5 Ways To Safeguard Your Business From Getting Sued

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court

In this litigious society, finding your business getting sued is not uncommon especially for  small businesses; customers, an employer or another business can cause you a huge burden. Being sued for any reason can prove to be devastating, resulting in financial impacts leading to big losses. Continue reading

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Considering Becoming a Freelancer? Learn What to Expect

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CAREER PATH

Deciding a career path can often be difficult, and finding a company you love to work for can further add to that difficulty. Some people prefer to work for a company, be a part of a team and earn a steady paycheck while others simply can’t handle putting their talent and skill on the line for someone else. Continue reading

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LLC

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free logos
Applied thru LegalZoom.com to set up my company as LLC.  I chose the standard package, and there was also a $100 fee to register with the state of GA.  I’m playing around with logos now instead of making my target company list.  Constructive feedback on the logo welcomed!

Update 9/26 – ended up with Hatchloft.com for a final logo.  The site is represented by graphic design students seeking work to create a portfolio.  For $19.95 they will design three logos, with 2 revisions.  Here were the three initial presentations:

Out of the three presented, I liked the middle the best but the font and structure was too corporate, and wallish. I researched the psychology of colors orange and green.  Seems people either hate or love orange, and it represents freshness, newness, energy.  The green is very common in logos.  After 2 revisions, see below what I ended up with.   I didn’t love it but it’s growing on me:

Hit the comments link to provide constructive criticism :-).

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BUSINESS STARTUP

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As promised, here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been working on the last few days.  It’s all about advancing the new business.  Saw my career coach yesterday – she reviewed the three-fold brochure I made for the business; she made some suggestions, and changes to improve the instant visibility of what the service is and does. To create the brochure, I used a great free template provide by HP at this site:  http://www.hp.com/hho/hp_create/home_business-business_kits.html.    This site provides a whole kit and caboodle of stationary for themed business cards, brochures, invoices, etc.  Pretty nice but the stationary items open in a Word document and I’m used to working in Publisher so there were a few frustrating hiccups.  All in all, it worked out well.

I was able to print ten brochures, front and back before the ink in my HP printer faded.  Not good.  Coach suggested reduce brochure from three-fold type to one sheet front and back, and minimize the color.  You know printer ink is very expensive, so yes, I now agree with her.  Working now to reduce 2 pages of info down to one-third of a page front and back.  A copywriter friend offered to look at it; I accept all free help.

Decided not to pursue business permit yet as the city does not pro-rate the fee, and it will expire December 31st .  I’d have to turn around and renew Jan 2011.  Visited IRS.gov to get an EIN, which is the business tax identification(kinda like a social security number for a business).  This is the number that my company will be recognized under when filing taxes.  I’m hesitating about incorporating for some reason – my thoughts are jumping around between non-profit, and LLC.  Will probably go ahead and file papers for LLC  which will allow protection of my personal assets and allow income taxes to be charged at a individual rate versus corporate rate.

Called my cable carrier to get a VOIP phone number as an add on service for a mere $10 a month.  They gave me the number and told me it would be active Friday.  I created brochures and business cards with this number.  I just happened to call the number today to see if it’s working, and yep it is.  Someone who wasn’t me answered.  Called the number again, in disbelief,  to double check.  Yep Comcast gave away number.  They are so so sorry for the mix up, and the loss of $$ from already printing cards/brochures in advance.  I asked for a credit or extra services on the phone; will hear back from them tomorrow on the decision.  Sigh.

Tomorrow will revamp the brochures and make a list of target companies to contact.  Excitement is starting to rise for face to face “customer” contact.

9/26 Update:  After multiple calls to Comcast regarding the phone number snafu, Comcast corporate office contacted me.  They have compensated me for the printing loss by crediting my account $100.  Much appreciation to Comcast for recognizing customers inconvenienced by a lack of service!

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STEPS TO START A BUSINESS

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Ever had an idea for a business?  I’ve had several throughout the years.  A few I’ve seen come to fruition, though I only found out when I saw them advertised on TV commercials.  I recently had an idea for a service…since I’m on the Entrepreneurial path at the career transition agency, I met with my coach and tossed the idea around with her.  She mentioned that a good business needs to satisfy a pain, or generate pleasure, enough for which people would give up their hard earned dollars.  Pain used here isn’t literal – it’s an analogy that stems from a critical need which is not being met. 

She thought my idea was good, and actually started spoking (is that a word?  I’m making a verb off spoke)  off ideas which could become an extended service from my initial idea.  Through classes taken at the agency, and at Dpt of Labor, I generated a business plan.  But before doing that I took a class which presented a list of questions to determine if you have the right frame of mind to start a business.  Ideas are one thing, but actually getting the idea off the ground is another. 

The four basic types of businesses:                                                                                              Start up a business                                                                                                                          Buy an existing business                                                                                                                   Buy a franchise                                                                                                                            Become a consultant                                                                                                                      

Here are some great questions to ask before you initiate any of your energies:

1.  Why do I want to start my own business?   What are my motives?                                      2.  Do I have all the skills needed to run a business?  Accountant, Legal, Secretarial,  Customer Service, Sales, Operations, Purchasing, General Management, etc.                          3.  Am I in love with the idea?  Do I have a passion for it?  Am I prepared to sacrifice my personal life and activities to devote time to the business?                                                          4.  Will there be an impact to my family, negative or positive?                                                    5.  Is this the right time – financially, emotionally, physically?

After the in-depth evaluation of self, if you still want to move forward, then you need to clarify your idea…I’m talking like I’m an expert right, but it makes sense yes? 

What and who is the market?  What pain are you solving?  What pleasure are you pushing?  What value are you offering?  Is it unique?  Research your competition, what percent of the market would you like to capture?  How will the product or service be marketed?  How will the company be structured?  Non-profit, incorporated, LLC, sole-proprietorship, etc?  Also important – location, location, location. 

Next it’s time for the business plan.  It will further focus and develop your ideas, build an idea of what the company will look like as far as marketing, finances, organization, and operations of the company.   Check out www.sba.gov ; they offer great planning resources for starting and developing a business, including on-line classes, and business plan templates.  Also check out SCORE http://www.score.org/index.html  –   it’s a resource of retired executives who offer their advice and counsel for free.  They are available to meet face to face, or via email questions.  I’ve done all the above, and have finished my business plan.  I’ve requested a 2nd meeting with a SCORE counselor to review my business plan, and discuss next steps.  Will keep you posted!

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