares as she discusses important topics like incorporating a business and forming an LLC for your  venture with the host Fred Arnold and his co-host Tera McHugh, Founder of  Association of Women Entrepreneurs!

Tips for Getting Back to Work At Home When Kids GO Back to School

Many of us small business owners work from home (at least part of the time), especially if we are parents trying to juggle work and childcare. I spent most of the summer providing tips for moms and dads to adjust to the summer break and still reach for goals.  With the brand-new school year on the horizon, I was jumping with excitement.

I have to admit the end of summer was rough for me.  I completely abandoned my routine, took some time off with my kids, went to the beach, and literally lost a big chunk of my work-at-home discipline.  While enjoying the last few gulps of summer and lemonade, I was the least bit concerned with getting back in the work groove.  It was only a little over a week ago, when I plopped down at my desk, did I realize I was in trouble.

This experience was the complete opposite of last year for me.  At the beginning of the 2011 school year, I was prepped, primed, and prepared to hit the ground running with a newly expanded and regimented routine.  As I shopped with my kids for their pencils, I mapped out my fall office hours and 4th quarter to-do list, only to be sorely disappointed when nothing fell into place as I hoped.

I was both discouraged and disappointed in myself and even a tiny bit in my kids for things not working out.

The 2012 school year ushered in a chaotic craziness that I never experienced before.  Of course, I had my kids once again organized and outfitted for success with binders and notebooks and highlighters, but I was not armed for ‘back-to-the-grind’ myself.  I had the supplies, but forgot the plan.  To make matters worse, as I semi-mapped out my call of duties, my boys had a change of heart on one after-school sport and then added a different one making the school pickups totally off-base of what I originally had.

Once again, I started a new school year feeling discouraged and disappointed in myself and a wee little bit in my sons.  It may have been a different year approached in a whole new way, but the outcome was the same.  In the end, I became victim to a sluggish and despondent attitude.

I decided to take a little lesson from my kids.  Kids are so resilient.  When something does not go exactly as planned, often the slough it off.  I watch in awe as my sons wakes up every day to a shining new day with yesterday being a faint memory.  If one plan does not work out, my kids try another.  I know this is not as easy for them all the time or for each and every kid, but I think it is fair to say that kids do not become as easily jaded as we do as adults.

In an effort to end the week right, I put everything away and took a warm bath on a Wednesday night, and woke up Thursday with a fresh (and clean) attitude.  I looked for a new approach to my schedule while inputting drop-off and pick-up times in my calendar.  I also re-injected my creativity.

Here are my FIVE tips for reinvigorating your work at home routine when in a slump:

  1. Do plan, just not too far in advance.  I find that restructuring once a month helps.  Of course, always add in any travel plans or long range meetings as you plan them, but re-evaluate your overall starting/ending times, best slots for meetings and conference calls, and quiet times to get paperwork in order – at least once a month.
  2. Break up your day with movement.  As startup business people, we often trade 9-5 hours for what we assume will be greater flexibility, and then find ourselves living, breathing, and sleeping our businesses.  Do not hole up in your office!  Find an excuse to move every few hours whether it be chunking your errands (personal or business) and having an errand running time slot, walking to the bank or post office, or simply taking a walk.
  3. Discover a creative space.  In addition to moving around, we cannot be creative exclusively in one place all the time.  I often find the same 4 walls of my office limiting…especially, during the last few weeks.  I found that hitting up one or two of my favorite nooks (the coffee shop on the tree lined street and my backyard) gave me the creative infusion I needed.
  4. Write down what is not working, draw a line down the paper, and brainstorm what you may do differently.  Hang it up.  (I keep mine inside the closet so it is private).
  5. My work-at-home mom’s greatest secret – the slow cooker.  As you are making breakfast for yourself and/or your kids, prepare your favorite recipe in the slow cooker.  This allows you to have the most time possible on the end of your work-at-home day without worrying about what’s for dinner, and leaving you some QT with the family.

With these little tips in place, the last item you need to have in place is ACCOUNTABILITY! Stay tuned for more on that in my next post (and if you can, send me a quick tweet to @backngroovemom reminding me to take my new LLC paperwork to the bank….)

Ready to get back to work at home when YOUR kids go to school? CorpNet.com helps entrepreneurs with all sizes of dreams – big, small and in-between. If you want to start a business, CorpNet can help you incorporate as an S-Corp or form an LLC to get your business up and running. They help entrepreneurs start a business by managing the business filings to incorporate a company. Whether you want to form an LLC or S-Corporation or other corporate entity, CorpNet can help you choose a business structure with a free business consultation. Check them out!

Why hiring an accountant is one of the best things to do for your business

Have you hired an accountant to help with your small business taxes and bookkeeping yet? If so, good for you.

If not, you really ought to hire an accountant as soon as possible. Hiring an accountant might be the #1 best thing you can do for your business.

2011 was the first year I did my taxes with the help of an accountant, and even though I’m “just” a solo freelancer and my business is relatively simple compared to larger businesses that have employees, inventory, depreciating equipment, and other tax-related minutiae, I am SO GLAD that I finally got around to hiring an accountant.

Here are a few reasons why (almost) every small business owner needs to hire an accountant: Continue reading “Why hiring an accountant is one of the best things to do for your business” »

What it REALLY Takes to Be a CEO

CEO business card

These days it’s easy to print up business cards with the title “CEO.”  You’re in charge, and you want to show it.  Your title can be whatever you decide to call yourself, right?

Well, maybe.  Today, if you want to truly lead like a chief executive officer, there’s more to it.  A great CEO knows:

(1) WHEN TO FOLLOW THE RULES

Make sure you don’t gloss over the legalities.  After all, a good CEO has to be aware of many facets of a business including legal requirements.  Let’s take, for example, that title. Continue reading “What it REALLY Takes to Be a CEO” »

10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

There’s a neverending debate on whether entrepreneurs are born or made. I don’t claim to be able to make the call one way or another, but I have noticed several characteristics that the most successful small business owners seem to share. Here they are.

1. Drive to Succeed. I guess without this, there’d be no reason to start a business. But every entrepreneur I’ve met (including myself) has something in them that won’t settle for halfway. It’s that Type A personality that refuses to relent until success is achieved. Can you relate?

2. Take Risks. I don’t naturally identify as being a risk-taker, but I look at the fact that I quit a job to start a company with zero dollars, and yes, I guess I have taken a few risks along the way. You can’t be scared of failure as an entrepreneur, that’s for sure.

Continue reading “10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs” »