The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.
In our ongoing quest for online tools that can help us prosper in our industry, we have found another tech product that we’d like to share with you.
With RightSignature, we at Harvard Business Services, Inc. can now offer our clients the option of signing documents without having to print them out—they can use their mouse or finger, directly from their computer, smartphone or tablet.
When clients are on the go, they may not have time to print a document, sign it and fax it back. They could be driving, sitting in an airport or may just not have access to a printer, fax machine or scanner.
However, thanks to RightSignature, this will no longer be a problem. When clients receive a document from us that needs information and/or a signature, they are prompted to fill out the necessary information and only that information.
They cannot send the document back if they have not filled in all the information we have requested—this cuts down on human error and saves both us and our clients a considerable amount of time.
The document is clearly marked and the Submit button is easy to find. There is also a Help link if a client should need assistance, though RightSignature is really very self-explanatory and easy to use.
The great part about utilizing RightSignature is that it will allow clients to sign as well as type information directly from their screens. Clients can sign their name with their finger, type their title underneath the signature, and also date the document just by clicking on a date from a calendar dropdown.
When attorneys require signatures from their clients, they can easily forward documents by email to them; the clients can then sign the documents directly from their computer or smartphone and then send the document back to the attorney, all in a short period of time.
An online tool like this can help speed up business interactions, save paper and increase the convenience factor for your clients.
HARVARD BUSINESS SERVICES, INC. IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH RIGHTSIGNATURE.
Business owners often form LLCs in Delaware in order to take advantage of Delaware’s sophisticated and superior corporate law structure. Delaware’s corporate law structure has been ranked first for a number of years based on its ability to provide the best protection for the members behind the LLC.
When a business is incorporated in Delaware, your company is considered domestic to Delaware and foreign to every other state. To obtain the authority to operate in your home state with a Delaware LLC, the company must typically be registered in your home state as a foreign entity.
This process is called Foreign Qualification. It is the way in which your home state gives you permission, or authority, to operate your Delaware LLC in that state.
Each state has different requirements for Foreign Qualification. Virginia, like most states, has an application process and a state fee for Virginia registration for a Delaware LLC.
The state of Virginia also requires additional documentation from your Delaware LLC. In addition to the application process and state fee, Virginia requires a Certified Copy of the Certificate of Formation, including all amendments that may have been filed.
Once your Delaware LLC is registered as a foreign entity in Virginia, you will be responsible for Virginia’s annual fee, in order to remain in good standing. A foreign LLC operating in Virginia will pay an annual fee of $50 per year.
Please keep in mind that once you register your Delaware LLC as a foreign entity in Virginia, you will still be responsible for the Delaware Registered Agent Fee as well as Delaware Franchise Tax in order to remain in good standing in Delaware.
If you have any questions regarding Foreign Qualification for your Delaware LLC in Virginia, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-345-2677, Ext. 6130.
B Lab is a non-profit corporation that certifies B Corporations—it offers a variety of support, varying from access to the Certified B Corp logo to introducing new Certified B companies to a large, lively community of other Certified B Corporations.
“B Corp is to business what USDA Organic certification is to milk.”
A Certified B Corp is a for-profit corporation that has been certified by B Lab, which is a non-profit company that measures a company’s social and environmental performance against the standards in the online B Impact Assessment.
There are over 1,800 Certified B Corps in over 50 countries across 130 different industries.
B Lab’s goal is to build “a global community of Certified B Corporations who meet that highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.”
A Certified B Corporation is a company that has passed B Lab’s certification process, which involves assessing and possibly changing some of its methods in regard to social and environmental performances (i.e., how it treats its employees and how it treats its garbage).
There are five significant conditions to a Certified B Corporation (although some of these conditions overlap with Benefit Corporations, Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations are not the same thing).
According to B Lab, the six conditions that define a Certified B Corporation are:
Different types of companies require different types of certification. The four categories are:
How Are Companies Assessed by B Lab?
The Assessment asks questions to help corporate leaders understand how—and why—“to build a better business—better for your workers, community and the environment.”
You can measure your company’s social and environmental impact on your own, using B Lab’s free, confidential B Impact Assessment.
Why Use B Corp’s Impact Assessment?
30 minutes can give you a snapshot of your company’s impact, which includes a basic summary of which things your company excels at and which it could improve upon. 2 - 3 hours gives you a full impact report, which includes a holistic report on how your company scores on a single impact topic.
Within the B Impact Assessment, you can also access improvement tools, best practices guides and case studies as well as create a customized plan for your company’s improvement. Standards and benchmarks can help you reach your improvement goal.
Why Assess Your Company and Why Change?
If you doubt that one company—yours—can make a difference in the world yet still make a profit, consider this: according to the comprehensive study entitled Sustainability Pays: Studies That Prove the Business Case for Sustainability, “businesses can improve short-and long-term profitability through the adoption of sustainable practices […].
If you don’t believe that people pay attention to or care about the sustainability issues of the corporations they work at, work with or buy from, you’re wrong.
According to the Harvard Business Review, millennials, who represent about 50% of the global workforce, seek work that connects them to a larger purpose.
The Impact Assessment is designed for any type of for-profit company and any size of for-profit company.
The questions posed on the Impact Assessment will be tailored to the number of employees you indicate, so owners of a small business can take the Impact Assessment as well.
The Impact Assessment “comprehensively covers the impact of a businesses on all of its stakeholders, including its workers, suppliers, community and the environment.
The Assessment also captures best practices regarding mission, measurement and governance.” The most heavily-weighted part of the Assessment deals with each company’s specific business model.
Since the Impact Assessment measures current and previous business performance rather than planned intentions, start-ups tend to utilize it only as a learning tool—since they haven’t yet existed long enough to measure their impact, start-ups can instead weave the appropriate practices into their companies for future success.
Why Become a B Corp?
The B Corp Declaration: As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
If you would like more information on becoming a Certified B Corporation, our friends at B Lab offer more detailed information as well as ongoing support.
No matter how much advanced technology your company uses to facilitate and follow up on sales leads, no automated tool can replace a fantastic salesperson.
A skilled salesperson can elevate your company in a variety of ways.
5 Characteristics of Successful Salespeople
Know the Customer
Perhaps the most important aspect of sales is to know your target customers and what they hope to accomplish. Once you’ve ascertained your customers’ needs and wants, you’ll better understand how to help them achieve their goals. You’ll also be able to assist them more efficiently.
When successful salespeople go out of their way to truly understand each of their customers, those customers can see and feel it, and this trait winds up adding value to your sales proposition.
A great way to get to know your potential customers is to take the time to understand their businesses, how they make money and who their competitors are. All these things will help you tailor your thinking and better understand the needs of your customers.
Listening is an art. It must be learned, cultivated and practiced. All too often, salespeople are so driven to inform customers about their products and services that they often overlook crucial facts, such as said products or services not being the right fit.
This approach is more often than not a waste of everyone’s time. Customers are most receptive to salespeople who have taken the time to truly understand their position, their company and their objectives.
One way to convey to the customer that you understand him/her is through active listening. Active listening involves a focused process that is beneficial to any form of communication.
First, pay attention to what the customer is saying. While doing this, be on the alert for essential facts, and listen for emotions as well.
A successful salesperson goes a step further and repeats back to the customer what their wants or needs are to ensure everyone is pursuing the same goals.
If you take the time to listen to customers—especially potential customers—you increase the likelihood of your success, as it allows you to efficiently tailor your sales approach.
In addition, people in general like to be listened to, so when a salesperson takes the time to listen to a customer and truly grasp his or her needs, chances are the customer will be significantly more receptive to the sales presentation.
Ask the Right Questions
This goes hand in hand with listening and knowing the customer. Both of those techniques allow the salesperson to develop the appropriate questions for any potential customer.
Asking the right questions can make or break a sale because often the customer may not fully understand how he/she can benefit from your product or service.
A great way to show a potential client how your product or service can be indispensable is to convey a tailored and very specific solution to the customer’s apparent or expressed needs.
This can be achieved by asking the right questions and combining the answers with knowledge of your product in order to present an efficient solution.
Take Your Time
When salespeople are calm and do not rush through their pitches, they exude a sense of confidence to potential clients. Confidence is appealing because it expresses that you know what you are doing, you possess experience and you will take good care of your clients.
Essentially, taking your time puts potential clients at ease and suggests they can rely on you. Experienced and relaxed salespeople radiate confidence, and being in the presence of a confident person is reassuring, especially when dealing with the prospect of spending money.
An unfocused salesperson can be dizzying, overwhelming and off-putting—all the characteristics of a salesperson you don’t want to impart.
By remaining focused, you project the ability to both organize and prioritize on behalf of your customer. You appear disciplined, goal-oriented and intelligent—all the aspect of a salesperson you do want to impart.