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Business Basics: An Employee Review… When You’re the Only Employee

Employee reviews get a bad rap – a lot of people assume they’re meant to judge a person’s work and weigh whether or not they are worth their wage. In reality, reviews are a great way to force a person to reflect on the past year, figure out what they’ve done well, and highlight potential growth areas. And you don’t suddenly outgrow their use after creating your own business. Too few small business owners actually take time to reflect on the past year; we assume we made money so, therefore, we did well enough. That’s a dangerous attitude, as it leaves you open to stagnation and contraction. This year, instead of just closing out the books and handing them to your accountant, do an employee review and really figure out just how well you did.

What do you ask?

Think back to your last employee review, and remember your manager brought up. Reviews are usually pretty standard, so you’ll be asked to come in with some accomplishments and possible improvements. There’s then a quick ten to twenty minute back and forth to sketch out goals and ideas for next year, and you’re done. Your one-person review does not need to look any different. It’s the end of the year, so you have a good idea how you did financially, but think of a few ideas or initiatives you’re particularly proud of and jot them down. Then ask what you’d change if you could do it over, and write those down as well. You’ve just outlined a plan of attack for next year. Keep doing what you do well, adjust as needed to help spur improvement, and plan out whatever new initiatives need adoption to ensure those improvements happen.

Do you have to talk to yourself?

No – in fact, if you can, involve someone else. You’re more than capable of doing this “review” on your own, but outside perspective is invaluable. We are our own echo chambers – we always wind up thinking our own ideas are good. But what you need is someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone to poke holes in your plan, and refine that sketch you just put to paper. Involving someone else also adds a bit of culpability to the process. Not only does it force you to actually think about, and write down, that list of accomplishments and improvement areas, but talking about that list means someone else knows your plan, and may ask about it periodically over the next year. Extra, external motivation is always helpful.

What’s the point?

Honestly, this process is something every business owner should do already. But running a business is tough, tiring work. And at the end of the year, when life is already hectic and you have tons to get done before January first, the last thing you’ll want to think about is next year’s plan of attack. Small business owners are great at mapping out big plans and focusing in on microscopic details. We usually aren’t great at connecting them. This employment review exercise helps by forcing us to see what works, and how we can leverage our talent to meet attainable, worthwhile goals over the course of the next year. Then, when 2016 hits, you aren’t forced to fly by the seat of your pants.

Ready to start your own business? Need some help with the process? Click here, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!

 

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delayed filing

Business Basics: Should You Opt for a Delayed Filing?

Procrastination tends to hit business owners hard when it comes to incorporating or forming an LLC. A lot of small business owners resolve to file the necessary paperwork, and then never do. And now they’re facing the end of another year and wondering if it’s even worth filing this late in the game. Believe it or not, it is! But around this time of the year, we usually tell customers to consider a delayed filing over a traditional, immediate action. Delayed filings are the perfect option for businesses owners who know…

They want to form an LLC or Corporation

Forming a limited liability company or incorporating is easily on of the best ways to protect yourself and your personal assets from any debts associated with the business. The government treats corporations and LLCs as their own legal entities, separate from the owner or owners. Any debts it incurs, loans it takes out, or judgments against it are therefore its responsibility and, in most cases, your personal assets will not be seized to pay for those debts. However, forming an LLC or incorporating requires the company’s managers to jump through a few extra loopholes, like paying fees and filing reports annually. Incorporate or form an LLC now, and you may be on the hook for 2015’s fees, even though the company only existed for a month. Plus, depending on your state, you may have to file different returns for the months your business was not its own entity, and the month it was.

That’s where delayed filing comes in. A delayed filing allows you to file the proper paperwork now, and set an “effective on” date a month or so into the future. That way you finish out this year as a sole proprietorship or partnership and, early next year, your LLC or Incorporation is officially approved and formed.

They do not want to be rushed

There is a lot of work that needs to be done at the end of the year. You have to put your books in order, evaluate the staff, and make it through the holiday season. But forming a legal business entity comes with its fair share of responsibilities as well; if you rush through your paperwork, and anything is amiss, the state will reject your filing. We are right at the cusp of December, so take this brief bit of time to make sure your ducks are all in a row – you have a registered agent, a physical address, and a protected DBA name – and then fill out your forms and opt for a delayed filing. That way you won’t have to struggle through all of the normal, extra work that comes in December and January.

They don’t mind waiting a little bit

I know how frustrating it can be to wait on the government to approve your paperwork, but trust me, patience pays off. You actually save a bit of time filing now and opting for a delayed filing instead of filing at the beginning of next year because a lot of businesses wait until the start of the year to send in their forms. State offices get swamped, the delay gets longer, and then you’re stuck waiting until February or March to hear whether your LLC or Corporation was formed. A delayed filing means your paperwork is approved before that rush or, at the very least, that the state will put your paperwork at the top of next year’s pile.

Ready to form an LLC or Corporation? Want us to help you file the right paperwork or opt for a delayed filing? Click here or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772

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Deborah Sweeney's Headshot

Reflecting Back on Six Years in Business

With 2015 on the cusp of wrapping up, I’ve been reflecting back on the last six years of owning MyCorporation. It’s been a long road, but we wouldn’t be where we are today (thriving!) if we hadn’t experienced each and every twist and turn. It all started back in 2004 when I joined the MyCorporation team, not as the CEO but as the vice president of legal affairs. With years in law school and some time in a law firm partnership, I was happy to be applying my legal knowledge in an area that interested me. In 2005, the business was acquired by Intuit. The acquisition brought about a much-needed new perspective on running MyCorporation, but there was still untapped potential that I was wishing I could get my hands on. Then, finally, in 2009 I purchased the division. And now here we are- six full years later! (more…)

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MyCorp Recommends: “The Power of Failure”

A fear of failure can be paralytic, especially to a small business owner or would-be entrepreneur. It means losing all the time, effort, energy, and money risked on an enterprise. But what if someone said that failure was a good thing? That, in fact, feelings of failure and defeat carry the true key to success?

Our good friend Fran Tarkenton argues exactly that in his new book “The Power of Failure“. TarkentonBookFran Tarkenton is no stranger to failing – he helped bring the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl three times during the 1970’s, and each time lost. After turning to business, the first two companies he founded eventually folded. But he didn’t allow himself to be engulfed by that failure and now, as CEO of Tarkenton Companies, is a wildly successful entrepreneur.

Failure, he posits, is a gift that brings incredible power. In “The Power of Failure” Tarkenton shares never-before told stories of his time in the NFL, and the personal, occasionally painful, moments he experienced. Through his own hard-learned lessons and invaluable advice given to him from friends and mentors like Sam Walton and Bernie Marcus, Tarkenton lays out the myths and truths of failure, and how to follow through to success. (more…)

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Business Basics – When do I Hire a Manager?

As you small business grows, it’s hard to pin down the best time to hire new people. Managers are especially difficult to time correctly. In many cases, they are seen as a luxury for small business and should only be brought into your management team if absolutely necessary. hire a manager But as your company grows and your job as owner changes, managers are the key to a successful, growing small business.

Overwhelmed

When you first started you may have ended your day at 6pm, then it became 7pm, and now you leave later than you ever intended. If you find that your days are getting longer because you have to fix every little problem in you company, it’s probably time to hire a manager. As Reza Chowdhury, of AlleyWatch said in an interview with Bplans, ”You’ll likely find yourself trapped in a perpetual hamster wheel, focused on tasks that are not a good use of neither your time nor skill set. At this point, it’s time to bring in the help to allow you to focus on the big picture.” (more…)

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ABCs of Small Business Industry: U is for Underwriter

Underwriting is a vital part of the financial and insurance industries. An underwriter is effectively the person that assesses risk, and determines the suitability of potential clients looking to avail of whatever service their employer provides, be it insurance, a loan, or capital. Underwriters have the responsibility of defining the terms within which the service will be offered. And, because of this, they are in very high demand. underwriterAfter all, without a qualified underwriter, lenders and insurance agencies would be lost. But how do you become an underwriter? And can underwriters work independently as a small business?

What do you have to do to become an underwriter? 

Normally, you at least need a bachelor’s degree in finance, or another business-related field. Underwriters also have to be meticulous, detail-oriented, and thorough. (more…)

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There’s Still Time to Lower your 2014 Taxes

The 2 Tax Deductions that Business Owners Often Leave on the TableThe holidays are over– and so is 2015. You know what that means…taxes! If you haven’t started getting your 2014 taxes in order yet, you need to take the turn of the New Year as a sign that you should get going. After all, the sooner you start, the more time you have to get everything right.

Think back to the beginning of 2014. Did you wildly overpay? If so, that’s because you didn’t take advantage of all the methods you have at your disposal to lower your tax bill. Here is a handful you should definitely take a look at ASAP. (more…)

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2015 Small Business Industry Predictions: An Infographic

2014 is about to wrap up, and, as is the case with the closing of each year, we can’t help but think about what the coming year will mean for small business. So we scoured the internet for predictions about 2015 and lessons learned from 2014 to create our latest infographic, “2015 Small Business Industry Predictions.”

One of the best things we found was this hopeful statistic: 58% of small business owners expect that they will experience growth in 2015. Entrepreneurs everywhere think it’s going to be a great year for business!

What are your predictions?

(more…)

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Could a Microloan Be the Right Fit for Your Company?

Why You Should Hire For Personality Instead of ExperiencesIf you’ve come across the term “Microloan” while searching for small business loan options, you’ve likely inferred that it is a loan with a small borrowing limit. Maybe that sounds like just what your company needs, but you most likely have questions about how this funding alternative works. Just how micro are these loans? How do they compare to traditional bank loans and other borrowing alternatives?

Here are answers to small business owners’ most frequently asked questions about microloans: (more…)

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