The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.
You are ready to form a Delaware LLC; you know Delaware has the strongest corporate law structure to protect your business, and you're ready to start your business. Now what? What do you need to form a Delaware LLC? The answer is simple.
We will ask for:
Other than a form of payment, this is all we need to form your LLC with the Delaware Division of Corporations. This is how easy it is to form a Delaware company.
We can take the information from you over the phone, or you can give us this information online. We will file the Delaware LLC on a same day basis and that date will be the “birth” date of the company (usually referred to as the formation date). The typical turnaround time is two to four business days with normal processing, except during some of the busiest days of the year. Some clients elect to expedite their order in order to receive their approved Certificate of Formation the same day. The time-stamped document we email you will be exactly the same as if we were to put it in the mail. This is just another advantage of forming a Delaware LLC with Harvard Business Services, Inc.
With the buzz of social media all around us, email marketing can feel rather old school. We have options, multiple ways to connect with our audience. We can:
And there’s no telling what’s coming next. But no matter how large social media becomes, you’ll always need a home online (your website) and a consistent way to connect with people who follow you home. And that’s where email comes in.
“The primary intent” of email marketing “is to establish loyalty, trust and brand awareness,” says Brian Gardner, founder of StudioPress.
“Unfortunately, email marketing seems to have a bad reputation,”
Gardner adds in his article, What is Email Marketing and Why You Should Be Doing It. That reputation comes from poor tactics and a misplaced perception of what subscribers will tolerate.
If you respect your audience, however, put yourself in their shoes and share the information they want to hear, then email marketing becomes an effective way to build a relationship. Below are five types of emails that your customers want from you and look forward to receiving.
1) New products and services.
Even if they don’t buy every time you promote your new goods, they want to be in the loop. Share the information. You never know which piece of contact gets them back in the store or on your website.
2) Training on how to use your product.
Consider your own shopping habits. You buy services and products all the time. And for the more advanced items you could use a little help: your clients probably could too.
Whether you’re a camera store with a class on lighting or a law firm with a class on estate planning, share it with your email list. If you’re doing something that can improve your clients’ life, then they want to hear about it.
3) Sales, discounts and holiday specials.
The shopper craves a deal. So be sure to share these bonuses with your loyal subscribers. Never have a sale or any other kind of opportunity and leave current clients out of the loop.
4) Major changes to the company.
This includes name changes, discontinued services and relocation. If you want your clients to show up to the right place, you have to let them know. If you no longer offer a service, use email to give them a heads up.
5) Major industry changes.
If you can teach or break down something that others in your industry have failed to explain well, then your people want to hear from you — especially if you serve other business owners.
Your clients may not want to hear from you five times a day every day of the week. But they do want relevant information and a relationship that improves some aspect of their life or business.
Take the position of service by always remaining customer-minded. While developing your email campaign answer the following questions:
1.What do my people want to know?
2.What is the most effective way to provide this information?
If you get ready to send out a message and you don’t know why it would matter to your audience, then it doesn’t need to go out.
When it comes to traditional marketing, the goal is to make people focus on you and your product. In this vein, there are numerous tools, including oversized ads, that are too hard to miss--they are like shooting stars lighting up the night sky. The problem with these tools is once people get used to seeing them, they become invisible--they are just a part of the landscape, a message they take for granted.According to Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers To Persuasion And Captivation, there’s a better way.
Instead of begging people to pay attention to what you are saying, your goal ought to be to fascinate them. When others are fascinated by your message, their attention is automatically focused on you and your brand.
“Fascinating messages, like fascinating people, have the potential to consume us as almost nothing else can, sucking us into a vortex of intensity,” writes Hogshead. "Fascinating people…don’t just talk at us. They get under our skin and into our conversations….They earn our business, as well as our trust. Instead of getting us to merely notice them, the fascinating ones change us in some way.”
Both her book, Fascinate, and her branding test, The Fascination Advantage, are based on her Kelton Fascination Study of 1,059 Americans around the country, all 18 and older. In the study, fascination was defined as “Intense captivation. When something is fascinating, it captures your attention in an unusually intense way. It’s more than “interesting.” It distracts you from other things around you, and makes you want to pay complete attention….Note that when something is fascinating, it is not inherently good or bad, only that it captures your full attention.”
According to Hogshead, the study revealed the importance of fascination as well as seven universal triggers. And you don’t need all seven in order to engage your audience. In case you’re not quite convinced that your marketing should be fascinating, let’s address why boring marketing is so dangerous.
Facts are boring and at best mildly interesting if you really pay attention. But turn them into an infographic or a story and your message comes to life. In fact, the better the image, the better the story, the more fascinating the message.
Companies can also become boring. Add a personality behind the brand, however, and the business begins to pop. Think Papa John’s and the recent changes that Domino’s Pizza is trying to make. You add a personality and the whole brand becomes more engaging. It’s what Steve Jobs does for Apple — even now — and what you can do for your own business.
Said another way, boring is death to your brand. If it dies there’s another company ready to take your place.
It requires consistent and creative effort to figure out what makes you interesting to others, but this awareness is the lifeline to small business marketing and designing an effective brand message. In Part 2 of this series, How Fascinating Is Your Small Business Brand?, we’ll look at three simple actions that every small business can take to help their brand fascinate.
Harvard Business Services, Inc. is holding a Testimonial Contest! We value our customers and are excited to offer our clients the chance to make their voices. We have over 35,000 loyal clients from all over the world, and we get emails and phone calls every day from appreciative clients thanking us for our excellent service.
Now, we want to say Thank You to those of you who feel that way and are creative enough to make us a short cell-phone video testimonial that we can use to convey to others how much we care about your satisfaction and how efficient we are at filing your company.
In addition to making your voice heard, you could win a $50 debit card! HBS will award the best 100 video testimonials with a $50 debit card.
Here’s how it works. Send us a cell phone video telling us something positive about your experience forming your company, contacting Harvard Business Services, Inc. after forming your company to ask a question or pay your Franchise Tax.
IT MUST BE TRUE. We don’t want a bunch of BS. Nobody wants a bunch of BS.
IT MUST BE SHORT. 30 Seconds at the most (with a bit of leeway). Longer testimonials about how great HBS is will be appreciated but may not be selected as a winner!
IT MUST BE POSITIVE. We’re not looking for constructive criticism. That’s why we call it a Testimonial Contest!
You MUST emailit to us and include the following information in your email:
Your Company Name
Your City and State, or Country if outside the USA
You MUST give us permission to use your testimonial anywhere we want for as long as we want. We may use it on our web site, our YouTube Channel, our Facebook page and/or our LinkedIn page (for starters). If it’s a truly great Testimonial we’ll use it everywhere for a long time.
Please copy and paste the following statement into your email:
“If I am a winner of the $50 award, Harvard Business Services, Inc. may have the exclusive unrestricted rights to use my Testimonial video and indicate my FIRST NAME and CITY and STATE (or Country) in the testimonial. I DO NOT give Harvard Business Services, Inc. permission to reveal my full name or any address information to anyone for any reason.”
If you are interested in having your voice heard, please email your short video testimonial to: email@example.com
So go ahead and show your support for Harvard Business Services, Inc. and again, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be your Delaware Registered Agent.
This offer is good until May 1, 2013 so make it happen and make it good!
Square, the upstart mobile payments company headed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, was in the headlines again recently when Starbucks announced it would use the company’s technology to process all of its debit and credit card payments, and that it was investing $25 million in its new business partner. While this particular bit of news may not have a big effect on most entrepreneurs, other than giving them a new way to pay for their daily caffeine fix, the world of mobile payments is, in fact, transforming the way many businesses—from the tiniest start-up to the world’s largest coffee retailer—accept money from their customers.
In order to accept credit cards back in the old days of the mid-2000s, small businesses had to apply for a merchant account from a large bank, submit to a credit check, and wait weeks to have their application processed. For those lucky enough to get approved, it was a costly proposition. You had to buy hardware that could cost close to $1,000, and there were transaction fees of up to $25 a month, even if the business didn’t process any transactions. Once the business started accepting credit cards, the fees were not only expensive—as high as five percent—but they were multi-layered and opaque, if not downright misleading. On top of all this, the business owner was left with a clunky system that took up valuable space and relied on paper receipts. Needless to say, this wasn’t very appealing to the thousands of entrepreneurial enterprises that operate on tight budgets.
Square changed all of that when it came along in 2009; anyone can download the Square app for free and start accepting payments right away, and the fees charged by Square could not be more straightforward: 2.75 percent per transaction, period. And its elegant design, the tiny 2.5-centimeter namesake square, plugs into a smartphone or tablet and allows merchants to instantaneously e-mail receipts to customers without any additional hardware.
As you would expect, Square’s success has spawned a host of competing products from some of the giants of the tech industry. Now battling it out in the mobile payments space are Google, with its Google Wallet service; Intuit, with its GoPayment offering; and PayPal, with its triangular take on Square called PayPal Here. As the people increasingly move away from cash transactions, all of these services attempt to make it simple and cost-effective for entrepreneurs to accept credit and debit cards. They are all pushing into the next frontier of the mobile payments world by offering customers the ability to pay for their purchases with their smart phones. There are some differences in the fee structures, as well as the software, so be sure to shop around and see which works best for your business.
No matter how big or small your business is, and no matter if you’re a startup just beginning to accept card payments or an established firm looking to cut your monthly credit card-processing bill, it makes sense for you to get to know the new mobile payments landscape.