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The HBS Blog


The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.

Why a Happy Personal Life Is Good for Business
By Jamillah Warner Monday, April 15, 2013

Shift How to Reinvent your BusinessAs Peter Arnell — the marketer behind major brands like Pepsi, Samsung and DKNY — puts it, “Work life and home life equal one life.”

Who you are on-the-job bleeds into who you are after hours and vice versa.

In his book, entitled  SHIFT: How To Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, And Your Personal Brand Arnell chronicles how he applies tried and tested repositioning strategies to his personal brand. He decided to make a shift, “a slight move in…attitude, in…thinking, in…behavior.” And while the book is a slow burn — you’ve closed it and moved on to something else before you realize that his simple ideas have sparked a few basic changes in your thinking — it left me with one core thought.

Maybe it is time for a shift.

Your shift doesn’t have to be a major change like moving to a new city or switching careers. For impact, however, it needs to be deliberate and personal. If you don’t own the change, you won’t push or pursue it for the long haul. So before you start demanding that your work team makes personal improvements, focus on yourself. In my opinion, there are three great reasons why making a few personal changes is good business.

#1 — Creativity and Calm

According to Arnell the greatest stress is inaction. If that’s true, then moves in the right direction eventually feel like progress with some additional positive side effects. Every time I dive into something that I’ve put off for months, years, or just a few days something inside calms down. And then I’m flooded with ideas.

It takes effort to block things out. Why not use that effort to address it and move forward?

#2 — Lead by Example

After managing an eclectic group for almost 12 years in a non-profit specializing in raising foster children, I learned the similarities between my adult team and the boys in our home. People respond quicker to what you do than what you say. If you want them to go the extra mile, let them see you do it first.

Changes like updating how you communicate with people and improving how you take care of folks — including family, customers, clients and employees — goes a long way. Your personal upgrades can become a spark for your team to make personal changes too. A sharper team leads to a sharper business.

#3 — Practice Makes Perfect

Repeated exposure is a major component in remembering something. It’s not the only factor, but the more opportunities people have to experience your brand, the more likely people will remember you. The same is true when learning something new. You need continual exposure to the new way of doing things, or you’ll forget about it.

For example, if you decide to improve your communication — as mentioned earlier — start at home first. Improve your family communication. Practice listening to the kids. Practice being clear before you get annoyed. And then practice it on-the-job. The improvement will go deeper and that’s great for business.

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Corporate Meetings | Harvard Business Services, Inc.
By Devin Scott Tuesday, April 9, 2013

You have just formed a new corporation. Now what? We often hear the question: What types of corporate meetings do I need to hold? The first thing you need to do is hold the initial meeting of the Board of Directors. At the initial board meeting, the bylaws are read and adopted, officers are elected and stock is issued to the initial shareholders. The Secretary will keep minutes of the meeting and sign them.

After the board meeting, you can have a shareholder’s meeting which will ratify the action of the board. If you do not have an initial shareholder’s meeting, you will want to have the shareholders sign a waiver of that meeting. Typically a corporation is not required to hold the first annual meeting until they have been incorporated for one year, unless the bylaws state otherwise.

For your reference, here is an excerpt from the Delaware code.

§ 211. Meetings of stockholders.

(a)(1) Meetings of stockholders may be held at such place, either within or without this State as may be designated by or in the manner provided in the certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or if not so designated, as determined by the board of directors. If, pursuant to this paragraph or the certificate of incorporation or the bylaws of the corporation, the board of directors is authorized to determine the place of a meeting of stockholders, the board of directors may, in its sole discretion, determine that the meeting shall not be held at any place, but may instead be held solely by means of remote communication as authorized by paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

In the annual Shareholders meeting, minutes and resolutions should be recorded and signed by the secretary.  Templates for the initial meeting of the Directors, the annual meeting of the Shareholders and a stock transfer ledger are included in your Harvard Business Services Corporate Kit.

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Business Accelerator Programs for Startups
By Kathryn Hawkins Monday, April 8, 2013

When you’re launching a new business, there’s so much you’ll need to think about beyond the business concept itself. How can you find the right employees? How will you market the business? Are you taking all the proper legal steps in setting up your business? And, most importantly, how will you finance your ongoing business operations?

Rather than doing it alone, many business founders discover that joining a short-term accelerator program for startups can help them gain access to the mentorship and capital they need to take their companies to the next level. These programs typically provide fledgling companies with access to office space, training sessions, networking events, seed funding and introductions to venture capitalists in exchange for a small equity stake.

Here are five worth considering

TechStars
The highly selective TechStars program hosts annual programs in Boston, Boulder, New York City, Seattle, and San Antonio, with 10 startups in residence at each location. The program provides training sessions, legal advice, seed money, and mentorship from founders of high-profile companies like Warby Parker and Birchbox. The accelerator’s success stories include SocialThing, a social media aggregator acquired by AOL in 2008; email marketing program SendGrid; and Brightkite, a social networking program acquired by Limbo in 2009.

Y Combinator

Y Combinator, based in Silicon Valley, has been investing in building startups since 2005. One of the program’s distinguishing features is weekly dinners with tech luminaries such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Some of Y Combinator’s most high-profile graduates include Reddit (often dubbed the “front page of the Internet”), room-rental site Airbnb, and file storage company Dropbox.

Kicklabs

This Bay Area incubator is dedicated to helping digitally focused companies that are ready to scale and begin generating revenue. Though this accelerator doesn’t directly provide seed funding, it helps its companies seek funding from VC agencies. Successful program grads include Livefyre, a social commenting service.

AlphaLab

Pittsburgh isn’t known as a mecca for startup activity, but this incubator is working to change that. The 20-week program offers new companies office space, business support, mentorship, seed funding, and a chance to pitch to venture capitalists. One of the program’s graduates, The Resumator, has since licensed its recruiting software to many major tech companies like Pinterest and Hootsuite.

DreamIt Ventures

This program, with locations in Philadelphia, Austin, New York City, and Israel, provides up to $25,000 in seed funding to each enrolled startup company. The accelerator focuses on providing a collaborative community, and gives each startup founder individual mentorship and coaching. In addition to a more general program open to all types of companies, DreamIt offers a specialized program that focuses on health care companies. Recent grads include IndieWalls, a service that helps venues find work from local artists; KidNimble, an online platform for finding out about children’s activities; and Costa Rican app developer Sabor Studio.

If you’re interested in incubating your business in an accelerator program like one of these five, be prepared for an intensive application process, and, if chosen, an even more intensive experience in the program, with plenty of late nights. Although the process may be challenging, it will help you refine your business model, gain access to mentors and valuable business contacts, and give you a great shot at obtaining the funding you’ll need to take your fledgling business to the big-time.

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Change Your Registered Agent Now and Save!
By Devin Scott Monday, April 1, 2013

Rick Bell, Chairman and CEO of Harvard Business Services, Inc. announced today that Harvard Business Services, Inc. will now change any Delaware company’s Registered Agent to Harvard for the exact cost of the State's Certificate of Change of Registered Agent filing fee and include 1 full year of Registered Agent service at no charge.

This means you can now change your Delaware Registered Agent to Harvard Business Services, Inc. for just $50. This includes the Delaware Division of Corporation filing fee as well as the first year of Registered Agent service. After your first free year, your Registered Agent payment will be just $50 per year for the life of your company. The savings over the next 5 years can be as much as $840.

Some clients can choose to take advantage of even more savings by paying $90 for 2 years $125 for 3 years of Registered Agent service. Other Registered Agents charge as much as $269 per year and continue to raise their fees. Why not start saving money right away?

Non-profit entities cost only $25 to change their Delaware Registered agent. Again, this will include the first year of service for free. Why spend more than you have to for your Registered Agent service?

Our Delaware Registered Agent service includes the forwarding of any correspondence from the Secretary of State of Delaware, lifetime customer support and notification of all Delaware compliance fees, including Franchise Tax and Registered Agent service by mail and email. Harvard Business Services, Inc. is conveniently located in Lewes, Delaware and connected to the Division of Corporations by a direct imaging system. We will file your Change of Agent form the day we receive it.

For more information, check out our video on how to change your Registered Agent service.

Harvard Business Services, Inc. has been in business since 1981 and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.  We have formed over 99,000 Delaware companies for our clients and we want to make it easy for you to form and maintain Delaware LLCs and Delaware corporations.

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Delaware Company Name Reservation
By Devin Scott Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Did you know that reserving your company name with the Delaware Division of Corporations can actually slow down the processing time of forming your company? Even if you save and are able to produce your name reservation receipt, the formation of your company can take up to 4 to 6 weeks if you reserve your name. Typically, turnaround time to form your company without reserving the name is about 2 days. This information is important in deciding whether it is worth it to reserve your company name.

Example 1:  Ronnie reserves the name for his Delaware LLC with the Delaware Division of Corporations. He prints his reservation receipt because we will need it to file his company when he is ready. When Ronnie calls us to incorporate his new business, he has a couple options. He can have us file the standard turnaround time, which for him is now 4 to 6 weeks because he reserved the name, or he can expedite this order to 24 to 48 hours for an additional state fee of $125. This 24 to 48 hour turnaround time would have been no additional charge had he not reserve the name.

Example 2: Bobby reserves the name for his Delaware Corporation with Delaware Division of Corporations. He loses the receipt. This complicates things for Bobby because that receipt is needed for us to release the name from the state of Delaware. Bobby will now have to either change the name or pay an additional $75 to transfer the name reservation to us so we can file his company. This transfer can take 4 to 6 weeks. If he does not have 4 to 6 weeks to wait, then he must also pay the additional state fee of $125 to expedite the order to 24 to 48 hours. So Bobby paid $75 more than Ronnie for the same turnaround time just because he lost that receipt.

Example 3: Rickie does not reserve the name. He calls Harvard Business Services, Inc. and forms his Delaware LLC. His documents are filed on a same-day basis and he has the approved documents from the Delaware Secretary of State within 48 hours, without having to pay any additional fees.

So the important questions for most clients are these: How much time is there between your idea for the name and when you will call Harvard Business Services, Inc. to form the company? Do you think someone else will take your company name in that time period? How soon do you need your approved documents? Please keep these situations in mind before deciding to reserve your company name with the Delaware Division of Corporations.

For important information on choosing a company name, Three Easy Steps for Naming Your Company in Delaware may be helpful.

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