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30 Do’s And 20 Don’ts In Starting A Small Business

Small scale businesses are easier to set up compared to the middle or large scale businesses that require more time, feasibility reports, ad...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Where Should I Incorporate My Business?

Admit it, you read the headline and Delaware popped into your mind. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, so that must be the right place to set up a new business. In fact 75% of all new IPO's are by Delaware registered corporations. Have you ever wondered why the second smallest state with less than a million residents and roughly 100 miles from top to bottom can be the king of corporations?

Well I will tell you right off, it is not for tax reasons. Delaware actually has fairly high franchise tax rates, which can cost as much as $180,000 annually and a state corporate income tax rate of a flat 8.7%.

Companies incorporate in Delaware because of the Delaware legal system.

  • Delaware law shields corporate directors from liability
  • Delaware laws makes it easy to obtain an affirmative shareholder vote for a merger
  • Delaware's court system allows judges or "Chancellors" rather than juries to hear disputes involving Delaware corporations.

  • Delaware does have one friendly tax provision, in that if your Delaware corporation does not actually conduct business in the state, then you don't have to file a corporate income tax return with the state. You do still file an annual franchise tax return and pay the annual franchise tax.

    I hear the same questions every year when I get new clients whose buddies told them to incorporate in Delaware so here goes:

    1.  Outside investors will only invest in Delaware corporations - not true, but they do often prefer to invest in "brand new" Delaware corporations to protect the people they are going to put on your board of directors. They like brand new corporations, because they don't want to worry about some undisclosed liability from your past coming back to haunt the business later. So when you get to the point of seeking outside investors, you will have plenty of time to set up a new Delaware corporation and transfer all your current business operations to the new company.

    2.  My business is totally virtual so if I incorporate in Delaware and operate from outside the state, I don't have to pay any state income tax - not true. You are physically located somewhere and are operating your business from some other state and that state will require you to register your Delaware corporation as a foreign corporation doing business in your home state and paying whatever state level taxes your home state imposes on a corporation formed there. In fact if you have partners from multiple states, you may need to register in every state where your partners are located.

    3.  I am not a US citizen and operate my business from outside the US, so Delaware lets me avoid US federal taxes - not true. US federal taxes are based on the nature of your business and how it is operated. Your US federal tax obligations will be the same no matter what state you incorporate in, so why not choose a state with low annual franchise tax fees if you are not a US resident.

    4.  I need the legal liability protection offered by a Delaware corporation - That may be true, but if legal liability is a significant concern in your business, you need to have a discussion with an attorney first, because there is a lot more to protecting yourself than just setting up a corporation.

    Before you go incorporating your business, I suggest you have a discussion with your CPA and maybe even with your attorney, to be sure you choose the best form and location for your business.

    Wray Rives is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He services accounting and tax needs of worldwide clients through his virtual CPA firm at https://www.NeedaCPA.com

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    How to Create a Marketing Roadmap for Your Business

    Want to create a marketing roadmap for your business? Follow the DOMINATE formula: D: Design an Agile and Strategic Approach to Marketing O: Optimize Customer Experience M: Manage Your Marketing Stack I: Integrate Multi-Channel Marketing N: Never Lose a Lead A: Always Be Listening to Stay Ahead T: Tackle Execution, Tracking, and Monitoring E: Exercise a Healthy Balance: Maintenance, Iteration, and Managing Growth ______________ Feel as if no one is listening to your brand online? Frustrated that buyers aren’t purchasing your product, walking into your store, or connecting with you online? Let our team of marketing experts, content creators, designers, and web developers help you create an authoritative and profitable online business and brand. Take a look at how we help: http://rebekahradice.com

    Thursday, July 19, 2018

    How To Keep Cash Flow Positive As A Business Startup

    One of the biggest challenges for any business startup is the ability to have positive cash flow at all times throughout the year. When times get lean, and profits go down, you can feel a pinch in your working capital and need a way to build these monetary reserves back up to their peak. The reverse holds true when profits are soaring and you are making bank - you feel the beneficial weight of some added funds sitting in your cash flow reserves ready to be spent. But, you need to even out this cyclical trend with a positive cash flow all year-round. Here are some ways you can keep your working capital positive throughout your sales cycle.

    Prevent Overspending

    One of the easiest ways to get your cash flow in check is to stop overspending when the need is really not there. It can be tempting to buy the latest and greatest of everything for your business, but if tomorrow's sales take a dip, you will find your reserves a little slimmer than normal. Spend cautiously on what you need for your business startup to survive each day. This can help you have the cash you need when an issue arises without having to struggle to come up with the funding.

    Stay On Top Of Invoicing

    Getting paid for the work you have completed is an arduous task for any startup. It is no fun chasing down late payments, but it is your responsibility as a business startup owner to make sure your invoicing goes out on time and gets paid. Getting your invoicing in order can make sure you have a steady flow of income coming in and can make sure money is left over for positive cash flow at the end of each and every month.

    Track Daily-To-Day Costs

    Keeping a good record of your costs all throughout the year can help you better identify where you are overspending. You may need to reign in your expenses, but without tracking them, you have no way of knowing where your cash flow is going each day. Keep a record of all the expenses you make every single day and review them to see where you can cut back. You may be making unnecessary purchases that are costing are adding up and affecting your working capital.

    Keep A Cushion

    If you know your business startup struggles from time-to-time with its working capital, you can plan for these times by setting aside a cushion of funds that you can rely on when you need it. This can make your slower months easier to bear and provide you a solid reserve that you can count on when an emergency arises. It can give you some added security that you have the funds when profits dip and keep you in the black all throughout the year.

    Estimate Future Earning Conservatively

    When you look ahead, it can be easy to overestimate what your earning will be the following year. You may anticipate sales that don't come to fruition or unexpected circumstances could take hold. To keep your cash flow positive, be realistic in your future earnings and plan for the unexpected, so you don't wind up in a situation where your working capital vanishes without warning.

    Increase Sales

    While it goes without saying that increasing your sales can help grow your cash flow, but this is one area that business startups can lag in. Think about the ways that you can add value to your offerings and entice customers to buy more than ever before. Bundles and add-ons are simple ways to get a customer to spend more with you and help increase your sales in any given month. You need to consider all the ways that you can get each transaction to its maximum value so you can have that extra working capital after your receivables, payroll, and expenses have been paid.

    Secure A Short-Term Investor

    Short-term angel investors are a sure-fire way to jumpstart your business startup and get the funding you need to help with your cash flow problems. They can help provide funding when times are tough and allow you to breathe a little easier with their financial support. A short-term angel investor can provide you money to grow your business while still maintain the day-to-day flow. Paid back over a shorter amount of time, these seed investors help to give you more flexibility and provide an alternative means of securing funding for your business startup.

    Create Loyal Customers

    Turning your customers into to loyal fans that frequent your business on a regular basis can help you grow sales and increase your profits all throughout the year. These repeat customers can give you business start-up the boost it needs while also helping your working capital to balloon with each purchase. When you can count on a customer to return to your business, not only does it ensure another sale but it makes it easier to project future sales and keep your cash flow from dipping into the red.

    Keep Inventory Lean

    Making sure that you don't overflow your inventory can also prevent a negative cash flow for your startup business. Practice being lean and only have the inventory you need at any given time. This can make a difference in your business' bottom line and improve your cash flow situation. Having product and materials on hand may be nice, but it can affect your ability to have the cash reserves when you need it most. Keeping inventory to a minimum takes a special knack, but you will find that your operations are just as efficient and you are not waiting months to sell your backlog, affecting your monthly working capital.

    Taking stock of your cash flow on a daily basis can make sure it is positively flowing each and every month. These simple tips can help you stay in the black and make your working capital less of a worry for your business startup. Planning ahead, staying lean, and growing your sales will ensure you have the cash reserves you need to keep your business startup afloat year-round.

    More detailed information and useful advice can be found at http://www.Funded.com

    Saturday, July 14, 2018

    Achieving Independence Through Entrepreneurship...Hope For Autistic Adults

    Finding and maintaining meaningful employment continues to be a major challenge for autistic adults. Unfortunately, the statistics are not very encouraging as approximately 80% of adults on the spectrum are either unemployed or underemployed after finishing high school. There are a number of job training options worthy of pursuit, although access to opportunity can be elusive. One area gaining momentum is starting a business based upon interests or natural ability. Admittedly, this is not a career path for the faint of heart - but more autistic adults are choosing entrepreneurship as a pathway to independence. Following the conventional custom of finding a job after high school simply has not panned out for many on the spectrum for various reasons. Those who are employed often work in a family owned business on a part-time basis or engage in seasonal employment.

    What types of business opportunities are best suited for autistic adults? Obviously there is not a single category that attracts all people on the autism spectrum. In fact, there is considerable diversity among the occupational areas in which autistic adults are finding their way. Some fields are traditional, while others are surprisingly generating novel interest from members of the autism community. For a while software testers was all the rage whenever autism employment was mentioned in a conversation. The problem with that is the number of job openings for software testers is extremely limited, and even more important, not every autistic adult wants to engage in this type of work. With the continued resistance on the part of corporations to hire people with autism, many are taking matters into their own hands. Having an interest or natural inclination in cooking or art has lead to a number of bakeries or studios owned and operated by individuals with autism. Some are managed by a single person, while others employ other employees who are also on the spectrum. This model creates jobs for others and gives back to the larger community by way of civic responsibilities.

    Below is a list of employment areas in which autistic adults have forged business opportunities, utilizing their talents to create a rewarding life for themselves.

    1. Veterinarian Assistant - For animal lovers who enjoy caring for and providing treatment to injured animals, this can be extremely gratifying. While there are some autistic people who fear being in close proximity with pets, others simply love being around furry companions. The right person can thrive in this career choice, while working in an environment that provides a great deal of personal satisfaction.

    2. Landscape Professional - Someone with an eye for design and a love for the outdoors could do quite well in landscaping. Modern designs are bolder and embrace colorful arrangements which express individual taste and creativity. Making use of various textures and open spaces can be challenging, yet rewarding for the person willing to promote themselves. Additionally, outdoor living space is a popular feature in home designs that bode well for future landscaping job opportunities.

    3. Architect - Planning and designing structures for residential or commercial purposes requires a specific skill set. The combination of spatial recognition and mathematical ability can lead to a very gratifying career. Meeting the academic training standards may not appeal to everyone, but for those who enjoy creating blue prints and meeting with clients, this may be a viable option to consider.

    4. Graphic Designer - In a digital world full of increasing online content, talented graphic designers are in demand. With a choice of platforms to work from, this is an area that's poised for growth. This is not for everyone as precision, accuracy, and meeting strict timelines can be stressful. With that in mind, it is a field worthy of consideration.

    5. Coffee Shop Owner - The benefits of operating a coffee shop go far beyond serving up a great cup of brew. Local coffee shops have become a social gathering place for personal acquaintances and business professionals. Having good organizational skills is an absolute must, along with the ability to talk to strangers. This could be the pathway to personal and financial independence for highly motivated individuals.

    George D. Williams, MS is an author whose focus is the challenges facing the growing autistic adult population. In addition, he is the founder of Centurion Publishing Services which provides editorial support to authors, business organizations, and the financial industry.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    Scale Your Business Beyond Yourself With Rebekah Radice

    If you've been at it for a while, and you're getting clients, you start running out of hours pretty quickly. You reached a point where you don't have time to service them all keep up with marketing, social media, administration, and sales. You start getting bogged down with the busy work. It's time to stop trading hours for dollars. It's time to scale. Well, the first step is hire some VAs. Outsource some work to Elance and Odesk even the Philippines. But until you try bringing somebody on board, it's just theory. Wouldn't it be great to have someone give you simple step by step instructions on how to find, hire, and train your first assistant. And even better if that person would help you avoid mistakes and teach you how to create job descriptions, develop systems, and learn how to delegate tasks effectively. And most importantly, they teach you how to let go of control and trust someone else with your business. Too often we think to ourselves, "I could have done this a lot faster than the time it took me to train someone to do it." So, how do you scale your business? Well, that's exactly why I invited Rebekah Radice to come and tell us how she did it. Go look at her content, blog and web properties, all top notch, and she admits, she's not doing it all herself. 

    Friday, July 6, 2018

    Small Businesses That Generate The Biggest Profits

    What was the most recent net profit margin of your business? Were revenue and profit projections achieved? Is your venture comfortably able to manage its accounts payable? Were you, the owner, able to provide comprehensive medical and dental insurance to yourself and any employees? Were you able to substantively fund your retirement account last year? Were you able to afford a vacation?

    If the answer to two or more of those questions is no, I respectfully suggest that you evaluate the future viability of your enterprise. More than a business model tweak or a pivot, you may need to explore another kind of business altogether, one with greater profit-making potential.

    Take heed---Sageworks, a financial data services company located in Raleigh, NC, analyzed the net profit margins of 16,000 small businesses that earned less than $5 million between October 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017. The average net profit across all industries in that time period was 8.4 %.

    Note that the list of top performers consists almost entirely of Solopreneur-friendly service industries. Despite the challenges of selling services, especially intangible services, to either B2B or B2C clients, Sagework's list demonstrates that it is possible to make money as a self-employed service provider.

    Some industries are more Soloprenuer-friendly than others. Accountants and bookkeepers, real estate sellers, attorneys, landlords and certain healthcare practitioners are all able to operate a one-person shop quite well, perhaps with a single employee to provide administrative help.

    Educational requirements and professional credentials pose a formidable barrier to entry for several of these high-yield business opportunities, most notably dentistry, chiropractic, law and accounting (CPA or certified financial analyst). In contrast, real estate sales requires only a license to do business, the right relationships and no real selling skills if you are in a hot market. If someone with a broker's license brings you into the business, you can work under the umbrella of that person's credentials.

    I look askance at the stated prospects for attorneys, however. There have been many mergers between big law firms and as a result, many lay-offs. From a former employee of a very prestigious law firm who was let go six or seven years ago and eventually started her own boutique firm, those who venture out on their own can encounter stiff competition in certain legal specialties. Welcome to the new normal. Below are the small businesses that on average have the healthiest profit margins.

    Business   Net profit margin

    Accounting / Bookkeeping 18.4% 
    Landlords 17.9 %
    Legal services 17.4 %
    Management of companies 16.0 %
    Real estate sales 14.9 %
    Dentist's office 14.8 %
    Health practitioners (chiropractors, etc) 13.0 %
    Medical & diagnostic laboratories 12.1 %
    Automotive equipment rental or leasing 12.0 %
    Graphic and industrial design 11.4%
    Warehousing & storage 11.0 %
    Management, scientific, or technical consulting 10.3 %

    Thanks for reading,

    Kim L. Clark is an external strategy and marketing consultant who brings agile skills to the for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders with whom she works. To learn how you can ensure that mission-critical goals are achieved at your organization, please visit http://polishedprofessionalsboston.com

    Tuesday, July 3, 2018

    Social Media Strategy With Rebekah Radice

    Social Media expert Rebekah Radice joins Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli to discuss how to use social media to build your brand and get more work.