Home to the late, great Elvis Presley and The Great Smoky Mountains, this week we’re taking a look at what it means to incorporate in Tennessee.
If you’re planning to start a business in the agriculture, manufacturing, or tourism industries, Tennessee might just be the place for you! You have the Great Smoky Mountains to thank for that – being one of the nation’s most visited national parks makes Tennessee a great spot for all things tourism. Companies including Ruby Tuesday, Saturn Corporation, and Eastman Chemical Company all call the state home to their headquarters as well.
Forbes has the state ranked at 15 out of their best states for business list, noted for its excellence in having a pro-business regulatory climate. Thumbtack.com also has Tennessee ranked with a positive B+. The state scored high in ease of starting a business, hiring and regulations, health and safety, employment, tax code, licensing, environmental, zoning, and networking. With grades like that, Tennessee passes with flying colors!
When my business partner and I started Guidant Financial back in 2003, we said we wanted to change the way people view retirement investing. Over a decade later, I believe we were a driving force behind the way self-directed IRA investing (or at least the marketplace) developed.
In August, we sold our real estate IRA (or more specifically, our self-directed IRA business unit) because our vision has changed drastically over the past five years. Up until that point we had helped thousands of entrepreneurs deploy billions into small business and franchising through rollovers for business startups, SBA loans and more. And, we want to double our efforts in small business so our broader vision has become to increase the number of entrepreneurs who succeed in small business. We’re approaching it in a number of ways:
- Our company culture. We’ve built a strong team of passionate employees who embrace the vision of helping entrepreneurs. So much so that some of them have even made the jump themselves. In fact, one of our former employees used our services to purchase an existing business and left his role in our company to pursue it. We were okay with that!
- Our presence in the alternative financing marketplace. We’re the leader in rollovers as business startups (ROBS) and undoubtedly the driving force behind the arrangements maturation. I liken it to HELOCs. In the ‘90s, people said “never risk your home to buy a business,” and then it became one of the most common ways people bought them. We brought ROBS to the masses and look at what we’ve done! Over 8500 clients have used our services, $3 billion in retirement funds have been invested and 60,000 U.S. jobs have been created by the businesses our clients have started.
- Our additional financing services. There are many ways to finance a small business and we work with entrepreneurs to determine how and where they can access the capital they need. Our programs include, but are not limited to, SBA loans, unsecured credit, rollovers for business startups, merchant cash advances, equipment leasing, and asset-based loans.
- Our ability and desire to expand. Really, we’re just getting started. As the leader of retirement fund financing, we’ve grown (and will continue to) into a full suite firm that offers more products and services. Put simply: We want to make entrepreneurs lives easier.
It’s exciting to start a business, full of ideas and dreams for what could be. It’s intoxicating to arrive at a place that far surpasses that vision, and realize that there is so much more to do.
David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidNilssen. The advice in this column should not be considered legal tax advice.
In recent years, large corporations are becoming more aware of the dwindling natural resources and are doing their part to conserve energy and reduce the amount of waste they produce. Intel has become the largest purchaser of green power in the United States are the company has greatly reduced the amount of energy used to run the business. Other popular companies like Kohl’s deparment store and Starbucks coffee have followed suit. If you want your company to be part of this environmentally-conscious movement, then follow these six steps to reduce waste in the workplace.
1. Stop Printing So Much
One of the most wasteful things that many companies do is excessive printing of documents. Not only does this waste paper, but it also wastes a lot of energy and ink. If you want to take an instant step to reduce waste in your workplace, then encourage everyone in the office to transmit documents electronically whenever possible. Many people print documents, read over them, and immediately shred of recycle them. This is an unnecessary use of paper. Only print what you actually have to have in paper form.
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an old hand, money occupies a prominent role in your business. Failing to get – and keep – your finances in order can doom your company or consulting practice in the long run. While each entrepreneur has their own set of unique financial challenges, there are several areas where nearly all entrepreneurs can draw from a general well of wisdom.
1. Pay yourself first, Uncle Sam second.
No doubt, you’ve heard the expression “pay yourself first.” That’s good advice for everyone. However, entrepreneurs must remember that with no employer-initiated tax deductions to count on, they must also make provisions to cover self-employment taxes.
2. Hire pros, but know what they’re doing.
You didn’t go into business to spend hours working on spreadsheets. That’s why you hired a Certified Public Accountant. However, you should still understand the basics of keeping the books, if for no other reason than to be able to answer your accountant’s questions at tax time.
Trends in logo design, like trends in clothing design and interior design, fluctuate with time. Being stylish and innovative is important if you want to stand out from the crowd, but your logo also needs staying power – after all, it’s the heart of your brand and influences all your other materials. So how do you find the fine line between contemporary and enduring? Below are three logo design trends that are both cutting-edge current and completely classic.
1. Keep it simple.
Minimalization is a major trend in logo design. These days, less is more. Just ask Microsoft, Black & Decker or any of the other scores of large corporations who have recently streamlined their logos to a more simplified version using simpler lines and shapes. This makes good sense from a branding perspective, as less complicated, starker logos are easier for consumers to remember and connect with. What’s more, logo designs with basic symbols and simple color schemes reproduce more cleanly at smaller sizes. When it comes to logos today, complex design elements don’t add beauty, they just add complexity.
What does it mean to incorporate in South Dakota? For small businesses, the state offers an abundance of industries to get started in and plenty of sightseeing by way of national parks and monuments. The home to Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and routes within the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, South Dakota is ranked by Forbes as #11 on the best states for business list.
The state’s biggest draw? Being #1 in the country for lowest business costs which are about 25% below the national average. Industries that perform well in South Dakota include retail, finance, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, and government spending. Ibp Hog Market Inc., Ellsworth Air Force Base, and Rapid City Regional Hospital round out the top three largest employers in the state, with anywhere between 4,000 to 4,800 employees. With additional low unemployment rates, it’s hardly any wonder that the state ranks as #6 in the nation for its economic climate.
One of the most frustrating parts of small businesses is the knowledge that it’s nearly impossible to catch every lead. Anything from missing a phone call or an opportunity for easy sharing, to not catching what could be lucrative deals – or worse, losing business to a competitor – can have you scrambling for better customer service solutions.
Unfortunately, you can’t constantly be on the phone or online 24/7, so you’ll need a little help. That’s where tech aids, who can help turn your small business into a lead generating machine, enter the picture. Avoid missing lucrative deals and customer service opportunities by turning to net services and tech solutions to help you catch every lead that comes through.
Each year, businesses all over the world push to find new ways of reaching new clients, making sales, and increasing revenue. While it appears that some marketing strategies have proven to be more effective than others, one thing is for certain: email will always be a part of any solid business marketing strategy, as it easily correlates to mass mailer marketing and other traditional business outreach methods.
However, because email is such a popular method used by nearly every industry, the positive effects begin to dwindle. Users who subscribe to e-newsletters and email marketing voluntarily will always be there, but those that businesses are attempting to reach for the first time have become numb to the mass mailing stimulus, and have learned to tune it out similar to the decreasing effectiveness of television commercials.
Fortunately, for businesses looking to reach out to new customers, part of the problem is also the ideal solution, and that comes in the form of social networking.
This week on 50 States of Incorporation, we take a look at ‘The Palmetto State,’ South Carolina! Also know as ‘The Rice State’ and ‘The Swamp State,’ South Carolina’s official nickname comes from the state tree, the Sabal Palmetto, which distinguished itself during the revolutionary war. It was a fort made of Palmetto logs that repulsed the British fleet from Sullivan’s Island back in 1776! But South Carolina has a lot more to offer than strategically useful flora. Though it was hit hard by the recession, its strong agricultural heritage, and the state’s friendly attitude towards business, has really boosted its recovery. So what should South Carolinian entrepreneurs know about their state? And what does it take to open up a business and incorporate in South Carolina?
Are there any benefits to running a business in South Carolina?
Plenty! South Carolina is actually one of the most business-friendly states in the USA. Thumbtack gave the state an A- in overall friendliness, and South Carolina has the tenth lowest tax burden of all states. It also makes sense to incorporate in South Carolina as the state boasts a low, 5% flat corporate income tax rate. Of course, South Carolina does all it can to help small businesses within the state. The South Carolinian Secretary of State’s office maintains a Small Business One-Stop Site to help new entrepreneurs find and file for everything they need to get their business up and running, and the Department of Commerce is proud to offer multiple growth incentives to businesses with the state.
Most business owners are well aware of what content marketing is. Fresh, engaging content attracts people to your website by encouraging search engines to index it. When users search for information online, your content comes up according to the most relevant search results. With online marketing, the focus has always been on keywords, specifically the words and phrases people enter into search engines to find you online. Although these keywords are important, the means of targeting these terms has evolved. One reason for this change is the way Google delivers search results using context and user intent, rather than relying on just phrases and keywords for everything.
Understanding Contextual Links
Contextual links are links that you insert into specific words and phrases found in your webpage content. Once a user clicks on the linked keywords, they send them to another website. Contextual links differ from regular links because you use targeted keywords from the actual content of your website, keywords that relate to the website URL of where you want to send your visitors.