Tips for Starting a Business From Home

Posted by Samantha Miller on Oct 15, 2019 2:22:13 PM

start a business from homeMany successful businesses originally started out of a home office. Mary Kay and Apple are 2 well known companies that originally started inside a home office or garage. In recent years, starting a business from home has become a growing trend. Shows like "Shark Tank" have highlight individuals who start a businesses from home, but the show also highlights how important the correct planning actually is to gaining success.

Home businesses present plenty of benefits, but there are also pitfalls that can quickly turn a home business sour if not carefully avoided. We've collected 5 tips that will make starting your business from home a success!

  • Know Your Market. Researching and understanding the business industry you are attempting to enter is the first step to success. Your research phase will help you form your business to best suit you, your audience, and your financial means. Many businesses fail due to poor planning or a poor understanding of the desired market. Networking is another great way to do your research. Connect with business owners within your desired industry to gain a better understanding of what you will be facing when you start a business from home. 
  • Incorporate Your Business. Incorporating your business is a crucial part of achieving success. This process designates the business as a separate entity from yourself. Through incorporation, you designate your business as a corporation or an LLC, and you can protect your personal assets, increase tax savings, and start raise capital. 
  • Create a Business Plan. A business plan is a great way to gain an understanding of whether or not the business you have chosen will be successful. Follow a business plan outline and carefully work through each step. Creating this business plan before you start a business from home will help you better understand your business model, goals, and finances before a problem arises. 
  • Hire a Professional for Taxation & Business Regulations. Understand the taxation rules and self-employment regulations at both national and state levels. Seek out a professional accountant to gain a better understanding of what paperwork you need to file and how this potential business will affect your taxes and tax bracket. Being educated and informed is half the battle. 
  • Set Up The Space. When you decide to start a business from home you have to be ready to delegate a work space. A garage, a home office, or even a basement or attic, are perfectly acceptable spaces to start a business. Set up the area for business purposes and business purposes only. This space has to be able to accommodate the business you are planning, so be mindful of equipment and resource needs before deciding on a space.

Making the decision to start a business from home can be incredibly rewarding and lucrative, if planning has been thorough and complete. If you decide to start a business from home in 2013, we hope these tips will help you along the way! 

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Start a Business From Home, Year End Business Reminders, end of year small business tips

4 Small Business Website Tips

Posted by Samantha Miller on May 14, 2019 10:24:10 AM

small business website

If online advertising is a part of your small business plan, you may also want to consider building a website that will delivers what your clients need. With the continuously growing availability of website creators, you are now able to create a website that will compare to even your biggest competitor. While creating your website, it is important to consistently keep your customer in mind, while making sure you deliver a clear message and serve a clear purpose. To help you get started, keep these 4 factors in mind while building your small business website.

Display Your Contact Info

One of the most important aspects of your website is displaying your contact information. Make sure that at least one form of communication is visible on every page. Your homepage should highlight these forms of communication and you may even want to consider using a chat to answer client’s quick questions. Also be sure to include links to your social media on all pages.

Update Your Content

Make sure that any content you have on your website is up to date. This includes descriptions, fees, requirements, and anything pertinent to order placement. Having accurate content allows your customers to obtain a clear understanding of what to expect when using your services.

Including educational content regarding your industry is also a great way to gain visitors. An easy way to provide educational content is by creating a blog. If you don’t have time to write your own content, try a content service provider like Zerys.

Adapt For Mobile Optimization

Make sure that your website can be viewed on smart phones and tablets. Many people do plenty of research and shopping via these devices. If your website is not optimized for mobile viewing, a potential customer may leave, causing the loss of a sale. Mashable has provided a great article detailing the importance of mobile optimization that you can view here

Collect Visitor Information

One great way to collect potential lead contact information is by offering a weekly or month newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with potential clients without being to forward with a sales pitch. You can include new products, price changes, employee updates, or industry news. Always include the option for the clients to opt out of these emails.

Another option is having a landing page offering the chance to download a whitepaper or an eBook. Collecting their email allows you to track why they came to your website and helps you set up a sales funnel to follow up on their decision or purchase.

We hope that these 4 tips make your small business website design a little bit easier. If you need help finding resources, take a look at our Small Business Resource Center. Inside, you’ll find companies that we trust to help small business and entrepreneurs succeed.

Topics: Business Maintenance, Start a Business From Home, Marketing

Incorporation Process

Posted by Cory Josephs on Jul 25, 2014 9:09:00 AM

Untitled 1Incorporating your business can give you and the other owners of your business a number of benefits. For the benefits of incorporating you can look HERE. Incorporating your business can be an easy task with your friends at American Incorporators Ltd. to help you. It takes completing these simple tasks and we’ll be there to help you along the way

 

 

 

1)      To be a legal entity you must register your business name with the Secretary of State. If you have already thought of your name check it HERE to make sure it is available in your state.  If you do not already have a name, that’s okay think of a creative name for your business that will be attractive for customers.

2)      Decide what kind of entity you would like to incorporate. LLC, S Corp, C Corp and what state you would like to incorporate in. 

3)      Call Us- 800-421-2661

4)      Depending on your states regulations we could get your documentation and your business up and running in just a few days. 

 

If you want to download our "How To Incorporate a Business With American Incorporators Ltd" Guide click HERE

Topics: LLC Creation, LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Start a Business From Home, Limited Liability Companies, incorporation process, incorporate now, incorporate today, how to start a business, incorporation, forming a business, easy incorporation

5 Tips to Help You Create a Customer Survey

Posted by Samantha Miller on Aug 16, 2013 11:14:00 AM

custserv resized 600It’s important for business owners to be cognizant of how their current and potential customers feel about the services they’re providing. One simple, effective way to maintain an understanding of your customers is through distributing and analyzing customer surveys.  Customer surveys allow you to expand your relationship with customers while discovering ways for your business to improve. If you’ve never written a customer survey before, you may not know where to start. To help you out, we’ve created these 5 tips to help you create a customer survey:

1. Define your goals. Once you have a clear, concise objective, creating your survey will become much easier. Each step of the process will always tie into your initial goal. Find your goal by asking yourself these questions:

What am I trying to learn?

Why am I trying to learn this information?

How will I analyze the results?

A few topics you may want to consider include customer loyalty research, new product development, and customer service reviews.

2. Choose Your Audience

After you’ve identified your objective, this step should be easy. Do you want to hear from current customers? Potential customers? Or a mix of both?

If your survey is going to be based on past experiences with your company, you’d be wasting time and resources if you send it to potential customers. Always keep your goal in mind.

3. Create Your Questions

You should start your survey with a brief introduction and include a simple set of directions. If you plan on using responses as testimonials, include a brief disclaimer explaining so.

Each question should be as specific as possible. Make sure you only ask about one point per question. Varying the format of questions can make the survey seem less monotonous and hold the survey taker’s interest. Always include at least one open-ended question, which will give the customer the chance to share their opinion and offer suggestions.

Conclude the survey by thanking the survey taker. Often, surveys will include incentives as a way of thanking that individual for taking their personal time to help your business, but this is optional.

4. Distribute Your Survey

When distributing your survey, keep your audience in mind. Three main types of surveys are phone surveys, direct mail surveys, and online surveys.

Today, you’ll find many free resources to help distribute your survey online. Some of these websites also include tracking data.  Sites such as Survey Monkey or Survey Builder are great places to start if you’ve never worked with online survey distribution. You can link the surveys on your Facebook page, send it out via Twitter, or include it in an email.

5. Analyze Your Results

Make sure you’ve planned how you’ll interpret and track the data you receive from the surveys. Create a timeframe for when you’d like the survey to start and finish, schedule showing how frequently you’ll check the results.

After the survey has concluded, it is important that you do not ignore your results. Don’t keep them sitting in a spreadsheet. Share them with fellow employees and don’t ignore negative feedback. Hopefully, you’ll be receiving positive feedback, but negative feedback deserves a follow up email or call.

This article from Inc provides insight on how you can make the most of your customer feedback.

We hope this article helps  you create a fantastic customer survey! Surveys will always be a simple way to stay in touch with your customers while learning how your business can grow. If you’d like to read more about surveys, Mashable has created a great article with a few more tips, tricks, and suggestions

As always, please let us know if there's anything you'd like us to address in our blog! Our Incorporation Specialists are always available for assistance by dialing 800.421.2661.

Topics: Tips & Tricks, Start a Business From Home

7 Useful Apps For Small Business Owners

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 25, 2013 5:02:00 PM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/arnybo/4559785705/sizes/l/in/photostream/In today's dynamic business environment, it is important for your small business to be on the cutting-edge of technology both in the office and on the go.  Having office capabilities and access to your small business information is now becoming available anywhere you are thanks to mobile apps. Take a look at these 7 useful apps for small business owners: 

  • Square Register: Square Register allows you to accept payments from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, anywhere you are, by plugging a compact card swipe machine into to your mobile device.  A 2.75% fee is charged per transaction. There are no contracts or monthly fees and funds will be deposited to your linked bank account within a few days.
  • Quickbooks: This mobile app allows you to have access to and manage customer invoices, monitor payments, while tracking and creating sales receipts, all from the comfort of your phone or tablet.
  • Pageonce: Pageonce allows you to see an overview of all of your business's bank accounts, bills, and credit cards on one user-friendly mobile interface. You can see more details about bill due dates, account transactions, and can even pay your business's bills with this app.
  • Dropbox: This app is essential for all of your documents, presentations, and files.  Store important business files "in the cloud" so that no matter where you are, you can access them.
  • Elance: When you're running a small business, your manpower can be sometimes limited and the knowledge base of you and your employees may be concentrated on your business goals.  As you decide that you need someone with marketing experience to help with the launch of a new product, hop on Elance mobile and put an ad out or contact for a job seeker for freelance work.  Find programmers, mobile developers, designers, writers, and more. 
  • Salesforce: This app is perfect for keeping your customer's contact information, correspondence, files, and sales efforts at your fingertips.  Whether you’re at the airport, waiting for a haircut, or lying on the beach in the Bahamas, you can easily access information on your customers.
  • Zendesk: Zendesk is a customer service app that allows you to create, organize, and complete customer service related queries. If you get a call from a customer with an issue, you can create a ticket to monitor and track the issue from the time its received it to its final correction.  This app will help you see all your customer's outstanding issues and prioritize and work through them as quickly as possible

Topics: Tips & Tricks, Start a Business From Home

How To Find Your First Employee

Posted by Samantha Miller on Feb 22, 2013 3:04:00 PM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidelong/For small business owners like you, trying to find your first employee can be a challange. When hiring employees, small business owners must ensure that they are meeting their tax and legal obligations, and you must also make sure that you are hiring the "right" candidates for the job. In order to most successfully hire your first employees, we’ve outlined 8 key steps to finding the perfect fit.

  • Obtain an EIN or an Employer Identification Number if one has not already been assigned to the company. 
  • Open bank accounts in your company's name if one does not already exist. Employees' pay should be taken from these accounts.
  • Obtain copies of all of the documents necessary to report the new hire to the government and to operate the business legally. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has published a description of all of these forms on its website.
  • Create a job description. The job description should be accurate and understandable, and it should include an overview of both the company and the position (i.e., tasks involved, qualifications, salary range, etc.). More tips for writing effective job descriptions can be found online via Inc.com and the Small Business Administration’s website.
  • Publish the job description. You have many outlets to find your perfect fit. Try publishing the description on your company's website, on job-search websites, social media sites, and even in the newspaper. Here's a great article outlining 10 places for you to start your search. The open position can also be promoted by recruiting firms, or presented at career fairs. Make sure it is visible to the best potential candidates for the job itself.
  • Create a list of questions to ask prospective job candidates. For ideas, check out Monster.com's list of 100 potential interview questions.
  • Conduct the interviews. Make sure to include company and job-specific questions, and always be cognizant of the "7 C's."
  • After conducting interviews, select the best candidate for the job and extend an offer.
  • Start working!

By following the steps described above, you can be sure that you’re meeting all of your obligations and that you’re hiring the best possible candidates for your jobs - the first time and every time!


Topics: Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Start a Business From Home