CEO Shannon Stahlin profiled on DBusiness.

Direct Incorporation CEOBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Direct Incorporation CEO Shannon Stahlin is profiled in the most recent issue of DBusiness as part of their annual “30 in Their 30s” feature.

The inspiration of Direct Incorporation came to Shannon while he was in law school at Tulane University. Originally, our company focused on providing more economical and efficient alternatives to traditional law firms for common small business issues. But Shannon saw the need quickly to expand our services and advise new business start-ups about such matters as domain registration, logo and website design.

Shannon comes by this naturally: His father and both grandfathers were entrepreneurs. After eight years in business, Shannon is now a grizzled veteran at the ripe old age of 32. For more information, check out the article in DBusiness, on newsstands now.

If you own a small business, or have an idea for one, we can help with our small business legal services.

 

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Incorporating in New York.

How to incorporate in New YorkBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Today for our state incorporation series we’re visiting the Big Apple to learn about what you need to know to incorporate a business in New York.

Discover the benefits of incorporating in New York.
According to the Small Business Administration small businesses in New York account for 99 percent of the state’s employers and 52 percent of its private-sector employment. It also ranks #3 in the highest average wages and #4 in the best education climate, according to a report by Business Facilities.

How much time and what is the cost to incorporate in New York?
The ease and speed with which a business is incorporated in New York can vary based on the company name and category of business activity. When incorporating an ordinary corporation or LLC, the average processing time is around 3-4 weeks. The state fee to incorporate an ordinary New York corporation is $145, whereas, the state fee for an ordinary New York LLC is $210. For an additional $65 expedite fee, the state will cut the processing time to 3 business days.

About Direct Incorporation’s New York incorporation services.
Direct Incorporation offers three packages to assist you with incorporating in New York, with prices ranging from $149 to $773. For more information on our New York incorporation services, click on a link below.

Do you have questions about incorporating your business in New York? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

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Introducing the CorpAcct Program from Direct Incorporation. Making it easier for CPAs and Accountants to incorporate their clients.

CorpAcct Program By Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Direct Incorporation is rolling out a new program to assist CPAs and Accountants nationwide with incorporating their clients’ businesses.

This B-to-B program provides CPAs and Accountants with all the necessary paperwork needed to incorporate or form LLCs, plus a commission for each incorporation package completed.

As a CorpAcct client, Accountants and CPAs will be able to provide their clients with the necessary Corporate Formality documents, such as Bylaws, Stock Certificates, Corporate Book and Seal. Additionally, they will be able to stay on top of their clients’ corporate formalities by running their corporate meetings, automatically creating Minutes and Resolutions and then storing them securely online.

Direct Incorporation is offering three packages, ranging from $149 (plus state fees) to $773 (plus state fees). All packages include the following services. The top tier package includes several add-ons such as website hosting and logo design, and trademark protection and monitoring.

* Articles of Incorporation
* Preliminary Name Check
* Real-Time Online Access to Client Resource Center
* Prompt Shipment
* Notice Documents
* Employer Identification Number
* Filing of State Franchise Tax
* S-Corporation Assistance
* Designated CorpAcct Rep
* Free Business Compliance Program

Learn more about the CorpAcct program.

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Top reasons people leave your website. And 3 tips to entice people to linger longer.

Website Design ServicesBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

These days, having a good website is critical. According to eMarketer the number of consumers researching or shopping online will surpass 200 million by 2015! But how do you get people to visit your website? And, once there, how do you get them to stay?

How to bring people to your website.

To bring people to your website, you’ll need to make sure you rank high in the search engines. (When your target market performs a Google or Yahoo search, the goal is for your site to show up on the first page of the search engine’s results.)

To do this, you’ll need to do some on-page search engine optimization. This starts with brainstorming the key words for which people are searching and sprinkling those keywords throughout your website headlines and body copy.

Another way to attract more traffic is to tag your graphics. This means, naming your image files with the same relevant keywords mentioned above.

For more information on optimizing your website for search engines, downloadCopyblogger’s free guide: How to Create Compelling Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines.

How to get people to stay.

When a visitor jumps ship in less than eight seconds, it’s called click-off. Solving click-off can be a challenge. But there are some things you can do.

  1. Get rid of slow-loading, high-resolution images.
  2. Deliver high quality content that provides answers to what your target market is searching for. This includes providing a clear description of who you are and what you do.
  3. Be sure your site can be easily navigated. For more tips on setting up your site navigation, see Entrepreneur’s article on 10 Things Every Small-Business Website Needs.

Need a new website? Contact Direct Incorporation for cost-effective website design and hosting services. Thanks!  – Maryann

 

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Incorporating in Texas.

Texas Business IncorporationBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Today for our state incorporation series we’re heading on down to the Lone Star State to learn about what you need to know to incorporate a business in Texas.

Discover the benefits of incorporating in Texas.
According to an article in Trends, this year Texas accounted for 30 percent of the country’s job growth. In fact, Business Facilities ranked Texas Number Two in the nation for business climate, just under Utah. This is due to the many benefits Texas offers business owners:

* Separate legal entity status, which normally shields business owners from personal responsibility for business losses
* Check and Box tax regulations, which allow a business to decide for itself how it wants to be taxed
* Highest export sales of any state
* Lowest workers’ compensation costs of any state
* No income or capital-gains tax for individuals

How much time and what is the cost to incorporate in Texas?
The state fee to form an S-Corp, C-Corp or LLC in Texas is $300 and it only takes three to four business days on average to complete the process.

About Direct Incorporation’s Texas incorporation services.
Direct Incorporation offers three packages to assist you with incorporating in Texas, with prices ranging from $149 to $773. For more information on our Texas incorporation services, click on a link below.

Do you have questions about incorporating your business in Texas? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

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Keeping Business, Business and Personal, Personal.

business incorporationBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

So, you’ve recently incorporated your business. First off, congratulations! Now, it’s time to get down to the business of separating your personal bank account from your corporate bank account. Here are some reasons you’ll want to do so right away.

  1. Liability. Failing to separate your business and personal accounts may result in you being personally responsible for corporate debt and liabilities. For this reason alone, it is imperative you keep separate banking accounts.
  1. Taxes. Your business income and expenses and your household income and expenses should be completely separated out for tax purposes.  Along these lines, it’s a necessity to create two checking accounts, and pay your bills from the appropriate account so that you maintain proper tax records. This in turn will save you time, headache and unwanted calls from the IRS.
  1. Insight. When business and personal accounts are co-mingled, it’s almost impossible to maintain proper records. By separating your business account from your personal account, you will get a clearer picture of your personal and business financial health.
  1. Image. Writing checks from a business account helps deliver a clear message to your customers and suppliers that you are a professional and credible business.

Do you have questions about what to do after incorporating your business? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

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Incorporating in Florida.

By Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Last week we covered the cost and process of incorporating a business in California. Today, we’re traveling across the U.S. to share information on incorporating in Florida.

Discover the benefits of incorporating in Florida.
Florida offers an excellent business climate. In fact, it is the 15th largest economy in the world, according to the Florida DMV. In addition, Florida leads the nation in new business formation. This is due to the many advantages Florida offers business owners:

* Quick incorporation process – 3 to 4 days
* No personal income tax – an average savings of 5.5%
* No minimum capital requirements for incorporating your business
* Separate legal entity status, which normally shields business owners from personal responsibility for business losses
* Land and labor are more affordable in Florida
* Business capital is easier to obtain in Florida

How much does it cost to incorporate in Florida?
The state fee to form an S-Corp or C-Corp in Florida is $78.75, while the LLC state fee is $130. Once your company has been incorporated in Florida, you will pay an annual filing fee of $138.75 to $150.

About Direct Incorporation’s Florida incorporation services.
Direct Incorporation offers three packages to assist you with incorporating in Florida, with prices ranging from $149 to $773. For more information on our Florida incorporation services, click on a link below.

Do you have questions about incorporating your business in Florida? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

 

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LLC vs. S-Corp: Which legal entity is right for your business?

Business IncorporationBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

You’ve finally decided to make it official. You’re moving from moonlighting to a full-time business owner. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to incorporate your business.

Did you know that if you remain a Sole Proprietor, you will have unlimited liability for your business debts? Yikes! As a general rule, moving from Sole Proprietor to an LLC or S-Corp gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your personal assets are protected should someone bring a lawsuit against you.

But which legal structure is right for your business? Let’s review some quick comparisons:

Benefits of LLCs as compared to S Corps

* LLCs are easy to set up and less expensive to start in most states
* There are less rules and restrictions compared to an S-Corp, which may save you on attorney and accounting fees
* An LLC is not required to hold meetings, keep formal minutes or record resolutions. A Corporation is required to do so, which can prove to be cumbersome
* LLCs can distribute profits as they see fit, where an S-Corporation’s profits must be distributed according to the ratio of stock ownership
* LLCs can be member managed, where an S-Corp must be managed by a board of officers

Benefits of S Corps as compared to LLCs

* You may pay yourself a reasonable salary, plus take distributions at a lower tax rate
* You can raise money from the public in the form of corporate stock certificates, if you later choose to revert to an C-Corp and become publicly traded
* The independent life of the Corporation is not dependent on the incapacity or death of a stockholder, as it is with an LLC in some states
* With S-Corps only the salary paid to the employee-owner is subject to employment tax, where with LLCs, the entire net income of a business is subject to self-employment tax
* Depending on the Corporation’s business record, you may enjoy more access to money from lenders

Do you have questions about which legal entity to choose? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

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Incorporating in California.

Incorporating a business in CaliforniaBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing the process for incorporating a business in the most popular states, starting today with incorporating a business in California.

How much time does it take to incorporate in California?
You have two options when incorporating your business in California. The first is the standard route, which takes 10 to 12 weeks to complete. Your other choice is to pay a $65 expedite fee and speed up the process to four to six weeks.

How much does it cost to incorporate in California?
The state fee to form an S-Corp or C-Corp in California is $100, while the LLC state fee is $70. Once your company has been incorporated in California, you will pay an annual franchise tax of $800. In addition, you will need to pay a filing fee of $25 each year.

About Direct Incorporation’s California incorporation services.
Direct Incorporation offers three packages to assist you with incorporating in California.

1. Our Standard Package costs $149 and includes the following services:

* Articles of Incorporation Completion. The preparation and completion of your company’s Articles of Incorporation (the primary document used to incorporate a business), based on the unique needs of your particular company and the requirements of the specific state.
* Preliminary Name Check. Audit of supplied information to ensure compliance with state formation requirements, including your company name choice.
* Real-Time Online Access to Client Resource Center. Check the progress of your order; download copies of relevant incorporation documents.
* Prompt Shipment. Order confirmation and documents will be promptly delivered to your office.
* Notice Documents. Documents sent to you, alerting you to the post-incorporation requirements of your state.
* Obtain Your EIN. (Employer Identification Number) Employer Identification Number obtained upon request (at no additional cost).
* Filing of State Franchise Tax. (if required by state at filing of Articles)
* S-Corporation Assistance. (For S-Corp Clients) Preparation and partial completion of S-Corp election form (2553).

2. Our Premier Package costs $317 and includes the above, plus:

* Boxed Corporate Records Binder. Customized with your company’s name in gold lettering.
* 20 Stock Certificates. Customized with your company’s name.
* Stock Transfer Ledger. Bound in booklet form, which includes 8 pages ruled and printed on ledgerstock.
* Corporate Bylaws. (For Corporations) Can be adopted by your company or altered to fit your company’s needs before adoption.
* Operating Agreement. (For LLCs) Can be adopted by your company or altered to fit your company’s needs before adoption.
* Embossed Corporate or LLC Seal. Custom manufactured with your corporate name.
* Corporate Suite. Provided in convenient e-book format on CD Rom. Legal and practical resources for the new business containing documents, tools, and reference handbooks.

3. Our Venture Package costs $773 and includes the above, plus:

* 3 months of the Business Compliance Program
Trademark Protection
Website + Email
Logo Design

Learn more about incorporating a business in California.

Do you have questions about incorporating a business in California? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

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Protect your mark. 4 tips to trademark protection.

Trademarking a company nameBy Maryann Lawrence, Startup Rep, Direct Incorporation

You’ve come up with a great company name. You’ve checked that no other company owns it. Now, how do you protect it from being swiped by someone else? When it comes to protecting your company’s mark, the best defense is a good offense.

  1. Register your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Use your mark correctly. If your company sells products, you will want to use a trademark, or “TM”. If your company sells services, you’ll want to go with a service mark, or “SM”. If you’ve federally registered your mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, protect it with a registration mark, or “®”.
  3. Use it or lose it. Make sure your advertising contains your name and mark at least once per page.
  4. Routinely check search engines to confirm that no one else is using your name. Better yet, consider hiring a watch service to monitor any activity related to your mark.

For more tips on protecting your trademark, check out Inc.’s article, How to Protect Your Trademark From Infringement.

Do you have questions about trademarks, service marks or registration marks? Please leave a comment below and I will try to answer them. Thanks!  – Maryann

 

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