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

Top 10 Tips for the First Time Business Owner
By Carleigh Lowe Friday, September 25, 2009

At Harvard Business Services we like to see entrepreneurs helping each other. Scott Gerber at Entrepreneur.com agrees with this notion and is sharing a fantastic list of ten tips he wish he had known before he started his first business. Below is an excerpt:

 

  • Focus. Focus. Focus.
    Many first-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every “opportunity” they come across. Opportunities are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Avoid getting side-tracked. Juggling multiple ventures will spread you thin and limit both your effectiveness and productivity. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. If you feel the need to jump onto another project, that might mean something about your original concept.
  • Know what you do. Do what you know.
    Don’t start a business simply because it seems sexy or boasts large hypothetical profit margins and returns. Do what you love. Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success. It’s not only important to create a profitable business, it’s also important that you’re happy managing and growing it day in and day out. If your heart isn’t in it, you will not be successful.
  • Say it in 30 seconds or don’t say it at all.
    From a chance encounter with an investor to a curious customer, always be ready to pitch your business. State your mission, service and goals in a clear and concise manner. Fit the pitch to the person. Less is always more.

10 Tips for the First-Time Business Owner

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2008 Annual Report from the Delaware Division of Corporations
By Brett Melson Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Delaware's Secretary of State recently put out a report recapping the 2008 year as a whole for the Division of Corporations.

Some of the notable statistics are:

In Autumn 2008 there was one domestic entity per Delawarean

Delaware remained the chosen home of 64% of Fortune 500 companies

67% of the new formations were LLC’s

24% were Corporations

9% were either a LLP/LP or a Trust

121,628 new Delaware entities were created in 2008

40,154 less Delaware entities we’re created in 2008 versus 2007

882,000 active entities are in Delaware

Even with the decrease of over 40,000 entities from one year to another, Delaware Division of Corporations is still a driving force in generating income for the State of Delaware. Roughly 30% of the State of Delaware's income as a whole comes from the Secretary of State Division of Corporations office.

Delaware is not immune to the economic downturn other states of the nation are facing. To combat a huge budget deficit, many of the fees associated with an amendment, renewal, Good Standing Certificate, Certified Copy, Apostille have gone up drastically. The late fee for all Delaware Franchise tax payments has increased from $100 to $200.

One thing that will not change is Delaware’s reputation for having the best corporate law structure in the nation!

To view the entire report click here: http://corp.delaware.gov/2008AR.pdf

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Three Tips on Creating a Name for Your Company
By Carleigh Lowe Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Wall Street Journal ran a great article entitled "Three Best Ways to Create a Brand Name" by Raymond Flandez. For many people, naming their company is a hard task on the path of entrepreneurship, but it is an important step so it's good to spend the time brainstorming in order to get it right the first time. Below is an excerpt from the article:
 

Three Best Ways to Create a Brand Name

Creating a great brand name is almost half the battle in establishing your company or your product. But getting there involves the kind of creative thinking that might be outside a small-business owner's purview. If you're having trouble, branding experts say the first step is to pinpoint your strengths. Why are you the best? And what do you deliver that's unique? Then, consider the customers whom you're targeting and what they value most, such as social responsibility, authenticity or customization. Then, think about how you can best express these principles effectively through words.

Here are the three best ways to come up with a brand name:

1. Take inspiration from everywhere. Write down the first few ideas that come to mind when you think about your business' service, product and personality; try using symbols, metaphors and word variations, says Michelle Adelson, owner and creative director, of brand agency Copia Creative Inc., of Santa Monica, Calif.

That's what Dan Kim, chief executive of Red Mango Inc., a frozen yogurt franchise in Dallas, did while trying to name the flavors of his frozen yogurt and iced tea drinks. He wanted names that would give customers "an emotional experience" and appeal to their sense of adventure. For a tangerine-and-mango yogurt, he combined the flavors with the word "pandemonium" to create Tangomonium. For iced tea drinks, he wanted customers to hear the "tea" sound when they order, so he named drinks Fanteasia (a wild berry hibiscus tea) and Mysteaque (vanilla black tea with hints of bourbon flavor). "We embrace having fun with the names," Mr. Kim says.

Three Best Ways to Create a Brand Name

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Phrases to Inspire a Collaborative Conversation
By Carleigh Lowe Monday, September 21, 2009

Running a business, large or small, requires keen communication and decision-making skills. Sometimes we know just what to say, how to say it and what to do. In other cases, it is in your best interest to gather information and ideas from others. Below, we suggest our top ten diplomatic phrases to inspire a collaborative conversation. These tips could set you up for success!

I have observed...

When you acknowledge that your observation is a subjective truth, rather than an absolute one, you allow people to share their thoughts without having to overturn your version or perspective. 

I have interpreted X to mean…

With this phrase, you send a message that the same information can engender remarkably different interpretations and conclusions.

Would you consider…

When you use the verb "to consider" in earnest, you are speaking diplomatically.

Yes, and…

By trading in the ubiquitous "yes, but," you allow an idea to evolve, instead of dissolve, and in doing so, you change the way the team functions.

I have a different perspective…

With this phrase, you fully express your opinion while affirming the premise on which collaboration is based—the necessity of multiple perspectives.

What if we…

The important "if" lowers the stakes of a given solution, thus creating a space for imaginative activity.

I believe it would benefit us to…

This steers the group’s focus toward what can benefit the whole, and away from what is usually more palpable, fear of change.

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Tips on Responding to Job Seekers
By Carleigh Lowe Friday, September 18, 2009

Our friend, Matt Cholerton offers many great tips on his blog Everyone Hates HR. Check out his latest post on responding to job seekers, he makes some fantastic points and gives you tips on how to weed through the resumes. Below is an excerpt:

Respond to Job Seekers

With this tanker economy, there's been no shortage of articles and anecdotes about the shabby treatment doled out to job seekers - like here in this NY Times piece.

There is increased, and valid, criticism about the lack of communication with job seekers, even final stage candidates. I know it can be absolutely overwhelming to find and navigate a candidate through interviewing and onboarding. Responding to every applicant that floods your email on top of that seems undoable. Especially, at a startup where there is more to do than fits in a day - usually without a dedicated HR rep. As we open a new position here at my company I want to do better.

Here are a few strategies I suggest to help:

#1 Add some additional tasks to the job posting, and make it clear you'll only respond to applicants who respond to your additional requests. For example, ask applicants to name their favorite product in your line and why. Perhaps it's just asking them for the last book they read and loved? These additional, and non-traditional, requests can give you clear insight into an applicant's personality. More importantly, they serve as an immediate screening tool to gauge genuine interest. Seekers spamming their resume widely and blindly stand out like a sore thumb - as not being specifically 'into' your opportunity. You can also use the posting to notify applicants that it might be as long as a week or two before they hear from you while you receive and screen folks.

Respond to Job Seekers

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