Of all the considerations an entrepreneur has to make when starting a business—what to name it, how to price the products and more—the legal considerations are perhaps the most important. From determining a business structure, to complying with local labor laws, to ensuring you prepare for and properly file your taxes, forgetting to account for any of these aspects could lead to disastrous legal consequences down the line—ones that may be impossible to recover from.
To ensure you don’t make any legal missteps as you begin your entrepreneurial journey, consider the advice of those who have experience dealing with the legalities of starting a business. Here, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council outline some of the most important legal considerations to make when starting a business and why handling these tasks should be at the top of your to-do list.
1. Accurate Tax Filing And Documentation
Ensure accurate tax filing and documentation from the very first year. Missteps in this area can lead to significant penalties, audits or even legal actions in the future. Also, early mistakes can snowball over time, making them more difficult and costly to correct later. Investing in a competent accountant or tax professional from the outset can be a wise decision to prevent such potential issues. - Yury Sokolov, Finazon
2. Registration For Data Protection And Privacy Compliance
For immigrant founders, it's really important to have the right immigration status when starting your business and to own the company IP. Some founders register their company in the U.S. for sales primarily and then have their development offshore to protect IP rights to the software. If you are building a data-centric organization, take the legal considerations one step beyond to prioritize registering for data protection and privacy compliance. Validate your customer and product usage data rights and make sure your business is registered in a country or state where you can outline ownership of data as part of your terms of service. - Surbhi Rathore, Symbl.ai
3. Clear, Detailed Contracts And Agreements
When you start a business, it's really important to create clear and detailed contracts and agreements. These are legal documents that explain the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved in the business. Having good contracts helps prevent disagreements and protects everyone's interests. It also shows that your business is trustworthy and professional. Contracts make sure you follow the law as well as help you run your business smoothly. It's a good idea to get help from a lawyer to help customize the contracts to fit your needs and review them regularly. By focusing on clear and comprehensive contracts, founders can keep their businesses safe and build good relationships with customers, partners and all others involved. - Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT
4. Your Business's Legal Structure
The first legal consideration that founders need to consider when starting a business is the entity’s legal structure. Depending on your business type, desired operations and long-term vision, you’ll need to decide on whether you want to start an LLC, S corporation, C corporation or nonprofit organization. Not only does this decision impact things like taxation and investors, but it also affects your liability as an owner and founder. Always start by limiting your personal liability from the company’s liability. From there, you can worry about obtaining legal counsel, securing appropriate licenses and maintaining the right insurance. But protecting your personal liability must always be the first step. - Ian Blair, BuildFire
5. Proper Insurance Coverage
When embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, new founders must prioritize obtaining appropriate insurance coverage for their businesses. Starting a business involves risks, both known and unknown. Insurance acts as a safety net, protecting you from potential financial losses that may arise from unexpected events or liabilities. By securing the right insurance coverage, you mitigate risks and gain peace of mind. A few reasons why insurance should be high on the priority list includes liability protection, property protection, business interruption and professional liabilities. It demonstrates your commitment to responsible and prudent business practices, instilling confidence in stakeholders and potential partners. - Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme
6. Employment And Labor Laws
Employment and labor laws are absolutely essential considerations for every founder to take care of. You need to protect the interests of all parties involved—your business, yourself, your employees and other stakeholders. You have to understand the classification of employees, overtime pay and more. You also have to follow fair practices, ensure there's no discrimination and protect your and your employees’ intellectual properties and contributions. Make sure that you hire the right people to help you comply with labor requirements right from the start to avoid problems down the line. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Intellectual Property Protection
One critical legal consideration that new founders need to prioritize is protecting their intellectual property (IP). This includes trademarks, copyrights and patents. Safeguarding IP assets is crucial for establishing a competitive advantage, preventing others from using or copying your unique ideas, products or brand identity, and maintaining the value of your business. It is advisable to consult with an intellectual property attorney to identify and protect your IP assets through proper registrations, contracts and confidentiality agreements. - Ismael Wrixen, FE International
8. IP Or Patent Violations
When starting a business, it's important for founders to be wary of intellectual property and patent laws and to make sure they don't violate any. Intellectual property laws may apply to even the most basic of things that aspiring entrepreneurs are either unaware of or fail to consider, such as the name of the business, the company's logo, item design, content and so on. Violating these laws would not only lead to the demise of a business before it has even started, but it could also cause the founders to face severe penalties that would haunt them for quite a long time. Research is the key to avoiding such legal complications and helps new founders kick-start their businesses successfully. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. Proper Industry Licensing
One of the most important things to do is get proper licenses for the industry you're in. This is especially critical because having the right licenses ensures that your business operates legally and doesn't risk being shut down by authorities. Plus, the added benefit is that you appear legitimate and more trustworthy to your audience and customers. You can show that you comply with industry regulations and build a positive reputation, attracting more customers—something that is essential for success. - Blair Williams, MemberPress
10. Former Non-Compete Agreements
Consider if you still fall under any previous non-competes. Many entrepreneurs are inspired to start their businesses based on their past experiences; however, issues can arise if you are in breach of any non-compete agreements you signed in the past. Think hard about whether or not your new business directly competes with a previous employer. Review the contracts you've executed to determine the exact prohibitions and their expiration dates. When in doubt, seek legal advice or start a different business instead. You don't want to burden yourself or your business early on with such an avoidable issue. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
Source : https://www.forbes.com
Image Credit : Getty Images
Any business that believes marketing can be divided into neat little categories is destined for failure. There’s no such thing as an online marketing strategy and an offline marketing strategy. Local marketing requires a unified effort, regardless of the medium.
The Rule of Seven
The rule of seven is one of the classic principles of marketing. It says that, in order for a prospect to become a customer, they must see your offer at least seven times. In other words, once a customer has seen a brand’s offer on seven different occasions, they have everything they need to follow through with a purchase.
While the underlying principles of the rule of seven still apply, the number will be larger in 2016 and beyond. Jay Walker-Smith of Yankelovich Consumer Research points out that the average customer was exposed to just 500 ads per day in the 1970s, compared to 5,000 ads today. As a result, the rule of seven may as well be the rule of seventy.
But this is where marketers are going astray. Many assume that throwing a bunch of marketing and advertising campaigns against a wall in hopes that a couple stick is a good idea. “It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers nowadays is to cover every blank space with some kind of brand logo or a promotion or an advertisement,” Walker-Smith says. But should that be the goal?
If you want to satisfy the rule of seven(ty), the goal shouldn’t be to make a bunch of noise and hope that your message rings the loudest. Instead, you should be looking for ways to maximize your reach by going after both online and offline channels. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some specific offline and online strategies that will help your small business enhance its local marketing efforts.
Three Offline Local Marketing Tips
Thanks to the growth of the internet and ecommerce, offline marketing often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So let’s start with this channel and discuss a couple of specific tips and techniques for getting your brand in front of customers in today’s saturated marketplace.
Spend on Signage
“As a famous quote goes, ‘A business without a sign is a sign of no business’ and so, signage should never be an afterthought. You should see it as an investment that will get you a good return in the long run,” says Luke Markey of ShieldCo. “A well-designed and smartly placed sign will attract customers and generate good profits over the course of time.”
Few investments bring as high of a return as physical signage. Think about it! If you’re trying to expose the same customer to your brand over and over again, a physical sign is the best option. People have routines and walk the same streets, drive the same roads, and eat at the same places. Thus, if your sign is on a street corner on a crowded city block, the same 5,000 people are going to see your sign every single day. After just a month, they’ve already been exposed to your brand a handful of times.
Make Sponsorships a Priority
If you’re looking to get the proverbial bang for your buck, sponsoring local events and programs is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of lots of people. Some of the more popular options include sponsoring school sports teams, nonprofit events, and cultural events.
“There are so many other possibilities, such as carnivals, county fairs, beauty pageants, cook-offs, flea markets, walks/runs, concerts, business associations, and trade shows,” marketer Dana Zarcone suggests. “Not only do these sponsorships help get your name out there, you’ll also be building your referral network as you make connections within the organization or group you’re helping.”
Speak at Industry Events
All B2B industries – and most B2C industries – have regular conferences and events that take place at different times all over the world. If you can find a way to earn a speaking engagement at one of these events, you can give your brand some much-needed visibility. In addition to being able to reference your brand and include your logo in print materials, you can also grow your reputation as an expert or thought leader in your niche.
This also represents a great opportunity for a little online crossover. Most events and conferences these days are recorded. Get a copy of the recording and upload it to your website, YouTube, and social media channels to expand your reach.
Three Online Local Marketing Tips
You can’t survive with an offline marketing strategy alone. You also need to invest in some local online marketing to reach people where they spend hours of their time each day.
Here are a few tips:
Move Television Ads Online
Here’s a progressive strategy that will allow you to maximize your ROI: Reallocate any money you’re spending on local television ads to online video.
“ComScore recently found that 84% of people watch videos online. On the flip side, fewer people are watching television, let alone seeing the ads that companies still pay big bucks to have,” cloud marketing expert Gravity4 notes. “To merge these two worlds, more businesses are moving their television ads and messaging online.”
The wonderful thing about online video advertising is that it’s becoming increasingly programmatic and cost-effective. There’s no more guessing which channels, shows, and at what times your customers are watching. With online video advertising platforms, you can target very specific customers and base your decisions on robust insights and analytics.
Put Social Media to Work
Social media is a challenge for many small businesses. It can feel like a huge responsibility and many business owners are too intimidated to invest any time in this powerful engagement resource. You shouldn’t be, though. When properly leveraged, social media is the ultimate marketing tool – allowing for repetitive exposure and meaningful engagement.
Keeping the rule of seven in mind, social media is highly effective because it allows you to control when customers see your brand (as well as how). If you know that your users are most active during the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot, then you can invest all of your resources into targeting them during this time. Contrarily, if you know that your customers don’t get on social media during business hours, then you don’t have to waste your time. Social media puts you in control of the messaging and timing, which is incredibly valuable in the long run.
Split Test Everything
Whereas you need to gather a ton of data, interview customers, and host focus groups to really understand when an offline marketing campaign is effective, you can gauge efficacy online in a matter of hours. The key is to split test everything.
You should be split testing your PPC ads, social media posts, landing pages, blog posts, web design, and everything in between. The information you extract from these tests will help you better understand your customers and produce more accurate marketing materials in the future.
Bridging the Divide Between Online and Offline Marketing Channels
It doesn’t matter if you’re a brick and mortar business or an ecommerce brand, you can’t afford to only target online or offline marketing. Furthermore, you can’t totally separate these two channels. There needs to be some crossover between them. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a chance to maximize exposure in strategic and brand-relevant ways.
Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Local Marketing
In the modern marketing landscape, the division between online and offline strategies is artificial and counterproductive. A holistic approach to local marketing is crucial for small businesses, where both digital and traditional methods synergize to amplify brand exposure and engagement. The Rule of Seven, a classic marketing principle, remains relevant in an era of heightened ad exposure. However, a larger number of exposures is required due to the deluge of daily advertisements. Instead of aiming for noise, businesses should focus on strategic reach by leveraging both online and offline channels. Here’s how to enhance your local marketing efforts through a balanced fusion of offline and online strategies:
Three Offline Local Marketing Tips
Three Online Local Marketing Tips
In essence, the convergence of online and offline local marketing strategies is pivotal for small businesses seeking comprehensive brand exposure. The seamless integration of these methods yields a more impactful local marketing campaign, capturing the attention of customers across various touchpoints and platforms.
Source : https://smallbiztrends.com
Image Credit : Shuttershock
For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, operating internationally from day one is crucial to long-term success. But starting a small business domestically is hard enough, how can these leaders be expected to go global so quickly?
Contrary to popular belief, expanding a small business internationally is a much more manageable process than it may seem. While there are obstacles to overcome — banking differences, culture or language barriers, lack of capital and import tariffs — entrepreneurs and small business leaders can employ a few tricks to overcome these challenges and start operating abroad.
Given the incredible long-term opportunity it presents for these businesses, leaders need to think and operate globally as quickly as possible. Here's what to know about getting started and ultimately expanding your business abroad.
Outline market opportunities and business needs
An important part of growing your business to international markets is starting with a strong understanding of where you stand against competitors in a new country and assessing demand for your product or service. Conducting market research is a great way to identify where your business stacks up and what to expect from your potential move abroad. By outlining your target audience's specific needs and preferences in different countries, you can tailor your offerings to meet their requirements and gain a competitive edge.
You will also need to assess the specific needs of your business in the new countries you are expanding. You'll need to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in operating overseas, which will vary country by country. Carefully review and understand these requirements before you commence work in another country. Getting everything set up from a compliance perspective, first and foremost, will build the foundation you need for the future.
Many countries have resources for small businesses looking to expand into that market. The US Small Business Association has an excellent guide that outlines this process and provides a great starting point for those in the US.
Think differently about your workforce
In addition to this initial market research, leaders should consider their current workforce. While many small businesses and entrepreneurs are teams of one, having a local presence in the markets you're expanding to is still important.
If possible, hire a local team to have on-the-ground support from folks who understand the cultural nuances, market dynamics and language of the target country you're moving into. This facilitates smoother operations and helps build trust and credibility with local customers. Depending on the business size or expectations of success, consider leveraging remote workers or utilizing freelance contract-based professionals who are local to the market. This can offer flexibility while minimizing overhead costs.
Ultimately, embracing and building a diverse and multicultural workforce brings fresh perspectives, fosters innovation and enhances your business's ability to adapt to local markets.
Create a network to learn from and grow with
Alongside establishing a strong local team comes building a network of like-minded entrepreneurs and leaders who have already expanded their businesses abroad or are also looking to do so. There is so much to learn from others who have come before you and found success, and cultivating this network will be a massive benefit throughout the global expansion process.
You can build this network by joining industry-specific trade associations, attending conferences and participating in international business forums. This will help connect you with individuals with firsthand knowledge of operating in foreign markets. Their guidance and advice can help you navigate the international expansion complexities and avoid common pitfalls.
Collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the entrepreneurial community can foster growth and open doors to new opportunities. Remember to share your experiences with the groups you join to help others.
Put the right tools in place
Tying all of these pieces together comes one of the most important factors when expanding globally: having the right infrastructure in place for your business operations. Luckily, there are incredible tools available to help any business build this successfully.
There are many options available for all businesses to select when it comes to building their suite of tools, which will vary based on your services and offerings. Everything from cloud-based collaboration platforms, project management tools, online banking resources and communication software exists to help facilitate efficiency across your business. It can be overwhelming to see everything out there, and a good first step is to outline the different tools you currently use against those you likely need.
There are also several essential tools to consider at the top of your list — especially for financial management and banking. International payments are a particularly challenging area for many businesses as they go global, with traditional services often lacking transparency on fees and taking way too long for transactions to process.
My company, Wise, provides international payment solutions for small businesses. By leveraging the existing power and infrastructure these companies provide, you can have more control and autonomy over the financial aspects of your business operations without added hassle and stress.
As you become more established, you can also invest in ecommerce platforms and digital marketing strategies to help cultivate a strong online presence in new international markets, expanding your reach and driving customer acquisition.
Your business can find success abroad
Overall, expanding your business internationally is a feasible and exciting endeavor. While challenges exist, entrepreneurs and small business leaders can overcome these obstacles by adopting the right strategies. With careful planning, market research and a willingness to adapt, businesses of all sizes can seize the opportunities presented by international expansion. So, take the leap and unlock the untapped potential beyond your borders.
Source : https://www.entrepreneur.com
A guide for managers and leaders to drive business success through empathy.
Empathy is the transformative force in business and life that allows leaders and managers to empower those around them. Beyond numbers and profits, understanding and connecting with others on an emotional level is a hallmark of exceptional leadership. This article delves into the power of empathy in the business arena — spotlighting its impact on leaders, teams and the legacy we all leave behind.
The essence of empathy in leadership
Empathy in leadership goes beyond just a soft skill; it's a strategic imperative. As a manager, your interactions shape the team's culture and morale. By understanding your employees' feelings, needs, and perspectives, you forge connections that are the bedrock of trust and collaboration.
Empathy is the cornerstone of a positive work environment. When leaders genuinely care about their team members' well-being, it creates a culture of camaraderie. Employees feel valued and appreciated, resulting in increased job satisfaction, higher morale and reduced turnover. By acknowledging individual strengths and challenges, leaders can tailor their approach, empowering employees to thrive and contribute their best.
Effective communication and conflict resolution
Empathy is a game-changer in communication. Leaders who listen actively and understand their team's concerns can communicate clearly and tactfully. When conflicts arise, an empathetic approach promotes open dialogue, allowing conflict to be resolved constructively. This prevents issues from festering and maintains a harmonious work atmosphere.
Empathy and employee engagement
Employee engagement is vital for productivity and innovation. Empathetic leaders foster engagement by recognizing employees as whole individuals with specific aspirations and needs. This recognition boosts motivation and encourages employees to invest their energy and creativity in their roles. Engaged teams are likelier to go the extra mile, driving overall performance and organizational success.
Building trust and loyaltyTrust is the currency of effective leadership. Empathy is the linchpin of trust-building, demonstrating that leaders genuinely care about their team's success and well-being. Employees who perceive their leaders as empathetic are likelier to be loyal and dedicated. This loyalty translates to increased effort, reduced absenteeism, and a willingness to weather challenges together.
Empathy in decision-making
Empathy informs strategic decision-making. Leaders who understand the impact of their decisions on employees consider not only the bottom line but also the human aspect. This leads to conclusions that balance short-term gains with long-term sustainability. By incorporating empathy, leaders build a culture where decisions are ethical, considerate, and aligned with the organization's values.
Empathy's ripple effect
Empathy is contagious. When leaders embody compassion, their teams often emulate this behavior. This ripple effect extends to customer and client interactions, creating authentic connections that enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction. A company culture rooted in empathy can differentiate the organization in a competitive marketplace.
Strategies for strengthening empathy
Developing empathy requires active effort. We can start by actively listening to others without judgment, acknowledging their emotions, and trying to understand their perspective. We cultivate a culture where people feel seen, heard, and valued.
Empathy emerges as a fundamental trait that elevates leaders beyond managerial roles. As a leader, nurturing compassion creates a positive work environment, boosts engagement, fosters effective communication, and builds trust. It's a catalyst that transforms workplaces into thriving ecosystems where individuals feel valued and empowered. By recognizing the transformative power of empathy, leaders shape organizations that achieve financial success and leave a lasting, positive impact on their employees and the world at large.
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.