The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.
People all over the world form Delaware LLCs in order to reap the benefits of Delaware's strong corporate law structure. Delaware is the most popular state in which to form a company, and the reasons why people incorporate their businesses in Delaware are numerous.
This is a fairly well-known fact, but did you know you can operate your Delaware LLC in other states?
If you would like to register a business in another state, such as New Jersey, the first step is to register as a foreign entity in that state. This process is called Foreign Qualification. Your business is considered domestic to Delaware and foreign to every other state.
Foreign qualification is the way in which the state of New Jersey grants you the authority to operate there with a Delaware company. Delaware companies that operate in another state without foreign qualifying are often not in compliance with that state's regulations.
Each state's Foreign Qualification requirements are a little different; New Jersey has an application process and a state fee, and the state also requires a Certificate of Good Standing from the state of Delaware. The Certificate of Good Standing cannot be more than 30 days old.
New Jersey also requires that you have a Registered Agent in the state. Harvard Business Services, Inc. would be happy to act as your Registered Agent in the state of New Jersey for $99 per year if you are interested in registering a business in New Jersey.
Normal processing time for Foreign Qualification in New Jersey is about two to three weeks. If we register your Delaware LLC in New Jersey, we will prepare the documents for you, obtain your Certificate of Good Standing, pay the state fee and expedite the order so you receive the approved documents in just a few days.
Once your business is registered with the State of New Jersey, you will be required to file an annual report on behalf of your company. The New Jersey annual report is due every year on the anniversary of the date on which you initially filed your company there. (The Division of Revenue often sends a reminder to your Registered Agent about three months before the due date; the cost of the annual report is $50.)
Keep in mind that in order for your Delaware company to remain in good standing, you must also pay the Delaware Franchise Tax and maintain a Registered Agent in Delaware.
For more information on the Foreign Qualification process or to get started, please visit our Foreign Qualification page. We can also help you register your Delaware LLC as a foreign entity in New Jersey via telephone at 1-800-345-2677, Ext. 6130 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvard Business Services is hitting the road again and will be an exhibitor at the Small Business Expo NYC. We're not the only ones who will be there: Representatives from the hit ABC show, "Shark Tank," will be on-hand as well!
Want to know how to be on "Shark Tank"? Producers will be interviewing potential candidates at the expo. If you're interested, schedule an interview with "Shark Tank," attend the Small Business Expo (admission is free!) at Pier 92 in New York City, and speak with the show's representatives. Who knows? Maybe you can persuade one of the sharks to invest in your product or service!
While you're there, stop by and see us! We'll be at the expo from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday, June 12. Come see me (Mike Bell, director of marketing) at Booth #106. I'll be happy to answer all your questions and inquiries about forming a Delaware LLC or corporation and will be handing out our insider’s guide to incorporating along with our famous bumper stickers. You'll also have a chance to win a free "Be Your Own Boss" T-shirt!
Interested? You can register in advance to visit the expo. Friends of Harvard Business Services will receive a free bronze badge upgrade, which allows you full access to all workshops. Simply click this link, hit "RSVP Today," select "bronze badge," and you're all set!
Come see why the Small Business Expo is the trade show that brings together thousands of business and decision-makers to network, attend business workshops, build new business relationships, and shop from vendors that provide unique products and services.
We hope to see you there and look forward to meeting everyone that comes by our booth!
Venture capital investors play an integral role in the development of start-up companies by providing needed funds to high-risk, early-stage companies with strong growth potential. Venture capital investors provide entrepreneurs with initial seed money and additional financing at various stages of the often fast-paced growth process, with the ultimate goal of either taking the company public in an initial public offering (an “IPO”) or selling the company to, or merging it with, a larger, an established industry player.
Current economic conditions, however, have brought venture capital investments to the lowest level in years. The small, high-growth firms which benefit most from venture capital are particularly susceptible to downturns in the broader market, making what are already perceived as high-risk investments in such companies even riskier. As a result, new venture capital fundraising is down significantly to just a fraction of funds raised in previous years.
In addition, the two traditional means of achieving returns on venture capital investments (an IPO or a sale to a larger company) are largely unavailable. The IPO market has come to a near standstill, although some are forecasting marginally increased activity later in 2009. The market for mergers and acquisitions has similarly declined. As a result, venture capital investors are unable to exit their current investments, and, if an exit is possible, it will likely represent a substantial or total loss, further chilling the market for new venture capital investments.
A new group of secondary investors is emerging to pick at the carcass of current venture capital investments. These investors purchase the interests of current venture capital investors at a substantial discount, hoping for later gains when the IPO and mergers and acquisitions markets thaw. This secondary market at least provides some liquidity to those currently stuck in venture capital positions.
Despite this dour news, there is some reason for optimism. There is evidence that corporate acquirers are taking tentative steps to reenter the market for start-up operations, albeit on conservative terms. Some larger companies are using these difficult times to make strategic purchases of start-up companies, as evidenced by Google’s recent creation of a $100 million venture capital fund. Learn about the Google venture capital fund. In addition, well-positioned emerging companies are increasingly taking advantage of the distressed balance sheets of public companies, acquiring technologies and operations from these companies at a relatively depressed price. This practice was virtually unheard of before the current downturn.
In short, while the current state of financing for start-up companies is glum, the market for innovation and high-growth companies will return. The entrepreneurial spirit has and always will survive difficult markets, and investment assets invariably seek out the brilliant new cutting-edge companies and innovations that will shape the future.
Relying on the comments of friends, I recently tried a new local restaurant and loved it! When deciding on a resort for a recent trip, I went online, checked out the hotel’s Web site, and read comments from travelers who had stayed there. Nowadays, most people do just that. Surveys have found that when customers check out a business or order a product, they are very interested in what others have to say. With this in mind, the BBB launched Better Business Bureau Customer Reviews!
The new feature allows customers to post reviews—positive and negative—of businesses they have dealt with. The BBB keeps it aboveboard by verifying that a transaction really did take place between the customer and business. So far, a great majority of the comments received about BBB Accredited Businesses have been positive. If a review is negative, the customer is asked to file a complaint and seek resolution, rather than just shout out dissatisfaction without attempting resolution. The BBB does reserve the right to edit posts for appropriate content, leaving out such things as swearing and name calling. Companies will still get the traditional letter grade, with the addition of remarks from customers.
The best part is that the BBB’s Business Rates and Reviews are free to the public. You begin simply by going to BBB.org and typing in your zip code. Following their simple steps, a specific company such as your own can be researched or a search can be started for a company of interest.
Harvard Business Services, founded in 1981, takes great pride in our stellar reputation for the creation of Delaware LLCs, Delaware corporations, and our guaranteed $50 a year Delaware registered agent service. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 1998, we have maintained an excellent status.
More than 60 percent of our business comes from referrals from current clients, and we believe that is because of our consistently excellent customer service. Every year our number of repeat clients and referrals for the creation of a Delaware entity or registered agent service continues to grow. For more than 30 years, our goal has been to provide the fastest service, most customer-friendly specialists, and lowest registered agent fee in the industry.
The BBB assigns letter grades from A+ to F based on several factors, including the number of complaints filed against a company, and how those complaints have been responded to and resolved. HBS will always listen to clients and do everything we can to answer all questions/concerns in a timely professional manner. Because of this, HBS welcomes the new review feature the BBB has initiated! Another factor considered in the rating is the length of time a business has been operating. A company like HBS has an excellent track record since it has satisfied customers for more than three decades.
Truth in advertising is important to an excellent BBB rating, and HBS lives up to the high standards advertised, as evidenced by our large number of referrals. It pays to do business with a highly respected A+ company
We all know that an effective web site is crucial to the success of just about any small business and that increasing traffic to your site can be a primary source of new revenue. But how many of us have taken the time to understand and analyze what is working about our web strategy, and what isn’t?
By putting a little but of effort into these three areas, you’ll increase your chances of having a more successful—and profitable—web presence.
Start by taking an honest look at the design of your site and then comparing it with sites of your competitors as well as those of some unrelated firms that have a robust, and successful, Web presence. One of the most popular web site in the world is apple.com. Almost everyone wants to succeed like Apple, but your business may not lend itself to Apple’s web design.
How does your site measure up? If it looks like it was designed in the 1990s, then visitors are likely think to think that your business is stuck in the age of flannel shirts and grunge rock. Perhaps it’s time for an update.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or hire a hotshot designer in order to improve your online appearance. The goal should simply be to create a clean look with a number of easy-to-use action buttons such as “contact us” or “learn more.”
No matter how good your Web site might appear, it’s critical that you adopt messaging and keywords that clearly reflect your core business if you want to draw the right kinds of visitors to your sight. If you don’t know much about search engine optimization (SEO), it’s probably time for a crash course. Try reading SEO for Dummies by Bruce Clay, the premier SEO consulting company.
You should also learn to use Google AdWords and Google Analytics to track your success. The more you know the more successful you can be.
Fortunately, one of the most important things you can do for your Web site is also one of the simplest: prominently display your company’s phone number at the top of every page.
It’s easy to forget in an era when so much business is not conducted face to face, but people want to be able to reach you when they have questions, and many of them will not take the time to fill out a form or send an e-mail and hope for a reply. By making it easier for customers to initiate personal contact at their convenience, you’re almost certain to increase your site’s effectiveness.
But how exactly do you measure effectiveness? Everyone likes to look at the total number of visitors to their site, but if that’s all your doing then you’re only seeing the forest and not the trees.
The number one metric to measure is your conversion rate: the percentage of your Web site visitors who turn into sales leads. A visitor becomes a lead by completing some desired action such as joining an e-mail list or requesting more information about your firm.
You should also be tracking your bounce rate—the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing just one page. If your bounce rate is high, you’re either attracting the wrong kind of visitors or you’ve got a pretty unappealing home page.
There are a number of consulting firms that can help you measure these metrics and offer specific advice on how to improve them. There are also many software products to help you measure your success against your competitors.
Let’s face it, web marketing is here to stay. The more you embrace the proper web strategy for your company, the more successful you will be.