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Displaying articles for: February 2012

Employee ‎02-28-2012 11:21 AM

So your business is more organized and you have a focused business strategy; now it may be time to develop a disaster recovery plan.

 

Yes, we’ve done a couple of these posts on having a disaster recovery plan in place, but that’s because this is important. Great plans include making the most of your resources and opportunities for growth while being acutely aware of the risks and challenges so you can minimize trouble by having a well thought-out recovery approach.

 

According to research by the University of Texas, only 6% of companies survive a catastrophic data loss, while 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years. In spite of those shocking statistics, Gartner Research estimates that only 35% of small and medium businesses have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place.

 

It might feel like focusing on the negative, but it’s just good business to be prepared. Companies that create disaster recovery and business continuity plans proactively do so hoping they will never have to use them. Whether “disaster” is defined as natural, such as a flood, snowstorm or hurricane, or man-made, such as the loss of power or networks due to an accident, the event can potentially have a significant impact on your business.

 

Each year, downtime costs our economy tens of billions of dollars. Researchers estimate that companies lose, on average, over $80,000 for every hour of downtime. And this is just the direct cost. Bad publicity, loss of morale, loss of customer goodwill and, potentially, the loss of brand value is at stake. Yet many enterprises put off implementing company-wide disaster recovery plans until it’s too late.

 

The first step when designing a disaster recovery plan is to identify your key assets and resources. Think about it: exactly what would you need to ensure continuous service to your customers in the event of a disaster? Decide what software and equipment your business needs to continue operations, and make a detailed list that includes service contract and warranty information. Speak with your insurance agent and suppliers, and purchase business insurance policies that provide the protection you need. Make a list of all pertinent phone numbers for local authorities and utility companies, suppliers and vendors.

 

Next, ascertain what information is absolutely critical to your daily business operations. For example, gather your customer database and all contact information along with purchase histories and any important proposals or presentations. Run detailed accounts payable and receivables reports. Create an essential document file and include duplicates of important business records such as insurance policies, leases, equipment rentals, equipment purchases and personnel files. Take steps to protect these files in a secure offsite location and also back up your data in the cloud.

 

As part of your disaster plans, formulate a communications plan and identify key individuals who will be responsible for contacting customers, vendors, partners, investors, creditors and the media (if needed). There should be only one leading communication officer who should present one cohesive message and reduce possible confusion that may occur post-disaster.

 

These are just a few suggestions of what to include, but it’s important to note that your disaster recovery plan needs to be an ongoing process that changes as your business changes.

 

The U.S. government provides many free resources to assist companies and individuals in developing their business disaster recovery plans. Along with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the government provides free assistance through SCORE, Ready and FEMA.

 

If you have a disaster recovery plan in place, please share what is in your plan that we didn’t mention.

 

 

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Verizon’s Small Business eNewsletter.  To receive a free copy of future eNewsletters send an email to vzsmallbiz@verizon.net.  Give our eNewsletter a new name and win $1,000 – enter by March 6, 2012.  Click here for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!  Below you’ll find some articles we found interesting and hope they’ll provide some insights to help you run your business better.

 

Check out these six strategies for partnering with big companies.

 

This article from Mashable Business offers 9 tips to market your business on Facebook. And speaking of social media, this is a must read if you Tweet – don’t make this mistake – know where to place Twitter handles.

 

Do you think business cards are a thing of the past?  Don’t give up and go the conservative route when having your printed up.  Getting creative and bold might be the way to go.  Read this article for some really fun examples.

 

Gas prices are back on the rise. It’s been predicted that the US could reach $5 a gallon by summer.  Have you considered how this will impact your business?  Read this article for more details.

 

Many employees have started bringing their personal mobility devices to work.  This has benefited many companies but it brings some challenges as well regarding security.  Read this article to learn more about managing the risks.

 

If missed this news, Verizon just launched a new contest where you can win $1,000 – just name our small business eNewsletter.  Click here for more information – act fast as the contest ends March 6th

 

Did you join our Wecommerce community yet?  If not, why not?  It’s free – just create a profile –

and gives you the opportunity to not just network, but find and offer deals.  Click here for more information.

 

 

As this is the NBA All-Star Weekend, we thought this story is a good read… business tips you can learn from Jeremy Lin… good tips, it’s not Linsane.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Today’s roundup was compiled with the help from Maureen Burch, product strategy manager for Verizon.

 

 

Employee ‎02-23-2012 09:00 PM

Guest post from Shirley Chun in California, small business marketing manager for Verizon.  To get news specific to California, follow @VZCABiz (www.twitter.com/vzcabiz).

 

 

A hearty shout-out to Great American Funding Corporation in Westlake Village, CA owned by  Steve Marche who has been a business owner for the past 30 years with extensive experience in the mortgage loan business.  He has been through all the ups and downs of our economy and has much experience in securing loans for residential and commercial properties.

 

He found that running a business is thrilling, challenging, and there's never a dull moment. He is a knowledgeable resource in the mortgage business and has found Verizon to be a key resource in his business’ success.

 

Steve Marche said, “Verizon has helped our business, Great American Funding, to be more productive with business FiOS services. We can send emails of larger content at blazing fast speeds. The speed has helped us to be more successful (and help cut cost of mailing out loan documents). In the mortgage business we send vast amounts of data to our wholesale banks. We need the speed and reliability of Verizon FiOS!”

 

 

 

Click here to meet Steve.  Nice video and I’m glad his business has a website.  If your business does not have a website, check out Verizon Websites powered by Intuit. It’s easy to use and gives you the freedom to update your website whenever you want.  Click here for more information. 

 

If your business isn’t as techy as Steve’s, perhaps you’ll want to enter our contest – available to small businesses based in Southern California.  The Verizon Small Business Makeover Contest ends soon (March 2). 

 

Check out my previous post (click here) which gives you all of the details or go to this link –

http://verizon.com/makeover  – for your chance to win new techy tools (valued at over $5,000) to help your business be more productive.  There are also opportunities to easily win a $500 AMEX reward card (limit three sweepstakes entries per person).

 

Our latest contest to name Verizon’s small business eNewsletter is open to everyone click here for your chance to win $1000.

 

 

           

 

Guest post by Craig Staley, Verizon's small business digital communications specialist.

 

It's a brand new year for all of us and starting in March, the Verizon eNewsletter that we send out monthly to all of our small business customers will have a new look.  However, it needs a new name and we want to solicit your help.  This is an eNewsletter that goes out to small business owners so it only makes sense for you – our community of small business owners – to name it.

 

Whether you are creative or not, just submit a name for this new Verizon eNewsletter – up to three entries per business -- for the chance to win a $1,000 American Express Gift Card.  The second and third runner ups will receive the complete set of books from the 2011 Verizon Small Business Author Series.  To review the complete list of rules, click here.

 

Your imagination, your drive and your ideas help to fuel the success of your small business so take a few minutes and tap into that same energy and come up with some names for our eNewsletter.  You could be investing that prize money back into your business or use it to treat yourself to a weekend trip -- or towards that new smartphone you didn’t get last holiday! 

 

Before you start here’s some insider insights to give you an edge… The winning name should reflect the eNewsletter's focus helping small business owners and their employees:

  • to improve productivity;
  • to stay informed on small business news and topics;
  • to expand your business connections; and
  • to bring you information about new Verizon services, like WeCommerce and upcoming  Verizon Webinar Series guest.

 

Our eNewsletter also shares the enterprise solutions Verizon offers small business owners like you – comparable to those used by big businesses, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

 

So go on, start thinking and send us your suggestion by March 6, 2012 and not only could you win a $1,000 American Express Gift Card, but you could see your vision reflected on computer screens across the country.  Click on this link, and submit your ideas today! 

Paul_Macchia ‎02-20-2012 01:49 PM

Cash (and Credit) is King – So, Wear the Crown: Verizon Wireless and Intuit Roll Out Enhanced GoPayment

 

Getting paid is a major hurdle for SMBs as many do not have the capability to accept credit card payments.  Verizon Wireless and Intuit helped changed that in mid-2011 when we teamed up to deliver GoPayment, for Verizon Wireless customers in the sole proprietorship or SMB arena.

 

With a brick and mortar store, it may not be an issue if credit cards are not accepted as patrons are used to your policies, they simply go to a nearby ATM to get cash.  However, for business owners who travel, go to trade shows, fairs, or carry their products in a truck, a device to accept payment – credit card payments – is a must.  Click here to see how a Verizon Wireless customer made a leap forward to use this new technology and how easy it was for her to accept credit card payments.

 

Today, we are unveiling an enhanced version - on the Verizon Wireless network - with a new look and several other benefits including:

  • An app to handle the sign up process (www.gopayment.com/verizonoffer)
    • Lowered entry price at $19.97 – making it extremely affordable for all SMBs and proprietors click here for link– You can also check device compatibility on the same page.
      • $20 Credit upon first use of the swipe to the customer’s account making the device FREE!
  • Enhanced design – now easier to handle and has a better “look and feel”
  • Broader Android device compatibility
  • Works in conjunction with QuickBooks

 

While the majority of GoPayment users will have their transaction swipes posted to a bank account, a newly introduced feature enables users to have their funds deposited to an Intuit GoPayment prepaid Visa card, eliminating the need for a bank routing and account number. Users can spend, withdraw, or transfer $$$ to another account. 

                                                              

More information for GoPayment such as additional benefits, payment plans, compatible devices, cards and how to get started can be found at www.verizonwireless.com/gopayment.  

 

Not only are we seeing a new generation of GoPayment, but one of its ambassadors is coming back as well…

 

If You Knew Susie, Like I Knew Susie…

Yes, THAT, Susie! She of the famed “Susie’s Lemonade Stand.” Susie first wowed us as she showed how a small business can be powerful – using technology – to advance her business, easily monitor inventory and more so she can focus on bringing in more sales.

 

(Click here for our first commercial featuring Susie and here for the second one).  Susie will be back to showcase the new GoPayment in a new ad, called “Going Pink,” debuting today CLICK HERE.

 

Many technologies are easily and affordably available to you to help you run your business better… you just need to use it.

 

Tell us how your business has improved with GoPayment or with a new technology and we may feature you in this blog.  Post your comment below or email us at vzsmallbiz@verizon.net.

 

Be inspired!  Be a Susie! 

Happy Friday!  We found a few interesting articles to help you run your business better.

 

 

Is your SMB operating under a tight budget?  You don’t need to cut Disaster Recovery from your funding list.  Read this article to learn more.

 

Read this article to find out how your business can stand out from the crowd.

 

Are you looking to boost your business?  Turn to your smartphones for some helpful apps.  Read this article for more details.

 

Many people get sucked into the social media feedback loop.  Are you one of them?  Read this article to learn more on how to take a new approach to social media.

 

Is your business considering a tech vendor?  Read this article to learn how to translate some common pitches.

 

No business wants to turn down clients but there are some situations where this might be your only option.  Read this article to learn how turning down a customer might be in your best interest.

 

Are you overwhelmed when it comes to the topic of cloud integration? Read the following article that simplifies the subject for you.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Today’s roundup was compiled with the help from Maureen Burch, product strategy manager for Verizon.

Guest post by Craig Staley, Verizon's small business digital communications specialist.

 

Last year, we interviewed 1,500 small business owners, like you, in an attempt to better understand what impacted your world on a daily basis.  One of the themes that seemed to resonate with most owners was the notion of being time-deprived—especially when it comes to finding new customers and growing your business.  As a small business owner, you probably spend most of your day interacting with your existing customers:  in-person, on the phone, through the mail and over the Internet.  That doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of time each day to focus on “how” you’re going to grow your business.

 

What if Verizon had a solution to help you?  What if we could help you to build your network, help you to find new audiences for your products and services, and help you to grow your business? 

 

In our book, that’s what we’d call a “win/win”.  And, that’s why we’re excited to introduce our latest tool to help you, our small business community:  WeCommerce.

 

You can find it at http://wecommerce.verizon.com/.  It’s easy to use, takes just a few minutes to create your business profile—and it’s FREE to join! 

 

Why should you join?  Well, here are just a couple of examples of how the tool can help your small business:

 

Example 1:  Gary owns a website design company.  He needs a birthday cake and desserts for his wife's surprise 30th birthday party.  Christine owns a bakery two suburbs away from Gary.  She needs a new logo designed, and help updating her 3-year old website.  After finding each other on WeCommerce, they're meeting next Monday afternoon to “put the icing on the cake”! 

 

Example 2:  Terrie is a party planner extraordinaire, but is always on the lookout for new customers.  Mark owns a flower shop and is always busy on the big holidays--but he'd really like his business to bloom by getting into corporate and social events.  Christine and Mark found each other on WeCommerce and have been sharing leads ever since.  Their balance sheets have never looked rosier!

 

Now, take a minute.  Think about your resource-rich business.  Then, imagine the possibilities for your small business!  By promoting your professional skills and services to others, WeCommerce makes it easier for you to partner with other small businesses and to grow your business without sacrificing your bottom line.

 

While some of the networking ideas you’ll come up with work best if they’re close-by or cross-town, there are other businesses, products and services you might be able to partner with nationwide.   The Internet has become a cost-effective venue to showcase your business.  Verizon WeCommerce is the no-cost tool to introduce you to other small business owners across the country. 

 

Get the picture?  Got some ideas?

 

 

 

Then, get started at http://wecommerce.verizon.com/

 

And, tell your friends and other small business contacts.  It’s okay to brag to them about all of your new business partners.

 

We think you’ll agree.  Verizon WeCommerce is the greatest thing to come along in support of small business.  We think it’s better because WeCommerce can help your small business all year long!

 

 

 

Employee ‎02-15-2012 08:45 AM

Guest post from Marissa Mitrovich, director, public policy and corporate responsibility for Verizon.  Follow @mpmitrovich on Twitter.

(photo taken with her smartphone: Marissa with Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration)  

 

Earlier this month, I attended a very powerful event:  The White House Business Council and Small Business Administration hosted the Urban Economic Forum at Barnard College, a women’s college, in New York City.  The venue was thoughtfully selected, as the entire day was dedicated to women.

 

The Urban Economic Forum was open to the public and was created out of the need and desire of women entrepreneurs seeking a place they could come together to find resources for their businesses and meet other women entrepreneurs.  This event was the first event of a series of eight to take place in other cities nationwide.  It hailed an impressive number of attendees, over 400 women! Special guests included Arianna Huffington, columnist and co-founder of The Huffington Post; Susan Sobbott, the president of American Express OPEN; and even Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Valerie Jarrett were in attendance to speak to this dynamic and diverse group and offer advice.  

 

While there were many invaluable pieces of advice offered to women throughout the day.  One of the key takeaways – and the advice that was repeated throughout the day by multiple people, but first mentioned in the morning by Susan Lyne, Chairman of Gilt Groupe Inc., an e-commerce company that pioneered “flash sales.”  She told the women in the room that they must embrace technology. 

 

Susan indicated that technology was going to allow women to maximize the reach of their business, increase their efficiency, and help them cut costs. 

 

As women in the room were tweeting all day using the hashtag #WHEconForum and #womenentrepreneurs – this statement by Susan resonated true.  These women, myself included, were instantly building a large network and maximizing our reach…with technology.  

 

According to Deputy SBA Administrator Marie Johns, “Today it’s about 30% - and women-owned businesses are growing at a rate of more than twice that of b...”  Certainly this growth is going to require all of the benefits Susan Lyne mentioned that technology will allow for.  As an employee of Verizon, I am familiar with the resources available to allow for this efficiency after all, Verizon has the best network and the fastest Internet speeds. 

 

I personally left this event moved by this experience, the strength and energy of the women in the room, and happy that I would be able to keep up with these women I met with the use of a couple small symbols “@” and a “#” – my smartphone made the connection!

 

 

 

Editor’s note: Are you embracing technology?

 

If you are a small business owner, are you using technology to connect with your customers?  If not, take action today!  Don’t be one of the 40% of small businesses that don’t have a website.  Your business needs to be found.  Verizon offers an easy do-it-yourself website building software, click here for more info.  You can click here to learn about our latest promotional solution of voice and broadband or click here if you already have services with us and want to add wireless service.  If you need tips to shop for a tablet click here or click here to learn how you can take payment anywhere… even on the go.  Of course, if you need additional assistance, such as how to use Facebook to find customers, watch one of the free webinars presented by the Verizon Small Business Center. (Click here to go to the Verizon Small Business channel or visit http://www.brighttalk.com/channel/6255).

 

 

 

Guest post from Cliff Lee, PR manager for Verizon handling security issues.

 

 

While you run a business, your email inbox is most likely filled with some personal matters too.  As you look to sway your sweetheart via the world-wide web, you should also be aware that online scammers are looking to romance your bank account and personal information at your expense.

 

Verizon’s security software partner McAfee is predicting that the lovers’ holiday themed email spam will quadruple worldwide by Feb. 14th.  McAfee cautions, that clicking on messages promising great deals on gifts for the loved one or clicking on links in those messages could result in malware being downloaded on your computer.  These dangerous links and malware are designed to compromise personal and financial information of those falling victim to them.

 

Scammers are using a technique called “snowshoe spamming,” in which they spread spam across multiple Internet addresses to evade consumers’ spam filters installed on computers.  In many cases, these scammers are using suspicious email marketing companies to send out the bulk messages.

 

So as you check your inbox be cautious of opening so-called holiday e-cards from people you may not know.  Clicking on an innocent looking link in the phony card may lead to an instant download of malware to your personal computer.

 

Other McAfee warnings include:

 

  • Online dating scams in which the bad guys post phony profiles at online dating sites in hopes of tricking victims into disclosing personal information or giving them money;
  • Love-themed malware such as Valentine’s Day videos, wallpaper or love songs which, once downloaded onto personal computers, also infect those computers with information-stealing malware;
  • Phony gift websites that may show up when people do online searches for Valentine’s Day gifts.  The scammers try to trick you into giving them credit card numbers or other personal information they can then use to steal your money or your identify.

 

So how do you avoid ending up forlorn this Valentine’s Day?  McAfee offers these common sense tips:

 

  • Don’t open links in spam emails;
  • Don’t click on a link in an e-card from someone you don’t know;
  • Make sure an e-card is from a legitimate e-card provider by doing an online search for their website;
  • Stay away from suspicious online dating sites and beware of people you meet at legitimate sites who ask for financial or personal information;
  • Use safe search tools when browsing for gifts online.  For example, Verizon’s Internet Security Suite (VISS) software provides users with warnings about unsafe sites that come up on search results;
  • Use a comprehensive security software, such as Verizon Internet Security Suite;
  • And, of course, if an online Valentine’s Day special seems too good to be true, if probably is.

 

As you work your way around not getting scammed today (and other holidays), let us know if your business gets busy on Valentine's Day.

 

 

Employee ‎02-14-2012 08:25 AM

Guest post from Pamela Harris-Straughn, small business marketing manager for Verizon.  If your small business is located on the east coast visit www.verizon.com/businessmadeeasy.

 

 

With some businesses it just makes sense to have television to entertain your customers.  I’m not just speaking about the usual bars, pubs and some doctor or dentist’s office.  TV in a waiting room will help to distract your customer from staring at the clock if you are running late.  Even if none of your customers visit your business, TV service can help you and your employees keep up with the latest news.

 

While there are a number of TV service providers small business owners in Medford, Massachusetts now have a new choice!  Verizon’s FiOS TV is now available to small businesses and consumers who can get the nation’s most advanced, all-fiber-optic network directly to your door.  Only FiOS TV offers more HD and more video on demand titles than what the current cable provider offers.  It’s not just your customers, but you and your employees, will be blown away by the amazingly sharp picture and incredible sound quality of FiOS TV.

 

With the availability of Verizon’s FiOS TV, means small business owners can now enjoy the convenience and peace of mind of bundling services together for a great price.  With the Verizon Solutions Bundle you get FiOS TV with 540 total channels, Internet speeds up to 150/35 and Unlimited Nationwide calling for as low as $84.99 a month.   As your business continues to grow, take advantage of these extra offers that include free Google Apps for three accounts; Verizon Internet Security Suite and Online Backup; and discounts to nationally known brands like Office Depot, FedEx and more. 

 

For small businesses outside of Medford, click here (or go to http://bit.ly/y41PvI) to find out if Verizon’s FiOS TV service is available in your area.

 

If you already have TV service at your business tell us what type of business you have and the benefits it has brought to your customers.

 

Guest post from Ramon Ray, editor & technology evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com, shares 10 Ways To Build Mutually Profitable Relationships Online and In Person.

 

 

Networking is one of the most important activities a business person can do. There are several reasons why network is important:

 

-          Networking gives you access to peers who can give you advice;

-          Networking helps you find potential new customers;

-          Networking can be a great source to find new employees; and

-          Networking helps you find vendors that you may need (cleaners, consultants, lawyers, etc.).

 

These are just a few of the reasons why networking is important.

 

Some people think there is a science to networking, but there is no science to networking, sometimes I wonder if there’s really even an art to it. Good networking is very simple, it’s about treating others as you would want to be treated. It’s about treating others like how your mama raised you.

 

Below are three tips I’ve learned over the years that go far in good networking:

 

1.  Be a giver – so many people are so overt about what THEY can get from a relationship that they forget about the pure pleasure of just sharing and giving to others.

 

2.  Be strategic – Your time is precious, networking is not a profession. Some people go to every event they can go to, pass out all their business cards and accept every business card. I don’t do this. I’m very careful about what events I attend and who I network with. My time is precious and so is theirs (and yours) so a good match and synergy is critical.

 

3.  Be thankful – remember when you loan your friend some money or helped him out and he didn’t even say thank you? How did you feel?  Not so great, I’m sure. In networking make sure you express your gratitude even if the lead didn’t work out… your new contact made an effort and was willing to help, that’s got to count, right? 

 

 

To get the rest of my tips on how I network to build mutually profitable relationships online and in person, join the live free webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. ET.  Click here or go to http://www.brighttalk.com/r/59h to register now

 

Thank you for your time!  To connect with me online follow me @ramonray and to connect with the Verizon Small Business team follow @VZSmallBiz.  During the live webinar @VZSmallbiz will tweet my tips using #vzsmb.  If you are on Twitter, please give us a ‘shout out’ and feel free to send me your question via Twitter using the hashtag #vzsmb.

 

In today’s business environment, “instant” and “at the push of a button” seems to resonate across the ecosystem when it comes to communication.  Fortunately, through Push-to-Talk (PTT) technology, businesses can make an instant connection with someone on their call list, and speak about the issue at hand without waiting for a phone to ring.

 

No matter what line of business you are in, construction, transportation, medical, manufacturing, professional services, etc, a mobile phone with Push-to-Talk offers many features and top line benefits including:

 

  • Instant two-way communication for mobile teams on the go. Communicate with one person or the whole team with the push of a button.
  • Group calls with up to 50 participants.
  • Online contact management for the entire company.
  • Presence (the ability to see who's available for a PTT call).
  • One number, one phone for Push-to-Talk and voice calls.
  • Manage contacts for the company online: Add, delete and assign contacts, create groups and more.

 

 

Now all of these benefits are available on the Android platform via the Casio G'zOne Commando from Verizon Wireless.  For those who want a viable method of communication to deploy in their SMB, the Push-to-Talk feature allows you to use your phone like a walkie-talkie to communicate with an individual or group of other Verizon Wireless Push-to-Talk subscribers. No matter if in the office, traveling or on-site at a meeting, users can quickly connect with one or multiple team members at the same time with just a push of a button.

 

For those who are already Casio Commando owners, a simple process gets you into a PTT device.  Customers can activate the PTT feature Verizon Wireless store through: retail, indirect, business, customer service, and telesales channels.  Additional information is available here.

 

Customers can also add the feature through: 

 

  • Business: Log into My Business Account or call 800-VZW-4BIZ
  • Enterprise: Call 800-VZW-4BIZ
  • Consumer: Log into My Verizon, My Verizon Mobile or call 800-922-0204

 

As a company, Verizon Wireless’ Push-to-Talk capabilities continue to play an important role for our SMB customers in industries where one-touch communication aids in swift decision making in the field. Push-to-Talk functionality is ideal to make reliable connections regardless of challenging terrain or diverse infrastructures. 

 

If you are already using the PTT feature, please share how you have used it in your business.

Employee ‎02-09-2012 10:50 AM

Guest post by Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, an incorporation filing service company.  Nellie is a strong advocate in educating small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of protecting their assets and is responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operations of the business. She blogs regularly at Mashable and Tweets from @Corpnet.

 

 

For most small business owners, the process to incorporate or form an LLC is an unfamiliar road to navigate. After deciding which business type is best, the next question is where. And most often, small business owners think they should decide between Delaware and Nevada.

 

Both Delaware and Nevada are hot choices for incorporation. And there’s good reason. Larger corporations often choose Delaware as their state of incorporation, because it offers some of the most developed, flexible, and pro-business statutes in the country. Nevada is a popular choice for businesses due to its low filing fees, as well as the lack of state corporate income, franchise, and personal income taxes.

 

To be sure, these are compelling advantages. However, they’re not for everyone. As a general rule of thumb, if your corporation or LLC will have less than five shareholders or members, it’s best to incorporate or form an LLC in the state where your business has a physical presence.

 

By ‘physical presence’, I mean the state where your business is physically located, or where any property owned by the business is located, or where your employees reside, or where the shareholders reside. So unless your business has some kind of physical office in Delaware or Nevada, it’s going to be much easier (and less expensive) for you to incorporate or form an LLC in your home state.

 

Let’s take a look at an example. Ginnie owns a sporting apparel company in Maryland and is thinking about incorporating in Delaware. However, Maryland has rather strong rules pertaining to bank accounts. As an ‘out of state’ business, Ginnie would need to get permission to open a business bank account in Maryland. And it won’t be easy to open a bank account in Delaware, as Ginnie’s business doesn’t have any kind of physical address in the state.

 

In addition to this logistical challenge, there are other added fees to deal with. These can include:

 

For the state where a business incorporates:

  • Appointing a Registered Agent in THAT state
  • Paying filing fees in THAT state
  • Filing annual reports in THAT state

 

And then, for the state of residence (or where the business is physically located):

  • Appointing a Registered Agent in THIS state
  • Paying filing fees in THIS state
  • Filing annual reports in THIS state
  • Qualifying as a Foreign Corporation in THIS state
  • Paying taxes in THIS state

 

I can’t overemphasize that last point, as it is a common misconception among many small business owners. While Nevada may not charge state income taxes for your corporation, the state where your business is physically located will come after you for those taxes sooner or later. Adding insult to injury, your tax liability may actually increase because you're viewed as a foreign entity operating in the state.

 

As you can see, any advantages of incorporating in Delaware and Nevada are washed away with all the added fees and paperwork of trying to operate out of state. As a small business owner, you’re already contending with enough paperwork and fees as it is. Don’t add more to your workload. Remember the rule of thumb… if your company has less than 5 shareholders/members, incorporate in your home state.

 

 

[Editor’s note: To read Nellie’s previous guest post where she shares tips on what you need to know about incorporating your business click here.]

Employee ‎02-07-2012 03:44 PM

Guest post by Craig Staley, Verizon's small business digital communications specialist.

 

 

If you’re like millions of Americans, you’re probably experiencing some level of withdrawal—having come to the realization that, with the culmination of the Super Bowl this past Sunday—you’re going to be without American football for the next six months or so! 

 

But, while you’re saying “game over”, we’re saying it’s “game on” for Small Business! 

 

Verizon just launched a promotion available to small business owners who are not currently Verizon phone and Internet customers.  We call it our “Worry Free” Solutions Bundle. 

 

Why?  Because we’re making it easier and more convenient than ever for small businesses to start saving money by removing many of the barriers that, in the past, have kept you from enjoying America’s premier voice and broadband networks. 

 

Verizon’s broadband service is fast, reliable and secure—with the speeds your business needs to keep you connected to your customers—and your employees.  Our networks deliver consistent speeds even during peak hours of operation—which many cable companies can’t deliver. 

 

Only Verizon’s voice network is 99.9% reliable.  It’s crucial for businesses that need a reliable connection -- even during a power failure.  Plus, it’s compatible with today’s alarm monitoring services that many small businesses need and rely on.

 

So why are we so excited about this new offer?  For starters, take a look at this winning line-up…we’ve truly taken the “worry” out of everything.  We’re excited because when you bundle up vice and Internet services, we’ll help you to save time and money.   These are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy

 

  • Choice of No Annual Contract, or lock in these great prices for two full years.
  • No activation or setup fees
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee if our Internet and Voice products aren’t everything we say they are
  • Flexible scheduling to set up your new Verizon service.  We’ve added appointments to fit your busy schedule
  • Professional on-site installation—and we’ll stay on the job until your business connections are up and running
  • 24/7 tech support
  • Free wireless router
  • Google Apps for business, free of charge and for as long as you have your services bundled with us.
  • You can keep your existing phone numbers
  • $200 American Express Reward Card

 

That’s why we’re say “game on”.  Only Verizon offers small business owners a great price plus a worry free guarantee.  We’ve made switching as easy as 1,2,3!

 

There’s never been a better time to switch to Verizon.  Even if you’re not ready to switch or get new services for your business—make the time to review your current services.  Do you have an Internet network that provides you the speed you’re paying for?  Or, does your current Internet service drag during the busiest part of your work day? Do you need more phone lines, or reliable, quality voice service?  Does your business need to start taking credit card or mobile payments?  Are you sure you’re getting the best price for your current service?

 

With Verizon’s best-ever offer to new customers, we want to make your small business a part of our team! 

 

Being a team member also includes some value-added services that you just can’t put a price on.  We give you access to a whole host of online support and information that cable just doesn’t provide.  Access to things like: free webinars; networking access with America’s best small business minds; discounts for your everyday business needs from leading retailers like Office Depot, FedEx and more.

 

Think of it as the beginning of a whole new season for your small business!

 

So, get your “game on” today by visiting www.verizon.com/fiosbizchoice, or call us today at 1-877-795-1055. 

Kathy_Johnson ‎02-07-2012 08:20 AM

Consumers as well as small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have widely adopted the tablet technology and have found multiple ways to incorporate its use into their everyday lifestyle.  The tablet marketplace is growing as more small and medium businesses look to leverage technology to be more productive.

 

What’s great is App developers have jumped deep into the fray, which is evident by the vast amount of business apps for tablets that are available for any and all operating systems – helping you to run your business more efficiently.   Whether you own your business or work for a small company, there are business apps that can help you enhance your productivity while on the go. 

 

A recent research, predicts this year 3 out of 4 SMBs will purchase tablets.

I recommend that you look at several factors prior to making your decision. Carefully consider if a tablet or smartphone would be best for your business. Have an idea what your business needs are, which features are key, but of course, be flexible as there may be a little give and take when you make your final decision.

 

Here are a few tips to consider when shopping for tablets:

 

1)    Start with an open mind – The tablet that wins the most popularity contest may not be the tablet for you.  Think about the tools and features your business needs on the go.

2)    Consider how do you plan to use your tablet or how you want your team members to use it (email, editing/sharing/creating documents, presentations, social media, manage expenses, etc?).

      a)    Based on your needs, ask if there are apps to match these tasks.

3)    What percentage of your time will be used in the office and/or on the go?  (for either case, accessories are a must )

4)    Will you use the device while traveling overseas?

5)    Lastly, purchasing a tablet is like purchasing a pair of jeans ….there isn’t a one size that fits all.

 

You must try them out (demo) and see which one fits your needs the best and also try a few business apps as well.

 

Click here for the Tablet line up available on the Verizon website.

 

You can also visit your local Verizon Wireless store (or go to www.vzw.com/stores) and see many of the tablets in person and try them out.

 

If you are already using a tablet for your business, please share how it has added value to your business.

 

Employee ‎02-03-2012 01:45 PM

Don’t worry if your business doesn’t have the $3 million to run an ad during the Super Bowl as there are other more effective ways to advertise.  Read this article for more information.

 

Pricing is important to any business, but are you pricing yourself out of your customer base?  Taking a closer look at your customers will help you find the best price.  Read the following article to learn more.

 

Data storage usually takes a backseat to new and exciting performance applications.  Your perception might be changing soon though on this subject.  Read this article on some exciting new trends you will be seeing in 2012.

 

While April and filing for taxes is still a couple of months away, check out this guest post from Anita Campbell, the founder of Small Business Trends.  She shares some tips to help you prepare and get ready to file.

 

Here’s a recap of the benefits of being a Verizon customer.

 

 

We hope you all have a great weekend and that your favorite team wins the big game this Sunday!

 

 

Today’s roundup was compiled with the help from Maureen Burch, product strategy manager for Verizon.

 

 

Employee ‎02-03-2012 07:49 AM

Guest post by Craig Staley, Verizon's small business digital communications specialist.

 

 

At Verizon, we’re always striving to bring additional value to our small business customers whenever and wherever we can.  That's why we're committed to helping small businesses to save money through the Verizon Discount Program.  With partners such as FedEx, Office Depot, SuperMedia.com and more, we're helping you to save money on the things your business needs to function every day.  The benefits of being a Verizon small business customer is that you can  sign-up for any of the offers by visiting www.business.verizon.net; look for the Verizon Discount Program link (under ‘Quick Links’).

 

If you haven't bookmarked the Verizon Small Business Center website, please do so, as we're adding new small business-related content and offers all the time.  In fact, why not just make it your homepage!

 

Just as we're adding new partners and new discounts to the Verizon Discount Program, we're also creating new offers from Verizon from time-to-time for our small business customers that can save time and money for their telecommunications needs. 

 

Most recently, we launched a wireless discount for our small business customers. If your company is an eligible business and activates 5 new lines of Verizon Wireless service, you may qualify for an 8% discount off of your monthly access fees.

 

These discounts are being made available to business customers so that "as your business grows"--so can your discounts!  Plus, you'll be able to receive a 25% discount for select accessories and business pricing on wireless equipment.  Even better, your employees may qualify for these same discounts. 

 

To see if you qualify for this discount, click here (or copy and paste this URL to your browser http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/businessSolutions/contactUs.jsp), or contact a sales representative at 1-800-899-4249.

 

We're proud to make this exceptional offer to qualified small business owners, and their employees, because we know how important it is for you to stay connected to your business and your employees, no matter when or where your work happens.  Plus, today's smartphones can keep you connected to your customers, your business and personal email accounts, your calendar, and so much more!  And remember that with wireless service from Verizon, you're conducting your business on America's largest and most reliable wireless network. So, call 1-800-899-4249 today to see if your business qualifies.

 

Have you taken advantage of any of the discounts through the Verizon Discount Program?

About Verizon Business Markets
Get news from Verizon about Business Markets services and market trends that affect your bottom line. Here, you'll find tips and commentary from the Verizon Business Markets group and other experts to help keep your business growing.

       




Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

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Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


Kelly Boyd

Marketing Analyst, Verizon Business Markets

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Kelly is a member of the OOF Verizon Business Markets Creative & MarCom team where she leads social media marketing.


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