Business Basics: Business License Compliance Package

We decided to do something a bit different with our weekly business basics post this time around, and instead look at a new service we’ve just started offering – business license compliance packages. We’ve covered business licenses before, but we thought it’d be a good idea to revisit the topic and explain why we decided to start offering this service to our customers. business licenseOur team kicked around the idea for awhile, trying to figure out whether or not there was any demand for this type of service, and we realized that there were three questions we’d have to be able to answer before launching.

Why offer business license compliance packages?

MyCorporation has always aimed to meet all of the needs of new business owners. The next logical step after creating your business is to apply for all of the licenses you need to legally open your doors. Without the right licensing, you’re effectively dead in the water. So expanding our offerings to include licensing just makes sense.

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50 States of Incorporation: Washington

incorporate in WashingtonIf you want to form an LLC or incorporate in Washington, you’ve got quite a few perks on your side. The Evergreen State is noted for its marine climate, with high levels of rainfall, forests that cover 52% of the state’s land area, and scenic mountains for a beautiful backdrop. It’as also the home to where many of the world’s biggest brands got their start including Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, and Nordstrom.

Big business aside, the state is also just as good to the small business. Ranked with Forbes as #9 on the best states for business list, Washington doesn’t levy personal income tax or collect corporate income tax or franchise tax. The state base sales tax is currently at 6.5% (though in Seattle it’s at 9.5%), but businesses may still be subject to specific forms of taxes from B&O (business and occupation) tax to gross receipts tax and even excise tax for any company that sells alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, or gas.

Thumbtack.com ranks the state with a B- in overall friendliness and gives it an A- in ease of starting a business – and we can make that even easier to get your start with our tips on how to form an LLC or incorporate in Washington!

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Business Basics: Business Entity

If there is one thing we’ve learned from over a decade and a half of helping small business owners, it’s that every business is different. For new small business owners, it’s important that you choose the business entity that will suit your unique needs. There are four basic entities that you can choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. While there is no “right” choice, depending on what you sell, where you plan to take your company, and how ownership of the company is divided, there will be certain entities that will fit your business model better than others. Business Entity Choice

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships

Sole proprietorships and partnerships are the simplest type of business entity. They are also the default option. It doesn’t take much to start a sole proprietorship or a partnership either. Just file for a ‘Doing Business As’ name, apply for the right licenses and permits, and open your doors. If the business is run by two or more people, you will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and you’ll have to file another form come tax time. But this simplicity comes at a price. Everything the business owes and owns is tied to your personal assets. In other words, you, and your partner if you have one, will be held liable for the business’s debts if it fails. Also, if you do have a partner, you may not be protected if they decide to walk away from the business. So, while running a sole proprietorship or partnership is a lot simpler, it does put an undue amount of risk on the owner(s). To limit your liability, consider forming a corporation or limited liability company.

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Business Basics: Governance Documents

One of the most common questions we get here at MyCorporation about forming a limited liability company or corporation is, “How hard is it to actually run this type of business?” Running an LLC or corporation is very different than running a sole proprietorship, and the government will expect those running the business to adhere to certain rules. governance documentsIt should be noted that the only governance document need for Corporations and LLCs is an Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Organization. However, there are other types of governance documents that should be kept and maintained.

Articles of Incorporation and Certificates of Organization

In order to form a corporation, you have to file your articles of incorporation. And in order to form an LLC, you have to file what is normally called a certificate of organization. In both cases, these documents act a sort of birth certificate for the new business entity. They disclose the entity’s name, address, registered agent information, and the information of any managers or owners. A lot of states actually offer a “fill-in-the-blank” type of form on the website of their Secretary of State or department of corporations. However, these forms only meet the minimal requirements for a corporation or LLC as set by the state. They also don’t set the rules for how your company will actually be run. Along with these formation documents, you should consider drafting a set of bylaws or an operating agreement.

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‘Doing Business As’ Names vs. Trademarks

Entrepreneurs are always going to be protective of their business’s name. After all, this is the name under which all of the goodwill and branding they’ve worked so hard to accrue will go. But there is still some confusion about the best way to protect that name. On the one hand, registering a ‘Doing Business As’ name does keep other businesses in your area from using the same name, and for some businesses that’s enough. 'Doing Business As' Names vs. TrademarksWhile a trademark on your business’s name offers a lot more protection, filing a trademark does take more time and money. So we decided to take a look at both DBA names and trademarks, and help explain what the pros and cons of each are.

Doing Business As Names
A DBA name, which is also referred to as a trade name, is just that – a name. It’s a quick and easy way to identify a business or entity, and filing for a DBA name is pretty straightforward. Continue reading

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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50 States of Incorporation: Utah

incorporate in UtahAs one of the states that comprises the Four Corners (along with Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado), the advantages that come when one decides to incorporate in Utah are plentiful.

Nicknamed the Beehive State, Utah has been nationally ranked within the top three states in the country as the best states for business, according to Forbes. The state’s biggest industries include mining, cattle ranching, salt production, government services, and tourism, the latter of which notably rose after the end of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Major companies including Overstock.com, 1-800 Contacts, Ancestry.com are all headquartered within the state as well and Thumbtack.com gave Utah an A+ in the overall friendliness and ease of starting up a business that Utah provides.

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Experts Weigh In: I’m a Twentysomething Entrepreneur

Experts Weigh In: I'm a Twentysomething EntrepreneurLast week, we took a look at 10 teen entrepreneurs who told us about their experience getting started with their own business. This week we’re talking to our panel of 40 twentysomething entrepreneurs on being fearless, driven, and energized when it comes to running their own businesses and building up their brands!

1. “The best thing about it is that all my friends constantly complain they’re shackled to their desks in jobs they absolutely hate. I get to meet a wide variety of interesting clients on a daily basis and implement my own ideas whenever I want. I work on my own terms, doing what I love. I love what I do every single day -­ you can’t put a price on satisfaction in your work life.”

- Nick Whitmore, 24, Managing Director, contentwriter.co.uk

2. “I think the best part about being an entrepreneur at my age is the opportunity to build my own legacy. I don’t have that complacency or false sense of security other people my age have when you’re getting a fixed salary at the end of the month. There’s a fire under me every morning! I work from home & I’m in control of my own time and I can fully enjoy work and spending time with my baby girl.”

- Ruth Noel-Samaroo, 25, Online Accounting Specialist, Noel Bookkeeping

3. “I’ve been living from my ventures for the past 4 years now, grown one of them to up to 30 employees and loved every moment of it. The thing I like the most about it is the complete freedom you have both in location and the way you schedule your day.”

- Gael Breton, 20s, Co-Founder, Copycog.com, Health Ambition, Authority Hacker

4. “#RAWR: The best part about being an entrepreneur while being in your 20′s is the understanding that you have more time than most current successful entrepreneurs. Time is life’s most important aspect and time can allow you from one day being good, to one day being great!”

- Johnathan Grzybowski, 20s, Marketing Director, Dino Enterprise

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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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Entrepreneurs of All Ages (Infographic)

What roles do entrepreneurs play in the future of business? Here at MyCorporation, we’re taking a closer look at entrepreneurs of all ages, especially young entrepreneurs, in our latest infographic as we examine the ages small business owners are when they first get started, their education background, and just how many businesses comprise our current economy.

Entrepreneurs of All Ages