ABCs of Small Business Industries: A is for Automotive

automotive industryWelcome to week three of our ABCs of small business industries! Today’s focus in the series? The automotive industry! This particular industry works alongside anything involving the design, manufacturing, marketing, development, or selling of motor vehicles. What’s not included here, however, are auto repair shops or any sort of gas station.

If your dream has always been to run your own vintage car garage or design automobiles, keeping the following areas in mind to ensure a smooth start!

What do you need to get started?

The biggest hump you’ll have to get over in starting a business in the automotive industry is familiarizing yourself with all the industry rules. This industry in particular has a strict list of guidelines to abide by and follow, but, luckily, the Small Business Administration has you covered. Details on emission standards, how to become a registered motor vehicle importer, knowing the ins and outs of automobile certification, and information on the automobile federal trade commission will all come in handy to keep under your belt in such a robust industry.

Additionally, make sure you have a registered agent in place to handle all of your state mail and remind you of important deadlines, a business/operating license so you can do business where you’d like, and a federal tax ID (EIN) in place if you plan on hiring a strong team to come and join you.

What sort of entity should you form going into the automotive industry?

Though every business owner has the choice of filing whichever entity he feels best suits him and his business, it is common for business owners in the automotive industry to file as an LLC, probably largely in part to the appealing nature of the pass through taxation. This means that business owners who file as an LLC will only be taxed once, whereas with other entity forms, they could be getting taxed twice at both the company level and again at the owner. An LLC is also very easy to get started as well as easy to maintain.

How healthy is the industry?

Around the world right now, there are over 1 billion cars. According to Edmunds.com, “16.4 million car buyers are expected to continue to flock to the market, taking further advantage of more freely flowing credit to refresh the oldest vehicle fleet in history.”

Being that the automobile is the primary mode of transportation around the world, we have formed a strong sense of dependency on the automotive industry – and if you’re planning on starting a business to help out those who need extra assistance with their vehicles, now is a great time to do it!

Want to put the pedal to the metal and start your business in the automotive industry? MyCorp can help you get started! Just leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1 (877) 692-6772, and we’ll help you get your licenses, DBAs, and EINs squared away! 

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Which Business Structure is Right For You?

Which Business Structure is Right For You?Before going ahead with that new business plan for your start-up, ensure you know all legalities involved, especially the different types of business structures available. The law surrounding each entity can differ from state to state (and country to country!) but generally the rules and regulations are quite similar. However, it is a good idea to seek legal advice beforehand so you are fully aware of the risks involved.  Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of starting up a business as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership.

Starting up as a… Corporation (equivalent to a limited company)

Setting up a corporation can be the preferred (and most beneficial) structure for employers looking to take on a large team of staff and have maximum legal protection. This type of business structure is owned by shareholders and has a board of directors.

Pros: A corporation is its own separate legal entity and is responsible for its own debt in insolvent situations, like administration or liquidation. This means, you, as a director, are protected if the corporation struggles financially.

It’s important to remember that the business owes money, not the director. If, however, directors have acted fraudulently, they will be exposed to the corporation’s liability.

Cons: There can be a lot of paperwork and filing of accounts when setting up a corporation, however this ensures everything is kept up to date and regulations as well as compliance are met. There are also higher tax fees which leads to more expensive accountancy fees.

Starting up as a… Limited Liability Company (LLC)

An LLC is a business structure that has more flexibility when it comes to taxes and regulations and is usually a good fit for small businesses. LLCs are owned by its members.

Pros: Like a corporation, you are protected against personal liability if the company enters insolvency. There is less paperwork to do as the structure is based around an informal agreement can be made when starting up and often adapted later on. An LLC can also choose how the business should be taxed

Cons: This type of entity is a fairly new structure and could be less favored than that of the ‘wise’ corporation structure. With perhaps an unfamiliar set up, investors may be more reluctant to lend.

Starting up as a… Partnership

As the name suggests, this business structure is set up with two or more partners and follows different common laws across the nation. However, there are some general rules that apply.

Pros: As structures get smaller in business size, so does the paperwork and filing of accounts. There are also fewer taxes to pay.

Cons: The big disadvantage of being in a partnership is you are personally liable for the partnership’s debt if the business falls in financial difficulty. Every partner is responsible for the entire debt, so if one partner is unable to afford the debt, creditors will look to the next partner and so on. Before going into this kind of business, drawing up a contract deeming who is liable for what is essential.

There is the option of setting up a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). This type of formation can differ in law from state to state but is similar to a partnership. It does, however, offer more legal protection to partners if LLP becomes insolvent, hence limited liability. An LLP is essentially a cross between a partnership and a limited liability company.

Remember, you can change structures down the line if you want to. If you are unsure what the best plan of action is, be sure to get legal advice specific to your situation.

Keith Steven of KSA Group Ltd has been rescuing and turning around businesses for over 20 years and has worked with insolvency firms, turnaround funds and venture capital investors. He is also author of the site www.companyrescue.co.uk.  You can follow Keith on Google+.

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It’s Not as Expensive to Start a C-Corp as You May Think

It's Not as Expensive to Start a C-Corp as You May ThinkOne of the biggest reasons why many people don’t put additional thought into starting up a business is because they believe that it’s expensive to do so. In actuality, starting a business is far cheaper than these individuals realize. Of course the startup costs are dependent on the type of business you’re planning in terms of equipment and/or inventory. However, the initial paperwork to start your own corporation is quite nominal in comparison.

A C-Corporation is an entity that is taxed separately from those who set it up, such as owners and shareholders. It is regarded as a separate entity that can hold its own credit rating, liabilities and assets. Personal liens and debts cannot influence a C-Corporation’s assets or bank accounts because it is its own entity owned by the shareholders and not the founding individual.

Why You Would Want a C-Corp

Forming a C-Corporation has many advantages that are ideal for businesses. As there are many types to choose from, you should have an idea of what you need to form according to your ultimate goals. The C-Corporations have benefits such as:

  • Unlimited growth potential
  • Private shareholders and investor accountability
  • Limited liability
  • Perpetual existence – A C-Corporation has perpetual existence meaning that it will continue to operate even if the owner quits his or her position. The corporation will continue to conduct business as normal and doesn’t require the founding member to be a part of the staff. For example, Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 although he was a founding member. Without his influence, Apple continued to conduct business.

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Experts Weigh In: Forming LLCs vs. Corporations

llcs vs corporationsOne of the first decisions every business owner needs to make is what entity to file their business as, and that choice is typically between LLCs vs. Corporations. Really the decision comes down to what fits the needs of the business owner and the business, but there is still discussion on which entity is best. Here at MyCorp, we gathered together a panel of professionals to get their expert advice on LLCs vs. Corporations and which is the best to form for your business. Which side are you on?

1. “Generally speaking, corporate status is preferable. Banks typically don’t view LLCs as favorably during the loan application process and corporations don’t pay taxes on fringe benefits. These include group-term life insurance, medical reimbursement plans, medical insurance premiums, and more.”

- John Boyd, Principal, The Boyd Company, Inc.

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50 States of Incorporation: Indiana

Incorporate in Indiana

This week, we’re taking a trip to “The Crossroads of America” or the state of Indiana, if you were able to easily recognize their state motto! As the 38th largest state by size and 16th most populous, Indiana is also slowly working its way up the ladder of hot states to do business in. ChiefExecutive.net ranked it as #5 in their 2013 state rankings with high marks in place for taxations and regulations, workforce quality, and the overall living environment. The cost of doing business within the state, as noted by Forbes, is 12.8% below the national average. Indiana has received high marks on Thumbtack.com for its licensing, ease of starting up a business, and overall friendliness.

If heading into the manufacturing industry sounds like it’s up your alley, or you just want to move toward a state that keeps it simple for start-ups, keep the following notes in mind when you’re ready to form an LLC or incorporate in Indiana!

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B Corp Experts Weigh In: Jay Coen Gilbert

Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab Cofounder

When we first started taking a closer look at benefit corporations, we were really building off of the momentum that began with B Lab, the nonprofit that pushes for Benefit Corporation legislation and certifies B Corps. Little did we know, we’d be interviewing Jay Coen Gilbert, one of the three cofounders of B Lab, on our blog! We were so excited, we added a few extra questions in today’s interview where Jay tells us about the benefits forming a B Corp brings to society and the environment, and that for all companies, it’s most important to take the first step and see where you stand.

1. What’s the source of your passion and inspiration that drove you into your leading role in the Benefit Corporation movement?

B Lab’s three cofounders, Bart Houlahan, Andrew Kassoy and I (Jay Coen Gilbert), all share a passion for using market forces to address society’s greatest challenges. We’ve worked in business for most of our careers and hope to harness the amazing talent, passion and resources we’ve seen there to make a better world. Ultimately, we founded B Lab to serve those entrepreneurs who are using business as a force for good.

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The Evolution of an Entity: A Closer Look at Benefit Corporations (Infographic)

Our blog has taken a turn for the Benefit Corporation lately, inspired by the momentum started by B Lab, the founders behind the movement, and this month we’ve created an infographic on how this fairly new entity has been taking the nation by storm. 20 states, along with Washington D.C., have passed Benefit Corporation legislature and our infographic goes in depth to discuss the growth of the B-Corp to come, a look at a few famous companies that you might not know are B-Corps, and a timeline that looks into how long it took states like California, Maryland, and Delaware to enact Benefit Corporation legislation.

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B Corp vs. Benefit Corporation: Similar Names, Different Duties

With all this “B Corp” buzz in the air, it’s time to get one thing straight: the Benefit Corporation and the “B Corp” are not created equal. The terms are often used interchangeably, and it’s not necessarily wrong to say “B Corporation” or “B Corp” to informally describe a Benefit Corporation either.  People understandably confuse the two, since both similarly aspire to cement a social or environmental purpose in a company’s mission and corporate governance structure.

But there is still a key difference between the pair: the benefit corporation is a legal entity recognized under a state’s corporate laws, while the “B Corporation” (or B Corp) is a certification conferred upon a company by a certifying organization.  A company can be a B Corp without being a Benefit Corporation – and vice versa – but it’s important to know that while these two sound similar enough at first glance, they actually function fairly differently from one another.

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How are C-Corporations Taxed?

By Greg Lindberg, 1800Accountant.com Writer

Do you have plans to launch a brand new small business? Are you ready to take the dive toward a profitable and rewarding future? If you intend to become a newly crowned business owner, it is vital to ensure you know what types of business structure options exist so that you choose the one that is most appropriate for you. This includes understanding how each type of business entity is taxed. One option is to go with a C corporation, which is considered the most traditional type of business structure.

When it comes to filing federal taxes, the IRS treats C corporations as separate business entities. A C corporation can be created when there is an exchange of money or property among prospective shareholders who make up a business. This is done for the capital stock of the business. The advantage of a C corporation is that it typically can claim more tax deductions than the ones available to sole proprietorships or partnerships when calculating their amounts of taxable income. Tax deductions can lead to big savings, helping small business owners hold on to more of the income their companies bring in.

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5 Things We Like About Benefit Corporations

Entrepreneurs, take note! There’s big news on the B Corporation front – this August, Delaware became the 19th state to enact benefit corporation legislation, a move that signals the new business entity’s staying power.

While it’s true that 18 other states and D.C. are already on board the B Corp train, Delaware has an especially longstanding, notable reputation as a corporate haven, and as an important and influential player in the business community.  In other words, people in business pay extra attention to Delaware, and when Delaware passed benefit corporation legislation, it was a very big deal. The state’s legal recognition of benefit corporations will spark more momentum for a movement that aims to sink legal teeth into the notion that companies should mold their missions to benefit society as a whole, instead of primarily focusing on maximizing profits for shareholders.

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