50 States of Incorporation: South Carolina

This week on 50 States of Incorporation, we take a look at ‘The Palmetto State,’ South Carolina! Also know as ‘The Rice State’ and ‘The Swamp State,’ South Carolina’s official nickname comes from the state tree, the Sabal Palmetto, which distinguished itself during the revolutionary war. It was a fort made of Palmetto logs that repulsed the British fleet from Sullivan’s Island back in 1776! incorporate in South Carolina But South Carolina has a lot more to offer than strategically useful flora. Though it was hit hard by the recession, its strong agricultural heritage, and the state’s friendly attitude towards business, has really boosted its recovery. So what should South Carolinian entrepreneurs know about their state? And what does it take to open up a business and incorporate in South Carolina?

Are there any benefits to running a business in South Carolina?
Plenty! South Carolina is actually one of the most business-friendly states in the USA. Thumbtack gave the state an A- in overall friendliness, and South Carolina has the tenth lowest tax burden of all states. It also makes sense to incorporate in South Carolina as the state boasts a low, 5% flat corporate income tax rate. Of course, South Carolina does all it can to help small businesses within the state. The South Carolinian Secretary of State’s office maintains a Small Business One-Stop Site to help new entrepreneurs find and file for everything they need to get their business up and running, and the Department of Commerce is proud to offer multiple growth incentives to businesses with the state.

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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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Business Basics: Trade Dress

This week we thought it’d be a good idea to look at one of the most important parts of a product’s branding, its trade dress. You are affected by trade dress every single day, whether you realize it or not. If we describe a white coffee cup with a green circle on it, you’ll know it’s from Starbucks. Or if we show you a bag with a red square and yellow arches, you’ll think McDonalds. Essentially, trade dress is the various characteristics that make up a product’s or package’s appearance. But how do you protect your own trade dress? And does building a brand mean marrying that packaging?

Trade Dress

We bet you still know what company this is.

Why should you build trade dress recognition?
Because your company needs a way to immediately distinguish itself. Your brand embodies all of the goodwill and trust you’ve built into your company, and something as simple as a color, font, or even the shape of your product’s box can evoke all of those feelings within whatever customer is looking at your product. That’s why you want your trade dress to be consistent over all of your properties. Your logo, signage, site, and product packaging should all be built around some common element that inextricably ties your business with your product or service.

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Member-Managed LLCs Versus Manager-Managed LLCs

Traditionally, Limited Liability Companies are treated like partnerships. Two or more people get together, found a company, form an LLC, and then start running the business. But there’s more than one way to run an LLC. Member-Managed and Manager-Managed Limited Liability Companies are run very similarly, but there are also some key differences that anyone looking to form an LLC should know.Limited Liability Company

Member-Managed LLCs

Member-Managed LLCs are, by far, the more common choice. Each member of the limited liability company is treated as equal to every other member, and everyone shares responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the LLC. Continue reading

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Business Basics: The Single Member LLC

Limited Liability Companies were, originally, meant to be a replacement for the standard partnership. In 1977, the IRS ruled that it would treat the very first LLC, a Wyoming-based oil company, as a partnership for tax purposes. That meant any money earned by the company would flow through it, directly to the members of the LLC. It wasn’t until 1988, however, that the IRS chose to recognize all LLCs as partnerships, rather than corporations. LLCs are thus, at the federal level, treated as partnerships, which complicates matters for Single Member LLCs. Single Member Limited Liability Companies thus face challenges unique to its business structure – challenges that anyone considering forming a SMLLC should know about and expect.

Single Member LLC

What are the differences between a Limited Liability Company and a Single Member LLC?

The main difference is right in the name. A single member LLC only has one member, or owner. Limited Liability Companies were primarily created to protect the interests of everyone involved in running the company. The assets and debts of the company were its own, and the assets and debts of each member was their own. If one member misbehaved and owed creditors money, the creditor could not seize control of the LLC – they could only collect on the proportional share being paid to that owner. Likewise, if the company went bankrupt, the personal assets of the members were safe. Single Member LLCs, on the other hand, are not partnerships and it has been up to the state courts to decide how much protection a single-member LLC should really provide.

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50 States of Incorporation: New Mexico

This week we’re covering the Land of Enchantment – New Mexico! Though admitted to the union in 1912, New Mexico has, for centuries, been home to the native Navajo, Pueblo, and Apache people. With the fourth-largest native population in the United States, New Mexico continues to be an important center of Native American culture. This culture, along with New Mexico’s stunning natural beauty, are the two of the main drivers of one the state’s biggest industries – tourism.

Along with tourism, New Mexico has a rich deposit of fossil fuel and natural gas, and is home to multiple military bases. In fact, federal spending is one of the biggest sources of revenue for New Mexico. The government of New Mexico is always looking for ways to help small businesses grow, and there are loads of tax incentives available to entrepreneurs in the state! But what does it take to start a small business there? How do you form an LLC or incorporate in New Mexico? And are there any special rules you should be aware of?Incorporate in New Mexico

What is needed to start your small business in New Mexico?

Anyone that does business in New Mexico has to register with the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, and be issued a CRS Identification number. Your CRS number is used to collect and pay tax on gross receipts. In addition to registering, all new small businesses should apply for a ‘Doing Business As’ name with the Secretary of State’s office so that they can advertise, collect checks, and open a bank account under their business’s name. If you’d like, we are happy to run a free DBA name search on your behalf!

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Business Basics: Corporate Seals

Corporate seals are a remnant of the middle ages, back when official documents were legitimized by a hot wax imprint of a seal or crest. The practice of ‘sealing’ documents kept on throughout the centuries, though the hot-wax method eventually gave way to rubber stamps and paper seals. Today, corporate law still allows for the use of corporate seals, though they are no longer as important as they once were. This week in business basics we answer a few of the most commonly questions we receive about corporate seals, and let you know if you should get one for your own corporation. Corporate Seal

What is a corporate seal?

A corporate seal is essentially a signature for your business. When you incorporate, you turn your business into its own, legal entity. Since a corporation cannot sign anything, a corporate seal is used to mark legal and official documentation. These days, most corporate seals are either rubber stamps or steel embossers, and are normally designed to fall apart if tampered with to help avoid fraud.

Do I need a corporate seal?

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50 States of Incorporation: Nevada

Nevada was born from the discovery of a major silver mine, and its reputation as a state where you can make it rich, and quick, has been well-earned. Home to Las Vegas, Nevada is known for being a place to gamble, and tourism remains its number-one industry. Of course, there is so much more to the ‘Silver State’ than the Las Vegas Strip. Nevada is still home to some of the most active precious-metal mines, and is a major ranching state.

Incorporate in Nevada

The State Seal of Nevada

Nevada also has a reputation as being a tax haven – the Tax Foundation ranked Nevada as having the third most-business friendly tax laws of all fifty states. Naturally, we receive plenty of questions on how to take advantage of that lax-tax law. If you are considering whether you should incorporate in Nevada, take the following into consideration:

  • A few forms are all you need to form a limited liability company or incorporate in Nevada. To help expedite the process, Nevada’s Secretary of State has set up ‘The Silver Flume‘ – an online business portal that allows entrepreneurs to register their business and set up a new business entity. The filing fee for corporations can fluctuate from the minimum of $75 depending on how many shares the corporation will be authorized to issue.

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Become a Blogger on the MyCorp Blog!

Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur, or just brimming with advice about the start-up world that you want to share? We want you to come and blog with us!

What started as just a few guest inquiries last spring has become a tremendous success on our MyCorp blog – now we have guest writers from all over the country (as well as outside of the United States) contributing their thoughts and ideas about small business with us. In fact, our program has been such a success that MyCorp recently had the honor of being placed at #11 on a list of the top business blogs that accept guest posts! And while we are absolutely thrilled to be on that list, it’s also been a lot of work getting there as guest blogging is pretty time consuming on the email front.

Guest post idea

Until now, our guest-blogging system has essentially been an e-mail address and some generic guidelines. But we’re streamlining the process for 2014 to make it easier on contributors with a revamped system, and are proud to unveil our new article submission process!

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Business Basics: How to Start a Non-Profit Corporation

We have written on non-profit corporations before, but as we only dedicated a sliver of a paragraph to how you actually form a non-profit, we felt the topic was worth revisiting. A non-profit corporation is a great way to fulfill a philanthropic pursuit, and if you are looking at dedicating your life to charity, then running a non-profit may be right up your alley. Forming a non-profit corporation is actually very similar to forming a regular corporation.

Non-Profit

Step 1. Find a business name

Your non-profit is going to need a name just like with any other standard corporation. That name needs to be unique and, typically, has to include the a designator like ‘Corporation’ or ‘Incorporated,’ though not all states require that.

Step 2. File your Articles of Incorporation

After you’ve confirmed that your corporate name is available, you have to actually form the corporation by filing what is normally known as your Articles of Incorporation. The forms usually aren’t too complicated, and normally just ask for the names and addresses of the corporation, its registered agent, and its directors, as well as the corporation’s purpose for existing.

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