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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Business Basics – Cross-Blogging

Content marketing is amazing. Studies have found that inbound and content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing, and yet brings in three-times as many leads. If you don’t blog, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity, and a great chance to network. Over the last year or so, we’ve really amped up our cross-blogging, and we’ve seen some amazing results. New markets have opened up, our web presence has never been bigger, and we’ve made some great new partners. cross-blogging

But, in finding new partners to blog with, we’ve noticed that some businesses don’t know the first thing about cross-blogging. So to help those of you experimenting with inbound marketing out, here are a few tips on how to make your cross-blogging experience positive and rewarding.

Make suggestions and share ideas

Some of the best articles we’ve ever written have come from ideas brainstormed with our cross-blogging partners. However, entrepreneurs can be a little skittish when it comes to sharing ideas. Now when a business is built on an idea, guarding it makes a lot of sense, but if that idea is nothing more than a possible topic for an 800-word article, you don’t have to treat it like a trade secret. So feel free to pitch ideas with your partners, and build off of each other’s suggestions. A major part of cross-blogging is networking. You want to forge a strong, working relationship with the people you partner with, and brainstorming is a great way to do just that.

Keep the relationship light

New bloggers sometimes get a bit overly zealous when contributing or accepting a post. Before anything is written, they want a thirty-page contract filled out in triplicate and faxed to their attorney’s office. Remember, you aren’t sharing revenue or starting a business together. You’re cross-blogging. A few simple requests like ‘don’t plagiarize’ and ‘don’t publish this somewhere else’ are really all that you need.

Don’t ask your partner to do all the work

We feel like this should go without saying, but we’ve had way, waytoo many potential partners ask us to just write the post for them. There’s no quicker way to ruin this networking and marketing opportunity than by shirking all of your responsibility and expecting someone else to pick up the slack. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you want a crummy, hastily written article, riddled with spelling and grammar errors on your blog? We doubt it. Any articles you send to your partner should be insightful, unique, and engaging, and you should expect the same of them. That way no one feels slighted, and your new partnership starts off right. 

Interested in contributing a guest post? We’d love to talk to you! Click here to read our author guidelines, pitch an idea, and get in contact with our social media team.

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What Goes into an Operating Agreement?

Operating agreements are one of the most vital, and overlooked, tools in running a limited liability company. We’ve actually covered operating agreements as part of our ‘ABCs of MyCorp’ series, but we never delved into what an operating agreement should actually say. operating agreement As a quick refresher, an operating agreement is essentially a document that defines how the LLC will be run, and the SBA recommends that every LLC draft one. The trouble is that only a couple of states, like Missouri and New York, legally require new LLCs to have an operating agreement. But without the rules, structure, and regulations an operating agreement provides, your LLC could be in serious trouble if partners disagree, a member wants to leave, or if the state starts questioning the validity of your LLC. Operating agreements are also pretty easy to draft and only need to cover a few key areas.

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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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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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50 States of Incorporation: North Carolina

Incorporate in North CarolinaThis week in our 50 states series we’re on the road to incorporate in North Carolina, also known as the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is home to the company headquarters of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Pepsi-Cola and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In the last 50 years or so, North Carolina has transitioned from an economy focused on tobacco, textiles, and furniture crafting, to an economy focused on engineering, energy, biotechnology, and finance sectors. With those transitions, the state has found great start-up success!

According to the Forbes Best States For Business list, North Carolina ranks at #4 of the 50 states to start a business in – right up in the top 5 states! This high ranking can be attributed to its similarly high rankings in labor supply, environment, and growth prospects. Thumbtack.com also gave the state high marks with a steady B+, with high grades in ease of starting a business, health and safety, employment and labor, zoning, and training/networking programs.

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Member-Managed LLCs Versus Manager-Managed LLCs

Traditionally, Limited Liability Companies are treated like partnerships. Two or more people get together, found a company, form an LLC, and then start running the business. But there’s more than one way to run an LLC. Member-Managed and Manager-Managed Limited Liability Companies are run very similarly, but there are also some key differences that anyone looking to form an LLC should know.Limited Liability Company

Member-Managed LLCs

Member-Managed LLCs are, by far, the more common choice. Each member of the limited liability company is treated as equal to every other member, and everyone shares responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the LLC. Continue reading

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50 States of Incorporation: Nebraska

Incorporate in NebraskaThis week’s 50 States series is brought to you by one of the most famous beef, pork, corn and soybean producers in America… none other than Nebraska! Today we’re taking a look at what it means to incorporate in Nebraska.

Nebraska has a population of about 1,860,500 residents and is the 9th least densely populated out of the states. Famous for its intense seasons (for which thunderstorms and tornadoes are quite common), the state also has a prominent agriculture sector. Outside of beef and pork, Nebraska is noted for its freight transport, manufacturing, and insurance sectors as well. And companies like ConAgra, TD Ameritrade, and InfoUSA also call the state home to their headquarters.

As far as starting a business goes, Nebraska is actually a pretty great place to start a business. On the Forbes list of “Best Places to Start a Business” it’s ranked at number six of the 50 states, and on Thumbtack.com, it received a B grade. These scores can likely be attributed to the state’s positive rankings in business costs, economic climate, quality of life, and college attainment. Nebraska also received A+s in regulations, health and safety, employment, tax code, licensing, and training programs.

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The Magical Month of MyCorp: Week Two

Our holiday spirits were at an all time high in week two of the Magical Month of MyCorp, especially as we gear up to head to our company Ugly Sweater Holiday Party this evening! We’ll be indulging in some karaoke, pool, darts, and bar nourishment all around!

We’ll be sure to document the evening with lots of photos, but until then, here’s a taste of our latest office festivities:

We kicked off the week by coming to work dressed in our bundled, winter bests!

Magical Month of MyCorp Winter Dress

On Tuesday we indulged in some gourmet hot chocolate. 

Magical Month of MyCorp Hot Chocolate

Wednesday we tried our luck at the lottery (collectively we won $4).

Magical Month of MyCorp Lotto

We played a fun, festive, fast-paced ornament exchange game on Thursday!

Magical Month of MyCorp Ornament Exchange

And today we’re looking awfully dapper in our ugly Christmas sweaters in preparation for the party tonight – stayed tuned to our Facebook page for photos from our holiday party this weekend!

 Magical Month of MyCorp Ugly Sweater

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50 States of Incorporation: Mississippi

Incorporate in MississippiWe’re taking a trip to the south for this week’s 50 States segment with a feature on how to incorporate in Mississippi! Mississippi’s name comes from its iconic landmark the Mississippi River, which flows all the way along its western border. It’s identified as the 31st most populous state.

The Mississippi Delta is another recognizable landmark in the state, famous for its heavily forested grounds. The Delta was historically cleared out for cotton cultivation in the 19th century, but today is famous for its catfish aquaculture farms that provide most of the farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States.

Though their ranking is pretty low on the Forbes Best States for Businesses list, Mississippians have consistently ranked as one of the greatest state contributors concerning charitable donations. Though their personal income is ranked as low, their cost of living is also low. Businesses are mainly attracted to Mississippi because labor costs are about 10% lower than the national average, giving new businesses the chance to start fresh with fewer debts than if they were to start their business in another state.

If you’d like to start your business off at a lower cost than the rest of the country, keep these Mississippi-specific filing requirements in mind when deciding to form an LLC or incorporate in Mississippi.

  • All LLCs that are registered in Mississippi are required to name a registered agent in their Certificate of Formation, so be sure to find and designate an RA prior to filling out your forms. The RA can be a resident of Mississippi, a domestic corporation, nonprofit corporation, its own LLC, or a foreign corporation. In each case, the RA must have a physical address in Mississippi where all the business’s legal papers can be delivered.
  • Any LLC in Mississippi have to include the term ‘LLC’ somewhere in the business’s title. It can be stated as LLC, L.L.C., Limited Liability Company, Professional Limited Liability Company, P.L.L.C., or PLLC.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to file your annual report on time! Annual reports in Mississippi must be filed between January 1st and April 15th. Domestic LLCs are not charged to file their report, but Foreign Limited Liability Companies do have to pay a filing fee and cannot do the filing process online.

If you think The River State is for you and your new business, or you have any questions, give us a call at 1-877-692-6772! 

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