18 Elon Musk Quotes about Business, Success & Life

Elon Musk is a business magnate and co-founder of Tesla’s electric car company. He also founded SpaceX, a space exploration company. He also co-founded PayPal, a payments company. Musk is worth more than $20 billion. These Elon Musk quotes could be an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Here are 18 quotes by Elon Musk about business, success, life, and everything in between:

Elon Musk Quotes about Business

1. Remember that companies are small and can be likened to tadpoles. They just die so easily. It is important to create an environment that helps small businesses grow and protects them. Silicon Valley does this very well, and America generally does it very well, a lot more than other countries. The majority of countries are more inclined to protect and foster large companies. Big companies don’t need protection.”
Musk’s speech to the National Press Club

2. You need great people to build a company. A company is simply a group of people who have come together to create a product. The success of a company will depend on how talented and dedicated that group is and the degree to which they work together in a positive direction. If you are creating a company .”, make sure you do everything possible to attract great people.
Musk’s commencement speech at University of Southern California

3. “I believe it is important to get feedback from your environment. You want to keep everything in the loop. We wouldn’t have succeeded if we didn’t respond to the comments of others. It’s crucial to be aware of such things and pay attention when they are presented.
– Musk’s commencement speech to Caltech

4. “People want to do the right things and do the good thing. We are facing a problem right now: the rules favor a bad outcome. It’s slower to fight for the positive outcome when it’s an uphill struggle. It is absurd to make the rules favor a negative outcome .”
Musk’s speech to Paris-Sorbonne University

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5. “I don’t think looking at your competitors is a good idea. It’s a bit like the old running adage. It’s like looking at other runners. .”
Conversation with Kara Swisher (host of “Recode Decode”)

6. “I read lots of books and spoke to many people. Although I didn’t have a mentor, I sought out feedback from my peers and the historical context. I don’t like to read general business books. Biographies and autobiographies are my favorite. These are very helpful and many aren’t business strong>.
Conversation with Kevin Rose, an Internet entrepreneur

7. It is not easy to start a business. I would say that starting a business is not for everyone. 1. To have a high pain threshold. There is a lot of optimism when you start your company. Things are good. At first, happiness is high. But then you’ll face all kinds of problems and your happiness will slowly decline. Then, eventually (and in most cases you won’t succeed), you will be back to happiness strong>.

8. Understanding something is essential to making the right decisions. strong>If you don’t fully understand something, it is impossible to make a decision strong>
– A conversation with Jonathan Nolan (creator of HBO’s Westworld)

9. Great products are the foundation of great companies. The company .” falls if the product becomes uncompetitive and shoddystrong>
– Conversation with John Paul MacDuffie (Professor of Management at the Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania).

Elon Musk Quotes about Success & Life

10. “I believe the main thing that drives me is my desire to be able think about the future and feel good. We’re trying to make the future as positive as possible, to inspire by the possibilities, and to look forward to each day. What drives me most is my desire to ensure that everything is great and will be so strong>

11. My theory is that you would rather be optimistic. I would rather be optimistic and wrong, than pessimistic or right. It’s going to be miserable .”
– Conversation with Joe Rogan host of “The Joe Rogan Experience”.

12. “I wanted to do something that would make the world a better place .””
Musk’s speech at D11 technology conference

13. “Most of the time, the question is more difficult than the answer. The answer is easy if the question is properly phrased. To the extent that we understand the universe better, we can then better decide what questions to ask strong>
Conversation with Alison van Diggelen host of “Fresh Dialogues”.

14. “I would recommend learning as much as you can to help you predict the future. The best way to predict what the future will look like is to actually make it. Then, evaluate whether the information you are learning allows you to make predictions with less error strong>
– A conversation with Jack Ma, cofounder of Alibaba at the World AI Conference

15. I mean, there are successful entrepreneurs who have never completed high school. There are also those who have Ph.D.’s. It is important to learn what you need, in school or empirically strong>.
Musk’s speech at Stanford University

16. “I don’t ever give up. “I don’t ever give up.

17. Life is not about solving problems. You must find things that make you happy to be alive strong>
Conversation with Kara Swisher (journalist) and Walt Mossberg (Code Conference).

18. Humanity can alleviate a lot of suffering in the world, and make it a lot more beautiful. People are often negative about the past and the future. But, history students, what other time would you rather be alive? The best time is now, in my opinion. “Those who believe the past is better don’t have enough history.”
Musk’s speech to the California Academy of Sciences

Bottom line

Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is the founder. When he was 12, he learned to code and sold the source code of his first videogame. Musk is considered one of the most wealthy people in the world. His business experience and years of success are a source for inspiration to many. These quotes by Elon Musk will inspire you to achieve your goals.

21 Startup Costs Every Business Owner Must Know

Startup costs are expenses that new businesses incur. Nearly all new businesses will incur some expenses such as legal entity registration (around 150), software, marketing, and other administrative costs. There are some costs that businesses do not need but which are necessary, like business plan software ($20 per monthly), professional consultants ($20 monthly), and a website ($20 each month).

Here are some tips to estimate your startup costs

It is important to research the costs involved in starting a business to determine their exact cost. To get an accurate estimate of the startup cost, it is a good idea to contact other businesses and ask them questions about the costs associated with starting a business.

If you are interested in opening an outdoor boutique, locate a store similar in another state, and contact the owner via social media like LinkedIn. You can also call them and offer to visit their store. This shows they are serious about starting a business, and it will increase the likelihood that they will speak with you.

When estimating startup costs, another tip is to distinguish between ongoing and one-time expenses. Your financial projections should include your ongoing costs. A point-of-sale software and hardware setup may cost $569, but you should budget for the $69 monthly fee.

These are 21 startup costs that every business owner must know.

1. 1.Registration of legal entity

Every business must register its business as a legal entity (also known business structure) with the state in which it is operating. Registering your business as a legal entity will protect the owner’s personal financial interests in the event of a lawsuit against the company. Registering your business as an entity protects you personal finances in the event of a bankruptcy.

The limited-liability company (LLC), is the most common business entity. An estimated 80% of small businesses register as an LLC. The cost of registering an LLC varies depending on where it is registered. In Kentucky, for example, it costs $40 to register an LLC, while Massachusetts charges $520 to register one. The average cost of registering an LLC is $125.

Visit your state’s official website for business registration. Many business owners find the state website confusing and overwhelming. A website that offers online legal services is an alternative to the state’s website. They help owners to make business registration quick and easy. IncFile provides online legal services. IncFile is free to register your company and complete the necessary paperwork. You will only have to pay state fees.

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2. Business Tax Expenses

It is easy to forget about taxes for a new owner of a business. A general rule is to set aside 25% of your profits for taxes. If you expect to make $60,000 in profits your first year of business, you will need $15,000 ($60,000 x 25%). An LLC may be interested in the tax benefits of electing s-corp status. An LLC can choose to be taxed as an s-corp. This can help small businesses save thousands in taxes.

You should also budget for an accountant, or certified public accountant (CPA), to file your taxes. This cost can be reduced if you file your taxes yourself. Most business owners prefer to hire a professional to organize and file their taxes.

It can be quite expensive to hire an accountant firm to file your taxes. This is something that many small business owners don’t think about when they start. Because the cost of this service can fluctuate widely even between companies, it is important that you have at minimum $2,000 in your bank account. You can plan ahead by staying on top of the filing deadlines and saving money.

— Calloway Cook, Founder, Illuminate Labs

3. Software for Business Plans: Costs

This software is used to create a business plan. It includes step-by-step instructions, educational materials, financial projection tables, and financial projection charts. The cost of business plan software ranges from $19 to $49 per monthly. LivePlan offers a free 60-day trial of its business plan software. There are more than 500 examples of business plans available. There are many payment options available, including a $140 annual fee and $19.95 monthly fees.

4. 4.Market Research Expenses

It is important to demonstrate why your business will succeed when creating a business plan. Also, make sure you have data supporting it. To gather data about your ideal customers, you can use market research tools such as ReferenceUSA. ReferenceUSA is available at all U.S. libraries. You can use a paid tool such as IBIS World to conduct industry research. It costs approximately $1,095 for each industry report.

A feasibility study is a market analysis that provides information about the likelihood of a business succeeding. Many businesses are looking for funding. A feasibility study can be purchased online from Wise Business Plans. The cost of feasibility studies ranges from $5,000 to over $30,000.

5. Accounting costs

Small business owners have two options: either hire a bookkeeper or use Intuit QuickBooks software to record and manage income and expenses. QuickBooks, which is cloud-based, has many online resources that will help you to learn how to use it. It may be more expensive to hire a bookkeeper. It will reduce the business owner’s responsibilities.

If you don’t have a plan for tracking expenses, it will be a nightmare. If you are interested in learning it, an online platform such as QuickBooks will cost you $12 per month. If you don’t want to learn it, expect to pay $200-400 per month for a reliable bookkeeper to keep track of all your spending.

— Jeff Rose, Certified Financial Planner & CEO, Good Financial Cents

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6. 6.Payroll Expenses

Payroll will cost extra if you have multiple employees. Payroll may be handled by an accountant, bookkeeper or office manager. Many small business owners handle their payroll and use software to assist them. Payroll software can set up direct deposits for employees and help you automatically pay quarterly payroll taxes.

Gusto payroll software starts at $39 per monthly plus $6 per employee. This is $69 per month for a company with five employees. Gusto can help you set up employee benefits such as vision, medical and dental insurance.

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7. Cost of employee wages

It’s important to have sufficient cash to pay at least two months worth of wages for your employees before you open your business. This will ensure that you have enough cash to cover your payroll expenses during any downturns after you open your business.

If you have three employees, you would pay them an average of $12 an hour. You are open 60 hours per week. This equates to roughly $20,000 ($12 x 3, 60 x 9, 9) that you should have in your bank account. A good rule of thumb is to always have at least two months’ worth of regular expenses in the bank, along with wages expense.

8. 8.

Office utilities can quickly add up if you open a brick-and mortar location. The average business that has a physical location should budget between $300 and $500 per month for utilities. This may include internet, telephone, water, trash, and cable, if you have televisions. Additional costs may apply for sewerage. It is often included in the water bill.

It can be difficult to connect with the right provider for your internet, cable, or phone service. Business Services connect makes recommendations based on your business address for available providers. It works with all major cable companies such as Comcast Business and Spectrum Business.

Connect with Business Services

The phone system is a cost that many small business owners neglect. A VoIP [voice-over-internet-protocol] phone system can save a small business a considerable amount of money. It is also flexible, easy-to-use, and offers control. While the exact savings will vary from one business to another, there are clear direct costs that can be reduced by switching to VoIP.

The most expensive part of a phone bill, in general, is the minutes. This is especially true for a private branch exchange system (PBX) and especially if you make long distance calls. VoIP converts your voice into data over broadband and makes long-distance calls free.

Tracey Montour is the Director of Marketing.

9. Advertising & Marketing Traditional Costs

Advertising is a common feature for businesses, regardless of whether they are business cards, flyers, signage or flyers. One option for a business owner is to make promotional materials that have their name on them, such as pens, notepads and water bottles. A business can also advertise in local newspapers and trade magazines for their industry. Prices for physical advertising depend on the number of products purchased and their quality. The reach and quality of paper advertising will affect the cost.

A new business typically spends at least 5% on traditional marketing. Consider reducing that to 1% or even 2% as your business grows in popularity. Many companies channel all their marketing budgets to online advertising. It doesn’t matter what, it is important to have current business cards and brochures in order to face-to-face advertising.

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10. Online Advertising Expenses

Many businesses will also do online advertising. This includes Facebook Ads and Google Ads. These online advertising platforms offer user-friendly options that employees and business owners can use. Your industry will determine the advertising costs for each platform. Each platform should have a budget of $500 per month.

You can hire a professional to manage your online ads instead of doing it yourself. They typically charge an upfront setup fee as well as 10% of the monthly advertising budget. An average online advertising specialist will ask you to spend $1,000 per month on one platform.

11. Prices for Office Supplies

On average, an office spends $200 to $1,000 per month on supplies for each employee. These expenses go towards items that aid employees in their work, such as paper, ink and writing instruments. If you run a business such as an attorney’s office, your office supplies costs will rise. If you offer additional perks such as specialty coffee or snacks, office supplies will cost more.

 “The office supplies budget is one the most overlooked and difficult to calculate for start-up expenses. While you can estimate that 10% to 15% of your budget will go towards office expenses, once your business is up and running, the true cost of maintaining an office will be revealed when it is actually used.

While fixed costs such as rent, utilities and office equipment are easy to predict, the real problem lies in variable costs. It is difficult to predict how many cups of coffee or how much toilet paper your employees will use. You also need to consider complimentary supplies like sugar, milk, soap, and laundry detergent. I advise that you never exceed your office supplies budget when starting a business. You will be amazed at how much coffee people can drink on a daily basis, especially for millennials.

— Igor Mitic, Co-founder, Fortunly.com

12. 12.

It is important to calculate the build-out costs if you are opening a new location. This is the cost to update the location to meet your business’ needs. The build-out cost includes both structural and interior changes. The landlord may cover a portion of your costs if you sign a long-term lease (three to five year term). The cost of an interior space can vary depending on its size and the type of business. As a general rule, you should expect to pay 25% more than what was expected due to unexpected costs and construction delays.

13. Equipment costs

Equipment costs for your business must be included in the startup costs. Consider purchasing used equipment to save as much as 40%-60%. Consider the maintenance costs of your equipment when calculating monthly or annual ongoing equipment costs. Divide the yearly cost by twelve and add it to your financial projections as a monthly expense.

14. 14.

A business owner can be protected against any liability claims by a third party, or an employee. The general insurance is a common expense for small businesses. This protects businesses against injury claims from third parties like customers.

General liability insurance usually costs between $400-$600 per year. Workers’ compensation is required in most states if you have employees. This covers any injuries that occur on the job. The cost of workers’ compensation varies depending on the state and type of work, but it is generally $1.50 for every $100 in payroll.

 “Business insurance was something that I didn’t consider when I started my business full-time. But it should have been. It’s important to have business insurance, just as you have coverage for your car and home. Insurance policies are affordable and tailored to your industry. Entrepreneurs put in a lot of effort to build their businesses. They should be protected with the same diligence and urgency.

— Brandyn Campbell, Founder & CEO, Brandyn Campbell Communications

15. Borrowing and Interest Fees

Include the monthly principal and interest payments if you are taking out a loan. An unsecured personal loan with a low interest rate may be between 11% to 18%. A secured bank business loan that is backed by the Small Business Administration, (SBA), has an interest rate between 7.25% to 9.75%. Investors may request monthly payments to share a portion of the profits if you take on a lender. This should be considered an ongoing expense. Before you agree to a deal, discuss the payment method with an investor.

16. Inventory costs

It is crucial to have enough products in stock before you open your business. This will allow you to meet customer demand. Consider how much inventory you expect to sell over the next year. Then, keep 10% of that inventory on hand. If you anticipate selling $35,000 worth inventory in a year, keep $3500 ($35,000 x 10%). Dropshipping, where you sell products made by third parties, may mean that you don’t need inventory.

It’s difficult to predict which items will be a bestseller before you open. However, it is important to establish good working relationships with vendors in order to ensure timely delivery of high-sellers. Prices for inventory vary depending on how big or small a company is. Call around to receive product prices from multiple vendors before you open your business.

17. 17.

Professional consultants may be needed to assist you with areas that you don’t know. You might hire an HR Consultant to create an employee handbook if your business has many employees.

A branding consultant may be hired if your company’s overall marketing design is important. Consider hiring a cybersecurity expert if your company is concerned about online security. Rates for consultants vary depending on industry and experience. A professional consultant will typically charge between $75 and $400 per hour.

 

“I invested in a branding consultant as one of my start-up costs because it was important to put all the work we did into the product into one package that would be easy to understand by our customers. 

“Most often, great marketing campaigns are accompanied by bad products. We found the reverse to be true so I couldn’t miss an opportunity for a strong brand impression. Although the cost of a branding consultant was $7500, it was worth it as we established our brand, secured domains, and other intellectual property.

— Brianna Kilcullen, Founder, ANACT

18. Lifestyle Photo Expenses

Many businesses find it beneficial to take lifestyle photos of products and services. Lifestyle photos show customers using your products or services in action. These photos should be taken before you open a business. They can be used on social media pages, websites, and printed media. If you are opening a clothing shop, take photos of models or customers showing off the clothes in your shop. Photographs should be taken during a consultation, or in court, if you are a service-based company like a legal service business.

Smartphones can be used to take high-quality photos for free. They must be well-lit and high-resolution. It’s better to hire a professional photographer to visit your business to take photos. These photos will be seen many times over the next few years, possibly hundreds of thousands of time on your website and online profiles. A photoshoot for your business may cost you $300 to an amateur photographer, while a $500-to-$500 price tag may be for a middle-tier photographer.

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19. 19.

Retail businesses will require POS software to process credit card payments. A POS system may be free or cost up to $289 per monthly depending on your requirements. Many POS software programs also offer additional business management features such as inventory management and sales analysis.

Vend POS software costs $99 per monthly for a single location business. The software is simple to use and comes with 24/7 support. Vend can be tried for 14 days without requiring payment information.

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20. 20.

A website is essential for every small business. Costs will vary depending on what the business needs are. A website builder allows you to create a website without any programming. DreamHost offers a WordPress website builder starting at $19.95 per monthly.

You can also hire a professional web developer to help you create your website. This can range from $2,500 to $15,000. You may wish to buy a domain if you plan to hire a professional. Web hosting, which is the internet space you use to store your website’s data, is a common expense for small businesses before they hire a professional designer.

 “The cost of web hosting is often overlooked, especially for smaller businesses. It is important that your web host is different from the one you have chosen for your website developer or designer. It is possible that you will need to switch hosts in the future and want to do this without affecting anyone working on your site. You can choose from a range of web hosting packages that will suit your bandwidth and speed needs. However, web hosting typically starts at $35 per month for shared hosting accounts. But, business owners who are soon to be entrepreneurs should consider spending a little more to ensure they don’t limit their budget to the minimum.

— Katie Weedman, Content Strategist, THAT Agency

21. 21.

Budget for travel expenses to attend trade shows, conferences and to visit vendors and suppliers before you open your business. Good working relationships are essential with those you’re buying products from and peers in your industry. Consider costs such as registration fees, airfare, rental car, hotel and meals when you travel to events. To get a discount on airfares, trade shows, or conferences, book at least six months before you need to.

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Many business owners who import supplies from China will visit the factory in order to build a stronger relationship with the manager and owner. If you are faced with a shortage of inventory or need to rearrange your priorities, it is a good idea to establish strong working relationships with suppliers and vendors. Budget at least $4,500 for a business trip to China to visit a factory.

Bottom line

It is crucial to understand startup costs before you start your business. It is not a good idea to have to go back to investors or banks for more funds before you have customers. To show that you have a detailed plan and calculated the funding needed to open your business, it is helpful to record each startup cost .

How to write a business plan in 9 steps

A business plan can help you map your future, whether you are just starting a business or already have one. A business plan can also be used to demonstrate why your business will succeed. Writing a business plan requires planning ahead, market research and financial research.

These are the sections you should include in your business planning:

1. 1.

The first page of your business plan organizes the rest of the plan and protects your business idea. The cover page contains important information about your business. An optional non-disclosure agreement (NDA), is required if someone attempts to steal your business idea, or use your plans. The table of contents organizes the entire business plan.

Cover Page

The cover page provides contact information about the owner and business. The cover page should include the business name and the person who created it. It should also contain your name, address, telephone number, and email address. You may also want to include the “company name” if your registered company name is different from the business name.

Non-disclosure agreement

confidentiality agreement is a legal document that protects business information. If you feel that someone could use your business plan to their advantage or disadvantage, then you’d want them to sign it.

Fit Small Business provides a free non-disclosure agreement.

Table of Contents

The table of contents lists all sections and subsections in your business plan. The sections are defined as the following headers: Executive Summary, Business Objectives and Company Summary, Products and Services, and others. For additional organization, you can number the sections. For example, 1.0 refers to the executive summary, while 1.1 refers to the business objectives and 1.2 the mission statement.

2. 2. Executive Summary

An executive summary gives a brief overview of the business plan. It should not exceed one- to two pages. Investors may only request the executive summary. It should be informative, persuasive, concise, and a summary of your business plan. The executive summary should be completed last, following the completion of the other sections of the business plan. It is easier to see which sections in your business plan you should highlight by waiting to complete this section.

Consider the following in the opening paragraphs for the executive summary:

  • Description of your business: This is a similar pitch that you would give to potential clients for a 30-second description of your business and its unique characteristics.
  • Products & Services: Mention what products or services you offer customers, and the costs.
  • Competitors Briefly explain your top competitors and why you will succeed in spite of them.
  • Management and organization Talk about the background of the owners and highlight how it will benefit the business. If necessary, also discuss the management structure of the business.
  • Business location (or building): Discuss the benefits of the area and the potential impact on the success of your business.
  • Your ideal customers and target market: Identify who your ideal customers and explain why they will purchase your products and services.
  • Financial projections and data: Give brief financial information and projections that are relevant to your business. These include startup costs, profitability in the next month, and sales projections.
  • Financing required: End the first paragraph with a description of the sources of startup financing and the amount being requested.

You can combine the bullets to create several paragraphs. You can also add or delete sections depending on the needs of your business. If you don’t have an address, then remove it. However, if your business has a website, add two to three sentences to your online strategy. Keep the executive summary (including the three headers) to no more than two pages.

Business Objectives

Your business objections should be specific and achievable goals for you business. Examples of business objectives include “Attract 80 customers per day in the first year of business” and “Generate a positive revenue stream from operations with at minimum 15% net profit to sales.” At least four business goals should be organized in bullet points.

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Mission Statement

The mission statements describe the purpose, goals, and values for your business. It is usually a brief statement, usually between one and several sentences. Your mission statement may change as your business grows.

Airbnb, for example, has a mission statement that states “To live in a world where you can feel like home anywhere, not in a house, but where you belong.” Outback Steakhouse, on the other hand, says “We’re the leader in the pack by emphasizing consistent high-quality delicious food and delivering warm, welcoming environments.” We offer generous portions at moderately affordable prices. It’s almost like you’re in the Australian Outback.

Keys to Success

The key to your success is the unique advantages you have. If your business’s location is an advantage, then you need to be more specific. You should describe the key features that make your location a success factor, such as its visibility, parking spaces, drive-thru or proximity to housing. You may find similar keys to success in your competitors’ businesses.

Competitive advantages are not the same as keys to success. This is because your competition cannot duplicate your competitive advantage. It’s a unique advantage, or proprietary information such as a patent. You can add the competitive advantage as a key to your success. As bullet points, list two to three key factors to success.

3. Summary of the Company

If you are already in business, the company summary section will highlight your company’s successes or explain why you think it will succeed. The opening paragraph (or several paragraphs) should include information about your business, such as its location, owners, hours and products.

Startup Summary (or Company history)

This section will be different depending on whether you are a startup business or an established one. Startups will talk about the costs and steps required to open a business. This includes permits, build-outs and rent. A well-established business will discuss its financial performance in the last three years.

Startup Funding Table

A chart listing all items to be purchased with capital is a good idea if you are writing a business plan. If you plan to purchase equipment using additional funding, list every piece of equipment along with its associated cost. The total expenses should be shown at the bottom of your chart. This amount should correspond to the requested funding.

This startup cost table for a pizza restaurant separates startup expenses from startup assets.

Location & Facilities

Description of brick-and-mortar locations or facilities, such as warehouses, is required. Describe the location and its benefits. Write about the area, ownership and leases, as well as the square footage. Give a brief description of the local population.

Ownership of a company

Briefly describe the background of each member of the company’s ownership. The information you provide will help to show why the owners are likely be successful in running this business. This includes details such as previous employers, education and awards won. The management section and the organization section will provide more information about this owner.

Competitive Advantage

Your competitive advantage is the unique thing your company does that others cannot. This is the key to your company’s success. Investors are searching for competitive advantages such as data, patents, technology, data and industry relationships. If you don’t possess these, then describe what your business does better than its competitors. This could include quality of products or services, relationships with vendors, marketing strategies, and so on.

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4. Products & Services

Because it is based on the products and services your business sells, the products and services section has the greatest flexibility. No matter what product or service you sell, you should include a business plan that explains how your business makes money. Include future products and services that your business might offer in the future.

Business Model

The business model describes how the business makes money. This section should be detailed if you are creating a new type or using a different method to create a product or service. If you have a pizza shop, for example, it is important to discuss how your business will make money. Customers can order from your restaurant, online, or via an app such as Uber Eats. Your homemade ranch bottles may also be available for sale.

Products

This section should be used to describe physical products that you are selling. Be sure to emphasize both the product’s features and its benefits. If you sell umbrellas, for example, you might describe them as made from nylon, metal and plastic. They are small and can keep you dry from the rain, which is a benefit.

Services

This section will discuss the services your business offers. You can have both the services and products sections if your business offers them both. Services don’t necessarily have to be purchased at a price. Your business may offer entertainment such as live music or bar games for free.

Fulfillment

It doesn’t matter if you are selling products or services. You need to explain how each one will be delivered. How will a service such as window installation be delivered? How will the window be installed, purchased, and where will it be bought? How will products be packed and shipped if you are selling products?

Future Products & Services

You can indicate if you intend to offer additional products or services after the initial launch. You don’t have to offer more of the same product. If you own a commercial photography business, you may plan to hire a graphic artist to offer a different service. You can also describe your plans to grow your business by renting the next-door unit to offer additional services or to sell additional products.

5. Market & Industry Analysis

This section analyzes your industry and potential customers. This section is where your case for why your business should succeed is made, supported by data. It’s a good idea to research your competitors and talk about their successes and challenges. This section should be persuasive and explain why your company will succeed.

Segmentation of the Market

Also known as your target market, market segmentation can be described as your business’s strategy for identifying the right customers. This is the group of customers most likely to buy your products and services. These customers can be described based on their demographic characteristics, including income, location and purchasing habits. If you plan to sell business-to-business (B2B), you can use these characteristics to describe the ideal customers.

After your target market has been segmented into groups, you can use market research data for market research to show where those customers live (or are likely do business with you online). This data can be obtained from a free source, such as the U.S. This data is available at no cost in thousands of libraries throughout the United States, including ReferenceUSA and Census. If you’re opening a daycare center, for example, you’ll need to provide data about how many families live within a radius of your business.

ReferenceUSA collects market research data from over 147 million U.S. citizens.

Target Market Segment Strategy

After you have created at least three segments, you can briefly describe the strategy that you will use in order to reach them. It will most likely be a marketing strategy. However, it could also be pricing, networking or sales strategies. Also, explain the overall thinking of the segments or inner workings of the business that would lead them to do business. If you own a restaurant near a theme park, explain how families will be drawn to your family-friendly restaurant following a tiring day at the park.

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Analyse of the Industry

Analyze the industry to determine the target segments and then explain why it is a good idea to start a company in that sector. A bank will lend more capital to a business that is in demand or has additional customers if it is in a growing sector. You can find industry statistics using a free tool such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics or a paid tool such the Hoovers Industry Research which offers professionally curated reports covering over 1,000 industries.

Competitor Research

Finish the market and industry section by analysing at least five competitors located within a radius of five miles. (If necessary, expand the radius). Make a table of the five competitors. Include their distances from your business, challenges and successes. You’ll need to present their problems as opportunities for improvement during your analysis. Your reader should believe that your company will offer superior products and services to the competition.

6. Marketing Strategy & Implementation Summary

This section outlines your marketing strategy and explains how it will be implemented. The opening paragraphs will give an overview of each subsection. This section might be longer for some businesses than others. A business that relies on ecommerce to sell its products may outline their website, social media strategy and online advertising strategy. This section will be shorter for companies that rely on government contracts to do minimal marketing.

Marketing Strategy

Discuss the overall marketing strategy of the company. Discuss any industry trends you might use, such as Facebook ads or video. Include the budget and advertising strategy, as well as specific channels, if applicable. Include who will oversee the marketing.

Traditional Marketing Plan

You might include in your marketing strategy a section that describes the traditional marketing plan of the business. Traditional marketing is anything that is not related to the internet, including flyers, business cards, local media advertising, magazine advertising, signage, and direct mail. Traditional marketing is a strong part of a retail business like a dog groomer.

Online Marketing Plan

A web plan, also known as an online marketing plan, is a plan that uses tools such as the website, email marketing, social media and video. It may take several pages. You can describe the services you are looking for, such as creating a website, managing social media, or hiring someone to do it. (You can also provide more information in the financial section).

Sales Strategy

Include a section on your sales strategy if it is an important part of your business. You should include the name of the salesperson or persons, the strategies they use to close deals with clients, follow-up procedures and the networking events they will attend. Also, talk about any training that your sales team will attend.

Sales Forecast Table

A sales forecast table is a summary of your expectations for where sales and expenses will be in the next three years of business. In the paragraph preceding the table, indicate where you expect growth and include a growth rate. Below, you will find the financial forecasts section that breaks down the annual sales forecast chart.

The annual sales forecast for this restaurant summarizes sales, cost, and profit for the first three years in business.

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Pricing Strategy

Discuss pricing strategies, including competitor pricing, sales promotions and discounts. This is basically all that you need to know about the pricing of your products or services. Pricing should be discussed in relation to service and product quality. You might consider including a summary of pricing for specific products (e.g., discounts on pizza prices when you order a certain number of pizzas for catering).

Milestones

A table is a common way to display milestones in a business planning document. These milestones outline the important tasks that must be completed before the business opens or expands (or if it is already in operation). Include the milestone’s name, estimated start date and completion date, cost, responsible person, and outside company responsible. At least seven milestones should be listed.

Milestones for this commercial photography business include hiring staff and completing marketing campaigns.

7. Management & Organization Summary

The management and organization summary provides an in-depth overview of the ownership and personnel plans. This section is important because investors often say that they don’t invest directly in companies but rather in individuals. This section will help you to show why your team and you have the knowledge and experience necessary to make this business succeed.

History of Ownership

Talk about the backgrounds of the owners and emphasize why they will succeed. If you are interested in opening a sports or outdoor store, talk to your retail management skills. You might consider hiring a co-owner if you have never managed a retail store. Banks won’t typically lend money to people who don’t have the experience to manage the type of business they are trying to open.

Management Team Gaps

Identify any knowledge or experience gaps in the management team. List the employees or consultants you plan to hire to fill the gaps. Investors who are familiar with your industry may be able to spot gaps in your business plan. It’s important that you list the employees or consultants you will hire to fill them in. Recognizing gaps in your industry experience will make it look like you are well-versed.

Personnel Plan

The personnel plan describes every position in your company for the next minimum of three years. The opening paragraph should discuss the company’s roles and who will be reporting to them. Include at least three years worth of salary projections for every employee in your company. At the bottom, include a total salary figure. This table can be further broken down into the salaries for each month in financial projections, or an appendix.

This commercial photography business has the CEO at the same salary every year, with their employees’ salaries increasing year over year.

8. Financial Data & Analysis

This section, which includes financial data and analysis, is the most challenging part of a business planning document. This section will require you to project income and expenses over the next three-years. It requires an understanding of the most common financial statements such as the balance sheet and profit and loss statements.

After reading the sections on financial data, you can use the free financial projections template provided by the Service Corp of Retired Executives to complete your business information. To assist you with forecasting, we recommend that you use a business plan or financial projections software like LivePlan.

Give an overview of the sections below in the opening paragraphs. The break-even point, projected profit, and the expected profits in the first, second, or third year of business are discussed. Also, state the projected assets and liabilities.

Ask your bank about the repayment terms and length of any loan you are applying for. Bankers need to know if the loan will be repaid and when it is likely to occur.

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Break-even Analysis

Break-even analysis refers to the point when revenue exceeds expenses, and profit is achieved. In the opening paragraph of this section, you should state the monthly fixed cost and the average percent variable cost. This is the cost that changes as output is produced. Variable costs in the example above increase by 8% for each additional dollar.

The break-even point for this document shredding business is $31,500 in a month.

Projected Profit & Loss

The profit and loss table shows a month-bymonth breakdown of income, expenses (including startup costs). The profit and loss table indicates the month in which the business will make a profit. Your business should be able to make a profit within the first year. This will increase in the years that follow. For the first two years of operation, be sure to track income and expenses month by month. For the first three years, create a separate chart showing income and expenses for each year.

Projection of Cash Flow

The cash flow section displays the company’s incoming and outgoing cash. This section is broken down into a month-bymonth table and should cover your first two years of business. Because it is focused on cash within the company, projected cash flow differs from the profit and loss projection. Because cash flow is essential, you need cash to pay your repayment obligations or meet unexpected cash needs.

The section’s introduction paragraph (before the projected Cash Flow Table) should describe what you intend to do with any excess cash. You might want to pay off long-term debt, increase cash contingency reserves or reinvest in U.S. Treasuries or certificates of deposit.

Projected Balance Sheet

The balance sheet displays the net worth and financial position of the company at a particular date. Because it is focused on assets and liabilities, the balance sheet differs from the profit and loss statements. The profit and loss statement is focused on income and expenses. The balance sheet should indicate that your company’s net worth has increased. For the first three years, prepare a projected year by year balance sheet.

Business Ratios

The business ratios, also known as financial ratios, are a way of evaluating the performance of your company. It is helpful to compare your projected business rates to industry standards. LivePlan offers business ratios for more than 1,000 industries through its paid plan. For the first three years, project your business ratios year by year.

You should be aware of your current ratio. This is your total current assets, cash and short-term debts, plus the current liabilities. Your current ratio is 1 if you have $2,000 of current assets and $2,000 of current liabilities.

A current ratio of 1:1 means that for every $1 in current assets, your business has 1 in current liabilities. Any ratio below 1 could signal that your business is unable to pay its debts. This would alarm investors and lenders.

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9. Appendix

The appendix contains information about businesses that don’t fall within the categories above. The type of business that you are creating will determine what information you place here. Any visual elements should be included in the appendix. If you’re opening a restaurant or other business, add a menu and an artist rendering.

These items should be included in your business plan appendix

  • Building permits
  • Interior mockup by artist
  • Floor plan
  • Leases and agreements
  • Equipment documentation
  • Agreements with suppliers
  • Incorporation documents
  • Permits and licenses
  • Trademarks
  • Media coverage
  • Marketing materials
  • Recommendations letters

Although an appendix isn’t required in a business proposal, it is highly recommended to add some extra persuasion. Documents such as media coverage, agreements and documentation about equipment can show investors and banks that you are serious about the business. Consider creating a second table to add content to your appendix if it is longer than 10 pages.

Financial projections in detail

Financial projections for the future are typically year-by-year. Bankers and investors would prefer to see the first two year’s financial projections broken down month by month for the least the profit and losses statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. The appendix will contain more detailed projections. You can usually just print the Excel sheet in a smaller font and add it to the appendix. The appendix doesn’t require additional charts.

Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs), about How to Write a Business Plan

This section answers the most common questions regarding how to create a business plan.

What should a business plan include?

The purpose of your business plan will dictate what you should include. You will need the majority of the sections if you are seeking financing from investors or banks. If you only have the time to do one section, however, it is the financial projections. While your research and company information are important, investors and bankers will want to see your financials first. Although the research required to calculate the expected numbers can take a long time, it will be a great help in preparing for the launch of your business.

How can you create a business plan to start a company?

A business plan for a startup will look similar to one for an established company. The startup plan will include startup expenses, which will be listed per item and factored in to the financial projections. You may also need to provide additional information regarding the owner, market, industry, and business model in order to convince the reader that your business can succeed.

What is the average time it takes to create a business plan.

Simple business plans can be completed in a matter of hours. The template includes financial projections and a business plan. However, it can take more than 60 hours to find out the income and costs of running your business. You will also need to create a chart to display the costs. It is a good idea to make it easy to understand.

Is it difficult to write a business plan?

Yes, it is difficult to create a business plan that will be funded by a bank or investor. The financial projections can be difficult for most business owners, especially if you don’t have any experience in financial statements. business model canvas (BMC) is a simpler way to build a business plan. It’s more current and easier than the one shown here.

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Bottom line

A business plan is essential for every type of business. Your business idea will be validated by the market segmentation and industry analysis sections. Forecasting and researching financial projections can help you to think logically about income and expenses. This will reduce the chance of your business failing. Employees and business associates should give feedback about your business plan. Before they can review the plan, sign an NDA if necessary.

One-page Business Plan: The Step by Step Guide

You probably have an idea for a business right now. That’s great! You now need to start thinking about that idea and get your thoughts down on paper. This One-Page Business Plan will guide you through every step of your business plan. This plan can be completed in under 15 minutes once you have a basic understanding of your financial projections. Planning is a great way of understanding the income potential and costs of your business idea.

Download our 1-page template for a business plan before you continue:

Download the template and save it on your desktop. You can edit the fields of the PDF. You can also print the PDF and type by hand. Each question can be answered with just one or two sentences. You are free to leave out any details.

If you require more space, place your basic ideas onto the template and then continue to write on a personal paper.

1. 1.

Question: How will you solve the problem in your business?

Every business has to solve a problem. Which problem can your company solve for customers? Get to the root of the problem your customer is facing.

A landscape company might find that “time lost” in maintaining a lawn is a problem. However, it’s best to be more specific. An example of a problem could be an untended lawn. Visually, you can see a unkempt lawn. However, it’s difficult to see the “time lost.”

2. 2.

Question: How will your company solve this problem?

Now that you have identified the problem, the next step is to find the solution. What are the specific steps you will take to solve the customer’s problem? This is your solution. Be specific about your solution.

Recalling the example of landscaping, your solution is to maintain a well-kept lawn. But I challenge you to think of a better solution. You might be creating a lawn that makes your neighbors jealous. This is an emotional solution–very powerful.

 

Tip If you are starting a new business, it is a good idea to test your solution in a small amount of time. This will ensure that customers pay you for your solution. A common saying in entrepreneurship is that a new startup created “a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Learn more:

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3. The Business Model

Question – How can your business make money.

Many businesses have a simple business model. The company gets paid when a product or service is sold.

It is also important to describe how and where products and services are going to be sold. They will be sold in your business or at your office. Is it possible to sell them in someone else’s office or store? Are you going to be participating in ecommerce?

This step will allow you to set your pricing, which basically means how much you’ll charge. This is often difficult to determine. You might also consider looking at pricing on other websites. It is possible to contact a competitor for a quote.

4. 4.

Question: Will you sell your products or services to someone else?

Your ideal customers are your target customers. Your target customers are your ideal customers. A common marketing maxim is “Marketing to everyone”; if you don’t market to anyone, then you are marketing to nobody.

Think about demographics when deciding who your target customers will be. Consider features like income, gender, hobbies, location, and age.

Once you have a clear understanding of your target customers, it will be easier to develop your marketing strategy. You’ll know where and how to spend marketing dollars.

5. 5.

Question What will your target customers know about you business?

List the strategies that you’ll use to make potential customers learn more about your business. It can be difficult to convince your first customers when you are a new company. How do you achieve this?

Online marketing is often less effective than in-person networking. Online marketing can be free and reach many people.

You can optimize your Google My Business (GMB), listing if you are looking for local customers. You can also create your one-page website free of charge after you have created your GMB listing. Affordable

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6. 6. Competitive Advantage

Question How will your company do better than its competitors?

Study your competition to determine your competitive advantage. Once you have a clear idea of what you can do better than your competitors, you can choose one or two areas that you are confident you can beat them in.

You can offer exceptional customer service if they have bad online reviews. Your marketing could even mention this, as an example of a satisfaction guarantee.

Perhaps you are faster than your competitors – “Done in two or less days!”

7. Financial Projections

Question – How much do you need for your first venture?

One component of financial projections can be called startup cost. This is how much money you will need to open your doors. Simply list the services and items you require to get your business off the ground.

You should overestimate the startup cost rather than underestimate it when estimating. Many new business owners are unaware of certain startup costs. You could be short of cash if you underestimate the costs.

Question – How much money will you spend each month?

Calculate the monthly spending potential of your company. Calculate the cost of the first 12 months.

It may require some research. It may be necessary to call the number and request a quote on items like raw materials, equipment, or insurance.

Question – How much do you make each month?

The fun part is now–how much money do you expect to make. What number of customers are you expecting to have each month for the first twelve months? Your pricing should be determined from the business model step. To calculate your monthly income, multiply the number of customers by the price.

You may expect to increase your customer base each month depending on the type of business you have. In your first month, you may only have a few customers. By 12 months, you could have hundreds of customers. But you don’t need to expand. Some businesses may be satisfied with just a few customers each month.

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8. 8.

Question: How much money is needed to start and run your business?

The total amount you will need to fund your business and keep it running for at most six month. You will need more funding than the initial amount.

What happens if sales don’t go as planned? Oder a natural catastrophe like a hurricane, pandemic, or other major event. Is your company able to save enough money to make it through difficult times?

Once you have the funds to launch and run your business for at least six more months, you can start looking for other sources of funding, such as:

Alternative to the One-Page Business Plan

After reading this guide, you will be able to create a more detailed business plan. There are many types of business plans . If you are looking for funding from investors or banks, you will need a traditional plan. This plan requires extensive market research and financial forecasting.

Bottom line

Once you’ve created your one-page business strategy, don’t forget to look at it again. Keep your plan in mind as you work on your business.

To see if your forecasts were correct, it’s a good idea to keep track your income and expenses. Are you achieving your goals? What is working well and what isn’t? Your one-page business plan can be used to assess the current state of your business and make any necessary updates.

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What is a Business Partnership?

A partnership is an agreement between two or three individuals who enter into a business together. There are many types of partnerships business owners can form, including a limited partnership, general partnership, limited partnership with multiple members and limited liability partnership (LLP). No matter what type of partnership you choose, it is important to create a written agreement and register the business as an entity.

Types of Business Partnerships

The majority of small- to medium-sized partnerships prefer an LLC with multiple owners (members). However, we will describe all possible partnerships. If you are asked about them by an attorney or via a government website, it is important to know the differences.

  • General Partnership: This type of partnership is very similar to a sole proprietor but with more than one owner. Each partner is equal in ownership of the business. It is easy to create a GP – register your partnership as a “doingbusiness as” (DBA), and open a bank accounts.
  • Limited Partnership: An LP also includes a limited partner. The limited partner is usually an investor who isn’t involved in day-to-day operations. The general partner is usually a corporation and not an individual because the LP does not provide personal liability protection.
  • Limited Liability Company with multiple members is the best type of partnership for small businesses. The LLC is flexible in structure. A partnership agreement, which outlines the ownership shares and duties of LLC members (owners), may also be known as the LLC operating agreement.
  • Limited Liability Partnerships: This LLP works in the same way as an LLC but is for professionals such as accountants, lawyers, doctors, and accountants. The LLP offers additional liability protection to each partner. This means that the negligence of one doesn’t affect the financial or liability of the other.

How are partners taxed

All tax rates for LLC, GP, LP and LLP are the same.

However, the LLC has more tax flexibility. An LLC with limited liability can choose to become an S corporation and offer significant tax savings to its partners (members). For clarification, here’s an example:

Let’s suppose that two partners own 50/50 of the company. Each partner gets $75,000. If the company makes $150,000 in net profits, it is worth $55,000 to each partner. Each partner owes $11,475 in a 15.3% Self-employment Tax. This is $75,000 x 15.3%.

There are potential tax savings if the LLC is elected Scorp tax status. Each partner is required to take a reasonable salary when electing Scorp tax status. Any net income other than the salary is considered a dividend. A dividend does not include self-employment taxes. This is a great thing.

Referring to the previous example, $150,000 net profit. If each partner received a reasonable $50,000 salary, each would receive a $25,000 dividend. The $50,000 salary would result in a 15.3% self employment tax. This would amount to $7,727 taxes on $150,000 of net profit.

Each partner would be able to elect the S-corp status for the LLC, which will save them $3,749 ($11,475 – $7,727).

How to set up a business partnership

Although a handshake can be all it takes to start a business partnership, it is important to register your partnership to ensure that personal assets are not subject to lawsuits or creditors. These are the steps to create a multi-member LLC.

  1. Draft a Partnership Agreement, LLC Operating Agreement
  2. Consult an attorney to review the Partnership Agreement
  3. For the partnership, choose a name that is easily identifiable to the public
  4. Register the partnership as an LLC on the state’s official website for business registrations or via an online legal services – expect to pay between $40 and $500 for this registration
  5. Publicize a notice in your local newspaper announcing the formation of your LLC partnership. This is an ancient process, but it is still necessary in many states.

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What is a Partnership Agreement?

A business partnership is similar to a marriage. A broken relationship can have serious legal and financial consequences. A partnership agreement is a crucial legal step before you start any partnership.

This agreement describes the structure of the partnership. It includes details such as the purpose of the business and the percentage of ownership. This agreement will also serve as the legal document that outlines what to do when there is a difficult business situation such as an exit or illness.

 

Not required by the state. If the LLC is being registered, the LLC operating agreement could include information about the partnership. You can also draft each document separately.

 

You can create your own partnership agreement , or hire a business lawyer to do it for you. We recommend that you have an attorney review any agreements you create. An Rocket Lawyer attorney can review your document for $50 if you are just starting a new business. A local attorney can help you with more complex documents.

A Business Partnership Alternative

You now know what a general partnership is and how an LLC with multiple members works. Now you might be wondering where a fits in.

Most small-to-medium-sized businesses will not register as a C-corp. Maintenance is too complicated and taxes are too costly. C corporations are subject to double taxation: at the corporate level (21%), and at the individual level (21%).

A C corporation may be the best choice for smaller businesses such as startups. C-corps are more friendly to investors than S-corps. They allow unlimited shareholders while the S-corp has fewer than 100 shareholders. If the owners intend to keep a significant amount of profit, the C-corp tax rate is 21 percent.

A business attorney can help you with your particular situation.

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Bottom line

It’s an exciting venture to form a business partnership. To build a successful business, you’ll be joining hands with one or more people. Based on your company’s structure, you will need to decide the best partnership arrangement. To ensure that all partners are on the same page regarding the company’s future, you should draft a partnership agreement. Register as a business entity, such as a multi-member LLC, before you take on customers. This will protect you from any personal liability.

The Beginner’s Guide to Trademarks vs Copyright and Patent

Protecting your intellectual property (IP), whether you are a business owner or an inventor, is a smart decision. This could involve a trademark or copyright, as well as a patent depending on what type of work you are trying to protect. Each of these have a unique purpose and registration process. To determine which IP is best for you, be familiar with the differences.

How to Get a Trademark

To prevent others from using your trademark, you need to register a phrase, symbol, word, or design that distinguishes the product or service from other offerings. Although you can register a trademark at the US Patent and Trademark Office, this step is not necessary.

You can still use your trademark even if you don’t register it. However, without a registration, you won’t get the USPTO’s legal protections–exclusive rights to the trademark and a presumption of ownership.

This means that you will be the owner of the mark, but the government won’t recognize you as such. We recommend registering your trademark – brand name, logo, slogan – to enforce your exclusive rights, if needed.

How to Get a Copyright

If you wish to have the exclusive right of selling, duplicating, sharing, and manipulating your work, get a copyright. It is important to remember that artists automatically have all rights to their original work. Registration is not necessary.

However, the U.S. can register a copyright. Copyright Office allows you to protect your original work against unauthorized use. The registered copyright allows you to enforce it if someone uses it illegally.

In other words, a registered copyright allows creators to file a lawsuit in federal court for infringement. If you wish to receive statutory damages or attorney’s fees, registration is also required. The registration of a copyright makes it public and gives the creator a certificate.

How to Get a Patent

If you have a process or chemical composition that you want to protect, you can get a patent. Patents are the most complicated type of intellectual property protection. They protect how your invention works, not just how it looks.

Patents are similar to trademarks and are managed by the USPTO. However, unlike copyrights and trademarks, patent must first be applied for and granted in order to provide protections. Patent application can be complicated and time-consuming. It’s worthwhile if you want IP theft protection for your valuable invention.

Trademark vs Copyright vs Patent

  Trademark Copyright Patent
Registering at a reasonable cost $225 to $2,000 From $45 to $65 $1,500 – $15,000+
What is Protected? Differentiating words, phrases and symbols Creativity in a tangible medium Inventions
All Rights Reserved Stop others from using your trademark Control reproduction, distribution, display, and control of work Stop others from using, making, or selling the idea or item
Protection length Indefinite Variable Variable
Register required Optional Optional  
DIY Difficulty Moderate to difficult Simple Difficult
Time to File From three months to several decades From 1 to 21 Months Six months to many years
Types of attorneys recommended We recommend that you hire a trademark attorney No need for an attorney We recommend that you hire a patent attorney

 

FREE Guide: How to Start Your Business Step-by-step guide that will show you how to get from idea to launch in just 30 days 

Trademark

Both traditional trademarks as well as service marks are often described by trademark. Traditional trademarks include words, phrases and symbols that identify goods, while service marks are used to distinguish services.

Although registration is not required to use your trademark rightfully, it provides additional protection. When starting a business, new business owners who have a strong brand need to consider trademark registration.

Registering Requirements

To use a trademark on products or services, you don’t need to register it. You can use the trademark as part of your regular business.

If you wish to have exclusive rights to the trademark associated with your products, however, it must first be registered with USPTO. Public notice of ownership is also provided by registration. The registration creates a presumption that the mark is owned. People should consider carefully before using it.

To register your trademark go to the USPTO website and submit an application via the Trademark Electronic Application System. The application fee starts at $225, but could be higher. You will be charged more if you request an extension or work with a lawyer.

After you have submitted your application, you can monitor your status via TEAS. It may take up to six months for a reply. It may take several years to register a trademark.

Length of Protection

Because they are based upon actual use, trademark rights don’t expire after a certain period. Your trademark is valid as long as it is used in commerce or in connection to your goods and services.

 

Tip Registered trademarks are only valid for a period of 10 years. You must renew your USPTO registration to continue protection.

 

Do You Need to Trademark Your Business Name

Your LLC or corporate name, which you register with the state to start a business, is protected at state level. This means that no other state business can use your company’s name. If you intend to only do business within your state of filing, your business name may not be necessary to trademark.

However, if you anticipate growing your business to a neighboring state–or nationally–trademarking your business name will give you the exclusive right to use it.

Register a Trademark with an Online Legal Service

You can register your trademark yourself, but it is easier to use an online legal service. IncFile will check if your trademark is available and, if so, you can file your trademark request online for $199 plus federal fees.

Visit IncFile

Copyright

Copyright law in the United States protects “tangible media of expression.”

  • Music
  • Poetry
  • Novels
  • Paintings
  • Architecture
  • Movie scripts
  • Software for computers
  • Other original and creative works

A “copyright” refers to a set of rights that are associated with each work. This includes the right to sell, duplicate, display, modify, or display it.

A creator is entitled to copyright for each of his original works. However, registration with the U.S. Copyright Office grants him the right to enforce these rights in federal courts.

Registering Requirements

To protect a work, registration is not necessary. Artists should still copyright their work in order to be able to sue, register it, or prove ownership with a certificate.

Log in to Copyright.gov to register and choose the type of work that you wish to copyright. The online registration platform will then direct you to a page where you can submit a request for $35-$65.

After submitting an application, the copyright process may take anywhere from 1 month to 21 months. Please submit your application as soon as you can. The following factors affect the time it takes to register:

  • Complexity of the application
  • How to submit the application
  • Method of payment

Protection length

Copyright protection length depends on the creator of the work, its date of creation, and when it was published. Copyright protection will be in effect for the lifetime of the person who created the piece. It can also last up to 70 years.

Protection is not available for work created for hire or where the identity of the creator is not known. Protection lasts 95 years from publication, and 120 years from its creation.

 

Tip Copyright protection is the same regardless of whether the copyright has been registered.

 

What is a poor man’s copyright?

Copyright for the poor is a fictional type of copyright. It’s created when an artist, creator or writer writes and sends it to herself.

This copyright strategy aims to establish the earliest date that the artist had the idea in order to prove ownership. Is this a good strategy? It doesn’t work. This strategy is not covered by relevant copyright laws. This does not provide the same protections that registering your work with U.S. Copyright Office

Patent

Patents protect unique intellectual property of inventors or designers. The following common IP can be patentable:

  • Machines
  • Proces
  • Manufactured products
  • Chemical compositions
  • A new variety of plants

Inventions can only be granted if they apply to the USPTO, unlike trademarks and copyrights. The patent application process can be lengthy and complex. We recommend that you hire a patent attorney to help you navigate the complex process. We recommend that you begin the patent process immediately if your business is and your product requires a patent.

Apply Process

The first step in the application process is to determine if your invention is patentable. This is a determination of whether or not your invention has been claimed publicly.

A comprehensive patent search is necessary to determine whether a patent has been claimed. This can be very difficult. We recommend that you hire a patent attorney.

Also, you will need to decide which type of patent is required–utility design, plant, or utility–and gather the necessary documents to file an application. The cost of an patent application varies depending on whether you work with an attorney or not. Due to the complexity of the application process, it can take up to six months before the USPTO grants a patent.

Length of Protection

The type of patent determines the length of patent protection. Provisional patents, for example, are granted for a year while the applicant seeks a formal one.

New design patents can be filed for up to 14 years from the date of issuance. Similar to utility and plant patents, they last for 20 years after being filed.

Online Legal Service to File a Patent

We recommend that you work with a local attorney if you have the money, especially if the patent is complex. If you are starting or running a business and have limited funds, an online legal service may be a better option to file your patent application. LegalZoom can submit your application for $199 plus the federal filing fees.

Visit LegalZoom

Bottom line

Protecting your intellectual property is essential for artists, creators, inventors, and other business owners. The available protections can be complicated and registration procedures can be complex.

Although the copyright registration process can be quite straightforward, we recommend that you hire an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law. You can hire an online legal service such as InFile (trademarks), or LegalZoom to help you navigate the process.

LLP vs LLC: Which is best for your business?

An LLP (limited-liability partnership) and an LLC (limited-liability company) are two different things. The LLP protects business assets from the negligence of another partner. Only the assets of one partner are liable if he or she is sued for negligence. LLP vs LLC Common LLP businesses include law, accounting and architecture firms.

How to Form an LLC

If you do not want to be held responsible for the actions of your business partners, you should form an LLP. If an accounting firm has three partners who have equal ownership (33%) and one of them is sued by a client for negligence, the LLP will only hold that partner liable.

 

Tip LLPs can only be found in 40 states. It’s not available for certain professions if it is. California, for example, allows architects, lawyers, accountants and accountants to form an LLP.

 

How to Form an LLC

If you have partners in your business and are not eligible for an LLP (e.g. your state does not allow LLP formations), then you will need to create a multimember (multipartner) LLC. This will protect you from any business lawsuit or bankruptcy.

When to Use an Alternative

You might also wonder if you should create an S corp (S-corp) or a corporation (C-corp). Although technically an entity that isn’t a business, the S corporation can be a tax status that is favorable for small businesses. When you register as an LLC or corporation, you can choose S-corp tax status.

A C-corp formation is quite complicated and will require the assistance of a business lawyer. A C corporation is preferred by many companies because it allows them to raise capital from investors. C-corps are also required by law for companies with more than 100 shareholders or foreign shareholders.

LLP vs LLC: A Glance

LLP LLC
Liability Protection All partners are protected against the negligence or wrongdoings of their partners Partners (members) cannot be held responsible for the negligence or wrongdoing of their partners
Tax Treatment Taxes on self-employment
Profits are passed through
Some states may have additional taxes
Taxes on self-employment
Pass-through is optional
Optional Scorp election
Some states may have additional taxes
Prices Formation fee: $40-$500
Annual filing fee: $40-$500
Additional State Tax: $0-$800
Formation fee: $40-$500
Annual filing fee: $40-$500
Easy Formation Additional paperwork is required to set up and professional licenses must be shown. It is easy to set up and one-member LLCs are possible
Additional Information The Pros and Cons of an LLP Pros & Con of an LLC

Liability Protection

The LLP protects one partner against the negligence, debt, or wrongdoing of another. If a client sues an attorney for negligence they are only liable for their capital investment in the company, and not all partners.

 

Note States have very different laws regarding LLPs. Some states require that all partners share the liability for a bankruptcy filing. Others don’t. For more information, check with the state’s official website for business registration or a local attorney.

 

Keep in mind these situations when the liability shield may be forfeited while you are forming your company.

  • You can be held liable if you defraud vendors, clients, or investors by operating a business.
  • Improper administration of the company: Failure to comply with the legal requirements for an LLC (such as holding annual meetings) can lead to personal liability.
  • Combining personal and business funds: You could be personally liable for any business activity if you keep company money in your personal checking.
  • Using personal funds to pay LLC obligations: Personally paying company bills could expose you to liability
  • Insufficiently capitalizing an LLC at startup:Forming companies without enough resources to meet their initial obligations may cause problems later.

Taxes

The taxes for an LLC and an LLP are very similar. States often allow “pass-through” taxation. You will be subject to a 15.3% tax on self-employment for both. Your personal income tax bracket will receive the income after tax.

An LLC can elect S corporation status, which is the main difference between LLP and LLC in taxation. S-corp status allows a business owner to save taxes because they only have to pay 15.3% of the owner’s salary and not all income. This is known as a dividend. A dividend can save you thousands of dollars each year in taxes.

 

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Prices

The costs of setting up an LLC or LLP in most states are the same. You may need to pay an additional fee for an LLC. California, for example, charges LLPs an $800 flat tax annually.

Depending on the state you live in, the cost of forming an LLC or LLP can vary greatly. Here is a rough estimate of the cost.

  • Initial filing fees:$40-$500 (the fee to create an LLC).
  • Annual filing fees: $40-$500 (the cost to maintain an LLC current when you file yearly filings)
  • LLP annual state tax: $0 up to $800 (the additional tax that an LLP may be subject to)

How to Register an LLP or LLC

Both the steps for registering an LLC or LLP are similar. It is possible to register your LLC or LLP online via the website of your Secretary-of-State, or another official business registration site. These are the steps you need to follow if you want to register an LLC or LLP yourself.

  1. Get an Employer Identification number (EIN).
  2. Draft your partnership agreement if you intend to form a partnership.
  3. Visit the official website of your state for business registration.
  4. Send the articles of organization along with any other information.
  5. Select your registered agent.
  6. Document when your LLC or LLP must be renewed with the state.

Many business owners find it difficult to follow the legal steps on their state’s website for business registration. IncFile is an online legal service that can provide professional help. It will send your LLC and LLP documents directly to the state, free of charge, plus any applicable fees.

Visit IncFile

Bottom line

Both LLPs as well as LLCs are easy-to-use business structures and are great for those who are just starting a business. Both provide personal liability protection for their owners and are easy to set up and maintain. Generally, LLPs work best for certain professions while LLCs work better for all other types of businesses.

14 Strategies to Increase Profits

Most business owners are looking for ways to increase their profits. You can either increase your prices or reduce costs. What are the most cost-effective and affordable options, especially during COVID-19? These 14 strategies will help you and your company make more money in 2021.

1. 1.

Online sales increased significantly after the pandemic shut downs. Even after the pandemic, online sales will continue to grow. This is the perfect time to expand or move into online shopping.

To implement ecommerce, the first step is to make your website accept online orders. You will need an platform that allows you to accept online payments. These platforms can be added to your existing website. You can also add them to a separate site like Square.

Square is a payment processor that also provides a well-design ecommerce website for free.

Online sales are more than just accepting orders online. You will also need to offer curbside pickup or mailing delivery. You can also accept payments remotely.

You might also consider a delivery company and part-time driver job. This is particularly important for restaurants who need to offer online ordering.

2. Automate Business Systems

Automating processes is one way to increase efficiency and decrease costs. Software services or software that is good can automate everything, from inventory to payroll. This will allow you and your employees to focus on the tasks that are most important to your business.

You might consider automating these business systems:

3. 3. Improve Your Website

Your website is being used by people to research your company and make business decisions. How can you make their experience better and increase their trust in your company so that they are more likely use your product/service? Your website should accomplish four things clearly

  1. Describe who you are and the products you offer
  2. Attract potential customers to purchase
  3. Facilitate the purchase of your product or service
  4. You can easily contact customer service or sales to ask questions

Start by making sure your website is clean, current, up-to-date, and updated in terms of its information. Next, test your ecommerce components to ensure they work smoothly.

The free SEO Analyzer tool on NeilPatel.com will give you strategies that help get your website found on Google.

After you have set up your website, perform a search engine optimization audit (SEO). An SEO audit will allow you to better understand how Google and other search engines view your website. SEO-based modifications may be required to improve the visibility of your website when someone searches for what it provides.

Review your customer communication experience, in addition to SEO.

  • Are there any links to social media sites?
  • Do you have a section or a link where customers can leave reviews?
  • chatbot could benefit your site by answering common questions
  • Is your email and phone number easily reachable?

4. 4.

Customers can leave reviews on your free Google My Business listing.

Responding to customer reviews is a simple way to increase sales and conversions. Consumers say that businesses that respond to customer reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than those who don’t (76% to 46%).

Pay attention to these reviews and respond to any negative comments. Some 45% consumers say that they are more likely to visit businesses that respond to negative reviews. You can also share positive reviews on your site and social media. Spread the word!

Encourage reviews by making it easy. Have you ever received a receipt promising to send you something free for filling in a review? You can increase your chances of getting customers to write reviews by sending them an email and a hyperlink.

5. Communicate with Customers

Customers expect to have a relationship with companies they patronize. Interactions can provide valuable insight for businesses about customers.

Communication is a two-way process. Don’t just ask for feedback. You can also offer advice or discounts in exchange for feedback. There are many ways to communicate with customers and establish a relationship. Here are some:

  • You can also go in-person and take a bit more time at the counter
  • Email – A thank you, feedback and coupons
  • By signing up for our newsletters
  • Social media:
  • Chat rooms for your website
  • Forums
  • Virtual Meet-ups offer an opportunity to meet interesting speakers

6. 6.

You might be reluctant to invest more money in your business at first. This is especially true when you are trying to figure how to make more money and not less. In times of chaos, where there are new opportunities, it is often the best decision to take a short-term risk for a long-term reward.

Get creative when looking for a large investment in your company. You don’t need to use your business or personal funds for this investment. Customers will benefit from this upgrade? Think about a crowdfunding campaign. Do you need better equipment? You might consider a equipment loan. Do you see it as a new idea? Consider getting an investor.

7. 7.

Freelance websites like Upwork.com help you connect with vetted freelancers.

Outsourcing tasks or hiring contractors is one way to reduce costs. This allows you to save on employee benefits such as FICA or health insurance. It also gives you more money for your bottom-line. An expert contractor may be able to do a job faster and better than adding it on to an employee with less qualifications.

Outsourcing and contractors are particularly useful for administrative tasks, short-term projects, and other unique tasks that do not require a full-time employee. You may find certain services such as HR or accounting included in a software and/or service package. You might consider a freelancer site if you are looking for contractors to do a particular task.

8. Advertise More

Advertising can be a costly investment. Perhaps you have been scammed by marketers who promised results but didn’t deliver. You might have tried advertising on your own, such as Facebook ads, but it didn’t work.

Advertising works, regardless of past experience. However, it is a long-term strategy. Experts believe that a customer must view an advertisement 20 times before taking action. A Facebook advertisement to 10,000 people will not be as effective than 10 ads to 1000 people.

You can make advertising more powerful by reading Influence by Robert Cialdini. This book provides strategies to convince people to act on your ads quickly.

9. Raise Prices

This strategy is both simple and unpopular in today’s economic climate. However, it is sometimes necessary to raise prices in order to remain in business. Consider these options when settling on a price:

  • What does it cost to make the product?
  • What it costs to deliver it
  • The business costs, including administration and wages,
  • Prices of competitors
  • Last time you increased prices

Consider the data and decide on a fair price increase. You can include any pricing data in your Business Plan if you wish to revisit it later.

Next, tell customers about the increase. Explain the reasons you made this decision. Customers should be informed that there are ways to increase the value of the product without reducing profits.

Keep in mind that increasing prices can result not in a decrease but an increase in sales according to Influence, the best-selling book on persuasion. This psychological effect is caused by people seeing your product or service more valuable because it costs more.

10. 10.

Selling to existing customers is easier and more cost-effective than selling to new ones. Offer additional products and add-ons to existing customers or leads.

via your email list is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Perhaps you aren’t interested in sending another email to customers. You may be thinking wrongly about customer emails if this is the case.

Customers should value their emails more than sales. What can you offer your customers to add value to their lives? Think of a tip, recommendation or piece of advice that is relevant to your industry. Next, add the sales language to the value.

You can also sell to existing customers. Send handwritten notes to your loyal customers. Include a coupon or a reminder that you value them as customers in the note. Include a call to action (CTA) at the end.

11. Reduce the price of a leader item

A leader item is a product that your customer buys. This could be a basic product, a subscription that offers no frills, or the first of a series.

You can attract new customers by offering the leader item at an unassailable price. Once they become a customer, it is possible to sell additional products, upsell (more of your current item), and cross-sell (a new item). No matter what strategy you use, the key is to offer a customer a great deal on the leader product.

12. Follow the 80/20 Rule

You should focus your efforts on your most valuable customers. It is believed that 20% of your customers bring in 80% of your revenue. These are the customers you should be focusing on.

The flip side is that 20% of your customers are often the source of 80% of your problems. To make your business more productive, identify and fire problem customers.

13. Reduce Costs

The Profit Leverage Effect (PLE) is one way to reduce costs. The Profit Leverage Effect (PLE) is the idea that every dollar you save on the production or delivery of goods adds to your bottom line, without having to sell more.

To cut costs, examine your current processes:

  • Is there an area where efficiency can be improved?
  • Do you want to negotiate for lower prices on products or services?
  • Are you looking to save money by using new software or hiring services?

Save money to make money.

14. Collaborate

Are there businesses that are similar to yours but have a different market or meet a different customer need? This may have been something you didn’t consider when you first started your business. But, it is worth considering a partnership or collaborative effort.

You can promote each other to customers by simply sending them a newsletter, or you could get involved in bundling products. Clear guidelines should be established when collaborating. These guidelines should include profit sharing, cost-sharing, and efforts.

Bottom line

It’s more important than ever to be innovative in order to be financially successful. To determine whether there are any expenses that you can reduce or eliminate, audit your business. Consider tapping into your email list and upselling to increase sales. Consider the paid options, such as advertising or business investments, after you have explored the free possibilities.

6 Best Agent Services

Services offered by registered agents (RAs) are generally similar. They accept legal and state documents for you. Pricing, customer service and other legal services plans are the only differences. Consider your company’s legal requirements and your overall budget when choosing the right registered agent service.

These are the six top registered agent services in 2020:

Register Agent Services Best for Cost
Northwest Registered Agent (Best Overall) Business owners who need a simple and reliable RA service $125 per annum
InFile A new business owner with a limited budget is looking for the best deal on registering agents $119 (First year free of charge with new business formation
Zen Business Pricing package for a custom registered agent or business formation $99 per annum (first year $49 for new business formation).
LegalZoom You can also find many other online legal services $299 per annum
Biz Council A registered agent service and ongoing legal advice With its $89 per-month plan, there is no cost
Rocket Lawyer Affordable legal services – registered agent, business formations, legal advice and legal docs $149.99/year (save 25% if you are a member).

 

Tip For more information about what a registered representative does for your company, please read our beginner guide to becoming a registered agent.

 

How we evaluated registered agent service companies

We reviewed the following:

  • How much does RA cost? Are there discounts for the first year?
  • Additional services: Is there an additional service that is included with the standard registered agent service
  • Customer reviews online: What was your experience?
  • Software quality: How will the signup process and ease-of-use be?
  • You can use a company to provide RA services. Can you also use them for legal services like business formation to launch your business or attorney advice?
  • Customer Service: How can I reach the companies?

Northwest Registered Agent: Best RA Service for Small Businesses

What makes Northwest unique is it specializes in registered agent (RA) services. This focus allows them to perfect the RA service with locally scanned documents and customer service reps (called Local Guides) that are experts in registered agent services. In addition to being your RA, they can also assist with business formation and maintaining your business with the state.

Northwest Registered Agent Pros Northwest Registered Agent Cons
Talk to a local guide for free Inadequacy of comprehensive legal services
Documents that have been locally scanned  
Customer privacy enhanced  
Highly rated customer service  

Contact Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Agent Pricing

$125 per year

Northwest Registered Agent Features

  • Local Corporate Guides When you call Northwest, you will speak to a “Local Business Guide” who is knowledgeable in the specific state you are calling. This is a great benefit for RA services because they can help you navigate the process. A registered agent can go by many different names depending on the state they are in and have different business requirements.
  • Documents locally scanned: Northwest will scan the document and upload it from the location where it is received. It is possible for mail to be lost if it is sent to another company.
  • No sales of personal data:Some large online legal service providers will sell your personal information. Northwest has committed to never selling any customer’s data.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time by phone, email and chat.

Why we like Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest’s About Us page is one of the most customer-centric pages ever created. Their slogan is “We’re just not annoying.” They also believe that money should never be in the way of a good relationship. You don’t have any obligation to be happy with the service you receive. Northwest does not have any investors or debt and is the owner of their commercial real property. The business can be run by its owners without the need for outside supervision, unlike other legal services.

IncFile: The Best Deal for a New Company’s Registered Agent

What separates IncFile from other registered agent services is its initial low cost. The first year of RA services is free when you form a business (LLC or corporation). After the first year, it’s $119 a year. Included with the RA service is a digital dashboard that reminds you of important dates such as business registration renewal.

Pros at IncFile IncFile Agent Cons
Registration of a business is free for the first year No legal form maker
Register your business for free  
Online dashboard for RAs  
SMS Notifications

Visit IncFile

Pricing for IncFile Agents

$119 per year, but it’s free the first year you register your new business.

IncFile’s business registration (LLC/C-corp and S-corp) are free.

IncFile Agent Features

  • IncFile:IncFile is the leader in pricing. The first year of registration for registered agent services, when forming a company, comes with no cost.
  • Additional legal service: IncFile offers unique legal services including filings with the IRS and a search for trade names.
  • Online dashboard Log in to an online portal to view important information regarding your registered agent service, such as the renewal date and scanned documents.
  • SMS notifications When IncFile receives documents on your behalf, it will send a text message to you.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time by phone or email.

Why we like IncFile as a registered agent

IncFile is the best online pricing provider for legal services. The delivery of services is high-quality, despite the lower price. Third-party review sites rate IncFile at 4.8 out 5 stars. Customers were pleased with the customer service experience and the simple process of signing up for legal services.

 

ZenBusiness: The Most Flexible RA and Business Formation Programs

What separates ZenBusiness from competitors is the ability to combine RA services with a custom business formation package—create one that fits your needs. Also, similar to IncFile, it provides a first-year discount on RA services when you combine them with a business formation. ZenBusiness is highly rated online. With any negative reviews, it tries to resolve the customer’s complaint.

ZenBusiness Registered Agent Pros Zen Business Registered Agent Cons
Customer service at its best Recent increases in the length of customer responses have led to a longer response time
You don’t have to worry about compliance  
Unique additional legal services  
There are many plans available  

Visit ZenBusiness

ZenBusiness Agent Pricing

$99 per annum

Existing business owners can also choose from several plans. The lowest-cost business formation and registered agent plan costs $49 the first year, and $119 each year thereafter.

ZenBusiness Features

  • ZenBusiness offers worry-free compliance when you sign up to the $179 per annum business formation and registered agent plans. This deal guarantees compliance with state or it will fix it at no cost.
  • Exclusive service plans: All three ZenBusiness business formation and maintenance plans include an agent. Depending on your business requirements, choose the right plan.
  • Highly rated user reviews:4.7 stars from third-party review websites. ZenBusiness was easy to use for customers. Customers also liked the speed of response.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Central Time by phone, chat, or email.

ZenBusiness: Why We Love It

ZenBusiness offers unique packages that include its registered agent program. ZenBusiness offers peace of mind for business owners who are concerned about keeping up with state documents. ZenBusiness is second, with a $49 initial fee ($119 thereafter) and the best business formation and RA deal IncFile has to offer.

LegalZoom: The Best Choice for Additional Legal Services

What separates Legal Zoom from the other registered agent service competitors is the additional features. Every RA service includes business data monitoring and up to $1 million in identity theft coverage through Experian. Additionally, LegalZoom provides a compliance calendar to keep you up to date with any RA-related deadlines in your state.

LegalZoom Registered Agent Pros LegalZoom Agent Cons
Business data monitoring High costs
$1 Million in Identity Theft Coverage  
Calendar for compliance  
A large selection of legal services available  

Visit LegalZoom

LegalZoom Agent Pricing

$299 per annum

LegalZoom Agent Features

  • A wide range of legal services are available: You can also get personalized legal docs and legal advice.
  • Identity theft coverage and data monitoring: All RA services include Experian data monitoring.
  • Compliance calendar LegalZoom offers a custom compliance calendar that alerts users to deadlines for tax returns and annual reports.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Pacific Time, by phone, email or chat.

Why LegalZoom is a Registered Agent

LegalZoom’s high-quality and simple-to-use software is one reason it is more expensive. LegalZoom offers the best customer service, with weekends open–which can be important for side-businesses.

BizCounsel: The Best Registered Agent Deal with a Advice Plan

What separates BizCounsel from the other companies on this list is that its registered agent service is free. However, to get the free RA, you need to sign up for its $89 per month legal advice and document review plan. If you have a business that needs documents reviewed by an attorney frequently, or ongoing legal questions, BizCounsel has the best registered agent service deal.

BizCounsel Registered agent Pros BizCounsel Registered agent Cons
RA’s available for three businesses that have the Pro plan You must purchase the legal advice plan
Unlimited attorney consultations  
Drafting custom legal documents  
Online reviews highly rated  

Go to BizCounsel

BizCounsel registered agent pricing

$89 to $189 per Month (RA included in legal advice and document review plans)

BizCounsel Registered Agent Features

  • Multiple registered agent: If you own multiple businesses, you can have three registered agents under the BizCounsel Pro plan.
  • Customer Support Team:Members can book appointments or facilitate meetings with an attorney by contacting a client success specialist.
  • Responsive customer services: Negative online comments were followed up by a BizCounsel representative and the co-founder.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Pacific Time by phone or email.

BizCounsel is why we like it

BizCounsel was founded by LegalZoom’s founders over 20 years ago. They are familiar with the online legal services market. BizCounsel can help you with document drafting and legal questions.

Rocket Lawyer: The Most Affordable Combination Of Legal Services and Registered Agents

What separates Rocket Lawyer (RL) from the competition is the combination of lower-cost ongoing legal services such as customizable forms, legal advice, and a registered agent service. Rocket Lawyer’s pricing for a RA is slightly more expensive than most companies on this list. However, with the 25% member discount, the price is comparable.

Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Pros Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Cons
100% satisfaction guarantee RA services are slightly more costly
Online access to mailed documents  
Additional legal services at a low cost  

Visit Rocket Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer Pricing for Registered Agents

Save 25% on your $149.99 annual cost by joining the $39.99 monthly Membership

Rocket Lawyer Registered Agent Features

  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed: While other registered agent companies might offer a refund if they aren’t satisfied with their service, Rocket Lawyer is the only company that explicitly states it will refund.
  • Documents organized online All documents will be scanned, and uploaded online. When you receive a document, you will be notified promptly via email.
  • Premium membership. Rocket Lawyer offers a single, comprehensive membership that includes customizable legal documents, advice, and legal advice.
  • Customer Service: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time via phone, chat, and email.

Rocket Lawyer is a Registered Agent: Why We Love It

Rocket Lawyer’s 100% satisfaction guarantee is very attractive. Rocket Lawyer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t get a document within the time frame you requested, or you are unhappy with the RA services you received, you can request a refund. Rocket Lawyer offers a wide range of legal services that make it simple to handle multiple legal tasks, which can be crucial if you need to take several legal steps in order to start your own business.

Bottom line

Many registered agent services offer the same service: a safe place to drop off important documents or mail them. When choosing an RA company to represent your company, make sure you consider all legal services offered. If you are starting a business with a limited budget, consider the annual cost.

Register Agent: What is it and how to get one

A registered agent (RA), is the official contact for a business to receive important documents such as a summons, subpoena or renewal of registration. Although every state requires businesses to have a registered agent in order to receive important documents, regulations can differ. Several states allow a business to have its own registered agent, while others do not. It will cost you between $100 and $300 to hire a company as your registered agent.

What Does a Registered Agent Do?

There are two primary responsibilities that a registered agent must fulfill. The official contact for legal documents is one of the primary responsibilities of a registered agent. The summons must be delivered in person before the lawsuit can begin against your business. The state mandates that all businesses have a contact person available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

You could face penalties if your Secretary of State’s Office is unable find someone at your address, such as losing business registration and a fine.

Another responsibility of the registered agent is to serve as your contact for state correspondence, such renewals of business registrations. Each state requires that LLCs and corporations renew their registrations each year and pay a fee. When it is time to renew, the state will contact you.

Imagine your mail is lost or stolen and you fail to renew your registration by the due date. If that happens, you could be fined or lose your legal entity status if the state waits too long.

 

Tip Registered agents are required for corporations and LLCs. An RA is not required if your business is sole proprietorship or if you have registered a DBA tied with a sole proprietor. You are the sole proprietor and the state is fully transparent.

 

Important to remember that a registered agent can go by different names depending on where they are doing business. You can also use the following names:

  • Statutory agent
  • Resident agent
  • Agent for the service of process

To find out the requirements of your registered agent, it is a good idea to consult your state’s official website for business registration. Virginia, for example, requires that the registered agent must be an attorney or a member the management of the business entity. It cannot also be the business or a family member.

Do You Need to Be Your Own Registered Agent

It might be worth considering becoming your own registered agent. This would help you save at least $100 per year. If you are allowed to register as an agent in your state, it is fairly easy.

  • Resident individual You must reside in the state where your entity is registered or incorporated.
  • Address in person: A physical address must be provided within the state where you are incorporated. A P.O. A P.O. Box is not considered an in-state address. Some states require that you designate a “Registered Office” along with a registered agent.
  • Normal business hours You, or someone within your company, must be available to receive mail and other documents for you during “normal” hours of 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Even if you have the qualifications required to become your own registered agent, there are still some downsides to being your own registered representative.

  • Get junk mail:Many businesses send promotional offers to your public-facing Registered Agent address. This mail may not be addressed to you if you work at home.
  • You may not wish to serve legal documents at work: Customers or employees might be served with legal notices.
  • Complex if you do business across multiple states. When doing business across several states, it can be complicated to manage forms and submits for each Secretary of State.
  • You must be at the office during business hours.
  • You may miss correspondence: A business renewal notice or tax notification can be missed and could lead to a fine.

You may want to consider hiring a company as your registered agent. This is known as a registered agent service.

What does a registered agent service do?

A registered agent service is an organization that acts as your contact with Secretary of State. They will accept your tax, legal and notification-related mails and send it electronically to you. Your junk mail will be thrown away by the RA service. A registered agent service typically costs between $99 and $350 per annum.

A service of an agent may offer the following benefits:

  • A physical office: Certain legal documents must be delivered to a physical location and cannot be sent to P.O. Box.
  • Mail forwarding Registered agents can make sure that important mail gets delivered, even if you move.
  • Privacy protection: Registered agent ensures that your personal information (such as your address) is kept private and minimizes the chance of embarrassing situations such as being served with a summons in front of clients or neighbours.
  • Compliance monitoring – Registered agents assist you in ensuring that documents are filed within the legal deadlines.
  • Document organization A registered agent is also available to help you keep track and stay organized.

 

 

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The pros and cons of hiring a registered agent

The benefits of a Registered Agent Service

There are many benefits to hiring a registered agent.

  • Reliable:Hiring third-party registered agents service ensures that your business receives all necessary documents promptly.
  • Private:RA is a great choice if you work remotely or have other reasons to keep your information private. A registered agent can be used to serve legal process documents. This will help avoid embarrassing interactions such as being served with a summons in front potential clients.
  • Flexible:Registered agent services can be used to allow you to run a business in any state that does not require a physical address. This flexibility is beneficial for businesses that operate primarily online, or those that move around like a food truck.

Cons of Agent Services

There are some cons to hiring a registered agent.

  • More expensive: Hiring a registered agent is more expensive than either doing it yourself or having someone you know serve as your agent.
  • Additional paperwork required: To use a statutory agent service, you must sign up and pay.

Where can I find a registered agent service?

Numerous companies are available to serve as your registered agents. Fees are an important consideration when choosing an RA. There may be companies that offer low or free fees. Before you sign up for a low-cost RA service, find out if there are any fees such as document forwarding and second-year renewal.

These are some of the recommended registered agent companies we recommend that are reliable and affordable:

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent mainly offers RA-based service. It is a specialist in ensuring that your business information remains private and secure. They can submit simple documents or put their address on a paper form on your behalf. Northwest charges $125 per annum for its registered agent services.

IncFile

IncFile offers the best deal if you want to register your company as a legal entity and also get an RA service. This service offers a free LLC or corporation registration and a first year of free registered agent services. IncFile’s RA service is $119/year after your first year.

Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer is unique because it offers ongoing legal services as a monthly membership. Rocket Lawyer is a great choice if you have many legal steps to follow, including customizing legal documents and answering specific questions. Rocket Lawyer charges $149 per annum for a registered agent. You can save 25% on your RA by signing up for the $39.99 per month legal service.

FAQs about registering agents

Who can be a registered agent?

While requirements for registered agents vary from one state to the next, they must be at least 18 years old and have a physical address within the LLC filing state. Your RA must be at the address during normal business hours. You can either hire a registered agent or find a friend or relative who meets these requirements.

Are You a Registered Agent?

You might be tempted to take on the role of registered agent if you are just starting your business. Be sure to make sure you and someone from your company are available during business hours before you do this. Except for certain states, your LLC may not be named as its own registered agent.

Can an LLC’s Organizer be its Registered Agent?

If the LLC’s organizer has a physical address in the state, the RA can accept mail at the address during business hours. To prevent mail being lost, inconsistent hours of business, and other problems that could lead to a failed delivery, we recommend using a registered agent.

Is a UPS Store a registered agent?

An UPS store cannot be registered as an agent. A registered agent must have a physical address within the state in which your business is located.

A person must also be available during normal business hours to receive mail. These requirements are why a P.O. A registered agent is not allowed to register a box or rented box at UPS.

Bottom line

If you are confident that your mail will not be lost, and you are available during business hours, you may be able to serve as your own registered agents. A registered agent service is a good option if you travel frequently, don’t need junk mail, or do business in multiple states. An annual fee of $100-300 for RA services will give you peace of mind, and help you keep track of important state and legal matters.

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