ABCs of Small Business Industry: A is for Accounting

Here at MyCorp, we love talking about small business, as the sheer variety of small businesses available to start up is simply astounding. There is no, one, ubiquitous small business industry. Retailers, lawyers, restaurateurs, accountants – nearly every profession can be spun into a business!

With that in mind, we’re bringing you the ABCs of Small Business Industry as our latest post series on our blog. Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at the major industries that make up the small business world, taking a look at the different types of businesses, and helping people within these various industries start their own companies.

Without further ado, we present the first in what we hope will be an educational and enjoyable series – A is for Accounting.

Accountant

What do you need to create your own accounting practice?

First, you need to be licensed. A Certified Public Accountant has to pass a Uniform CPA exam, and you can’t legally offer your services as an accountant without some sort of credentialing. Licensing and certification will also vary state-to-state, so make sure you research what your state requires of an accountant before you open up your practice. If all of your ducks are in a row, opening up your own firm is like opening any other small business. You need a DBA name, and you have to apply for all of your local/state business and operating licenses. You should also have some sort of professional liability insurance, just to protect yourself, and if you hire anyone or bring on a partner, you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Once all of that is taken care of you’ll have a sole-proprietorship, or a partnership if you have a partner. However, this type of business can leave you personally liable for any debt resulting from lawsuits, debt, or negligence and it’s a good idea to consider forming a separate business entity.

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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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Understanding the Necessity and Limitations of a CGL Within Your Small Business

Understanding the Necessity and Limitations of a CGL Within Your Small BusinessAs a small business owner, you’ve invested a great deal of time and money creating a company you take pride in. In order to protect it, you may consider purchasing a commercial general liability insurance policy (or CGL for short). But what is a CGL and how can it help protect you and your business? Keep reading for a breakdown of the basics.

What is a CGL?

Commercial general liability insurance policies are designed to protect businesses when they are sued. They usually protect against claims of bodily injury or property damage. According to the American Bar Association, these policies are written using forms generated by nationwide insurance industry organizations. The ABA points out that, “Because CGL policies are products of insurance industry draftsmanship, courts in most jurisdictions construe any ambiguities in favor of the policyholder.”

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How Your Business Can Fail If You Aren’t Careful

How Your Business Can Fail If You Aren’t Careful One of the least understood aspects of entrepreneurship is why some businesses fail while others succeed. The painful truth, according to a recent study by the University of Tennessee Research is that most businesses fail for one of the following three reasons.

1) Incompetence

46% of businesses fail due to emotional pricing, reckless spending, nonpayment of taxes, lack of planning, record keeping problems, and no knowledge of financing. Companies that succeed take pricing seriously. The prices they set are influenced by facts instead of emotions. As you set your prices consider the cost of material, labor, and overhead. Also, remember to keep in mind competitor pricing. Does this mean that you have to be the cheapest to compete? Absolutely not. You don’t have to compete on price, but you can’t ignore how much your competitors charge either. You can’t succeed on pricing alone, but your business will fail if you can’t get your pricing right.

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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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Experts Weigh In: How Being an Entrepreneur Makes Me Feel Independent

How Being an Entrepreneur Makes Me Feel IndependentIn celebration of Independence Day this July 4th (and the three day weekend countless offices will be looking forward to), our MyCorp team decided to ask a simple, but significant, question to our small business base: how does being an entrepreneur make you feel independent? Meet our 105 entrepreneurial experts with the answers, or as resident expert Dan Fendel so eloquently described it as, “I hold these truths to be self-evident that all business people are NOT created equal, and some of us are endowed by our dreams and ideas with the ability to open new doors and create new ventures.”

1) “Being an entrepreneur gives you great independence and flexibility, but it comes with a cost of high risk and increased responsibility. Being in the CEO chair of a company puts all of the burden on me to deliver or else I’m out of business. For me though, after years in private equity and investment banking, it’s exactly what I wanted: all the responsibility on me. After understanding that, then it’s up for me to decide if I can go on an afternoon run or take a day off knowing that I don’t have a boss to blame if things go wrong.”

- Chris Good, Founder and CEO, Eventblimp

2) “Independence as an entrepreneur is as much a gift as it is a burden. You generally get to make your own hours, but at the same time you must be self-motivated, there is no one to push you but yourself. Essentially, just like in life, you get what you give.”

- David Drexler, My Coin Solution

3) “I love being an entrepreneur, the freedom of working at anytime from anywhere has opened an array of opportunity to spend more time with my kids and have a better quality of life while producing even a higher income that ever before.”

- Priska Diaz, Founder & CEO, Bittylab

4) “Being an entrepreneur makes me feel independent because I can work as many hours, or days as I want as I am my own boss responsible for my company’s success. Also I can work in my pajamas!”

- Haralee Weintraub, CEO, Haralee.com – Cool Garments for Hot Women!

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How to Take Action When You Hire Someone and Come to Regret It

How to Take Action When You Hire Someone and Come to Regret ItInevitably as a business owner, you will make one mistake that you’ll look back on and wonder how you ever thought it was a good idea.  We all have our own stories of doing this –it seems to be an unspoken rite of passage in the world of owning a business!

But what is that one thing? That one thing is you’re going to hire someone and then come to regret it.  Some of you reading this are probably already laughing because you know exactly what I mean.  Others could be in the midst of this right now, so you might not think it’s so funny.  No matter how established you are, remember that this happens to all of us, but matters even more are the actions you take next.

1) Don’t Take It Personally

Anytime you hire someone, whether an employee or a service provider, you’re rolling the dice.  Regardless of how well someone interviews or the bank of credentials and references they bring with them, sometimes the fit just isn’t right between the two parties.  What makes this so difficult for most small business owners is they take it personally.

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Do You Make These 5 Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes?

Do You Make These 5 Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes?If you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time or are just getting started, then you probably already know that small business accounting is not as easy as it sounds. Not only do tax laws regularly change, but accounting standards and practices change too, which makes it easy for a small business owner to get tripped up and make a few mistakes.

But keeping the books for your small business doesn’t have to be stressful. We want to help you simplify your life, save money and reduce stress by learning how to avoid these five basic bookkeeping mistakes.

1. Mixing Money. You might think it’s not a problem, but the IRS disagrees. Co-mingling your personal and business funds together is simply bad business and as a LLC or Corporation it could potentially cause a breach in the “corporate veil.” Not only is it a risk to your asset separation but also you may have to pay an IRS penalty if get caught. No matter what, keep your business and personal account spending separate. Take the time to speak with a small business accountant to help determine the best way for you to transfer money from the business to you personally or vice versa.

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Is Crowdfunding Right for your Company?

Is Crowdfunding Right for your Company?A decade ago, independent-minded entrepreneurs might have scoffed at the idea of asking the public to fund their latest project. Today, more than ever companies are turning to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Fundable to help turn their start-up dreams into reality. These sites allow companies to connect with potential investors by making them part of the development process, whether they’re a tech start-up building a new product or a chef opening a restaurant.

There are plenty of benefits to crowdfunding, but it’s not necessarily the right choice for every company. Here are four questions you should ask yourself before embarking on a crowdfunding campaign.

1) Are you in it for the right reasons?

While the main goal of crowdfunding is to raise money for your project, don’t make it all about the money – it’s about more than just getting something for free. Benefits of a campaign include promoting your company and product, connecting with new customers and learning about their needs and wants. Savvy customers will sense whether you’re truly invested or just out to make a quick buck.

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20 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb and Have Fun with Your Startup

20 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb and Have Fun with Your StartupWhen you work at a startup, the saying “no two days are the same” is much more than cliché; it’s your everyday reality. The highly charged atmosphere at many startups is a major draw for younger workers, career changers, and anyone seeking a challenge. If you aren’t practically bouncing off the walls at your new job, check your pulse.

But all that excitement of a new business can also result in major-league stress. We’re not talking about the stimulating, exciting, kind of stress, but the pull your hair out kind. Fortunately, startups also provide ample opportunities to de-stress and enjoy the exhilarating ride.

1. Focus on One Task at a Time

You have a big client meeting at 10, lunch across town at 1:30, and seemingly endless projects to work on all day. Take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time. What has top priority? Make a to-do list ranked by importance, and dive into the first task. Try not to multi-task or work ahead if you can help it, and your productivity will soar.

2. Get Out of the Office

If you spend 24/7 at the office, you’ll wind up looking like something from The Walking Dead. Take your laptop or your tablet outside or move to a coffee shop for the day – the change in scenery will do you good.

3. Brainstorm with Colleagues

It takes a special type of person to thrive at a startup – energetic, creative, innovative. Your coworkers have amazing minds, and startups are all about collaboration. Take advantage of your brilliant colleagues and bounce ideas off of them. Even shooting the breeze can often produce excellent ideas or generate solutions to nagging challenges.

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