One 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.
Starting your own company these days is still a pretty risky business. You most likely invested a lot of time, energy, and money into it and you are probably wondering whether you will receive a proper return of investment back. But the biggest problem for your business will always be the competition, since they had enough time to build up their brand and reach their clientele. Even if you thought that your business is fresh and the first of its kind, chances are that there is another company out there that has been doing what you are doing for some time now. So how do you make your mark? It all boils down to brand recognition. It doesn’t matter if you do your job a hundred times better than your competition. If no one notices you, you are next to nothing.
Start from the roots.
Your office is the place where you conduct your business. If it is a messy, smelly environment, you and your coworkers will have a hard time focusing. You should pay attention to every single detail in your office premises. Every corner and every inch has to be designed well, so that you and colleagues can work properly. Once you have a quality office in place, you’ll be able to move forward.
Opening an e-commerce business is a lot like running a marathon. Just about anyone can do it, but only a select few will succeed. Hundreds of online stores are opened on a daily basis, making it an extremely competitive market. That isn’t meant to scare you off, but rather to alert you of the challenging, albeit satisfying, road that lies ahead.
In order to set you off on the right journey, here’s a list of steps to help you create an online business. And just as with running a marathon, the starting steps are often the most critical.
Missouri – the “Show-Me” state – is the subject of this week’s 50 states of incorporation, but first we want to show you why Missouri is such a great place to start a business. Missouri has long-been an important economic hub because America’s three great rivers – the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Ohio – all flow through the state. And though shipping has died down and Missouri is no longer the sole Gateway to the West, the state has shown an amazing propensity towards adaptation, and some of the most successful high-tech companies in the world call Missouri home.
Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest bio-technology companies, is based out of Missouri, as is Boeing Defense, Space & Security, a leading aerospace and defense-research firm. But the company that Missouri is most famous for has to be St. Louis’s Anheuser-Busch. It is, in fact, so loved that Busch’s St. Louis brewery was declared a national landmark in 1966.
Missouri knows how important small business is to the state, and the government offers loads of incentives and programs to help small businesses get started properly. Missouri lists many of the public resources that are available, and it is especially supportive of its agricultural industry; Missouri has 108,000 active farms, the second highest amount in the United States.
The Great Lakes State, Michigan, is the focus of this week’s 50 states of incorporation. As the ninth most populous state, and with one of the most diverse economies in America, Michigan is a great place to start a business, form an LLC, or incorporate. Many Michigan industries are growing and thriving, and Michigan was one of the top states for job creation in 2012. It is no wonder Michigan is known for being a center of manufacturing!
Michigan’s claim to economic fame lies squarely with the automotive industry. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all still call Detroit their home, and though the 2008 global financial crisis hit the automotive center of America hard, they are rebounding. Of course, Michigan has a lot more to offer than cars. Tourism, IT, mining, and agriculture all contribute heavily to Michigan’s economy. In fact, chances are good the Christmas tree soon to be in your living room was grown in Michigan as the state is one of the leading growers, with over 60,000 acres dedicated growing Christmas trees.
It is understandable, then, why so many people choose to found their own small business in the state. And it has never been easier to incorporate in Michigan!
Incorporation is one of our specialties, and many of our clients come to us because they want to incorporate their business. After all, incorporation helps protect you in the event of a lawsuit, and forming a separate business entity helps separate the company’s debts from your private assets. However, our customers also often ask us about a real caveat to incorporation – double taxation. After you incorporate, your business has to pay a tax on any income that it earns, subject to the federal and state corporate income tax rates. On top of that, you still have to pay tax on income you earn from working for the corporation. Effectively, this taxes the same amount of income twice, and that heavy burden frightens many small business owners, most of whom don’t have much extra capital to throw around. There is, happily, a way to avoid double taxation, and it is the subject of our Business Basics post for this week – filing for S-Corporation status.
Chapter 1, Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code allows smaller businesses to avoid paying federal, and usually state, corporate income tax. S-Corporations are the most popular type of corporation in the United States, with 61.9% of all active corporations filing Form 1120S to apply for S-Corp status.
In order to qualify, your corporation must have fewer than 100 shareholders and issue only one class of stock. If your corporation qualifies, you can file for S-Corp status, which will allow any income earned by the corporation to pass through the business, untaxed, directly to the shareholders. You, of course, still have to pay your personal income taxes, and by law must take a reasonable compensation as a wage. But your corporate income, in most cases, will stay untouched.
When I first started developing my business I was not sure which way was up and which way was down. As I struggled with trying to figure out everything on my own, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t have to be this way. As a matter of fact, small business owners can eliminate some of the hard work, simply by adjusting our schedules a little bit.
Depending on the size of your operation (for the sake of this argument we are going to say that it is not very big) you can apply a whole assortment of strategies to better utilize your free time. Why do I say free time? As an entrepreneur, you are in charge of your very own enterprise. And since that business is yours, it allows you the ability to explore different approaches to solve both mundane and specific problems at the workplace. Here are a few of my tried and true tips on how make time management easy in doing so.
Ready to incorporate in Louisiana this week in our 50 states of incorporation series? This southern gem is most widely known for its delicious comfort food, swinging jazz scene and vibrant colors (as seen in New Orleans), and for surviving hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The population of Louisiana comes in at about 4,614,500, and the capital is Baton Rouge.
Though the state comes in at number 40 on the Forbes “Best States for Business” list, the state office is generally very supportive of small businesses looking to incorporate in Louisiana. Any small business owner is welcome and encouraged to give the state a call with questions they might have, and their state website has also proved to be quite helpful with a checklist available to small business owners to help expedite the process. There are even incentive programs implemented for business owners in the research and development, manufacturing, and motion picture fields. Seafood and tourism are also two big industries that do well in Louisiana, the former of which features 90% of the crawfish eaten around the world coming straight from Louisiana. And as far as tourism goes, Bourbon Street, anyone?
Many of life’s burdens – big and small – are lightened with a friend for support and this lesson has not been lost in business. If you’re thinking of starting a business with a friend or family member, you’re not alone. Some of the most enduring and positive American companies were founded by a couple of friends who had an idea. They didn’t always have a lot of start-up cash, but they had each other.
- UPS was started in 1907 by two teenagers with a single bicycle and a hundred dollars borrowed from a friend. Back then the U.S. Parcel Post wasn’t around and there was plenty of opportunity for the American Messenger Company of Seattle, Washington.
- Ben and Jerry met in seventh-grade gym class in 1963. A decade later, they took a five-dollar correspondence course in making ice cream.
- In 1978 two 20-something friends, John and Rene pulled together $45,000 to open what started as SaferWay and later became Whole Foods Market. Times were so hard on the friends they lived in the store and reportedly bathed using the hose disconnected from the dishwasher.
By David Nilssen, CEO & Co-founder, Guidant Financial
Follow your bliss. We’ve all heard this simple advice, stated succinctly by writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell. We’ve heard it so often that maybe we’ve lost sight of Campbell’s intent. It wasn’t permission to do nothing, or to squander our gifts. In saying “Follow your bliss,” Campbell exhorted us to action. To proactively seek out what we’re passionate about and build a life around it. After all, if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work—but you can make it your living.