Come Hangout with Us on Google+!

Have any questions about starting your own business? Not sure where to even start? Not to worry! We are proud to announce that, in conjunction with the Google Small Business Community, our CEO Deborah Sweeney is going to be fielding any and all questions about the legalities of starting your own business this Thursday. The Hangout starts tomorrow at 12:30 PM, and if you want your questions answered, you’ll need to RSVP and submit them to the moderator here.

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So don’t forget to tune in! We’re really excited about this opportunity, and look forward to a great discussion.

 

The Dog Days of Summer: What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Bringing Pets to Work

The Dog Days of Summer: What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Bringing Pets to WorkIn ancient times, when the night sky was not obscured by artificial lights and smog, cultures in different parts of the world discovered images in the sky by connecting the dots of stars through constellations. They saw bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor). The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which is also the brightest star in the night sky.

In the summer, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets in conjunction with the sun. The ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days.” While this varies somewhat with latitude, today, the dog days occur during the period between mid-July and the end of August.

A different sort of dog days is happening in the workplace. Almost 20% of companies in the United States allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. Many of these are small start-up companies who recognize the need for a flexible work environment or tech firms that seek to capture the interest of prospective employees or to better retain current employees. Some of the benefits they cite for allowing pets in the office are increased staff morale and worker productivity, decreased absenteeism and levels of stress, and greater camaraderie among employees.

Personally, I am all for dogs at work, though I realize it is not for everyone, nor appropriate for every type of business. If you are seriously considering it, be sure to develop and communicate throughout your entire organization a clear policy with guidelines and expectations. Most of the rules will be common sense, but more importantly they will ensure everyone’s comfort and safety.

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10 Declarations of Entrepreneurial Independence

Small businesses are an important part of the American landscape. They’re a major driver of the American economy – 55% of all jobs are created by small business - and the entrepreneurial spirit is as much of a part of our culture as baseball and apple pie. Here at MyCorp, we thought it’d be great to celebrate our upcoming Independence Day by featuring some of our favorite quotes about entrepreneurial independence!

Henry Ford

 

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” —Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company

 

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How to Avoid the Summer Slump in Your Business

How to Avoid the Summer Slump in Your BusinessWho doesn’t love summer? The long days, sunshine, pool time, barbecues and relaxing vacations are a welcome break from the hard winter most of the U.S. experienced earlier this year. Some seasonal businesses, such as ice cream shops and pool salesmen, thrive during warm months, but for others, the sun-filled season comes with a sense of anxiety. Dipping sales, sinking productivity and low morale all contribute to the dreaded summer slump. But by being proactive and making some changes in the way you approach business, it could turn your seasonal slowdown into a sunny success.

1. Modify your outreach times.

Many people spend summer days outdoors and don’t go home until later in the evening. If you want your marketing messages to be seen and heard, send them early in the morning or later at night, when more people will be home.

2. Embrace the good weather.

No one likes to be cooped up inside on sunny days (especially here in Seattle, where such days are fleeting). Encourage employees to enjoy the weather and go outside for breaks or walks. You can even host meetings outdoors, or entire company outings. The more you let your employees spend time outside, the less they’ll dream of it while inside.

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A Woman Who I Admire

A Woman Who I AdmireBy Benjamin Sweeney

Over half of the people in the world are women. There are so many women who I admire, including my two grandmothers, my teacher, and my aunts. There is one special woman who I admire most. That special woman is my mom, Deborah Sweeney. Some of the reasons I admire my mom include her intelligence, her kindness, her hard work and her great attitude.

My mom is a very smart person. She helps me with my homework when I am having trouble with it. My mom also helps me with my after school class, Kumon. Even though the questions that she helps with are hard, she makes it look easy. My mom also went to great colleges including UC Irvine and Pepperdine and she owns a big company.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Mycorp’s Best Posts on Benefit Corporations!

Happy Earth Day everyone! This year marks the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and we’ve all made a lot of progress towards becoming more environmentally friendly. In fact, according to Reader’s Digest, 1 out of every 3.3 Americans considers themselves environmentally conscious, and 1 out of every 2.3 Americans recycle. Benefit Corporation Though some have considered the environmental movement to be just a fad, it is clear that many more of us are concerned with the impact we have on the environment.

With the arrival and recognition of Benefit Corporations, even corporate law is changing to accommodate our growing environmental and social consciousness! Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that wish to pursue a social and environmental mission, even if that mission cuts into their profit. We here at MyCorp are huge fans of B-Corporations, and to celebrate Earth Day we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of our blog’s most interesting, and informative, Benefit Corporation-related posts.

  • Never heard of a Benefit Corporation? MyCorp released a handy infographic to help explain the background of Benefit Corporations, and why they are such an important new entity.
  • If you’re looking for creative ways to further your environmental mission, our guest blogger Kristina Jackson was kind enough to give us her 7 tips on how to further your green agenda through social media.
  • Trying to figure out if your business can go green? Check out this post by guest writer Clint Robertson on the 6 unlikely industries entrepreneurs can go green in!
  • If a Benefit Corporation sounds like something you are interested in, we can help get you get it set up and running. Our CEO Deborah Sweeney even wrote a post on how to run a Benefit Corporation!
  • Even if you’re not ready to commit to running a Benefit Corporation, you can still work to do your part and reduce your impact on the environment. Our guest blogger Kandace Heller recommended six ways you can reduce your business’s waste.

Have any questions about Benefit Corporations? Thinking about forming your own? Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772, and we’ll be happy to help you out!

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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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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16 Motivational Quotes to Inspire Business Owners in 2014

16 Motivational Quotes to Inspire Business Owners in 2014Whether you’re a seasoned business owner with years of experience under your belt or an aspiring entrepreneur making your way across a sometimes treacherous landscape, it is always good to know you’re not alone. And one way that you can find that commonality with others is through inspirational quotes.

Quotes have the power to encourage us, to get us through the rough patches and celebrate those hard-won successes! So with 2014 right around the corner, I have gathered some tidbits of knowledge and encouragement from a wide range of leaders, visionaries and people who through perseverance and unwavering vision became a success.

1. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

2. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” – Mark Twain

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