Thinking Outside of the “In” Box

marketingEach year, businesses all over the world push to find new ways of reaching new clients, making sales, and increasing revenue. While it appears that some marketing strategies have proven to be more effective than others, one thing is for certain: email will always be a part of any solid business marketing strategy, as it easily correlates to mass mailer marketing and other traditional business outreach methods.

However, because email is such a popular method used by nearly every industry, the positive effects begin to dwindle. Users who subscribe to e-newsletters and email marketing voluntarily will always be there, but those that businesses are attempting to reach for the first time have become numb to the mass mailing stimulus, and have learned to tune it out similar to the decreasing effectiveness of television commercials.

Fortunately, for businesses looking to reach out to new customers, part of the problem is also the ideal solution, and that comes in the form of social networking.

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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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How to Reduce the Communication Gap with Employees

How to Reduce the Communication Gap with EmployeesMore often than not, employees are a company’s most valuable assets, so it makes sense to invest in the corporate culture that helps them succeed. While vacation days and fringe benefits (health insurance, stock options, employee discounts, et al) are appealing lures, the heart of the employee experience occurs during business hours, as staff members interact with each other.

Good communication is square one for employers seeking to reinforce relationships with workers and it creeps in to every aspect of business operations. In many cases, communication mechanisms fall short on the job, leaving room for most companies to improve their standards and reduce the communication gap with employees.

Credibility and Communication

Credibility is an important area to focus on when it comes to influencing effective communication between employees and their superiors. When executed correctly, communication with workers reinforces trustworthiness for managers and other high-level employees. But if there is a deep communication gap between bosses and staff members, it can ultimately undermine productivity and employee engagement.

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Five CEOs that Showed Us How NOT to Run a Company

Five CEO's that Showed Us How NOT to Run a Company The American business landscape is littered with CEOs who, for one reason or another, showed the public, investors and their peers precisely the wrong way to run companies. At the time of their tenure, some of these former industry heads were first touted as business geniuses. Now they’ve become examples of how not to behave if you want to run your own business.

Jonathan Schwartz – Sun Microsystems

Founded in 1982 by three graduate students from Stanford University, Sun Microsystems grew to be a giant in computer hardware and services. Jonathan Schwartz was named CEO in 2006 by the founding CEO, and prior to that point, the company had grown aggressively and showed steady profits. Nearly every move Schwartz made ended poorly, acquisitions failed, the stock tanked, and thousands of employees had to be laid off. Ultimately, the company was sold to competitor Oracle.

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Which Type of Phone Line Is Best For Your Startup?

Which Type of Phone Line Is Best For Your Start-Up?Picking a telephone line system for your start-up is extremely important in the early stages for a business because it’ll allow current and potential customers to get in touch with your company while also allowing you to build a presence within your target market. Keep reading to learn about which phone line is best suited for your business start-up. Each have their benefits and there will certainly be one ideal for you.

Analog Copper Wire Lines

These are associated with landline numbers, and they’re also called the plain old telephone service, or POTS. Because they’d offer your business a direct connection via the provider, there’s no need to share the system’s capacity with others. You’d also have the advantage of using standard equipment that can be easily purchased and then upgrading later once you have a clearer understanding of your business telephony requirements.

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Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?

Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?When it comes to obtaining a company vehicle, you have a couple of options available to your business – you can opt to either buy or lease. Let’s examine these options in detail.

Buying a car

If you decide to buy a car, keep taxes in mind. Writing off the costs on your taxes can be done in two ways – actual costs or mileage – and there are limits on how much you can take in a given year. If you choose actual costs, you have to do that every year you claim the vehicle; you cannot change your mind later. There are different amounts you can write off depending on the type of vehicle you own, too, whether it is an electric car or an SUV. If you’re looking to invest in a hybrid vehicle for your business, be sure to keep in mind that it will no longer qualify for a tax break.

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Should You Give Your Employees a Second Chance?

I’ve always believed that my business’s success hinges on the open and honest relationship I have with my team. I have to trust that my employees will do the job they were hired to do so I can focus on running and growing the company. However, I have unfortunately had to deal with members of my team breaking that trust in the past. And, while you should always consider giving people a second chance at the workplace, second chances also mean you should look at what they did, and determine whether what happened was a minor transgression, or a serious breach of trust. second chance

Look at the big picture

It can be really easy to focus too heavily on the employee when making this sort of decision, but you need to consider a lot of different factors. Firing someone can leave a long-lasting impact on your business, especially if other employees don’t agree with your decision. Was this betrayal of trust more personal, or professional? Occasionally we have to swallow our personal pride for the betterment of the company, and objectivity is key to making this sort of a decision. If this is an isolated incident, then maybe a second chance is in order.

Consider the impact on your business

If this employee has proven themselves to the company and has spent years working within it, firing them could hurt your business. So you need to ask yourself if the employee’s separation will actually be good for the company. Do they contribute to inter-office harmony? Are they replaceable? Will their absence help or hinder day to day operations? Being slighted by someone you trust is always a jarring experience, but it isn’t worth sacrificing your team’s dynamic to make a point. But if this employee did actually harm the company, it may be worth sending them out the door for good.

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How to Make the Most of Office Space on a Budget

How to Make the Most of Office Space on a BudgetThinking of starting a small business? You’re certainly not alone. Small businesses are on the rise in America; according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the number of small businesses has increased by almost 50% since 1982!

However, despite the surge in popularity over recent years, starting a small business can still be a daunting challenge to the entrepreneurial-minded individual. With lots of initial hurdles to overcome, many small businesses fold within the first year.

But there’s still plenty of hope! By maximizing revenue while minimizing overhead in those early years, many small business owners can set themselves on a solid foundation for success from the start. Do you need the biggest and best equipment on Day 1? How much space do you need for your workforce? Can you live without that can’t-live-without software for a few months? Putting together a plan that accounts for immediate, short-term, and long-term needs is essential, especially when it comes to finding an office.

While it can be tempting to sign on the dotted line for a new workspace immediately, there are tips that every small business owner should take into account to increase your survival rate right off the bat. Here are the top 3 ways to make the most of an office space on a budget.

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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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