What Happens After You Incorporate or Form an LLC?

For years, MyCorporation has been honored to help thousands of new entrepreneurs to get their new small business started on the right foot by incorporating or forming an LLC. But business maintenance doesn’t end when the articles of incorporation are filed! There are actually a few more steps to ensuring your new entity is compliant and ready for business. In order to help educate new business owners, and answer one of our most commonly asked questions, we are happy to reveal our new video, “What happens after you incorporate or form an LLC?”

Step 1. Apply for an Employer Identification Number. An EIN is going to be needed if you want to open a business bank account, or if you want to hire employees.

Step 2. File for trademark protection, and begin protecting your brand. You should also buy a domain name and secure social media properties as soon as possible.

Step 3. Look into what business licenses you have to apply for. Licensing varies depending on locality, entity, and industry, so it is a good idea to consult with a professional who can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Step 4. Remember to stay on top of annual maintenance. Most states will require business entities to file an annual report, which will have some basic information on your business like its name, address, registered agent, and industry. You also have to document any changes to the corporation or LLC. If you bring on new owners, or new investors, make sure to make note of it. You should also update your operating agreement or bylaws as new owners and investors will probably want a say in how the company is run.

Step 5. Thinking about expanding outside of your home state? Well, remember that you have to apply for permission to do business in any new state. If you don’t, you could be looking at hefty fines and dissolution of your business in that state. So don’t forget to file to qualify as a foreign entity in any state you plan to expand into.

Have any questions about corporate or LLC maintenance? Need help figuring out what you need to file? Just give MyCorporation a call at 1-877-692-6772 and we will be happy to help you out!

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Top 10 April Fools’ Office Pranks

Top 10 April Fools' Office PranksHappy April Fools’ Day! Today, offices and coworkers everywhere will be pranking each other by blowing air horns into cubicles, filling the supply cabinet with balloons and hiding the actual supplies, and taking off all the keys on keyboards and rearranging them. Here at MyCorp, we love a good joke and turned to our panel of small business pros to see what their all-time favorite prank pulled was – here are our top 10 favorites!

1. “We did ours a bit early to the staff and will do it to the general public on April Fools’ Day. I work at The Zebra – we created a press release that said left handed drivers are safer. The tech team really got the sales team when they added (internally only) a page that showed when people claim to be left handed their insurance dropped by more than 20% in some cases. We had a meeting, showed the new page and the press release. We even did some training… Hook, line and sinker.”

- Jason Jepson, The Zebra

2. “Since ‘taxidermy’ is similar to ‘tax accounting’ I decided to turn our reception area into a taxidermy shop. We located some stuffed animals that were slightly realistic. My favorite was a blow-up rubber moose head we hung on the wall. Outside we changed our sign from Tax-masters, Inc. to Taxidermy. Oh my goodness. When folks showed up for their appointments, it was hilarious! Some were old established clients who had been coming to our location for 20 years. Needless to say, they were confused. Others were brand new clients coming for their very first appointment so they were sure they had the wrong address.”

- Linda de Marlor, President, Tax-Masters, Inc.

3. “I was working in upstate New York. Our functional manager was well loved by everyone. He genuinely cared about all of us that worked for him. I well remember when a few of his employees turned his entire office into a camp. They took everything out of his office, put up a large tent and put his furniture back inside the tent. Our boss worked from within his tent all day, fully equipped with desk, chairs, lights, and even a toilet set up in the corner. His visitors that day were ‘impressed,’ not so much with their surroundings, but certainly by his staff’s creativity. I never did find out who did that, but it was really funny. The following day, his office was back to normal. I’m sure a couple of the guys were pretty tired after two non-sleeping nights.”

- Diane Piper, President, BORSAbag LLC

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Experts Weigh In: If I Had to Start My Business All Over Again

Experts Weigh In If I Had to Start My Business All Over AgainIf you could go back and change anything about the way your business got its start, would you do it? It’s totally okay to admit you would – whether it was a logo design, hiring sooner rather than later (and vice versa), or focus on marketing strategy tactics, even the most successful brand has a few moments that might have been done differently if they knew then what they know now. Today, we have a panel of 48 small business experts on board to tell us what they wish they could go back and change about their business in the beginning.

1. “I think I’d have learned to be a manager before I made myself one. I only now am starting to realize how much better I could have been as a manager instead of thrusting myself into the position as a know-it-all. I’ve been running my firm for 23 years and I really only have one regret that is not getting trained in the sensitive art of managing human capital.”

- Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR

2. “The transition from a full-time employee to a full-time entrepreneur has been a combination of many accomplishments, but also challenges. The flexibility of working from my home has been phenomenal, but after working almost 20 years for someone else, I realize that an office environment works well for me, even if using co-working space. While I can work virtually anywhere, I am more productive outside of my home and it allows me to maintain a divider between home and work life. If I had to do it all over again, I would have invested in some sort of shared or office space after developing proof of concept in order to maintain the boundary and be able to turn completely off at times.”

- Kimberly O’Neil, Founder/CEO, The Giving Blueprint

3. “If I were to start MyFairyTaleBooks all over again I would have chosen a different brand name. When we started in 2009 we were exclusively selling books. Now we offer many personalized gift items including puzzles, placemats and bookmarks with plans to expand into even further categories. We have such strong brand recognition with our customers that we are hesitant to make too many bold changes to our identity, but we’ve taken subtle steps to share the news that we’re no longer just books!”

- Kelly Mistry, Owner, MyFairyTaleBooks

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When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour Note

When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour NoteBlack Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am wasn’t singing “Happy” when he sought legal action against Oscar-nominated music producer Pharrell Williams. Will.i.am accused his fellow musician of not respecting the intellectual property rights of others while alluding to an ongoing dispute Pharrell and Robin Thicke are having with Marvin Gaye over the hit song “Blurred Lines.”

Will.i.am’s gripe stemmed from a trademark application Pharrell filed to secure his interest in his brand I AM OTHER. In their own words: “The I Am Other mark means ‘I am something else,’ leaving what that ‘else’ is to the imagination of the consumer… It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will’ or in any way suggest defendants’ or the will.i.am mark.” All that can be translated to mean: consumers looking at goods bearing Pharrell’s I AM OTHER would likely confuse them as originating from will.i.am.

In his his defense, Williams asserted will.i.am would have a hard time proving he controlled the “I Am” trademark pointing out the existence of the famed Dr. Seuss character Sam I Am as well as the 146 other artists who use the “I Am” construction in their monikers. The parties ultimately settled outside of court though Pharrell commented he found the whole thing “ridiculous” telling Rolling Stone Magazine, “I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me,” he said. “I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions.”

Share your opinion on this trademark law issue with us! And, as always, if you have any patent, trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling: (310) 276-6664. 

The Omni Legal Group was founded in Los Angeles, California by Omid Khalifeh. Mr. Khalifeh is a published attorney who has experience dealing with a wide variety of intellectual property issues. He has worked on matters for Fortune 500 companies and represents clients in disputes involving copyrightstrademarkspatents, trade secrets, and cyberlaw disputes. Mr. Khalifeh received his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Juris Doctorate from the Chapman University School of Law where he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to attend. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, the Law and the Human Genome (Loyola Law Review) and has been invited to speak at conferences across the country about changes in intellectual property law.

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Experts Weigh In: My Luckiest Moment as an Entrepreneur

My Luckiest Moment as an EntrepreneurFor entrepreneurs, luck is a lot like snowflakes – no two instances of it are alike. Today, we’ve got a panel of small business owners on our blog who have experienced some seriously serendipitous moments with their companies. From signing a deal while at the zoo to feeding Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling and plenty of appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank in between, these 45 entrepreneurs prove that everything in life is luck!

1. “Speaking internationally selling marketing training at live seminars, my luckiest moment was with a small group of 23. At the end of the 3 hour training, 21 attendees purchased additional training for $497.00 making it the highest converting training I have given.”

- Nathan Amaral, Owner/CEO, Nathan Amaral International

2. “My luckiest moment came when I least expected it. I was struggling with my bills, because I quit my job several months before to start my own web design company and it didn’t go so well. It was really hard to keep myself motivated, but then the first client appeared from nowhere basically. Till this day, I have no idea how he then managed to find my half-baked website and make a purchase. From that moment on, everything just got better and better!”

- John Perry, Owner, Muse Templates Pro Company

3. “A couple of years after I started my company I had pitched a CEO about a month before I ran into her at a networking event where she was the keynote speaker and her topic was about being a woman leader in a traditionally male-dominated business. I had followed up after sending my proposal several times via e-mail and voicemail but the CEO never returned any of my messages or even acknowledged the receipt of the proposal requested. You can imagine my shock when she announced at this event as part of her speech that she believes it is important to put your money where your mouth is and for women CEO’s to support other respected, well-run women’s businesses and that is why she has hired my firm to handle all her company’s marketing and PR! Everyone congratulated me after – it was a better endorsement than an ad in the New York Times because she was very well known and had the reputation of being very tough with high standards so I got a LOT of business from people in the room that night because they thought if I was able to impress her, I must be very good! For a young company, it was a big moment.”

- Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

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Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an Entrepreneur (Part 2)

Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an Entrepreneur (Part 2)Last week, we asked 75 entrepreneurs to tell us what they loved about running their own businesses. The feedback we got was so overwhelming, today we have 76 more small business owners on deck telling us what drives and motivates them to be their own boss!

1. “I love being an entrepreneur because I am able to work from home and make money doing something incredibly fun for me. I get paid to drink tea, paint with watercolors, and watch Sherlock!”

- Anna White, Artist and Business Coach, 2dayIchoose

2. “What I love most about being an entrepreneur is being able to work every day with my wife. I know it sounds corny, especially at Valentine’s Day, but it’s true. My wife always says ‘I don’t want to be Batman, I like being Robin.’ When I was a kid, I was always Batman. That translates to an awesome working relationship. People ask us how we could stand being together all day at work and then at home again and we respond, we couldn’t stand to not be working together every day. We have a ton of fun working together and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

- Buck Smolow, Co-Founder, JustPoppin.com

3. “My story-based content marketing company stems from my passion for creative writing, and a refusal to settle for anything less than success. While in university I had come to believe that I would never be hired by a company based merely on my writing skills. I was told that I must learn a variety of additional skills such as Photoshop, etc. Things that I had zero interest in. Rather than settling for an apparent reality I chose to create my own. Here’s to finding a passion and following it without fear. If you strive for excellence in your interest, the money will always follow. Believe me! #BeYourOwnBoss”

- Sarah Walker, CEO | Cursive Remedy Media

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Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an Entrepreneur

Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an EntrepreneurWhat do you love about being an entrepreneur? Here at MyCorp, we find that asking this kind of question to small business owners is a little like the children’s book When You Give a Mouse a Cookie. They may not immediately ask for a glass of milk afterward, but they’ll definitely have plenty to share about what drives and motivates them when it comes to their businesses!

Today is part one of our two-part series polling our network of small business owners on what they love about their business. We’ve got 75 entrepreneurs in the house, discussing all the different hats they wear, the creative energy that comes with the role, and how every day is a new adventure.

1. “It may sound selfish, but I love the fact that I get to choose all the folks that I employ. I spent so many years in the corporate world having to work with a lot of personalities that did not share my work ethic or passion for whatever task was at hand. It’s such a great feeling to be able to work with individuals who are all dedicated to their craft, committed to excellence in all that they do and who genuinely care about the well-being of the team above all else. I keep telling myself that as the business grows, it may not always stay this way – but at this moment I am definitely loving it!”

- Kristy McCarley, CEO/Founder, Shazzy Fitness LLC

2. “The best part about being self employed for me is having the flexibility to be more active with my family. Though we’re always hustling as an entrepreneur looking for business growth, having that opportunity to get my kids on or off the bus and see their smiles is what true wealth is to me.”

- Mike Kawula, Self Employed King

3. “I love being an entrepreneur because of the freedom I have to call the shots, work when I want and control every aspect which gives me the knowledge to make the right decisions for my company.”

- Tanya L. See, Owner, Team See Marketing

4. “I love the fact that while my friends are complaining about their jobs every waking minute of the day, I can smile and react with a wry grin, knowing I’m in control of my own destiny. I know that every second of work I put in goes towards benefiting me ­ not a fat cat boss or faceless corporation. I love being an entrepreneur because essentially I enjoy every day­ I’m also in complete control!”

- Nick Whitmore, Managing Director, ContentWriting.org

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Experts Weigh In: What Businesses Are You Starting in 2014?

Experts Weigh In: What Businesses Are You Starting in 2014?From secret supper clubs to the first all clean comedy club in the United States, we recently polled 52 brand new small business owners about the kinds of businesses they were starting in 2014, what makes their start-up so special, and where they plan on taking their company in its first year and beyond!

1. “My name is Corecia and my sister and I are starting a unique business of a secret supper club. The premise is to announce the dinners, open them to 10 couples and its first come, first served by invite only. We already have a growing mailing list and will launch on February 2nd. Shirley’s Diner is named after my grandmother who passed away from cancer 5 years ago on February 2nd. We will be featuring many of her recipes.”

- Corecia Davis-Woo, Shirley’s Diner, @ShirleysDiner1

2. “I have recently started a new business in the speed countermeasure niche. This niche covers anything that can help you avoid getting a speeding ticket including smartphones, CB radios, radar detectors, scanners, and airplane detectors which we cover in our developing blog.”

- Chad Antill, Speed CounterMeasures 

3. “Leaving kids in stitches is not so bad if you’re at La Sewing Café! The ultimate fashion design and sewing cafe for kids located in Delray Beach, FL is turning heads across South Florida and also turning 1 year old this month! They say sewing is a dying art but it’s not true. At La Sewing Café, kids get to learn how to sew and bring their fashion designs to life. Who knows – the next Coco Chanel or Gianni Versace might be in the room making popular American Girl doll dresses and using old clothes to create new fashion finds!”

- Alicia Sanchez, La Sewing Café

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MyCorp’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

2013 was a great year for MyCorp, and easily the best year our blog has had yet. Did you know that, so far this year, we published 308 posts? 308! We’ve always been very proud of our little business blog, and are extremely grateful to everyone out there who has taken the time to click over and read our posts and become regular readers at our site. Since we had such a productive blogging year, we thought it would be fun to look back and pick out a few of our favorite posts from 2013 – here are our top ten:

Top Ten Posts

10. Starting a Business in 2013: An Infographic
Back in June we thought it would be a good idea to take some of the more frequently asked questions we get and spin them into an infographic. Starting a business can be a very confusing process, and we wanted to make our guide as easy to understand as possible. We pared the process down to six steps, and put out a very well-received infographic to help out our readers.

9. Tax Tips for America’s Entrepreneurs
This post was actually written by our friend David Nilssen, the CEO & Co-founder of Guidant Financial. We’ve done a few cross-posts with David, but this one stands out because of how useful it is. Tax season is stressful, but by following David’s advice, it can actually be a straightforward, productive time. You just have to know how to prepare!

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Experts Weigh In: Best Business Decision I Made in 2013 I’m Repeating in 2014

Best Business Decision I Made in 2013 I’m Repeating in 2014 Here at MyCorp we’re always happy to see businesses succeed and love to hear about the keys to their success, which more often than not includes making good decisions and repeating them in the days, months, and years to come for the company. As we wrap up the end of the year, today we interviewed 13 business experts to get their feedback on the best business decision they made in 2013 – and how they plan on repeating it in 2014.

1. “The best business decision I made in 2013 was joining EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization), a global business network of about 9,500 business owners with a very personal flavor. It’s something I’ll definitely stick with for 2014. I am a partner in a 13-year-old boutique advertising agency in New Jersey, and we have reached a steady size and comfort level, but we know we can be more. EO has a unique component called the ‘Forum,’ which is a small group of 6-10 business owners from different disciplines. Forums meet monthly and grow very close, which among other things enables them to serve as a de facto board of directors. Forum members hold each other accountable for business and personal goals, provide feedback and insight, share experiences and sometimes just offer emotional support. The monthly influx of ideas and enthusiasm is invaluable, especially for an entrepreneur like myself who started a business with professional experience but without business training. In addition to the Forum experience, EO holds learning, inspirational and just outright fun events that continuously sharpen the tools I need to be a more effective leader in my company.”

- Adam Schnitzler, Chief Creative Officer, The S3 Agency

2. “Outsourcing is the best decision I’ll remake. Outsourcing web development and SEO this year freed up time to explore other investment opportunities and meet with prospective clients. I’ll continue to invest in outsourcing in 2014 as a means to be able to focus on activities that allow us to continue to grow our business efficiently.”

- Michael Lallana, CEO, Mila Venture Group 

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