#incorporating a business
Incorporation 101: How to Incorporate a Small Business
The term “incorporating” is defined as the act of creating a new corporation under the laws of a particular state. The term can also refer to the formation of a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The act of incorporating, no matter which version you choose, allows you to protect your personal assets the biggest reason that business owners incorporate. Learn more about different types of business structures and get a sense of which one is right for you.
If you are unsure about how to incorporate your small business, we can help. We make the process of forming your new corporation or LLC fast and easy. Form your new business online. or call a Business Specialist at 800.818.6082 (toll-free) or 302-636-5440.
Advantages of Incorporating
Whether you’ve got two people on your team or ten, all businesses can benefit from incorporating. Advantages of forming a corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC) include:
- Personal asset protection. Both corporations and LLCs allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets. In a properly structured and managed company, owners should have limited liability for business debts and obligations.
- Additional credibility. Adding “Inc.” or “LLC” after your business name can add instant authority. Consumers, vendors, and partners may prefer to do business with an incorporated company.
- Nationwide availability. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now recognize both corporations and LLCs.
- Name protection. In most states, other businesses may not file your exact corporate or LLC name in the same state.
- Perpetual existence. Corporations and LLCs exist perpetually, even if their ownership or management changes. Sole proprietorships and partnerships end if an owner dies or leaves the business.
- Tax flexibility. Though profit and loss typically pass through an LLC and get reported on the personal income tax returns of owners, an LLC can also elect to be taxed as a corporation. Likewise, a corporation can avoid double taxation of corporate profits and dividends by electing Subchapter S tax status.
- Deductible expenses. Both corporations and LLCs may deduct normal business expenses, like salaries, before they allocate income to owners.
Incorporating to Protect Your Assets
Corporations and LLCs offer greater asset protection than sole proprietorships and general partnerships. A sole proprietor or general partner has unlimited personal liability for the debts and obligations of the business. In other words, their personal assets (like their home, car, and personal savings) remain at risk in a judgement against the business.
In contrast, corporations and LLCs allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets from the debts and obligations of the business. In a properly formed and structured corporation or LLC, a judgement against the business should not affect an owner’s home, car, savings, or other personal assets.
Where to Incorporate
Most businesses incorporate or form an LLC in the state in which they primarily operate. Advantages of choosing your home state include:
- Typically the least complicated option
- Usually costs less than incorporating in a different state and registering with your home state
- Avoids paying franchise taxes and filing annual reports in more than one state
Many companies conduct business throughout the U.S. and abroad. A corporation or LLC with business locations in multiple states may incorporate in a single state and then register to do business in the additional states. This means that companies must formally register, file annual reports, and pay annual fees to conduct business in multiple states.
Contact one of our Business Specialists who can help you better understand how to incorporate a company in your home state or a state that offers the best benefits suited to your type of business.
If you are outside the U.S. and unfamiliar with the various options afforded by several key states, our team of specialists can also help you learn more about how to incorporate a business in the United States and choose the right state.
Should You Incorporate or Form an LLC?
Typically, most people incorporate or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to safeguard their home, car, and personal savings. Incorporating helps you conduct business free from worry that you might lose personal possessions because of a business liability. Both a corporation and an LLC allow owners to separate and protect their personal assets from business debts and obligations. However, these two legal business structures have a number of differences.
LLCs are popular with small business owners because they combine the simplicity of a corporation with the tax advantages and flexibility of a partnership. Owners compute their share of business taxes on their personal tax returns. Both businesses and individuals can own an LLC. LLCs draft an internal operating agreement to govern ownerships.
Unlike LLCs, corporations issue shares of stock. The IRS taxes most corporations at a lower tax rate than individuals. Corporations use bylaws to set forth the management rules with their shareholders, directors, and officers.
Still can’t choose the right structure for your business? Use our Business Startup Wizard to learn what other business owners in your state and industry have done and gain a better scope of not only when, where, and how to incorporate a company?but what works best for your particular industry and business model to ensure your venture succeeds.
Incorporating with incorporate.com
“How do I incorporate a business?” You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. Consider incorporate.com your trusted partner in the path to forming a new business. When you have questions about how to incorporate your business, we offer a variety of incorporation and other business services to help you succeed:
- Expedited service in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
- Formations of business types including C Corporations, subchapter S Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Professional Corporations and LLCs, Nonprofit Corporations, Series LLCs, and Limited Partnerships
- Additional services like Registered Agent, Employer Identification Number (EIN), Doing Business As (DBA), business license application materials, and more
- An exclusive $50,000 Corporate Veil Guarantee
- Personal attention to your needs by friendly, expert consultants who can answer all of your questions regarding each step of the process of how to incorporate a company
How to Incorporate
To get started and learn how to incorporate a small business, follow these simple steps:
- Decide to incorporate.
- Select incorporate.com. Learn why we think you will benefit from our services.
- Choose a type of business. Need more information about business structures?
- Choose a state. Get more information about choosing a state.
- Choose a package. Read more about our package options.
You can incorporate or form an LLC online or by phone with a Business Specialist at 800.818.6082 (toll-free) or 302-636-5440.
Incorporating and Taxes
When you incorporate a company, tax regulations depend on the type of business you select. Contact your tax professional for more information about the business type you choose:
- C Corporations file IRS form 1120 to report corporate income to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS taxes company profits at corporate tax rates and dividends paid to shareholders at individual tax rates. For this reason, you may hear tax professionals refer to “double taxation” of a C Corporation.
- Corporations can elect “pass-through” taxation by applying to the IRS for status as a Subchapter S Corporation. The S Corporation provides the same protection from personal liability. However, owners can report their share of profit and loss in the company on their individual tax returns. The S Corporation may not have more than 100 shareholders.
- Like a sole proprietorship or partnership, an LLC enjoys pass-through taxation. This means that owners (also known as “members”) report their share of profits or losses in the company on their individual tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not assess taxes on the company itself. This avoids the “double taxation” that general, or “C,” corporations experience. In a C Corporation, the IRS taxes profits at the corporate level and dividends at the shareholder level.
Next Steps After Incorporating
Business owners should consider a number of next steps after incorporating. For example, many businesses:
9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business #best #small #business
#side business ideas
9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business
February 18, 2015
Being an entrepreneur is synonymous with being financially unstable at times. While you re growing your company, it s important to be focused. But what if you could get a side hustle that would help bring in a healthy secondary income to alleviate some of that financial stress? And, best case, what if this side hustle could also help you grow your core business?
The good news is that there are a lot of companies that create opportunities for entrepreneurs that don t require full-time work and can become a great companion to the work you re doing. Better yet, they take out the hassle of having to create a second company to supplement your income because they do the legwork and allow you to plug in your skills and time.
Here are nine examples of opportunities that might be the perfect side hustle for you as you continue to grow your company!
1. Invest in real estate.
There are a lot of methods for making money in real estate, many of which don t require your full time effort. Josh Dorkin, CEO and founder of BiggerPockets says you should consider land lording, flipping houses or wholesaling. His company s website will help you manage and understand all of the different state laws and regulations, as well as leverage the largest worldwide network of real estate investors who come to his site to ask questions and help one another.
He also recommends finding people in your area with skill sets and expertise that you don t have, and to partner with them or use them as a place to park your investment cash. You can join BiggerPockets for free and he recommends reading its Ultimate Beginner s Guide . a free eight-chapter book on real estate investing for novices.
2. Drive a taxi.
Most of us are familiar with Uber and Lyft. the companies that took limo and town car services and gave them riders in their down time, and then expanded into recruiting regular citizens to utilize their free time to become taxi drivers. Have you considered being one of them?
I ll never forget one of my UberX rides where the driver told me that he uses his spare time to make money driving as well as to leverage the networking he can do with each of his passengers as he grows his new business — genius!
One of the greatest things about the Uber platform is that it offers economic opportunity for a variety of drivers — full time, part time, teachers in summer, full-time students, military spouses, etc. — in more than 260 cities around the world, says Molly Spaeth, an Uber spokesperson.
So if you re in one of the 260 cities, you could be making your car into a money-generating experience and a networking opportunity on wheels!
3. Host the next-gen of tupperware parties.
There are many companies that do at-home parties and trunk shows where you can utilize the company s products, marketing and operations infrastructure to build a side income by plugging in your network.
One that has proven to be very successful is Stella and Dot. where you become a jewelry consultant and host parties at friend s homes, local boutiques or events. Other popular brands include Rodan + Fields and Pure Romance .
4. Outsource your skills.
Can you do graphic design, data mining, website development, video editing, software development or customer service? Then you can parlay those skills by signing up on sites such as TaskRabbit or ODesk and get hired by their members to do jobs in any of these areas. You can pick and choose how often you want to work and what jobs you take!
5. Be a temp.
Long gone are the days of temp agencies and scouring the Internet for part-time or short-term work. Enter Wonolo. which helps people work now locally.
Wonolo is a company that allows anyone to work for a few hours or a day at real companies doing real work, says AJ Brustein, the company s co-founder. Want to help an ecommerce company fulfilling orders when they are busy, help out at a conference taking tickets, or assist in data entry at a wealth management firm? You can get numerous career experiences around the flexibility of your own schedule.
You can get alerted of jobs available in your area immediately via Wonolo s app. Sounds perfect for a busy entrepreneur!
6. Rent out your pad.
Are you traveling for a business meeting and leaving your home empty? Do you have a spare room or guest house? It s time to put them to work and list them on Airbnb or VRBO and make money on your property when you re not using it!
7. Rent out your car.
If you can get on board with renting out your home, you ll certainly understand the model created by companies such as RelayRides and FlightCar. which allow you to rent out your personal vehicle to their users.
I recently used RelayRides during a trip in San Francisco and had a great experience that didn t require me to find a rental car center, and the cost was right. I even was able to get acquainted with the car s owner, to whom I offered to help find a job.
It s another way to make money and network when you re not using your car (like when you re parked at the airport thanks to FlightCar)!
8. Don t just buy on eBay, sell there.
You can simply sell your own items, or you can make it into a side business.
I run an eBay franchise in which I teach people how to run a re-sale business on eBay, says Garrett Brustein. I do one-on-one training to show them where to get their inventory and how to list and ship items the same way I do so they can emulate the process and take all of the guess work out of the business. They are then able to do this as a part-time job in their free time.
Just think — you can unload the stuff you don t want and go shopping to resell items all in the name of making money!
9. Get paid to network.
I know this one from personal experience! After founding my first company, a credit card processing brokerage, I began to organize networking events in my city to help young professionals interact in an environment where they wouldn t fear getting sold to or hit on. I quickly realized the events were not only helping those in attendance to make valuable connections, but that there was real money to be made, as well.
Over time, I packaged the operations of Network Under 40 to enable entrepreneurs in other markets to bring the events to their cities. By becoming the epicenter of the network, it naturally parlays into building their full-time businesses as well as creates a healthy side income.
If you re looking to make some money on the side and/or find channels through which you can build your primary business, it s time to look into some of these options.
10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner
Like a marriage, a business partnership often begins with enthusiasm and high expectations — only to end in acrimony and legal proceedings. It s important to know as much as possible about a potential partner, including how his or her finances and family life may affect the business, before signing on the dotted line.
Here are some questions to ask before deciding if partnering is a good idea:
1. What do I need from a business partner?
You should look for a business partner who brings something different to the table than you do. If you re creative, maybe you need a more detail-oriented partner. If you have money to invest in the business, you may want to look for a partner with access to a market, or with great connections. Or if you re shy, you might need a good people person to balance the equation. If they re similar to you, it might be more comfortable, but it may not be what you need, says William M. Moore, founder of the Moore Firm in San Diego, a law firm that serves entrepreneurs. You need someone who complements your skills and personality.
2. What is your potential partner s financial situation?
It is important to have an understanding of someone s financial status and commitments before getting into a venture together. It is tough to ask what they are currently spending on a house or in payments to an ex-spouse, but someone s prior financial commitments shape the decisions they will make in the short term, says Gregory Kratofil, an attorney and shareholder with the law firm Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City, Mo. who specializes in small business interests. If he has large outstanding obligations, but says he can get by on $35,000 salary, it is a red flag.
3. What are the potential partner s expectations on the time involved?
Partners don t have to spend the same amount of time, but it is important that they are on the same page as to each other s expected time commitments. How many hours a day does your partner expect to put into the venture, and do his expectations meet yours? It is equally important to level set your partner s expectations on your time commitments, Kratofil says. The age old adage that it s better to under-promise and over-deliver applies here.
4. Is your potential partner s commitment to the business as strong as yours?
I don t care if it s a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner s commitment has to equal yours, says Bob Phibbs, consultant and CEO of The Retail Doctor. a site that provides information to small and medium-sized businesses. A partnership — especially one between friends — can start off with fun and excitement, but within a short time, the slog of every day catches up with you. If they re not as committed to the business as you, they may lose their enthusiasm and may actually be damaging the brand every time you open your doors.
5. Is there something in your potential partner s family life that might make the business a secondary interest?
If your potential partner has a pregnant wife or is taking care of an elderly parent, he may be distracted from the business. That s why you have to be brutally honest when thinking of forming a partnership. The partner can say, My wife is behind me 100 percent. But I want to talk to the wife, Phibbs says. If they re too distracted by a family issue or their family isn t behind them, the business may be doomed from the start.
6. How would he or she handle a tough situation?
It s important to know what your potential business partner will do if he has his back up against the wall — and it will happen, Phibbs says. The best way to discover this is to look at what he s done in past business ventures. If he couldn t meet payroll, for example: Did he do the right thing and dip into savings or borrow from a credit card or a friend? Or did he pay employees late, or not at all? Or worse, did he skip paying payroll taxes? It all comes down to character issue, Phibbs says, adding, Payroll taxes are a federal obligation. If that s negotiable, you can bet your partnership is also negotiable.
7. What questions do they have for me?
If a potential employee doesn t ask any questions in a job interview, you might be less likely to hire him because of a perceived lack of interest. The same applies to a potential business partner, who should want to know about your character, reliability and expectations. I want them to ask me the same tough questions I ask them. If they say it doesn t really matter, it could mean two things: their expectations are too high or they might be kind of flighty, Phibbs says. Things may be fine now, but in a month or two, they may want to change things or even get out of the deal.
8. What is the potential partner s standing in the community?
A lot of people seem good at first, but that may be their skill — seeming good at first, Moore says. Once they get their foot in the door, it may be difficult to get them out. Talk to former employees to see what they were like to work with, or for. If you re looking for someone with money connections, verify that they have money. If they say they have great connections, see if those connections go beyond just being recognized and given a slap on the back. A business partnership is not a marriage, but there should be some sort of courtship process that you can verify that they are who they say they are, Moore says.
9. Are they willing to put everything in writing?
Many partnerships are cemented with a handshake, but this can be a recipe for disaster. It s crucial to put it on paper — not only what is expected of each partner, but the consequences if expectations aren t met. There s something about actually putting it in writing that exposes the potential problem areas in the partnership, Moore says. If someone has a family emergency and disappears the first six months of the business — even though it may not be through any fault of his own — are you still expected to give that person a certain percentage of the business? If someone simply isn t pulling his or her weight, you need to be able to get them out without destroying the business, he adds. And if it s in writing, there s no arguing it.
10. Do I really need a partner?
If you can get someone to do something without giving them a stake in your business, it s always better, Moore says. People get wrapped up in the idea of needing to work with someone, but it s not always a good idea. Sometimes you need somebody to show up from 9-5, work hard and go home, he says, adding. If you re cash poor, or it s a startup and you don t expect to make money right away, taking on a partner might be the better option. But if you can just pay somebody to show up and work, it s generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company.
And now a bonus question.
What happens if we can t work it out?
Most people don t envision the rough times ahead for a new venture, so this question is probably the hardest to remember to ask and the beginning. Yet, the best time to address potential problems with your partner is at the beginning before emotions run high. You can t predict every potential problem, but a good startup lawyer can help you work through some of the common problems and put a framework in place to help address unforeseen circumstances, Kratofil says.
Acquaintances fight to get on your dinner party invite list. Friends beg you to make birthday cakes for their children’s birthday parties. Coworkers even offer to pay you to organize a dinner for their engagement party.
How do you know when it is time to try and make a business out of helping other people throw parties?
“With catering, basically every night you are setting up and breaking down a restaurant,” says Laurine Wickett, a chef based in San Francisco who owns Left Coast Catering and was a Top Chef contestant during season six. “The food changes, the venue changes everything about it changes. It can be exciting, but it can be extremely frustrating.”
If you can pull all the details together, you can be part of what the National Association of Catering Executives estimates is a $7.1 billion a year business. And while many caterers work crazy hours, if you’re successful, you can target precisely the kinds of events, cuisine, and clients you want.
Starting a Catering Business: Find a Specialty
San Francisco mixologists H. Joseph Ehrmann, Scott Beattie, and Marco Dionysos had worked at some of California’s best bars when the cocktail revival started taking hold. But when they would go to private parties, they noticed that most of the drinks were either wine or the basic gin-and-tonic variety cocktails.
“We treat drinks like you would appetizers,” says Beattie, who wrote the book Artisanal Cocktails. “We make 10 things at a time and pass them out with little cards that explain what the drinks are.”
The trio also sets up classes at private parties to teach people how to mix cocktails, and then sets up stations where guests can make their own. Over the past year, HMS Cocktails has transitioned away from catering smaller parties, and is now gearing up for a big launch and catering events with 200 to 300 people.
“We’ve had a really good reaction from people,” Beattie says. “It can be a bit more lucrative than your average night at a bar.”
While in smaller towns it can be key to be a Jack of all trades, picking a specialty within the catering field, such as specialty cocktails, vegan cuisine, or down-home southern cooking, can give you an edge in the market.
“You need to set yourself apart,” says Denise Vivaldo. who wrote How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business. “Why should people hire you? Is it your food? Or is it your personality and the confidence you exude?”
Starting a Catering Business: Master the Logistics
One advantage of starting a catering company is that the start-up costs can be low. Companies throughout the country offer table, linen, and table-settings rentals that you can pass on to your clients if you’re not ready to build up your own supply.
Many caterers start cooking out of their home kitchens, but in most states, this is illegal and can result in fines or even having your business shut down. Start by checking with your local health department to see what regulations are in your area.
In larger cities, it could be wise to look for a commercial kitchen, in which you can rent space by the hour or shift. In smaller towns, try approaching restaurant kitchens that are closed during the day and see if they will rent you the space.
Bonnie Fedchock, the executive director of the National Association of Caterers, recommends that people take into consideration how they are going to transport food, especially if the site of the party isn’t going to have a kitchen. One simple rule of thumb to remember: hot food needs to stay hot; cold food needs to stay cold.
“There are a lot of details involved and it’s all about organization,” says Frederick De Pue, who runs 42 Catering and Restaurant Smith Commons in Washington, D.C. “If you are in the middle of nowhere and forget coffee cups, people will yell at you because now they can’t drink their coffee.”
Wickett cautions those interested in catering not to underestimate how physically demanding the job is.
“You’re loading up trucks, going to events, setting them up, breaking them down and going back to the shop,” she says. “It can take an entire van of equipment just to cater an event for 20 people.”
Starting a Catering Business: Find the Right Help
A few months ago, Pilar Valdes and Binh Ly decided that they wanted to turn the frequent dinner parties they throw for friends into a more serious business. They started Kickshaw Cookery, which in addition to catering special events, also includes a program in which people can sign up for meal delivery.
To help learn how to plan, they’ve been taking classes in New York City and getting advice at the Queens County Economic Development Corporation on basics, like how to write a business plan.
“Up until this point, everything we had done was about the food and really organic,” Binh says. “We didn’t even really think about how we will have to pay ourselves and how to think of our labor as a cost.”
Vivaldo says one of the most common mistakes that new caterers make is they under-price their food.
“They are used to cooking for family and friends for free, so any money they are making seems like a lot of money,” Vivaldo says. “New caterers also make too much food. All your profit can be in the leftovers that you are dragging home or leaving with your client.”
Starting a Catering Business: Nail the Marketing
When Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin started Ovenly. which delivers bar snacks, such as spicy bacon caramel corn, and pastries, such as currant rosemary scones, to local businesses, they knew that marketing would take on more importance because they didn’t have their own retail space.
“We focus on the design aspect of our branding. Making sure that people can find us really easily on the Web has been really helpful,” says Patinkin, who says that people who have bought their pastries in stores have found them through their website to request that they cater the dessert for weddings and other larger gatherings.
Unlike restaurants that people can walk in and see the ambiance, people have to envision what your catering style will be like. Pictures on your website of both food you make and parties you’ve thrown can help people envision what you can do.
De Pue says that about two years into running his catering business he hired marketing people and did a complete overhaul of 42 Catering’s website.
“From that moment on we exploded,” he says. “Marking and branding is more important that most people imagine.”
Another crucial factor in getting that gig: How you interact with clients before they’ve ever seen or tasted your food.
“You need someone on your sales team that people can relate to and feel comfortable with,” Wickett says. “It’s equally important if not more than the quality of food you provide.”
You also need to exude confidence that the event will be great, Vivaldo says.
“When people entertain, they are scared. A lot of clients are going to be extremely nervous,” Vivaldo says. “Whether it is a movie premier or a bar mitzvah or your only daughter’s wedding, you want to make sure that the person you write that check to is someone you trust.”
#naming a business
10 Rules of Thumb for Naming a Business
It’s been a busy week across the pond — on Monday, July 22, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed a royal baby boy into the world. Upon arrival, and particularly on Tuesday July 23 when the couple first stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital with the newborn in tow, the world was satisfied in now knowing the sex of the baby. But what about the name? After all, this is a baby that despite being two days old is third-in-line to the throne and upon arrival, is also expected to boost Britain’s economy by nearly 240 million pounds in baby-related product sales — the equivalent of almost $400 million in USD.
Bets were made and while names including Philip, James, George, and Alexander all ranked high on the guessing list, the final name was revealed as George Alexander Louis. Named for his great great grandfather George VI, the new name ensures he will become a future King George VII.
Royalty aside, undoubtedly there was a great deal of care and consideration that went into deciding on the name for the royal baby — especially one that will be a commercial success with collectibles commemorating the event and tourist arrivals. In a similar thread is how a business decides on its own name. With a reported 252 million domain names currently registered online. start-ups at this point have names featuring every misspelling, mashup, hyphen, and underscore under the sun possible to set them apart from competitors. But is this even recommended for a business? And what’s to say that the first name out of the gate doesn’t get changed a few months later? Before you get in too deep on the details of how to name your business, keep the following tried and true tips in mind.
1) First off, conduct a business name search.
Maybe you have a name for your company in mind that is so secret (and amazing) you’re afraid to tell everyone lest somebody else beats you to the punch in using it. Or worse, if you decide to go ahead and use the name and it turns out similar names are out there like it and you’re up in arms on a trademark infringement case. Conduct a business name check first and then reserve the name online if it’s available before you begin the incorporation process.
2) Name needs to be meaningful and memorable.
As stated by the Wall Street Journal. businesses face the challenge of creating names that carry meaning, are memorable, and aren’t “alphabet soup” George Louis Alexander has a name full of meaning with the first name from his great great grandfather and “Louis” from Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Keep in mind what your business offers and tie that in as specifically as possible whenever you can.
3) The shorter the better.
Keep the name of your business short and easy to spell. No muss, no fuss, and definitely makes it easier to claim a website address or URL that way too.
4) Skip nods to pop culture.
And while we’re here, avoid Internet memes too. Sweet Brown’s “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” catchphrase is tired, to say the least.
5) Tell your business like it is.
One of my favorite company name game stories is the story behind Virgin and how Richard Branson (circa age 20) and his team came up with the name because a team member chimed in, “What about Virgin? We’re complete virgins at business.” When in doubt, consider the core of what your business does and stick to that core, rather than trying to cover it up with something fancier or more stately but ultimately confusing.
6) Keep alliteration in mind.
Lululemon, TED Talks, Coca-Cola, and hey, even Kim Kardashian — all brands (and people) that exercise the use of alliteration well and stake out a place in our memory banks while they’re at it.
7) When in doubt, make it up.
See: Haagen-Dazs here, believe it or not! Go for unique and original as much as you possibly can.
Steve Jobs began working on a line of personal computers in the 1970s during a time when computers were hardly for everyone and too huge and seemingly complicated to figure out. “Apple” came about as a means to attract people from all walks of life – universally inviting all around. Don’t try to complicate the name of your business or you might wind up alienating some of your audience.
9) Grab your social media spots.
Along with the URL for the business name, you’ll want to check and make sure there are places on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr (at the minimum) to claim early on.
10) Changing names? Do it with a purpose.
In an effort to avoid being seen as another “box” like Dropbox, YouSendIt recently switched over to “Hightail” as their new brand name of choice. When deciding on switching names for your business, lead by example and avoid following any crowd you might be seen too closely following. And when further in doubt, seek divine mythology intervention to guide you — Blue Ribbon Sports sought out the Greek winged goddess of victory when it came to switching over their now infamous name, Nike.
From Our Partners
How to Start a Catering Business
If you host dinner parties for your family and friends every chance you get, you’re up on food trends and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, consider starting a catering business. You have the advantage of starting small with relatively low overhead and building your business as you gain more clients. Read on for information on how to find your niche, launch your business and spread the word.
Part One of Three:
Finding Your Catering Niche Edit
Think about what food you love to make. Catering, like any other business, should be rooted in a genuine interest and passion. Consider the following types of food you could focus on as you develop your catering business:
- Lunch or brunch-style food. If you enjoy making sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads, and other food that is generally served during the day, you might want to model your business around lunchtime service. You could cater business luncheons, daytime awards ceremonies, school functions, and so on.
- Wedding reception or special event meals. Wedding caterers typically offer a variety of appetizers and finger foods along with several hearty entrees and a few desserts.
- Desserts only. If you love baking and have a flair for making cookies and cakes, consider desserts-only catering. This may limit the types of clients who hire you, but you’ll also have less equipment to buy.
- Appetizers and cocktails. Clients are increasingly hiring caterers to create a trendy, festive atmosphere by serving only appetizers, sometimes accompanied by caterer-prepared specialty cocktails.
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Create a menu. By doing this first, you can figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances you should install and how much you can expect to bring in financially.
- Try to have a variety of items to suit different tastes. Even if you specialize in one cuisine or type of meal, make sure your menu appeals to a lot of tastes. For example, if you want to offer a lot of spicy food, have non-spicy options as well.
- Consider offering vegetarian and vegan options for clients who don’t eat meat and other animal products.
- Keep your menu to a manageable size, with food you’re comfortable cooking made with ingredients you know you can source.
Test your dishes. Once you’ve settled on a menu, have a party to test out your dishes on family and friends. Ask them for honest feedback about the entire experience – both the food and the service.
- Tweak your dishes until you’re convinced they’re delicious and crowd friendly.
- Practice makes perfect. Make sure you’ve got the techniques, cooking times, and presentation down before you launch your business.
Part Two of Three:
Securing Your Space and Supplies Edit
Find a space to rent. Even if your starting small, most local laws prohibit people from operating catering businesses from a home kitchen. Look into your jurisdiction’s health codes to find out what type of space you’ll need to rent.
- Consider operating from a commercial kitchen. Some kitchens allow people to rent the space for a day or a few hours at a time. This situation could be the right one for you if you cater only on the weekends or a few times a month.
- If catering is going to be your full-time business, you’ll probably need a more permanent storage and cooking facility. Find a place with adequate plumbing so you’ll be able to set up your cooking and catering equipment. Check with your landlord and your local zoning office to make sure you can install the proper equipment like ventilation hoods and grease traps.
- If you plan to host tastings or sell food directly from your kitchen, look for a place with a storefront that’s separate from the kitchen, and provide tables and seating for customers.
Set up your kitchen. Catering work requires industrial equipment that is usually more expensive than equipment you would use in your home kitchen. Create a budget and figure out exactly what you’ll need to run your business efficiently.
- Base your equipment purchases on your menu. For example, if many of your items are baked, install at least two ovens. If you have a lot of fried foods, opting for more than one fryer might be a good idea.
- You may want to install multiple sinks to make your prep work more efficient, especially if you plan on hiring people.
- Plan ahead for food storage, too. Multiple refrigerators and a walk-in freezer might be necessary to store dishes you prepare ahead of time. Heated and non-heated holding areas are important for holding temperature and storing prepared items.
- Obtain all the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment you need to make the items on your menu.
Purchase the catering equipment that you will use on-site. The equipment you choose will depend on the type of service you want to provide, but at minimum you will need serving platters and serving utensils.
- Many catering businesses provide plates, silverware, glassware, or disposable plates and utensils.
- You may want to offer special display trays and tiered food platters to help make the catered event more festive.
- Make sure you have the proper equipment to keep the food either cold or hot, such as chafing dishes with liquid fuel burners.
- Consider buying linens, napkins, table decorations and centerpieces. Some catering businesses also offer tent canopies for outdoor events.
8 Tips For Starting a Photography Business
I am often asked for advice by those starting out in the photography industry. And if there’s one thing I have no shortage of, it’s advice. So with that in mind, I present you with my 8 Tips for Starting a Photography Business.
#1. You Are But One of Many
People will ask you what you do for a living. When you respond with, “I’m a photographer,” 9 out of 10 people will reply, “Oh! I’m a photographer, too!” If not, they will respond by informing you that one of the following people they know is also a photographer: husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew, next-door neighbor, co-worker, mailman, mailwoman, doctor, roofer, midwife, pharmacist, grandma, or their Corgi.
“Oh my gosh, my former brother-in-law’s next door neighbor’s estranged ex-daughter-in-law is also a photographer.”
Brace yourself for this. It will happen almost every time. You will have to smile and pretend to care.
#2. If You Are Making Money, It’s Not a Hobby
A bona fide business needs to be bona fide. As in, legitimate. This will require applying for and receiving all the necessary paperwork one needs when conducting a legitimate business: business license, tax identification number, register for state and local taxes, register your business name, etc…
If you accept money for your services, Uncle Sam needs to know about it. And this is one Uncle that will not be swayed with cries of, “But this is just a hobby.” Uncle Sam is not known for his sense of humor, so don’t try to get cute with him.
#3. Being Your Own Boss is a Blessing and a Curse
When you are your own boss, no one will make you do anything. This is both a good and bad thing. When you own your own business, you are the boss, which means if YOU don’t make something happen, it never will. You will have to push yourself to be organized, motivated and on top of things. Sounds easy? It’s not. Not by a long shot.
You always have to be thinking 6 months down the road. You have to learn to be pro-active rather than re-active. It also means that you can make Casual Friday every day if you want to. And if you have no employees, it means that you are always the most popular in the office.
#4. You Must Sell
It doesn’t matter how great of a photographer you are, if you can’t sell your work, you won’t make money. This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to put out quality work you should. It’s much easier to sell beautiful work than it is to try to sell work that has to be explained.
“I know you can’t see their faces. See, the reason the background is bright and the subjects are so dark is because this session is from my signature “Silhouette Series.”
Yeah, try to sell THAT.
The ability to sell your photography to clients is paramount to your financial success. And don’t tell me you can’t sell. I shan’t hear it. No, I shan’t. Listen, if you have convinced a grumpy toddler to eat his vegetables, you have sold. If you have persuaded a hesitant spouse to purchase new living room furniture, you have sold. If you have spoken to a client and based on your conversation, they decided to book with you, you have sold.
#5. Stuff Will Hit the Fan
In your business, there will be things that go so spectacularly wrong that you could sell tickets; situations that you in no way could ever prepare for; things that come out of left field and leave you scratching your head, saying, “What fresh hell is this?”
Because unexpected situations WILL occur, you need to enter into your business as fully prepared as possible. I read an advice column once that urged readers just to “go for it,” because there’s no way to prepare for everything. That’s like telling a swimmer to “just jump in” and figure out how to swim along the way. That’s just crazy talk.
This should need no explanation.
#7. There Will Be Days You Won t Like Being a Photographer
This will happen. It might not feel like it now, but it will. There will be days you feel no enthusiasm for what you do. Zip. Zero. Zilch. There will be days you get more excited about a new episode of “The Walking Dead” than you do a new session. There will be days you sigh. A lot.
Yes, there will be days like this…and you know what? That’s okay.
That doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad photographer. It makes you human. I mean, I love my children with all my heart. They are my life and I would gladly die a thousand fiery deaths for them, but there are days I want to sell them to the gypsies.
For no matter how much you love something, some days you won’t like it. You could be feeling under the weather, have a lot on your plate, or going through some other sort of struggle that robs a bit off the joy from something you really love including your photography.
It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel or dissolve into a puddle of tears, declaring to the world, “I CAN T DO THIS.” It means, instead, that you have to push yourself through, armed with the knowledge that EVERYONE feels like this at one time or another, which leads me to my last tip…
#8. Don’t Believe Facebook
You are working hard. You are struggling some days; soaring others. You feel pretty good about yourself and then you open Facebook. And you are hit smack dab in the gut with photographers’ tales of success. They are everywhere. Your newsfeed is crawling with them. They are like ants at a picnic.
Stories of utter business bliss where every sale is HUGE, calendars are booked up 3 months in advance, workshops left and right. Sometimes they are out in the open; other times, they are encased in a clever humblebrag:
“I’m always so embarrassed when my clients tell me how great I am. I mean, when someone says, You are the best photographer on the planet, how are you supposed to respond? It’s truly humbling.”
And you look at yourself, sitting in your yoga pants, feeling as though you are barely holding on and you feel defeated. Discouraged. Ready to throw in the towel. You see a photo of the top of a baby’s head gets 4K likes, and you wonder what YOU are doing wrong.
Allow me to tell you: what you’re doing wrong is reading Facebook. Well, not so much reading Facebook, but believing it.
Anyone can be anything on Facebook. Remember that.
So, enjoy the cat videos, the photos, the humorous graphics and the heartwarming stories. Cheer for your friends doing well, but when it comes evaluating your life based on others’ Facebook posts, beware.
The only place a business is perfect is in a Facebook status.
Now…pick up your camera and go do this thing.
Note. There has been some confusion as to whether #6 can be substituted with another adult libation. I checked the rulebook and the answer is “Yes, of course.” Sorry for the confusion.
About the author. Missy Mwac is a photography satirist, a lover of bacon, a drinker of vodka, a lover of sparkle, and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can connect with her on Tumblr and Facebook. This article was also published here .
Hello, photographers. For the last two months, I’ve been doing market research for my project Photolemur and looking for different tools in the area of photo enhancement and photo editing. I spent a lot of time searching, and came up with a large organized list of 104 photo editing tools and apps that you should know about.
The Beauty Dish is revered by many photographers for having a soft, but contrasty quality of light. The classic design puts the flash tube behind an opaque or translucent tube cover, which helps eliminate a central hot spot. Like umbrellas, beauty dishes are available with white or silver interiors and can be fitted with a “sock” or grid to control quality and spread of light even more.
#find a business
Find A Local SBA Office
Looking for small business counseling and training close to home? SBA can help! SBA provides small business counseling and training through District Offices across the country. Business guidance and support is crucial to increasing your odds of long-term success. Find counseling, training and business development specialists providing free and low-cost services in your area.
SBA District Offices
SBA’s District Offices are responsible for providing businesses with the tools for enhancing and growing their businesses. SBA’s District Offices also oversee the delivery of SBA’s programs throughout the states such as:
Free counseling, advice and information on starting a business through SCORE .
Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders.
Free consulting services through the network of Small Business Development Centers. SBDCs also conduct training events throughout the district – some require a nominal registration fee.
Assistance to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals through the Minority Enterprise Development Program.
Women’s Business Ownership Representatives are available to advise women business owners.
Check out your local District Office today!
#owning your own business
17 Hard Truths About Owning A Business
Columnist, American Express OPEN
Ever feel stuck? Erika Napoletano gets restless brands and the people brave enough to lead them UNstuck, shortening the distance between where they are and heck yeah. Business columnist, award-winning author, TEDx talker, nerd in a dress.
The reasons that anyone decides to venture down the path of business ownership vary. Maybe it’s the allure of setting our own hours. The chance to call fuzzy slippers and pajama pants “work clothes.” The opportunity to do business the way it should be done.
But for all of us, there’s one inarguable reason: the chance to finally put energy into building our dream instead of someone else’s.
With the decision to launch a business, however, come some pretty startling realities. Maybe some of these will be familiar. Others you might have just stumbled onto for the first time. They’re all, however, hefty reminders that this thing we do—owning and running a small business—is anything but easy.
It’s worth it—but definitely not easy.
1.Your target customer isn’t “everyone.” Not even Walmart has something for everyone. And sure—it’s easy to think that your product or service has widespread appeal (who wouldn’t want what you have to offer, right?). Skip the selling and attempts to convert. Find the people who will love what you do (and all the things you don’t do). Preach to the converted and they’ll share your brand with more people just like them.
2.What you do isn’t special. There are roughly a gazillion other people in this world who do what you do. What you do isn’t the magic. The real magic comes from a combination of why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it. What + Who + Why + How = Awesome.
3. Value lasts. Cheap is fleeting. Let me ask: How many “things” have you replaced since starting your business? Odds are, they’re the things you scrimped on in the name of “now.” Remind yourself of that the next time you’re tempted by a cheap solution and go for value—what’s best, what will last, and what’s best for your business and customers. Cheap and a great value sometimes happens, but it’s rare.
4. The customer isn’t always right. They’re not. Period. You can’t make a living without your customers, though. So where’s the middle ground when someone is unhappy, but definitely wrong? First, listen. Second, weigh the options—does it make sense to give a bit in exchange for appeasing someone who’s having a bad day? Finally, stick to your principles. Some people will just never be happy and are looking for a reason to complain. If we built our business around the complainers, we’d be broke in no time.
5. Trade sucks when you don’t treat it like a business transaction. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember to treat every trade agreement like a business transaction. Have a contract. Establish deliverables. Establish a value. Establish a deadline. If you don’t, someone’s always going to come out “feeling slighted.” Just because there’s no money changing hands doesn’t mean business isn’t being done.
6. Your business bank account isn’t a piggy bank. Get a CPA and a bookkeeper. Everything you buy once you start a business isn’t a business expense (shall we ask the IRS?). The day I was able to look at my business and run a real profit and loss (P L) statement was one of the happiest days of my life. The next happiest moment was knowing that I was actually profitable. You can’t fix your business finances if you don’t know what’s going on behind the banking curtain.
7. Tech won’t fix a crappy business model. I don’t care how many devices you have or if you’re using Silicon Valley’s latest and greatest app. Tech is a tool, nothing more. Upgrading your computer won’t make your business run better. When something’s not working, ask what’s not working with the business model.
8. You can’t do everything. You’re awesome. You’re talented. You’re motivated and the reason this whole business thing gets done each day. But you can’t do everything. And like me, I know you’ve tried. We’re small-business owners, a brand of superheroes of our own class. But when you do everything for so long, you’re bound to break.
9. You’re going to have to learn to outsource. Finding people you trust to help you run your business is paramount. And since you can’t do everything (and certainly don’t enjoy doing everything), find people who are great at and love doing all those things you loathe. We can’t all afford it when first starting out, but remind yourself that there are people to help you lighten the load and run leaner and meaner than you’ve ever run.
10.You are not the most important asset in your business. Shocking, right? You open the doors and foot the bills, but none of that happens without your customers’ permission. Your customers are, and always will be, the most important asset your business will ever have. Period.
11. Listening is the best business skill you’ll ever acquire. To your customers. To your employees. To your community and industry colleagues. If we listened half as much as we spoke, blogged, tweeted or Facebooked, I can only imagine where each of our businesses would be. Try counting to five before you chime in the next time someone shares a thought with you. And try listening when no one thinks you’re listening.
12.Infrastructure—it’s what’s for breakfast. Growth is the goal, right? More revenue, more sales, bigger and better customers. But what happens when the volume we crave comes along and we haven’t built a business that can support it? When making decisions to scale, always ask, “Do we have the infrastructure to support this move, and if not, how can we create it?” Less full speed ahead and more full attention to the most important business meal of the day—it will fuel and support everything you do as the day (and years) go on.
13.You need a great team. You can’t do everything alone. Find people who are committed to building your dream and vision. Some of your greatest ideas will come from people with the gift of being on the outside of your head looking in. This makes having an amazing, motivated team all the more important.
14.Don’t hire people you’d never empower. Again, since you can’t do everything, you need people on your team whom you trust to act in the best interests of your business. Hire wisely and invest in training and mentoring. Great employees all start off good, but they’ll need your guidance along the way. Don’t hire anyone whom you don’t feel you could ultimately trust to act in your business’s best interest.
15.There are no overnight successes. If you hear otherwise, it’s a lie—a damn lie. Success comes from an artful combination of humility, tenacity, failure, and opportunity. None of those things happen overnight—despite what some may say.
16.Don’t think like a business owner—think like a customer. Not much explanation required here. The greatest successes I’ve seen come from businesses that anticipate customer needs and meet them in delightful and unexpected ways.
17.You are your most important client every day. You know the story about the cobbler’s children and how they have no shoes? Well, that’s no way to run a business. Set time in your calendar every day to work on your business.You are your first client every day. Put it on a sticky note. Tape it to your bathroom mirror. Say it out loud. Repeat.
What’s your one hard truth you’ve learned as a business owner? Share with the community in the comments below.
Photo: Getty Images
#at home business ideas
There are many things you can do. Plus, you have the advantage of being more educated than your peers.
Firstly, I d suggest you to try and build an audience for yourself. The best way to get started with that would be to write a blog.
Do you have a hobby? Do you have a particular skill? You could help others pursue that hobby or learn that skill and make some profit from it too.
More often, we tend to have gained some skills by doing something, skills which complement the main thing. So, if you were a teacher, you d also to need to have good communication, crowd control and problem solving skills in addition of having the skill to teach. Try to explore these hidden skills of yours.
You mentioned that you had a child, did you pull off some clever skills or hacks while you were pregnant or your baby was growing up? Chances are many other women will also be in the same problem as you were in, write a book (eBook will be a good option here) detailing the problems and solutions you came up with. Sell it to the audience you have created. Initially, the money will not be that great, but if you keep coming up with good content and market yourself, there should be no problem in being able to run earn the money you want to.
Try reading new books, they help a lot. I recommend The $100 Startup. This book specifically profiles people who have earned around $50,000 a year doing things they love. Almost all the businesses mentioned here are not skill intensive and can be operated by anyone. Plus, the author also gives actionable advice on how and where to get started and what can you do to enjoy freedom and earn money.
Here s a list of what all you can do, according to me. Although, it would have been easier to answer this if you would have told, in which city you live and how much investment can you do. Still, I will try to do my best.
1. Teach what you know the best: Investment Banking — Apply in schools to teach commerce students of higher grades or apply in colleges. With industry exposure and experience I am sure you will easily get a job. Later, you can earn some extra money by giving tuitions in the evening. A teacher, teaching in a college and then giving tuitions can easily earn around 50,000.
2. Start Blogging: [ A lot of people below have listed blogging to earn money through Ads or affiliate marketing, but this will take time, it takes atleast 3 to 4 years to start earning a healthy amount through blogging and that too if you are regular blogger and understand lot many complexities like SEO, coding etc.]. Write about things that you understnad, you are at home, so you have time to research and read. Write your own articles and analysis about various mergers, economic trends, stock advices, etc etc. Publicise your blog through facebook and linkedin. Now use this as your customer base. Then start a separate consultancy and advisory. The way Google earns money. Give some services for free like research and analysis, in your case, and then earn from the presence of people. Later, with high traffic you will also be able to earn money from Ads. Also, if you will have a set of audience reading you per day, later you can also start writing for newspapers or magazines.
3. Start an Activity Centre: [ This is the reason, I asked how much investment you have. In both the options mentioned above, you will not need any investment but for this one, you will need an initial investment ]. Take a space on rent, or better if you have a hall and one room vacant in your home. Put 2 Pool tables, some table chair, an LCD or a Music system will also work, Free Wifi and provide some snacks. All this will cost around 2 lakhs of investment. Charge around Rs. 20 per person/per hour for the pool table. 8 people = Rs. 160. Assume that the shop remains operational for around 10 hours, our of which people play pool for say 5 hours, or for 5 hours the tables remain occupied. This will amount to Rs. 800. [Some times it may happen the tables are not fully occupied, that s why I decreased no of hours of occupancy. ] Provide snacks like, Masala Cola, Soda Lemon, Juice, French Fries, Burgers etc etc. They have high margin and it doesn t takes much expertise to make them. The free wifi and these snacks will make it a fun chill out and hang out place. People will come and spend time. Even if you will be able to make Rs. 400 from the snacks vertical. In aggregate you will be able make around Rs. 36,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month. Later you can expand to have a gym on the next floor or something.
4. Open up a Coaching Centre. This is similar to the 1st point. Education is the best business in India these days. One can easily earn Rs. 20,000 to 30,000 just by giving home tuitions in the evening, 4 to hours thats it. So you obviously will not give home tuitions, but open up your own coaching centre. Hire a teacher in the start, to teach subjects in which you are not very good. Preferably hire a college student as, they will be more enthusiastic and eager to teach and will charge less money, all they are concerned about is to make some extra bucks. Start with teaching commerce students, teach subjects that you know. May be 1st year you will not make much, but yes second year onwards you will have a decent income. And trust me this will rise exponentially. May be in 3 or 4 years, you will be earning much more than what you have expected above in the description, provided you give some good results and better branding.
5. Start Investing — You understand companies and you understand market. Start with a decent amount of Rs. 2 lakhs. Have a varied portfolio. With some technical analysis and a good knowledge, it wont be hard to make 20% return. And obviously later you will earn compounded returns. You will be able to make much more money after 2 or 3 years.
I hope some of these points will help and If any of these do work, then give me some tips on Investment Banking, or preferably teach me. P As, I want to be an Investment Banker and currently working in the same field. )