This is a Guest Post
As an entrepreneur, likely new to everything from accounting and financial documents to employee management the oodles of the paperwork that comes with it, you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed when it comes to managing the massive amount of documents that seems to pile up quicker than you thought possible. Many entrepreneurs simply accept the issue at hand, thinking any solution that could possibly fit into their tightly strapped budget does not exist. But the reality of document management software for entrepreneurs is that it is not only absolutely essential to business process management, but it can actually cost far less than one might think. If you are an entrepreneur and you are feel some stress when it comes to the paperwork, here are three reasons why you should consider document management software for your small business.
Streamline Business Processes
Every aspect of your entrepreneurial venture likely offers some documents or files to deal with, including inventory or client contracts, training processes and employee management documents. It is highly likely that if you were to fill a room your never-ending document stash, you would never be able to find what you are looking for when you are looking for it. Something you may not have considered, however are the benefits offered by document management software in terms of managing processes for the way that your office documents are handled within your organization. When you store your files digitally, they are all in the same place. You never have to worry about filing papers or digging documents that had been filed years ago.
Ensure File Security
As an entrepreneur, when it comes to managing your documents, something that is probably on the top of your mind is file security. You might think “Why would I upload a file to the web where it could possibly be accessed by just about anyone who puts her mind to it when I could easily have a file in paper form, allowing me to be sure that it will not get into the wrong hands?” What many entrepreneurs and small business owners are not aware of is that document management software can actually be far more secure than any physical file will ever be. There are a wide range of document management software features that allow for encryption, audit trail tracking and more. These document management security features can put your mind at ease when it comes to keeping your documents secure.
Save Time and Money
Hopefully the benefits of improved business processes and increased security are sufficient in convincing you that document management software is a vital solution for any entrepreneur. But if that is not the case, one final consideration is the fact that document management software can actually save you money. Think about the amount of time that you could save with the ability to search the meta data of all of your files with the touch of your keyboard. Think about the time you would save by filing documents with the click of a mouse. And think about the money you would save by eliminating all of the time that could have been spent on physical filing. If you are looking for a single reason to test out a document management software solution, just think about the amount of time and money that you will save in doing so.
DocuXplorer is a document management software provider offering business process management solutions and a secure, web-based document management platform for small businesses, human resources departments and the healthcare industry.
This is a Guest Post
What is the most essential aspect other than finances that a business need to have? – It’s Time Management.
Here in this article you will come across 5 time management tips that increase the productivity as well as improve the organizational skills. More you know about the handling of tools, more you will learn the get done every day.
Step 1: Preparation
You need to prepare the work list for the following day in the night or by the evening. When you set the goals, the night before, your subconscious activate itself. It plans your next day activity when you are asleep. You will wake up in the morning with ideas and deeper insights, which you can apply in the next day work.
The major benefit that you can get from it is the daily list. It is a typical exercise to give you a sound sleep. The insomnia is such a disease that it tends to make you forget everything that you have to the following day. You will sleep dearly, once you chalk down work schedule for the following day.
Step 2: Calculate Your Time
If you are able to schedule the work time or hours then you can easily reduce the stress. Use the organizational skills to plan the day, week, and month to have a better control over everything, to increase the productivity throughout the day. This will charge up your life and will increase the self-esteem to improve the sense of personal power.
Step 3: Start a Little Early
If you like to increase the productivity you must start a little early. If you spend more time sitting, thinking and planning, you will stay organized. Have you checked out the biographies or autobiographies of the men and women, everything have one aspect in common. They have a great organizational skills and the habit of going to bed at reasonable hours.
Yes, they believe in the thought “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” As a result, they are more productive than those people who sleep until the last possible moment. If you get up early and plan your day in advance, you can save hours and will keep yourself more calm, focused and creative all day long.
Step 4: Implement Organizational Skills
In order to improve the organizational skills, you need to use a filing system both at your home and at work. 30% of the working time is spent looking for the lost items. If you do not file the items correctly then they are sure to get misplaced. You spend your most of the time searching for such items every day. If you were a bit more organized, then you could have easily retrieved those data.
File your items in an alphabetical system, and record those files in one single place. The record and master list will facilitate you with easy access to the data and its location.
Step 5: Raise Productivity in Prime Time
You have to organize the life so that you can do some creative work during the “Prime Time”. The “Prime Time”, is the hour when you stay alert and productive to the brim. The perfect “Prime Time” is morning, however for some people it is evening. “Prime Time” is the scheduled hour to increase the productivity of the important projects you deal with. As the most important work requires you to be best in the presentation, creativity, alerted and organized. Even this is the time when your customers are more activated than other hours of the day.
These are the general steps for both start-ups and established business personnel, to make their company more productive and organized.
Author’s Bio: Emilie Haddon, a financial consultant for the outbound B2C telemarketing companies is a hard working entrepreneur and a caring mother at home. She has to manage mammoth tasks, and hence she feels the importance of staying organized in order to increase productivity in business.
This is a Guest Post
As a startup business, you can have difficulty gaining new customers or clients. While most business owners realize marketing is key to their success, they often struggle coming up with ways to effectively market their business. Thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing your small business will enable you to discover unique methods that will be highly effective when it comes to increasing awareness about your brand.
Similar to speed dating, speed networking allows business owners to briefly sit down and have a one-on-one conversation about their companies. Sometimes, all it takes is meeting other business owners in your area in a setting where everyone has an open mind to help one another come up with marketing techniques that will be beneficial to parties involved. Joining a local marketing group or checking with your Chamber of Commerce will help you discover if any of these speed networking opportunities exist in your local market.
While outdoor banners are not necessarily new to the world of marketing, they are still very effective in bringing in new traffic for your business. Whether you use a sandwich board sign or outdoor banner, you will be able to advertise your business to a large number of people if you place your sign in a high traffic area. Thinking outside the box and placing your sign in a location you would have not thought of immediately will help you produce the best results when using this marketing method.
If your business regularly hands out free samples or trial offers, consider charging a small amount for those same products or services and donating all of the proceeds to charity. The good will and exposure you will create from this simple gesture has the potential to provide your small business with a good amount of positive press, further raising awareness about your brand.
Another interesting way you can help drive traffic to your small business is to partner with other local businesses and market each other’s services. For instance, if your business is primarily an online business, you may offer free banner advertisements to local businesses in exchange for their placing of a flyer or sign advertising your business in their store.
Working with other small businesses to help promote your services is one of the best and most cost effective ways a startup business owner can gain exposure for a company. The exposure you gain from a reputable firms’ referral is unmatched in the business world. As long as you have something you provide in return to the other local business, you should find it is pretty easy to get another company to agree to some sort of partnership.
Webinars are a terrific way to drum up interest about your startup company. Creating a webinar is very cheap and relatively easy to do. Simply create a PowerPoint presentation or something similar to show your audience. The best part of hosting a webinar is being able to demonstrate your knowledge and experience within your industry. When you are able to do this, you will position yourself as an industry expert and will have a much easier time gaining the trust of potential customers or clients.
When you have your customers’ or clients’ trust, you will notice that they will start recommending your services and your webinars to others, allowing you to grow your brand. The word of mouth marketing that comes after hosting a series of webinars is what truly makes this an excellent marketing strategy for a startup business.
When running a startup business, it can be difficult to gain traction at first as you try to make a name for yourself in your local market. Thinking outside the box when looking for unique ways to market your business will help you discover new and inventive ways to advertise your company and bring in new traffic.
Nickey Williams is an entrepreneur with a management degree who is experienced in marketing. Signazon has prime options toward quality outdoor banners. These signs will gain attention for any establishment and are affordable.
This is a Guest Post by Mike Gardener
You may not know it but your workspace could actually be having a negative effect on the productivity of your business. If your working space is uncomfortable, uninspiring and full of distractions, then this may actually be preventing you from achieving the standard of work that you, as well as your staff, are capable of.
So here are some practical tips to help you to make sure that your workspace is an area that is practical, productive as well as being somewhere where you can be inspired to produce your top work.
1) Allow your staff to add their personal touches
As indicated by a recent college psychological survey, those employees who are allowed to have carte blanche with the layout and design of their workspace, can be more than 30% more productive than those who do not have such a luxury.
This is because, when workers feel more comfortable within their surroundings they are more relaxed and more likely to produce, not only more work, but a better standard of work. Those who feel uncomfortable in their workspace will not feel as though they are capable of producing good quality work, or indeed a lot of work, and this can cause productivity to dip.
If you are a business owner, then you can avoid this scenario by involving your staff with discussions about the quality of their workspace. That way you can find out their feelings regarding the look, feel and layout of the working area, as well as any changes that they see as being able to make the workspace more personal.
2) Watch your back
As an employee, if you are not feeling overly comfortable within your workspace then you may want to look closely about where your chair is positioned. It may seem a trivial matter, however, being sat with your back facing an area that sees a large number of people walking by, can make some people feel uncomfortable. By simply moving your chair to face a different direction, you can make a significant difference to how you feel within your workspace.
3) Meet minor distractions head-on
In no time at all, you may find that a lot of seemingly minor problems, can soon add up to one big problem. Things as simple as the temperature of the room you are working in can have a detrimental effect on your efficiency and overall well being. If your office chair is uncomfortable then make a point of telling your HR department, or whoever is in charge of office equipment, and request a new one. You can take what is known as an “sensory inventory”, this is something that can highlight some of the seemingly niggling problems that can make your working day a misery.
4) Remember the phrase, less is more
Many work areas can become cluttered and this is something that also needs to be a cause of workplace depression. Items that can often be found cluttering up an office workspace is boxes of old files and paperwork, as well as old and unused electrical equipment. Try to eradicate this clutter by finding a storage space for unused electrical equipment, as well as archiving important documents elsewhere, or destroying ones that are no longer needed.
5) Add some foliage
According to psychologists, adding some plants can help to lift the mood of even the dreariest working space. So if you feel that your workspace is lacking in a certain something, why not see if you can add a potted plant or two, as this will help to make you feel more comfortable and thus increase your productivity.
These are just 5 of the many ways that you can make your workspace more productive. Happy and relaxed employees are much more likely to focus on their task. You may also wish to consider choosing serviced office space which can provide additional support and security which will also add to the overall productive environment and encourage staff to use their time wisely.
Mike Gardener is both the founder and co-owner of TheOfficeProviders.com, who provide office space to businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you are seeking office space in any city around the globe then be sure to visit their website.
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Are you thinking of starting a new business or expanding the earlier one and looking out for finance to do so? It is definitely a tough task in this present competitive scenario but nothing is impossible. A well-presented business plan can have your way out to the investors. It is a means to introduce the company’s products, services, management team as well as the strategy to popularize them. In short it is a full proof-screening tool of a company/business for the investors/lenders. Hence few points need to be kept in consideration while formulating the plan.
1. Introduction of the company
Give one pager introduction of your company and make it an interesting one for the investors. It should basically include the relevant details like –
- Introduction –who you are?
- What business you are into?
- Contact details
- Proposal of the new project that you are intending to launch.
2. Talk about the products and services and the target market
The investors can only be impressed if you are confident about your own products. So give a detailed description of the products and the marketing strategy to develop and popularize it. Stress how the products are customer savvy and will help resolving their issues. After an overview of the products, grab the attention of the investors by explaining them the agenda of catering to the target market as well as their buyers as well as your plan to edge out the similar type of existing products without compromising on the quality.
The investors will be convinced only if the venture is profitable and returns are at least at par with the penny invested. So, work out a deal that will be less cost incurring in the initial phase. If required show them that you can manage the funds on your own and as soon as the profitability starts matching with the strategy so discussed, they can pump in money. This will definitely sound encouraging for them.
3. Detailed financial report
If your company is already into business, please prepare last two to three years profit and loss statement, company’s balance sheet along with income tax returns and forward looking financial analysis. Prepare cash flow projections to show them that how the money will flow in and out of the business and enable the company to repay the loan on timelines as per the guidelines and ultimately they will benefit out of it. Bank sometimes even scrutinizes your personal information for enhancing the loans so resolve any issues if applying loan from them. If you are new to business or applying for a secured loan then please provide a list of assets with their net worth which can be placed as collateral against the loan. The security factor will act as a catalyst for them.
4. Introduce your management team
Mention about the efficient, capable competent and experienced team, who will work out dedicatedly to implement the strategy into reality. Show them the conviction and the dedication towards converting the dream project into reality.
5. Keep the plan simple and avoid any hype statements.
Do not exaggerate and avoid using vague statements. Stick to the basics and create a simple and emphatic plan to gain the interest of the investors.
Formulating the plan is just not enough to grab the investor’s attention. You have to gather the experience and the skills to convert it into results.
Founded in 2007, Biz2Credit is a leading credit marketplace connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with lenders, service providers, and complementary business tools. The company matches borrowers to financial institutions based on each business’s unique profile — completed in less than four minutes — in a safe, efficient, price-transparent environment.
Biz2Credit’s network consists of 1.6 million users, 1,100+ lenders, credit rating agencies such as D&B and Equifax, and small business service providers including CPAs and lawyers.
Having arranged $800 million in funding throughout the U.S., Biz2Credit is widely recognized as the #1 online credit resource for small business loans , lines of credit, working capital and other funding options. Follow us on Twitter @Biz2Credit for small business news and updates.
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To say that it is a laborious profession to be a manger would be understatement. Aside from doing an excellent job, you also need to address all the concerns regarding your team on a daily basis. This is why it takes a tough person to become a competent manager and to stay as one.
But if you’re bent on being the kind of manager that will impress both the higher-ups and your team members, here are 10 qualities you need to have.
1. Time management. Time is a precious commodity that should be utilized wisely. Since managers are expected to do a lot of things—from the most menial managerial tasks to the most glamorous ones—it is important that you are able to manage your time well.
You can do so by coming to work and appointments on time, as well as submitting deliverables on schedule. If you do this, you will be able to optimize not just your time but your colleagues’ as well.
2. Expertise. They say experience is the best teacher. If you happen to believe in this saying, you would agree that it pays to have expertise when sitting on the manager’s seat.
Being in that position means you are expected to have sufficient knowledge and background with regards to the scope of your job. Thus, you have to arm yourself with experiences that will enrich your knowledge of the industry you are in.
Attend trainings and workshops relevant to your job. If you have the resources, be it time or finances, you can opt to take up management classes from schools that offer them.
3. Sense of accountability. As manager, you are supposed to be responsible for every pertinent matter under your jurisdiction, including your own job. As such, you need to be on top of everything so that you will know who is responsible for the different tasks your department is undertaking. This will also make it easier for you to monitor the progress of each team member and the team as a whole.
4. Communication skills. A competent manager is one who is able to connect with his/her team without having to beat around the bush. Therefore, you have to learn and develop the skill of articulating yourself whether you’re talking to a member of the staff, a fellow manager, or your own superior.
Keep in mind that communication is always a two-way process. Being a good communicator requires good speaking and listening skills. Make sure that people would feel that they can approach you, especially if they have difficulties with their tasks. Know how to read non-verbals and be open to what others will tell you, even if they do not agree with you.
5. Organized. Avoid the horrors of missing files and forgotten calls by organizing your schedule and tasks. Whether you decide to do it yourself or have an assistant to do it for you, make sure that all your tasks are clearly laid out and labeled according to priority.
6. Knowledge of your team. Aside from doing your job well, it is also essential for managers to know the people they are working with. Thus, make room in your schedule to interact with your team members.
You can start it as early as the screening process, especially when you’re interviewing prospective employees. You can also hold team-building events, such as out of town trips, where you can take a break from the corporate setting and exchange notes on management and fellowship.
7. Leadership. As manager, you are not only meant to lead your pack—you’re also supposed to teach them how to do it, so they too can become leaders someday. But the thing with leadership is that your team members will assume that you’re only as skilled as how you run your department.
One of the wisest things you can do is to lead by example. Pass on to your subordinates what you know, and empower them by making them feel that they can also become leaders when they work hard and do their job well.
8. Adaptable. Being in the frontline of defense, managers are the ones who feel the pressure whenever there’s something amiss or when the team is embarking on a big assignment. This is why it is important for you to show resilience in the face of tension.
Therefore, it would be helpful to practice adaptability to all kinds of situations you and your team might encounter. Being adaptable allows you to come up with solutions easier, as well as lessen your vulnerability to stress.
9. Integrity. There will be times when it is one of your staff who will figure out the solution to your team’s problems. But instead of resenting a job well done, pat them on the back literally and figuratively by praising them or giving them an incentive. Think about it: when your team members perform well, it will also reflect on you. Thus, give credit to whom it is due.
10. Trustworthy. Trust is one of the most crucial factors any relationship must have, and this includes the professional bonds formed in the office. Therefore, show your colleagues that you are worthy of their trust. Keep your word whenever you give it to someone, and withhold information that is supposed to be confidential.
Adapting these characteristics will allow you (and your team) to succeed and be more efficient at what you do. If there are more qualities that you think should also be included in this list, feel free to mention those by leaving a comment below.
About the Author: Arthur T. Williams is the CMO of Piton-Global, a call center in the Philippines. The company offers lead generation, customer service and Helpdesk support. In his free time Art also writes for Piton-Global’s blog. You may follow him via Twitter @arttwilliams
This is a Guest Post
As the world teeters on the brink of another widespread economic recession, the wealthiest amongst us are doing just fine. In fact, they’re doing better than ever! A record 1,426 individuals have now amassed 10-figure fortunes, according to the latest billionaires list from Forbes Magazine. Even in trying economic times, 210 multi-millionaires joined this elite club that now includes members from 64 countries. That fact alone prompts the obvious question: Are the super rich simply cut from a different cloth? Or do they know things the rest of us are blissfully unaware of?
To begin with, yes! There are several character traits almost all successful people share, no matter their profession. We’re not talking about the basics like hard work, commitment, and ambition. Rather, we are referring to behaviors most business leaders exhibit on a daily basis. What are they?
1. They don’t pass the buck.
The number one reason most businesses fail is because bosses make excuses, either for themselves or for other people. As a general rule, successful people don’t do that. Instead of blaming others, they accept their share of the responsibility and take time to learn from their mistakes.
2. They trust their instincts.
If you asked them to explain it, even a billionaire might not be able to articulate why he/she made a specific decision that inured to their benefit. They might simply and succinctly use words like “impulse,” “intuition,” or “gut reaction.” But at the end of the day, that indefinable quality we call instinct is all about trusting yourself and knowing when to pull the trigger.
3. They are decisive, but not rash.
In addition to good instincts, all successful businesspeople take the time to careful consider each course of action. Then when they have made a decision, they stick to it and never waffle or second guess themselves.
4. They focus on their core businesses.
Being a dreamer and having vision is all well and good, but successful business owners always play to their strengths. They don’t gamble or dabble. Their time is reserved for what they do best. The unsuccessful entrepreneur, on the other hand, often spreads himself too thin and has a lottery-ticket mentality. He/she might be involved in retail sales, real estate, and the stock market all at the same time. Failure is all but inevitable when lack of focus is the key issue.
5. They understand the importance of advertising.
Most new businesses start out in debt. Making regular payments on loans is enough to keep owners continuously on edge. As a result, they often neglect to invest in the things they assume they can do without, such as marketing. But as all successful businesspeople understand, you must get the word out for customers to come in.
6. They love to learn.
As confident, even cocksure as they may come across, all successful businesspeople are eternal students. They never miss an opportunity to surround themselves with other business leaders in the hope that they might learn something from them.
7. They don’t fear failure.
Any successful person who claims he/she never made a mistake is either lying or a complete egomaniac. In fact, many business leaders willing admit that their failures were often more instructive and ultimately more important than their successes. This is particularly true in a new industry, such as online advertising, where missteps are all but inevitable because the road to success is not firmly set.
8. They build a reliable team.
Nobody becomes a billionaire on his/her own. Most begin by surrounding themselves with a great team of people, since they understand it is impossible to be an expert in everything. Instead of feeling threatened by employees of comparable talent, successful businesspeople find ways to utilize them for their benefit.
9. They plan.
There are few true originals in the world of business. Most members of billionaire’s club got there by watching others and mirroring their successful systems, strategies, and business models. To do this, they must be patient, dedicated, and forward-thinking.
10. They must have passion.
Even for the vry ambitious, money is rarely enough to turn them into working machines. Whether it’s computers, movies, music, or marketing, they must have a passion for their subject in order to pursue it.
Martha is a professional writer, providing her custom writing service and essay help for many years. She writes on different subjects and her posts will be of good help to anyone.
This is a Guest Post
What lies at the very core of your message to the world, your marketing campaigns, your product and service offers? Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP); it’s those few words which tell the customer exactly why they should opt for you and not others. Here’s how to develop a successful one.
1. Understand Your Industry
Do a thorough research of the processes that are involved in your industry, and what is made available to the customer. Knowing your industry intimately can greatly help you in identifying what your market lacks, and use that to develop your USP. It’s a good idea to study industry publications and websites. Find out all the different avenues in which your industry is providing products or services.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Knowing your customer intimately will help you find something that you can use in your USP. Study your customer demographics – age, area, work, incomes, and shopping trends and so on. Look for common characteristics and list them. Set up interviews with your best customers and ask them what they consider to be your unique proposition. Evaluate your findings and use the strongest in your USP.
3. Identify Which Pain Point You Solve
Your customer interviews should help you understand their pain points and what specific points your product or service offerings solve. You’ll also find out what points you don’t solve. Identify a major challenge or individual need that your business is solving. You can get more information from customer forums. What are they unhappy about? Product choices, hidden fee, delivery issues? Segment customer needs and wants to get a clearer picture.
4. Identify Something You Offer That Your Competition Doesn’t
Analyze your competition, its strengths and weaknesses. Study the complaints your competitors’ customers make, and list the mistakes that your competitors are making. Find out what prevents them from addressing customer pain points. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses intimately will help you better appreciate what you offer; you can add this knowledge to your USP.
5. Make A List Of The Biggest Benefits You Offer Your Audience
Once you’ve completed all the previous steps, you’ll know exactly what you offer that your competitors don’t. Write down about 5 of the biggest value-add features or benefits your product offers. These are the aspects that set you apart from your competition. Your list of benefits should include a pledge, or promise you make to your clients. They should also explain why your customers should choose you over another provider.
6. Crunch Your Information
Now crunch those 5 points into one paragraph. Merge and rewrite so that everything you’ve written down makes sense. Then take that one paragraph and condense it into a sentence. Pay great attention to each and every word’ you want your USP to be simple, but very powerful. Create several drafts of your single concise statement and get a team to review each one.
7. Screen Your USP Against Trends And Competitors
You need your USP to fit a niche in the market, a gap that’s not occupied by anyone else. Evaluate your drafts and remove those which are already met by competitors. Keep reviewing your USP drafts against trends and competitors, and revise until you get a message that’s unique and completely you.
8. Screen Your USP Against Your Business
What is your business good at? How do you want to be seen? Screen your existing drafts to see if they reflect the unique value your business brings to your industry and to your customers. Rewrite the drafts on separate pages, and add some images to bring the idea to life.
9. Keep The Company Branding In Mind
Your USP should reflect what your company brand stands for. To achieve this, study famous brands all over the world. IBM, Microsoft, Google – even Pizza Hut, Dominoes and Burger King. They have clear USPs that are aligned with their branding. So if your branding is youthful and vibrant, don’t make your USP look boring and detailed. Make sure your USP flows with your brand.
10. Make Your USP Difficult To Copy
Make your USP so unique that your competition cannot copy it without looking like copycats. To ensure this, try to include your company name, and use keywords that are specific to your product. It’s not easy to devise a way to deter competitors, but many great brands have done it. Study their USPs and understand why it is difficult to copy them.
11. Double Check Your USP
When you’ve got the final draft in hand, screen it against all the points you’d written down earlier, from your strengths and weakness analysis. Does your USP convey one strong, absolute solid benefit? Is your USP memorable? Does your USP clearly convey who the brand is targeting? Is your company poised to deliver what the USP promises? Is your USP completely unique, or can some customer hack into it and claim it as their own? Satisfy yourself on all these accounts before you publish your USP.
Sajan Matthews is a die-hard fan of using innovative conversion rate optimization techniques to increase online conversion rates. He’s always coming up with new ideas, and loves to blog about them to help other businesses.
This is a Guest Post
If you operate a nonprofit organization, the idea of incorporating may have crossed your mind before. It’s true that you will need to do some paperwork to form an LLC or any type of corporation, the benefits virtually always outweigh both the time and money you will spend, especially in the case of a nonprofit. Nonprofit organizations are formed when you file a certificate of formation, just like any other business. Think it’s time to take the next step? Here’s a quick guide.
When Nonprofits Need to Incorporate
If you’re trying to decide if the time is right to incorporate, here are some important situations in which it makes a lot of sense.
- Do you make a profit? If your association is making a profit from your activities, incorporating means no income tax will be paid as long as the money is earned through charitable activity.
- Thinking of applying for a grant? Without tax-exempt status, keep in mind your nonprofit association probably won’t qualify for a grant, whether you’re trying to get a state or private grant. It’s true that you can form a nonprofit tax-exempt association rather than incorporating, although you’ll find it’s more difficult to qualify this way and you must be ready to set complex operational guidelines in place. The IRS is more likely to quickly and easily approve tax exempt status to your organization once you’ve incorporated.
- Will you receive tax-deductible contributions? Learn how to incorporate a business so donors can deduct their gifts on federal and state income taxes.
- Are you worried about personal liability? Probably the most common reason most people choose to form an LLC or any type of corporation is the invaluable protection against personal liability. The same is true for nonprofit organizations! If your association is targeted by a lawsuit, incorporating can protect you against personal liability.
- Could your actions provoke legal action? If your nonprofit engages in any type of political advocacy, be aware that this work can provoke a lawsuit at some point. If you decide to incorporate, your directors and officers will have support to defend the suit as well as protection against personal liability. Depending on your work, this is absolutely essential!
Nonprofits: How to Incorporate a Business
Nonprofits are typically bound by different laws in each state than for-profit businesses, although the process to incorporate is basically the same. Your nonprofit must start by choosing a legally available business name and then filing Articles of Incorporation in the state of your choice, which may be your state of operation or another state, such as Delaware. You will also need to pay a filing fee for this.
If you plan to seek tax-exempt status with the IRS, you’ll also need to file Form 1023 and some states also require you file for state-level tax-exempt status. It’s best to file for tax-exempt status within 27 months after you’ve incorporated and you’ll need to wait until you receive your copy of the articles of incorporation. Once Form 1023 is submitted and processed, the IRS will send a determination letter indicating you’ve been approved, denied or they need more information.
Once this is done, you can set up bylaws that will determine how the new corporation is operated and appoint the board of directors. You will also need to formulate a mission statement, which expresses the name of your organization, what it does, the individuals your organization serves and where it provides services.
Nonprofits are also required to get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), even if you don’t have employees. You may want to hire a certified public accountant with experience with organizations like yours and set up a strict record-keeping system as you’ll be required by law to save Board documents, including statements and minutes.
While learning how to incorporate a business and incorporate your nonprofit, you will gain a wide range of benefits, from tax-exempt status and the ability to get grant money to protection from personal liability. To learn more about incorporating, visit USA Corporate Services: http://USA-Corporate.com.
This is a Guest Post
Who says you can’t turn your passion for food into a career? Take Rachel Saunders of Oakland, California, whose enterprise Blue Chair Fruit is a major success. She makes jams of vibrant flavors with seasonal fruits. Her merchandise has been a favorite online owing to the farm fresh taste that is unlike many of the traditional jams in the market.
Another interesting example is that of Tasia Malakasis from Huntsville, Alabama. Her story is a transition from an executive to making excellent goat cheese. After toiling hard in New York in the culinary business, she decided to move back to Alabama. Her product, Belle Chevre, has been a success in the top gourmet shops in the country. She is an excellent example of revisiting old skills and finding refinement.
Veronica Bosgraaf of Holland, Michigan, is a stay-at-home mom who makes “healthy” snack bars. Her food item is popular with her vegetarian daughter and many others. Veronica’s surprise hit snacks were born when her daughter had shown tendency to become a vegetarian. More surprising was the fact that she would be first one to do so in her family. Veronica then resorted to different recipes and nutrition charts on the internet to come up with her own recipe.
Her major breakthrough came when she took this snack to her daughter’s school on a sports day event. Since then, she has been getting a lot of requests for this item. After finding that maximizing her production was an issue, she collaborated with a plant in Oregon.
Some of the things Veronica emphasizes are healthy foods and the concept of process refrigeration. She also gives tips on appropriate methods of storing foods and how this habit can provide good taste and healthy food.
Nothing is more fascinating when it comes to food entrepreneurship than the real-life story of two friends who used a traditional family recipe to make one of the most beloved cookie cracker hybrids. Irene Costello and Joan MacIsaac were cooking class teachers who decided to do something of their own. Their oatcakes were a massive success and they got listed in the New York Times holiday gift guide.
Similar to the earlier mentioned case is that of Shannan Swanson and Liane Weintraub of Los Angeles, California. Their speciality item is organic fruit snacks. Their Tasty Baby brand has become quite popular especially with moms looking for the right diet for their kids. The funny thing is that they tested the snacks on their kids first to see how they react. Their business is now churning out decent profit, four years since founding.
Both of these food entrepreneurs emphasize the idea of using nutritious ingredients rather than additive laced items. They have a running blog for fitness tips and how healthy food habits are important for kids and adults. Their franchise manufactures organic gummy candies, and the value of their item is that they used a food scientist for the recipe.
The story of the seven women described above serve as a good measure to show how entrepreneurship levels can be accommodated based upon your niche. It can be a side business or a small business, the thing that matters is that you should have a will to translate your idea. Food entrepreneurship is successful venture if you’re able to define the taste and make it differ from the traditional artificial market.