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! 

Raise Capital With Stock



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

Your Business License Questions Answered

Posted by American Ltd on Sep 17, 2019 10:55:50 AM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylesteeddesign/3When opening a small business, it’s important to research any business license and permit requirements that may apply to your industry. It does not matter if you're an LLC or Corporation not having proper licensure can be extremely detrimental to your business. It can cause unnecessary stress, confusion, and potential fines.

To help you avoid this and better understand the basics of business licenses, we’ve answered these 4 common questions. 

1. Why Do I Need a Business License?

Obtaining proper business licenses and permits ensures that your business is maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Keeping your business license up to date is just as important as paying your taxes and annual state fees.

When applying for a bank account, you will most likely be asked to present your business license. Your business license can also help you with business financing, and may make things smoother when filing your taxes.  

2. What Are the Different Types of Business Licenses?

Keep in mind that business license types and requirements can vary from federal, state, county, and city levels. The following are a few common types of business licenses and permits to help you gain a general understanding of what you may need.

Basic Business License: This is typically issued by the city or county in which you’ll be operating.

Health Department Permits: If you prepare, serve, or sell food products, this will most likely be required,

Sales Tax License: This license is typically required for the sales of products and services.

Zoning Permits: This permit states authority to use a certain area of land for a certain purpose.

Professional & Occupational Permits : These may be required for services that are regulated by the state. These services may include, but are not limited to:

Medical Services                Legal Services

Tax Servoces                    Real Estate Services

Be sure to review your state laws if you are in an industry that may require an occupational license.

Federal Permits: if your business involves any of the following, it is best to contact federal departments for specific requirements.

Alcohol, Tobacco, or Firearms  Ground Transportation

Drug Manufacturing                Broadcasting

This is a sample of industries that may require federal licensure. Please check with federal agencies for your specific requirements. 

3. Are There Penalties for Not Having a Business License?

If you do not obtain required business licenses and permits, you are highly jeopardizing the security of your company. Not having a business license can leave you legally vulnerable, result in high financial penalties, and in some cases may lead to imprisonment. Aside from this, it negatively impacts your credibility as a business owner and will cause long term negative effects for your business. 

4. How Do I Get a Business License?

Since business licenses are handled on many levels, we suggest doing research with your state to find out exactly what you may need. You may find that your local city hall, state’s government websites, or www.sba.gov are great resources.

Since researching all of the requirements on the Federal, State, Country, and City level can be a time consuming task. American Incorporators Ltd. offers a service that researchesdetails, and lists all of the licenses and permits you will need. The only thing you would need to do is answer a few quick questions about your business. If you’d like to learn more, visit our Business License page.

Having the proper business licenses and permits is just as important as incorporating your business. Do not leave this process out of your business plan. We hope that this eases your business license research process! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or contact one of our Incorporation Specialists by dialling 800.421.2661

For more information and answers to your 50 most common incorporation questions read our FREE eBook

New Call-to-action

Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Business Maintenance, Business Licenses, Alabama

5 Tips on Naming a Business

Posted by American Ltd on Sep 12, 2019 2:25:23 PM

Today we're revisiting a helpful post, co-written with insight from Incorporating Specialist Curt Sweltz, a 15+ year contributor here at American Incorporators.

78375487Deciding on a business name will be one of the most exciting steps of your incorporation process. Your business name is going to be one of the largest parts of your brand's identity. You can get creative – but try to have the name maintain some relevance to your service or product. You’ll want the name to have a meaning to the customer. At the same time, don’t be too generic. If you use something like “National Service Co.,” chances are it will be less distinguishable from companies with similar names.

After you’ve ironed out the creative details, you’ll have to worry about state level issues. To make things easier, keep these tips in mind when naming a business:

  • Your name may be available in one state, but not another.

Corporations and LLCs are “state-level filings.” This means that if a name is available in Iowa, this does not mean it will be available in Kentucky. When a name is submitted to your chosen state of formation, the state checks it only against the incorporated and LLC names in their state records.

  • Create 2-3 Distinct options.

Adding “s,” “the,” “and,” or “&” is not enough to distinguish a name and will rarely change the acceptability of a name. For example, if a company is named “Frank’s Lawn Service LLC,” the state will most likely reject a request to form “Frank’s Lawn Service LLC.” 

  • An LLC may be able to have the same name as a Corporation.

While this is not the case in all states, California will allow an LLC to have the same name as a Corporation, even if they are not related. So, Joe Jacobs from Arkansas can form “ABC LLC” in California, and Amy Alan in Ohio can in incorporate “ABC Inc.” even though the companies have no relation.

  • Decide on a Corporate Ending.

This can be simple. Most states will require your business to have a “corporate ending.” Corporations can typically decide from Incorporated, Inc., Corporation, and Limited. LLCs can use LLC or Limited Liability Company. Keep in mind, these corporate endings do vary by state, and some states will offer more options.

  • Take advantage of your resources.

American Incorporators offers a free name search service in all 50 states. Checking the name before submitting your filing will save you time and money. 

So while it may seem like an easy step, naming a business can become complicated. Take a look at these articles with suggestions and stories about naming your business:

                8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business.

                Tips on Naming a Product 

Don’t forget, our free name search is always available. If you’d like to do more research, our State Specific Information Section also offers information on state requirements. Please post any questions or share some the business name blunders you’ve encountered!

 

Editor's Note: This post appeared previously on our blog.

Topics: Tips & Tricks, State Specific Information, Naming a Business

5 Must Have Apps For Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners

Posted by Cory Josephs on Feb 4, 2015 12:50:00 PM

 

Laptop Work-11American Incorporators loves to provide small business tips to small business owners and entrepreneurs. We have searched to create a list of the best apps for small business owners.

 

Expensify: Expensify is available for iOS and Android devices. This app makes keeping track of business expenses while on a business trip a breeze. The app also allows users to link up a credit or debit card, when expenses 

Trello: Trello is an application and also accessible through trello.com that allows teams to collaborate on projects without clogging up email. Trello uses a systems of boards where teams can tag others, comment, and move cards to show completed, to-do, or need to complete projects, 

Evernote: Evernote is a cloud-based app that syncs documents through all of your devices. This allows you to view edit and share documents as needed on all devices. Evernote is available for Android, iOS and evernote.com.

Pocket Analytics: This app allows you to visualize your analytics between multiple sources. Pocket Analytics syncs with Google Analytics, Flurry, Piwik, Facebook, Pingdom, and more. Unfortunately, Pocket analytics is only available for iOS. 

Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is a free messaging app that provides free video call for up to 10 people and free group chats for up to 100 people. Google Hangouts also allow you to make phone calls, and calls to other Google Hangouts users for free. Google Hangouts is available on Android, and iOS devices as well as web. 

For More resources visit Our Small Business Resource Center

 

Find the answers to all of your major incorporation questions in our new eBook

New Call-to-action

subscribe to blog

 

Topics: Tips & Tricks

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

Win One Free Year of Registered Agent Service

Posted by Cory Josephs on Jul 16, 2014 9:56:00 AM

free year copyFrom July 15, 2014 until July 25, 2014 for every Facebook Post you share to your friends or every Tweet you retweet to your followers you'll be entered in our contest to win one Free, yes one FREE year of registered agent service in the state of your choice up to $149. Make sure to follow @AmericanIncLTD on twitter and like American Incorporators Ltd on Facebook to stay up do date with us.

For more details about the contest click the link here: http://hub.am/1rqRPK4

Topics: Tips & Tricks, Registered Agent, Registered Agent, how to start a business, registered agents, starting a business, registered agent USA, registered agent Delaware

Why You Should Incorporate Companies

Posted by Cory Josephs on Jul 11, 2014 3:44:00 PM

There are 5 Different types of entities than can own a business.

  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation 
  • LLCs & LLPs 
  • General Partnerships
  • Sole Proprietorships
For more information on the different types of entities click here 
Incorporating your business into a Corporation or LLC has so many features
  1. Limit the Liability and Protect the Assets of Owners
  2. Increase Tax Savings 
  3. Raise Capital 
  4. Perpetual Existence
  5. Simple Estate and Family Planning
If you own a business as a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership you have unlimited financial and legal liability. For example if your business gets sued your personal assets are not protected.
 Protecting Personal Assets

Topics: LLC Creation, LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, incorporation process, incorporate now, incorporate today, incorporation, forming a business, easy incorporation, Asset Protection, s corp, business partnerships, s corporation, what is an s corporation, process

Tips to Make Business Travel a Breeze

Posted by Samantha Miller on Mar 15, 2014 12:57:00 PM

dreamstimefree 130755Business travel can often be a perk of your job, but the events leading up to your departure can sometimes cause stress. In order to help you have a fully enjoyable experience, we’ve compiled this list of business travel tips and tricks to keep you on top of your game.

Plan

  • Book your flight and hotel room well in advance. Take into consideration which airlines and hotels have the best frequent customer programs. Forbes rated Delta, Jetblue, and Virgin America as the top airlines for business travel in 2014. 

  • Organize your transportation. If you’re planning on using a rental car, confirm your reservation. If you’re going to rely on public transportation or taxis, take note of their schedules. Taxi Magic is available in 60 US cities. It helps you with fare estimates, pick up scheduling, and taxi tracking.

  • Create an itinerary so you’ll know when and where your meetings are. 

  • Make sure you have proper travel documents, including your ID and passport. To be safe, make a copy to keep with you.

Prepare

  • Review the area where you’ll be staying. Take note of any restaurants, convenience stores, coffee shops, or attractions nearby. A great app to help you with this is Yelp

  • Check your destination’s weather to make sure you’re packing the right items.

  • If you’re going out of the country, you may want consider checking your cell phone costs with your provider.

  • Download the WiFi Finder app to help you locate wireless spots when you’ve reached your destination

Pack

  • Invest in a lightweight, easy-to-move carry on. Checking bags will cost you time and on some airlines, money. 

  • Plan your wardrobe. Taking neutral colors that work well together will give you more outfit options without over packing. Make sure you take a pair of shoes that will be comfortable for any leisure time you may have. 

  • Consider placement. If you keep things you’ll want during the flight in outside compartments on your bag, it will be easier to reach. Purchasing a cord organizer can save you time if you’re traveling with many devices.

  • Take backups. Having a backup cell phone charger can come in handy if you misplace your own. 

  • If you must check a bag, make sure you take a carryon with essential items, including a change of clothes.

We hope that these travel tips help you breeze through your next business trip. If you have any tips that help you when traveling for work, please share them below!

Topics: Tips & Tricks, Business Maintenance

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

Your Business License Questions Answered

Posted by Samantha Miller on May 17, 2013 3:42:00 PM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylesteeddesign/3When opening a small business, it’s important to research any business license and permit requirements that may apply to your industry. Not having proper licensure can be extremely detrimental to your business. It can cause unnecessary stress, confusion, and potential fines.

To help you avoid this and better understand the basics of business licenses, we’ve answered these 4 common questions. 

1. Why Do I Need a Business License?

Obtaining proper business licenses and permits ensures that your business is maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws. Keeping your business license up to date is just as important as paying your taxes and annual state fees.

When applying for a bank account, you will most likely be asked to present your business license. Your business license can also help you with business financing, and may make things smoother when filing your taxes.  

2. What Are the Different Types of Business Licenses?

Keep in mind that license types and requirements can vary from federal, state, county, and city levels. The following are a few common types of business licenses and permits to help you gain a general understanding of what you may need.

Basic Business License: This is typically issued by the city or county in which you’ll be operating.

Health Department Permits: If you prepare, serve, or sell food products, this will most likely be required,

Sales Tax License: This license is typically required for the sales of products and services.

Zoning Permits: This permit states authority to use a certain area of land for a certain purpose.

Professional & Occupational Permits : These may be required for services that are regulated by the state. These services may include, but are not limited to:

Medical Services                Legal Services

Tax Servoces                    Real Estate Services

Be sure to review your state laws if you are in an industry that may require an occupational license.

Federal Permits: if your business involves any of the following, it is best to contact federal departments for specific requirements.

Alcohol, Tobacco, or Firearms  Ground Transportation

Drug Manufacturing                Broadcasting

This is a sample of industries that may require federal licensure. Please check with federal agencies for your specific requirements. 

3. Are There Penalties for Not Having a Business License?

If you do not obtain required business licenses and permits, you are highly jeopardizing the security of your company. Not having a business license can leave you legally vulnerable, result in high financial penalties, and in some cases may lead to imprisonment. Aside from this, it negatively impacts your credibility as a business owner and will cause long term negative effects for your business. 

4. How Do I Get a Business License?

Since business licenses are handled on many levels, we suggest doing research with your state to find out exactly what you may need. You may find that your local city hall, state’s government websites, or www.sba.gov are great resources.

As you can see, knowing exactly what business licenses and permits you may need can be difficult. American Incorproators Ltd. offers a service that researches, details, and lists all of the licenses and permits you will need. The only thing you would need to do is answer a few quick questions about your business. If you’d like to learn more, visit our Business License section.

Having the proper business licenses and permits is just as important as being incorporated. Do not leave this process out of your business plan. We hope that this eases your business license research process! If you have any questions, feel free to post below or contact one of our Incorporation Specialists by dialing 800.421.2661. 

Topics: LLC Creation, Tips & Tricks, Corporation Creation, Business Maintenance, Business Licenses