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Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
The Biggest Challenge No One Tells You About Running A Startup
Being an entrepreneur is immensely rewarding, but also challenging. And the toughest thing about the job is something you might have to learn the hard way.
It’s five in the morning, and I’ve just pulled my second consecutive all-nighter. As I reach for my cup of coffee – I’ve lost count of how many I’ve drank at this point – my mind wanders to how much there is yet to do. A part of me rages against the work I’m doing.
I should go to the gym, it screams. I should be getting more sleep, eating food that actually requires some preparation, and spending more time with my family. Unsuccessfully stifling a yawn, I suppress that voice.
I have deadlines to meet, after all. I have clients waiting on the work I’m to deliver, and a reputation to uphold. What I fail to realize is that I’m moving at breakneck speed down the path to burnout.
Does any of what I’ve written above sound particularly familiar to you? If you’re a new entrepreneur, it probably does. We live in a culture where working upwards of sixty hours a week is viewed as a badge of honor.
“Look at how hard they’re working,” people crow. “They must really have their life together.”
What they don’t see is all the cracks beneath the surface. The jilted lovers and abandoned friends. The health problems and crushing anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong – running a startup is a difficult job. Most people aren’t really equipped to do it. Late nights and long hours are, to some extent, inevitable.
At the same time, I’ve seen too many people conflate hard work alone with success. If you’ve got a good work ethic, that’s great. Hold onto it.
At the same time, it’s important that you learn to prioritize. As the old cliche goes, you need to learn how to work smart instead of just working hard. And that’s the thing that a lot of newer startup owners fail to see; the reason so many entrepreneurs succumb to burnout.
They’re perpetually overwhelmed. They’re running on empty, and throwing themselves at busywork without any real concept of what it’ll accomplish. They’re slaving away, even though they’re aware that they aren’t built for this – no one is.
Here’s what they – and what you – should do instead:
- Learn to walk away. If you’ve spent an hour staring at the screen with no idea how to solve a problem, get up and go for a walk. Take a bath. Ride your bike. Play with your pets or kids. Give your brain a chance to refresh itself and catch up, and you might be surprised at what you come up with.
- Deal with distractions. Set a timer during breaks to ensure you get back to work right away. Avoid going on social media when you’re working. Organize your email, and get used to working offline every now and then.
- Prioritize. You know exactly which tasks are higher on your priority list – complete those first, no matter what other stuff you’ve got on your plate. I’ve been guilty in the past of distracting myself with pointless busywork, ignoring the fact that I’ve a critically important job that I’m simply not finishing.
- Work in chunks. Most people don’t work well when they’re simply slaving away for hours on end. Instead, try completing work in short bursts, doing one task at a time.
- Recognize your own workflow tendencies. Everybody works a bit differently – figure out what’s most effective for you.
I get it. You have a tendency to get lost in your work – I do too. Just make sure you don’t end up so lost that you can’t find your way back to the real world afterwards. By learning to work a little smarter, you can steer yourself off the path of burnout, and towards greater success in the future.
Monday, December 19th, 2016
Five Things You Need Before Incorporating Your Business
So, you want to incorporate your startup? Make sure you take a look at this checklist first – if you forget any of these items, you could be in trouble.
There are plenty of reasons to incorporate your business – but there are also plenty of reasons you might want to hold off doing so, as well. You shouldn’t be too quick to make a major decision out of the blue. Instead, it’s something you need to carefully consider.
And while you think about it, you’ll also need to collect a few things:
The Vital Details
First thing’s first, you’ll need to figure out the following:
- Your business’s name and address.
- Make sure your business name is unique, and doesn’t contain certain words like ‘bank’ or curse words.
- The names and addresses of any decision-makers within your business – who are your founders, executives, and board members?
- The physical address of your business in the state where it was founded.
An Agreement Between Decision-Makers
Here’s a question for you – how are you going to handle a disagreement between your business’s founders? What will you do if one person wants to buy out at some point down the line? Who will buy your business, and what will it be sold for? These are all contingencies you need to iron out with your fellow decision-makers before incorporating if you want to avoid a nasty legal dispute down the line. This is typically called a “Buy Sell Agreement” or “Shareholders Agreement”.
An Understanding Of What You Want From Incorporation
There are a ton of benefits from incorporation, but it also comes with a few disadvantages – namely paperwork, fees, and the fact that liability protection isn’t 100% guaranteed, depending on the state you’re incorporating in. Before you incorporate, think carefully about why you’re doing so.
Is it for privacy? Tax benefits? Employee incentives? Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that there aren’t any easier alternatives available to you.
Every state has slightly different rules where incorporation is concerned, including which articles of incorporation you need in order to move through the process. Check your state’s website, and gather all the necessary documentation, including the required forms. Once you’ve done that, you can render the final decision on whether or not to incorporate.
A Knowledgeable Agency To Help You Along
Last but certainly not least, it’s advisable to bring in a third party with a working knowledge of the incorporation process – a firm like MyNewCompany. Founded in 2001, our goal is simple – to make starting a business as simple, fast, and inexpensive as possible. We’ve helped form thousands of companies for our clients, and have grown into one of the largest and most reliable providers of incorporation, LLC formation, and other small business services.
Contact us today, and we’ll help you make your business a reality – without breaking the bank.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
Something we’ve been hearing over and over recently from clients and potential clients alike goes something like this: “I’m going to wait until the election is over to see if I should start my business” or something similar. Some existing business owners have said similar things in regards to expanding their business, spending money on marketing or capital improvements, etc. Basically, they want to see what the political environment will be like before pulling the trigger on any big decisions.
While that seems like the prudent thing to do, let’s go over the reasons why that might not be the best strategy:
- Gridlock will be likely
- You’ll lose months of momentum and experimentation
- Your best competitors will not have such hesitations
1. Gridlock will be likely:
Hillary Clinton, should she win, will almost certainly be dealing with Republican majority in the House and maybe the Senate. Republicans only need one house to block any meaningful legislation. There’s also a lot of “bad blood” going around this election season so there’s yet another reason why the 2 parties are likely not to agree on much – in this case, gridlock of our government is a “feature, not a bug” so when American’s can’t agree, the government usually can’t either. Also, recent scandals (emails, Benghazi, etc.) may cause both parties to fight from day one.
Donald Trump, should he win, will also be dealing with a hostile congress, even if it is Republican majorities in both houses. He’s made many enemies in his own party, in particular, Paul Ryan who is the Speaker of the House. Trump getting much legislation through in this environment is unlikely. Also, the Democrats will be extremely angry at his tactics to secure the Presidency so they’ll likely be willing to block anything just to spite him.
2. You’ll lose months of momentum and experimentation
In the small business world, speed, momentum and being able to test your product, message, marketing and other things is critical. Speed is one of the main advantages of small business. If you wait around for months to even start a business or spend money on improving your business you’re likely to lose momentum to other competitors. Speaking of…
3. Your best competitors will not have such hesitations
Many have written about the vast fortunes that were created in recessions/depressions and challenging political environments. The lesson is that while their competitors were petrified to move or even downsizing, smart entrepreneurs were taking advantage of tough times to “buy low” (investments, property, etc.), expand their business, simplify and streamline their operations and keep moving forward. Recessions are usually a convenient excuse to not do anything.
Should I worry at all?
Sure, any political or economic environment is unpredictable by nature, but these worries are usually not justified for small businesses or startups. It’s large companies that have the most to lose. Small business is nimble, quick to adjust and ultimately much more suited to survive the worst. Focus on the positive, the opportunities that even bad environments can bring and you’re much more likely to thrive.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
One of our most frequent requests or inquiries is how to be “anonymous” or at least not have your name on public records when forming your company. With modern websites like CorporationWiki and state databases, the names of company owners are not only searchable but openly pushed into search results of search engines like Google.
Despite what you’ve heard from many people who push the use of Nevada or Delaware companies, in most cases the owners, Directors (of a Corporation) or Members (of an LLC) are going to be listed on a public database somewhere. This database is almost always searchable to the general public and if not, then an inquiry directly to the Secretary of State by an attorney or other authority will usually get the data they need.
This is where the New Mexico LLC comes into play. As of the date of this post, New Mexico does not require listing the names of the LLC Members on the Articles of Organization when forming the company. More importantly, New Mexico does not require an Annual Report that lists the name of the members. The Annual Report (which is called different things in different states: “Annual List”, “Statement of Information”, etc.) is basically how each state keeps track of a businesses address and owners. This is the big difference between New Mexico and other states: other states may not list the Members or Directors on the initial filing but almost all of them will require it on the Annual Report. New Mexico never asks for it.
This means that as long as you have filed your LLC in New Mexico then the members (owners) are not going to be searchable and you will effectively be anonymous.
There are a few important things to note about the New Mexico LLC:
- The Articles of Organization do require that you list the name and address of your Registered Agent. This is why we recommend you use a Professional Registered Agent, even if you form the company yourself. This will be another level of anonymity.
- When you go to open a company bank account, the bank may have issues with the fact that there are no owners listed on any database. Typically this can be overcome with a copy of the Articles of Organization, a signed Operating Agreement and a banking resolution (we provide all of these to our clients).
- Things may get more complicated when you go to obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN); the IRS requires you to assign a person who is a member of the company to be the “responsible person”. As far as we know, EINs are generally not searchable by the public but this is where anonymity will begin to get more complicated. Some people use a trusted relative or other person to be this person.
So basically, you can form a New Mexico LLC, make sure to use a 3rd party as your Registered Agent and navigate the pitfalls that may come from opening a business bank account and you’ve achieved a level of privacy that most American’s would envy.