X is for Xenodochial… or (e)Xcellent Customer Service!

Obviously, we struggled a little bit with the letter X. There aren’t a lot of topics that lend themselves well to this particular letter, so unless we wanted to discuss the ins and outs of running a xylophone business, we had to expand beyond our normal vocabulary. Enter xenodochial, a long word that essentially means being nice to strangers – a quality that businesses must exhibit if they ever hope to attract new customers! But for simplicity’s sake, you can also think of X as standing for (e)Xcellent customer service.

Truly the most confusing letter.

There are a lot of theories on how to best serve your customers, but in reality there is no one answer on how to provide good customer service. Instead, there are multiple factors that have to built into how a business interacts with its customers.
Continue reading

Share!!!

R is for Registered Trademark and Copyright

This week’s letter-based-topic might seem like a stretch since, really, the subjects are trademarks and copyrights – neither of which begin with an r. But putting registered in front of those terms is not just a cop-out that a lazy writer has used to fit with a weekly theme. There are actually very important distinctions between registered and unregistered intellectual properties.

Technically, you do not have to register trademarked or copyrighted property. An unregistered trademark simply needs the little  symbol next to it and, voilà, the property is unofficially trademarked. You can even establish a proprietary right to the mark by using it in the market.

The same general principle is also applicable to copyrights. When the United States signed onto the Berne Convention in the late 80′s, it effectively agreed to see an author copyrighting his or her work as an automatic right. That means that, thanks to the Berne Convention, no registration is required to copyright something in the United States.
Continue reading

Share!!!

Business Basics: Registered Agent Services

Welcome to our weekly Business Basics post! This week we decided to explore a service that nearly every Corporation and LLC uses – registered agents. If you are thinking about forming an LLC or incorporating your business, you will need to find a registered agent. But what exactly do they do again?

What is a registered agent?
Continue reading

Share!!!

O is for Operating Agreement

This week on the ABC’s of MyCorp, we’re focusing on the letter “O” for operating agreement. State laws are fairly lax when it comes to operating agreements – a handful of states require that an operating agreement be drafted, and even fewer require that Limited Liability Companies hold onto written copies of it. So, typically, LLCs choose to either forgo creating an operating agreement, or simply say that their operating agreement was agreed to orally.

However, the lack of government oversight for operating agreements does not make them any less important or valuable. Even if your LLC was created in a state without laws governing operating agreements, it is still a good idea to draft one and keep copies of it on hand for a few important reasons.
Continue reading

Share!!!

MyCorp Presents: Your 2013 Small Business Tax Guide

2013 started with a bit of a bang – with the looming fiscal cliff threatening tax hikes and benefit cuts, Washington scrambled to pass a budget that would allow the USA to continue trying to climb out of the recession. However, many small business owners are wondering what this means for tax laws in 2013. Is anything going to change? Do they have to do anything special? To help sort through the chaos, MyCorporation has prepared a list of important items and small business tax advice for owners to be aware of when filling out their 2012 returns.

2012 Returns and Deductions

One of the biggest concerns that business owners have is how the fiscal cliff discussions will affect their 2012 returns. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed on January 1st 2013, was the piece of legislation that averted the fiscal cliff. And for many businesses, its contents will not affect their 2012 return. However, it did retroactively affect a few things, most importantly Section 179 and the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit. Continue reading

Share!!!

How to Approach a Negotiation: Preparation and Honesty

About two weeks ago our CEO Deborah Sweeney was featured over at Mike Michalowicz’s great blog with her tip on negotiation tactics. The actual topic was ‘How to Win a Negotiation’ and Deb had 500 characters to distill her philosophy regarding negotiation into an easily digestible blurb. We liked the topic and all of the tips provided so much that we decided to take negotiation topic (sorry Mike!) and give Deborah a chance to expand on her quick little answer through a longer post. Plus it’s her blog, so she can use as many characters as she wants.

Can’t we all just get along?

So we don’t have to re-print the answer, you can either go read all of the responses over at Mike’s blog (which you should, because it really is a useful site and psst, Deborah’s tip is number 28), or you can settle for the quick and dirty version – when approaching a negotiation, be honest, be prepared, and be willing to compromise. Continue reading

Share!!!

F is for Filing Deadlines

Deadlines are definitely a necessary evil – no one likes to feel the pressure of a deadline on their back but without them, we would procrastinate. And procrastinate. And procrastinate. This week on our ABC’s for small business blogging segment, F is for filing, and meeting, deadlines.

We need a bit of a push if we ever expect to get anything done. And, for many, that “deadline” is the end of the year. It’s a simple enough deadline, and gives you 364 days of wiggle-room. We hear from a lot of people that say they want to start a business by the end of the year. They have an idea, they have a plan, and they just need to actually get that paperwork filed and their business opened. So they put it off, month after month, because they gave themselves until the end of the year. Continue reading

Share!!!

Making Sure Your Brainstorm Isn’t a Brain Fart

People either love brainstorming, or they hate it. There seems to be no inhabitable middle ground when it comes to that type of group work. But, more often than not, those who hate brainstorming have had to live through session after session of forced meetings, with managers who shoot down any idea that doesn’t fit in with what the executive order has already thought up. What other option remains to a bored employee have in that type of a meeting than to try and beat their high score on Angry Birds?

However brainstorming CAN actually be useful – those in charge just have to structure their sessions properly. So if you’re planning on getting everyone in your department together for a little session, remember to: Continue reading

Share!!!

How to Select the Right Social Media Service For Your Company

There are a ton of social media sites and services out there. Nearly every major network has a handful of tiny competitors, who all hope that they can attract even a small percentage of the unique visitors checking out their behemoth counterparts. Understandably, this can create some confusion for new businesses. Which networks should you focus on? Do you need to have a profile on every single one? Or can you just hit the big guys and skip the little ones? Well the answers aren’t a simple yes or no, but there are some questions you can ask yourself to help figure out where you should focus your resources, and who you can ignore.

1. What is the size of the service?

Continue reading

Share!!!

Three Ways to Follow the Olympics from the Comfort of Your Desk

The Summer Olympics come but once every four years, and social media has evolved fast since 2008′s games. Facebook had only just cracked 200 million active users, overtaking MySpace for the first time. Twitter was also really beginning to grow with six million users, and many of us often spent hours staring at the infamous ‘Fail Whale’ wondering how the heck this service was going to make money. YouTube, though well established, had only just begun to make a name for itself as a source of Olympic coverage as people who had never used the service began passing links to the outstanding opening ceremony at Beijing.

And now, in 2012, most of these services have matured. Social media is the number one activity on the internet, and the International Olympic Committee has decided to release (some very strict) guidelines on social media to its athletes. But despite the muzzle, there are still a few great ways for you to get your Olympic fix, even from your work desk. Continue reading

Share!!!