Tag : Why

Why The SBIC Doesn – t Work For Venture Capital Anymore –

#small business investment company

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Why The SBIC Doesn t Work For Venture Capital Anymore

There are so many things wrong in the article I felt compelled to write about it. This isn t a knock on the writer (Alicia Wallace) I like Alicia and think she does a good job. Rather, it s an example of the difference between signal and noise in any kind of reporting around the VC industry.

I’m an investor in over 40 VC funds around the world (mostly in the US) and three of them are SBIC funds. Each of the SBIC funds were raised in the 2000 2002 time period. On paper, only one is in positive return territory as a fund, but the SBIC leverage is a substantial negative factor for the LP investors in that particular fund. And, in the other two, I don’t expect to ever see any of my capital back because of the SBIC leverage. Furthermore, I don t believe any of the GPs in any SBIC-backed fund would ever take money from the SBIC again.

So I’m speaking from at least a little experience albeit indirectly with the SBIC, as I ve never been a GP in a fund that had SBIC leverage.

The article starts off saying that “Matthew Varilek has traveled across the state, proselytizing the potential benefits of the Small Business Investment Company Program.” As a partner in one of the most visible VC firms in Colorado and an LP in many of the Colorado VC firms, I’ve never heard from Matthew or anyone from the SBIC. Matthew, if you really want to have a deep discussion about why the SBIC program isn’t effective for VC funds anymore, feel free to give me a shout. I’d be happy to meet with you.

Next, there is the wonderful PR quote about the SBIC that says “Since the program s inception, SBIC success stories include the funding of companies such as Apple, Costco and FedEx when they were burgeoning small businesses.” The SBIC was instrumental in the creation of the venture capital business. The Small Business Investment Act of 1958 helped catalyze many of the VC firms created in the early 1960s. When I first heard about VC firms in the late 1980s, and my first company (Feld Technologies) started writing portfolio management software for some Boston-based VC firms, many of them had funds with SBIC leverage, although even by the late 1980s this was changing and many of them had shifted away from the SBIC. If you want to see a fun quote on it, read A History of Silicon Valley which quotes:

“ …many venture capital pioneers think the SBIC program did little to advance the art and practice of venture investing. The booming IPO market proved the model of investing in new companies, as some SBICs cash out at attractive levels. SBICs did give a boost to early venture firms, and some like Franklin “Pitch” Johnson, profiled below, thought the new law made the US “see that there was a problem and that [venture investing] was a way to do something… it formed the seed of the idea and a cadre of people like us.” Bill Draper, the first West Coast venture capitalist, has been more blunt: “[Without it] I never would have gotten into venture capital. it made the difference between not being able to do it, not having the money.” Many believe SBICs filled a void from 1958 to the early 1970s, by which point the partnership-based venture firms took off. The US government, however, lost most of the $2 billion it put into SBIC firms.

So, while Apple, Costco, and FedEx benefited, the PR would be more credible if the SBIC was trumpeting iconic companies created after 1990 or even 2000, especially where the lead investors (rather than follow on investors) had SBIC capital.

Peter Adams, head of Rockies Venture Club, is quoted a few times. I like and respect Peter, so this isn t aimed at him, but rather at the clear lack of understanding of the capital dynamics around VC funds.

It looks really great on the surface, said Peter Adams, executive director of the Rockies Venture Club, a nonprofit aimed at connecting investors and entrepreneurs. Then when you dig into it, there were some problems. Adams, who has been involved in many of the meetings with the SBA and members of the investment community, said the greatest concerns voiced by investors and venture capitalists involved management team qualifications, investment track records and the addition of debt to the equation. No. 1 for us is they want a management team with multiple people that have track records in venture capital and have worked together as a team before, he said. I can see where they re going with it, but the VC industry in Colorado has been fairly decimated through the economic downturn.

Peter is right about the context, but has two fundamental things wrong here. First, the VC industry in Colorado wasn t decimated through the economic downtown. It was decimated because of lack of performance between 2001 and 2009, just like much of the rest of the VC industry around the US. There s nothing special about Colorado in this mix, and it has nothing to do with the economic downtown. This dynamic has been reported thousands of times so I don t need to go through it again, but we don t have to look back very far to hear the drum beat from the media, LPs, and everyone else about how VC is dead. And if you re curious, it wasn t too long ago that Silicon Valley was also dying .

The other problem here is the need of the SBIC to invest in a management team with multiple people that have track records in venture capital and have worked together as a team before. Any VC firm that fits this qualification is unlikely to have difficulty raising money in today s environment, and subsequently has no need for the SBIC leverage. And, more importantly, the only firms that will look for SBIC leverage are one s that don t have this, which is a classic adverse selection problem.

Then there s this:

The recession also then plays into requirements that the management team members have been involved in a meaningful number of successful exits during a four- to six-year period. From 2008 to 2013, that was not a good time for exits, Adams said.

Huh, what? At Foundry Group, our significant exits (at least 10x capital returned) since we raised our first fund in 2007 include AdMeld, Zynga, MakerBot, and Gnip. We ve had plenty of other exits, but these are the big ones. One of those companies, Gnip, is Boulder-based and another from our older funds (Rally Software) also generated a greater than 10x return for us. Techstars (which we helped start) have also had a steady stream of significant exits, including local Boulder companies like Filtrbox, GoodApril, and SocialThing. And then you ve got plenty of Boulder / Denver monsters on paper some in our portfolio (like SendGrid and Sympoz) and others like Zayo, Ping, Logrhythm, and Datalogix. Finally, if you look across the country, the exits have been awesome the past three years.

It keeps going. There s talk about the angel cliff (e.g. we need funds to invest between angels and VCs nope, been there remember gap capital not so effective) and the SBA rules and regulations (which I believe are toxic and inhibiting to a successful VC fund.)

One of the other problem is SBA and SBIC s behavior in governance of the fund. The paperwork is silly and the overhead is non-trivial. The control over distributions and negative incentives to hold or distribute capital often generates bad decisions when companies go public. And at least one close friend who is a partner in an SBIC fund has now found a new LP to buy out the SBIC so they could actually invest capital in their winners, rather than be limited by the SBIC s constraints on the amount of capital you can invest in any particular company.

The SBIC could be a powerful force for good in the venture capital industry. But it has to approach things very different and based on my experience with the SBA over the past decade, I don t see it happening unless there is real leadership somewhere in coordination with leaders in the VC industry. I m certainly willing to help, if only someone bothered to reach out to me.

UPDATE: It turns out my partner Seth Levine had met with Matthew a while ago. Seth said Your blog was right on and much of the type of thing I related to Matt and some senior guys he brought in. The gist of my conversation with them was pushing them to consider a different model that the current one basically led to lowest common denominator GPs and sub-optimal returns. Plus the SBIC leverage could be crushing. I don t think they have a ton of flexibility around this but they at least listened to the feedback. I m going to see a bunch of them in a few weeks I agreed to help judge a business plan competition they were hosting. Like you I m not a huge fan of the program as it has existed but I give the new guys some credit for both reaching out and trying to be proactive about thinking through this.

UPDATE 2: Matthew Varilek reached out to me and we are setting up a time to talk.



Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business #cash

#business financing options

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Why Alternative Financing Options Might Be Best for Your Small Business

The small business financing landscape is continually changing, with more options available to business owners than ever before. About half to two-thirds of these businesses seek financing from a number of places, from owner investments to non-bank sources. As small businesses continue to face challenges when it comes to gaining access to capital and taking advantage of opportunities to grow, it s important that they re seeking the right type of financing for their particular needs. There s been a lot of focus on alternative lending recently, but how do small business owners know when this is the right option to pursue?

One of the most obvious and common answers is that businesses seek financing when they re faced with an unexpected opportunity or challenge that requires quick capital. In my early years as a restaurateur, I built a chain of casual dining restaurants that saw strong growth, solid revenue and profitability. We had all the right elements, but excess cash wasn t one of them. When I was presented with the opportunity to purchase the ideal property for a new location, there was only one issue — I needed $250,000. I was able to get the money quickly from an alternative lender, and I saw the power in this financing option.

In my case and in the experiences of many others, this access to capital provided me the freedom and flexibility to take advantage of a deal that allowed my business to grow. I learned firsthand that when opportunities like these are handled properly, the benefits can be enormous.

Most of the time, small businesses don t have the cash on reserve or an established line of credit that enables them to withdraw the necessary funds for these types of opportunities. Alternative sources of lending help fill that void by giving business owners access, availability and speed. The reality is that traditional banks aren t equipped to do this — and it isn t profitable for them to provide loans of under $200,000.

So what are other situations small businesses often face that may benefit from an alternative source of financing? Check them out:

  • Purchasing discounted inventory, raw material or new equipment at a can t-miss price, such as a restaurant looking to make opportunistic purchases of wine during the holidays or a wholesaler in need of additional warehouse space and forklifts
  • Buying out a partner or to avoid taking on a partner who will own a chunk of the business and profits for life
  • Expanding to new locations
  • Harsh weather that forces a business to close days on end
  • Fluctuations in the economy that impact the bottom line
  • Unexpected occurrences that put pressure on cash flow and require an immediate influx of working capital, such as a refrigerator that stops working in a restaurant or a farmer needing to process the harvest

To determine what type of financing makes sense for your business and situation, you must consider what exactly needs to be funded and the timing. Alternative lending helps provide flexibility of repayment and offers creative options, including small daily payments that fluctuate with sales volume. It s also important for small business owners to understand the rates associated with choosing an alternative lender. This type of financing is more costly than a traditional bank loan because these companies act as liaisons, borrow capital from other financial institutions and guarantee the payment. Essentially, they absorb the risk and the losses when a client defaults. This is also further emphasized when taking into consideration that an application can be underwritten and approved in hours instead of weeks with a bank.

Whether you re a restaurant, retailer or medical practice, examining your situation closely will help determine the best financing option. Gaining access to capital can be the deciding factor in whether or not a small business grows or survives, so choose wisely when it comes to funding.



Buying an Internet Business – Why 2016 is the Year to Buy

#internet business

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Buying an Internet Business Why 2016 is the Year to Buy

The start of a new year is always a natural time of year to make plans for the future. be it personally or professionally. It’s a good time to take stock of previous experience and think about what’s taking place in the world. Indeed, you don’t have to look too far for predictions posts at the moment, the internet is positively awash with musings about the year ahead with many exciting internet marketing trends predicted (mobile, the internet of things and as ever, more content marketing!)

Strangely though there is not much in the way of thoughts on business buying in 2016,particularly for buying an internet business. so I’ve put some thoughts together on why 2016 is potentially a very timely year to buy.

Buying an internet business – macro favors the opportunist

There’s so much uncertainty in both the US and global economy at the moment that you can carve a pretty convincing argument either way for economic collapse or prosperity in 2016 (presumably that’s how Wall Street analysts keep in business come high or low…)

I think though that when it comes to small business ownership there is strong cause for optimism this year. Consumer confidence has continued to climb through 2016 to the mid 90 s. Good news for consumer facing e-businesses.

Investment levels always tell you something about the market’s sentiment toward both the economy and small business growth. Whilst you shouldn’t always follow the herd it’s important to note we operate in an economy based largely on consent, so if everyone else is investing it’s a good sign for personal acquisitions. US venture capital investment continue to grow year over year, and 2015 saw the largest amount of investment dollars.

Lastly, borrowing is an essential component for acquisition and growth and it’s refreshing to see that whilst SBA lending softened a little in 2014 to $3.8bn (from $4.0bn in 2013), the lender is anticipating a huge boost in 2015 to $4.8bn. If you’re looking to debt finance an internet business acquisition, 2016 could well be the year to do it.

A word of warning though, it can still be quite difficult to secure debt financing for online business acquisitions. SaaS businesses and recurring revenue models that have at least three years of history tend to be the most successful candidates for funding, though cash buyers will continue to have pole position in 2016. If you want to learn about alternative finance options you can read How to Buy a Website with Finance .

Surging internet growth continues

The nice thing about most internet trends is that they almost always face upwards which makes the old Chinese proverb of “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now” true at the start of almost every year.

E-commerce continues to be one of the biggest areas of internet growth and eMarketer expects the global E-commerce industry to increase another $263bn in 2015 to $1.763trn (yes trillion), all boding very well for site owners and potential business acquirers.

Content sites will not miss out on a continued surge in internet usage as multi-device and particularly mobile usage make the web a major source of advertising dollars. Internet advertising revenues continue to rise with spending up across every single sector. from 5% YoY in entertainment to 20% YoY in retail. Digital advertising revenue is now worth more than $40bn in the US alone (as of 2014), second only to TV, and rising at 15% per annum (5x faster than any other medium).

It’s not just the growth opportunities that are appearing in the internet investment landscape, the risk factors are somewhat fading too. Many online business acquirers are cautious of pending Google algorithm updates particularly when looking at websites with high search traffic (and they are wise to be). With the last 18 months seeing an unprecedented amount of algorithm changes. things have now started to calm and the industry is expecting a smoother runway in 2016.

That’s not to say there won’t be movement but there is much less concern over 20% single-day traffic falls as we saw with the Penguin and Panda rollouts in 2013 and 2014. The good news for site buyers is that investors now have the pick of sites that are still standing after the updates and they also have some runway ahead before Google consider another major algorithm update.

Mobile is an explosive opportunity

A major part of the trends above is the continued penetration of smartphones across the US, Western Europe and Asia as well as the proliferation of multi-device. Multi-device ownership is increasingly commonplace in developed markets with 1 in 4 smartphone owners in the US and EU5 also owning a tablet.

Almost every internet marketing predictions post is citing mobile’s importance this year and its clear from listings at FEI that site owners who have mobile-optimised their sites (at the least) or built new service or content offerings around mobile, are very well positioned for selling. With Google putting greater emphasis on the mobile user experience, potentially even incorporating “mobile-friendliness” into its search ranking algorithm, mobile-friendly is now essential.

Digi-Capital predict 61.3% CAGR of revenue growth in mobile app revenue (ex-gaming) to 2017 which is a staggering growth rate and a huge growth opportunity for buyers of e-businesses and apps in 2016 and beyond. Advertisers worldwide are recognizing the increasing penetration of mobile and its impact on consumers, and in response, plan to spend more than $64bn on mobile ads in 2015. 60% higher than 2014.

Favorable industry trends

Thomas and I wrote about industry trends at the end of 2015 and we think they are aligning positively for buyers. Whilst there’s undoubtedly more buyers in the industry than ever before, the market is formalizing and this can only be a good thing for raising industry standards amongst brokers, sellers and other industry participants alike.

An exciting new development has been the launch of Escrow’s new domain name holding service in 2014 which has dramatically increased the scope for creatively financed deals in 2016. With domain(s) held in Escrow during the deferred consideration period there is much less fear about payment default, which warms sellers to the idea of earn outs, holdbacks and other financing methods. All of this is great news for buyers looking to stretch out their funds or structures deals for lower risk.

Speaking of formalisation, the website buying industry definitely embraced content marketing in the past few years and we have seen a marked increase in content posting by brokers, marketplaces and industry commentators alike. Centurica now publish an annual website buying report and its co-founder Justin Gilchrist also published an in-depth primer on business buying.

FEI published a free Guide to Buying an Online Business to help educate buyers on how to run through the process successfully and to raise awareness about the asset class. In short, there’s never been more quality information available about internet business buying which is great news for new and seasoned buyers alike.

Buying an online business?

Download our free 83-page guide to buying and learn all you need to know

If not now, when?

So there are a lot of good reasons why 2016 presents a unique opportunity to buy an internet business. But the truth is, every year gives advantages over the previous year. So, if you’re waiting for the perfect time, then you’ve perhaps already waited too long. The right time to buy a business is now! Don’t wait for any arbitrary date like January 1st.

Instead, commit to your plan and get started right now. Yes, 2016 will be a great time for buying a business but so is today .

David Newell

David is the Brokerage Director at FE International. Starting out as an investment banker, he moved online to use his transaction experience for website brokerage. At FE International, he spends his time speaking with buyers, executing deals and working on raising industry standards to encourage more investments. In 2014 he closed more than $6m in sales and wrote a book on buying internet businesses for investors new to the space.



Why Your Business Phones Need an Upgrade #business #card #ideas


#business phones

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Why Your Business Phones Need an Upgrade

The big issue for business is staying on top of its communications requirements. New technology is driving old phone systems beyond their design capabilities. The need now is for business phone systems which are scalable and customizable to manage real business operational needs.

The simple fact is that the baseline needs of business commercial systems are expanding. They need to be able to do a lot more, and manage much bigger demands. The office in your pocket approach to mobile systems alone is creating a reciprocal need for much better phone systems in-house. The big shift in commerce to eCommerce is adding a gigantic extra load on its own.

The point here is that more business equates to more demand for communications and increasing diversification of the need for different services. The time is long past since the days when a simple phone system of the old type can handle the multi-level range of communications a typical business experiences every day.

If you put all your different communications through a single stream system, the result is a range of obstacle courses. The new approach is to create dedicated servers (also known as private servers in the communications industry) to separate and manage the workloads. This is infinitely more efficient and far more productive than the stunningly slow and seemingly procedurally-obsessed single stream systems can ever be.

Consider this situation:

  • A call center receives 5000 calls a day for multiple clients.
  • On the receiving end of these calls are specialists, trained to manage specific tasks.
  • If these calls are managed on a single stream basis, the result is instant inefficiency. It s an entirely inappropriate system for a big call stream.
  • The calls need to be efficiently split up into their proper streams by definition.

This is just a bigger version of the basic issues for any business phone system. Whether you re NASA or a local grocery, you need your calls to get from A to B ASAP. It s impossible to justify the sheer waste of time and money in a phone system which effectively creates delays and a working backlog of business which could and should have been done a lot faster.

Upgrading for Better Business

The new options for telephone systems include two fundamentally different improvements. These are significant upgrades by nature, and they can set up a business system to operate on a fully customized, business-specific configuration with almost no effort required.

  • Private Servers: These are the real fixers for any business phone issues. Dedicated servers are not simply more efficient . They re real managers of communications workloads. They improve response times and service quality dramatically.
  • Contact Centres: The contact centres will ring more than a few bells with project managers and other businesspeople who know what managing a very diverse range of business operations involves. Contact centres are virtual phone systems, configurable to any operational requirements. They can literally create a working call center out of a box. If that sounds a bit different, you can also see the instant business applications.

Add both private servers and contact centres to your phone system, and you’ve achieved a major upgrade, scalable and appropriate for your business, both now and in future. This is good business, and these are the communications systems of the future.

Kushal Tomar is a valued contributor for CosmoBC’s TechBlog. You can follow him through the buttons below. View all posts by Kushal Tomar



Why Should I Incorporate My Business or file an LLC? #small #business

#incorporating a business

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Why Incorporate ?

Choosing how a business is organized may be one of the most important decisions a business makes. Incorporation may be the wisest decision, but for some, it may be an unnecessary decision, and so each business should carefully assess the benefits (and challenges) of incorporation before moving forward. With that said, the greatest benefits to incorporation can be summarized into the 3Ls: Life, Liquidity, and Liability. Let’s start with Life.

Life

The best way to understand a corporation is to imagine it as a separate artificial person (with limited rights and privileges). Incorporating a business is essentially creating that separate person thereby making the business separate from the owner (in a sense, the business has a life of its own). As a separate entity, the corporation exists independent from the shareholders/owners and its employees. Regardless of what happens to the shareholders, or the directors, or the employees, the corporation itself continues to exist in perpetuity until a time the directors and shareholders decide to dissolve a corporation. In a sole proprietorship or general partnership where the owner(s) is the business, what affects the owner may affect the business. Any personal debt or liability of an owner or partner allows the creditor(s) to pursue the assets of the business whether or not the debt or liability has any relation to the business itself. Furthermore, personal bankruptcy of an owner or partner will directly impact a business by opening up its assets to any creditors the owner or partner is liable to. By incorporating a business. the personal finances of an owner or partner remains separate from the finances of the corporation and allows the business to continue without disruption. In the event of an unfortunate death of an owner or partner, the business is generally dissolved regardless of the wishes of the owner or partner(s). All of this could easily be avoided by incorporating the business as a separate entity.

Liquidity

As much as we believe that all owners of a business should remain forever committed to the success of the business, there may be times when an owner or partner will need to leave the business. Regardless of the reasons for leaving the business, incorporation allows the free transferability of interest from one person to another. Generally in a partnership, a partner cannot transfer his/her interest in a business to another without the express consent of all other partners. If a partner still decides to leave the partnership against the will of the other partners, the partnership is automatically dissolved. Incorporating a business removes this limitation by allowing shareholders/owners to freely transfer his/her interest to another without the unanimous consent of all other shareholders. Small businesses may see the restrictions against transferring shares as a good thing and may want to control how a shareholder may transfer his/her interest and to whom. Incorporation allows this flexibility as well. The free transferability of shares is a default rule, but by no means is it mandatory for all incorporated businesses. Businesses have the option to place restrictions on the transferability of certain shares and so even if this benefit of liquidity may be seen as a detriment to a business, incorporation lets the business decide whether or not to take advantage of this option. More importantly, unlike a partnership, incorporation prevents the ability of a minority shareholder from dissolving a business without cause.

Liability

One of the greatest benefits for incorporation is its limited liability against the shareholders. As mentioned above, any debt or liability against a specific shareholder remains separate from the corporation. Likewise, the inverse is similarly true. Any debt or liability against a corporation does not open the doors of shareholders’ assets to the creditor(s). The shareholder’s liability in any corporate debt or liability is limited to what the shareholder invested (unless there is fraud). In a sole proprietorship or general partnership, the owner(s) and/or general partners remain completely liable to any debt or liability placed against the business. If a business is unable to pay a debt, the creditor can attack the assets of an owner or partner until the debt is satisfied. In a corporation, a creditor can only attack to the extent the shareholder invested into the corporation (unless there is fraud). This allows the corporation to make business decisions without the risk of endangering the personal assets of its shareholders beyond what was invested. Risk is a necessary element to a successful business. Anything that minimizes the risk to investors makes the business more attractive, and so the limited liability of an incorporated business is quite valuable.

Taxes

The major detriment to incorporation is the taxes involved. In a sole proprietorship or partnership, the taxable income of the business flows directly to the owner and/or partners and are taxed based upon the individual’s income tax bracket. However, because the corporation is considered a separate entity, the taxable income of a corporation is taxed first under a corporate tax. If the corporation decides to distribute the remaining income to the shareholders, that income is taxed once more based upon the individual’s income tax bracket (essentially, a double-taxation). The marginal tax rate for a corporation can be significantly higher than the marginal tax rate for a sole proprietorship. Although this characteristic of incorporation may deter a business from incorporating, small businesses can avoid this double-taxation by taking advantage of the options given to a corporation by the states. Some options include incorporating as an S-corporation (see below) or filing as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) (see below). These options allow the taxable income to flow directly to the shareholders/members without being taxed twice, while at the same time, maintaining the benefits of incorporation. The 3Ls are important benefits, but not the only benefits. There’s also something psychologically beneficial about incorporating that goes beyond the number crunching and legal issues involved. Incorporation may seem to be a daunting task, but it is also an exciting moment in the life of a business. First conceived through an idea, a business can be birthed at the point of incorporation. No longer will it simply be an idea or something intangible, but an actual and existing entity. Sometimes this psychological step of seeing the business as something real will further motivate and inspire you to bring greater success to your business.

Reduced Chance of Tax Audit

Sole proprietors tend to be more likely to file incorrect returns (many are self-prepared). and tend to under report revenue or over report deductions. For these reasons, the IRS has audited a much higher percentage of sole proprietor tax filings than corporate filings in recent years. In tax year 2006, a Schedule C filer stood a 1 in 32 chance of being audited. For non-business filers, the odds were around 1 in 124. This means that sole proprietors are significantly more likely to be audited.

Build Credibility

Distinguishing yourself from the competition by establishing a professional identity helps increase credibility with your customers. Most businesses choose to incorporate a business to prove their legitimacy to both customers and suppliers. Adding “INC.” or “LLC” after your business name gives you the credibility and professionalism that many customers are looking for.

You could file all the necessary incorporation documents yourself. However, when you consider the time involved for filing, administering, and maintaining all the documents necessary to keep your business running legitimately. why would you? Let us help you get it done, so you can get back to business!

  • Forming a business with MyCorporation is a cost-effective way to protect personal assets and gain potential tax savings.
  • Our incorporation services start at just $69 (plus required government fees).
  • Lawyers charge, on an average, over $200 per hour. With our document filing services. you’ll know exactly what you are getting, and how much it costs from the very beginning.

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Best Business Laptops 2016 (and Why We Love Them) #inexpensive #business #cards


#best business laptop

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Best Business Laptops 2016 (and Why We Love Them)

What do you need in your next business laptop? Whether it is fast performance, long battery life or just something that won t weigh you down on your daily commute, there s a great notebook for you. Here are our top picks for 2016.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page .]

Best Laptops For.

  • Ultraportable Laptop Dell XPS 13 (2015)

  • Screen size: 13 inches
  • Battery life: 7:24
  • Desktop dock: Yes
  • Fingerprint reader: No
  • Price: $799.99
  • Screen size: 12.5 inches
  • Battery life: 15:12
  • Desktop dock: Yes
  • Fingerprint reader: Yes
  • Price: $800.10
  • Screen size: 15 inches
  • Battery life: 4:46
  • Desktop dock: No
  • Fingerprint reader: No
  • Price: $449.99
  • Screen Size: 14 inches
  • Battery Life: 8.38
  • Fingerprint Reader: Yes
  • Desktop Dock: Yes
  • Price: $1,394.10

Best Overall Business Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the most versatile business laptop money can buy, with solid performance, long battery life (check the chart below) and an included active stylus. And like other Yoga laptops, this one has a folding hinge that helps you get a good angle for jotting down digital notes right on its sharp 14-inch display.

The laptop has a flexible folding design and a built-in active stylus, which makes it easy to jot down notes and annotate documents right on its 14-inch display. It also lasts really long on a charge and has an excellent keyboard. – See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8720-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-yoga-business.html#sthash.qiFrf3Qg.dpuf

Click here for a full review of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga from Busiess News Daily.

Best Ultraportable Laptop

Dell has refreshed its super-portable XPS 13 notebook with a more powerful processor, speedier storage and a bigger battery, without changing its stunning design. That makes the XPS 13 an even better option for commuters and frequent travelers who don t want to be weighed down.

  • Thin-and-light design
  • Long battery life
  • Fast performance
  • Excellent keyboard

Click here for a full review of the Dell XPS 13 from Business News Daily.

Best Laptop/Tablet Hybrid

Thanks to its much-improved keyboard, we finally feel comfortable calling the latest device in Microsoft s Surface Pro line our favorite 2-in-1 laptop for business. No other hybrid device can quite match the Surface Pro 4 s combination of portability, power and versatility. That includes top-notch pen support, so you can take notes right on the slate s display.

  • Kickstand
  • Digiziter stylus (included)
  • Keyboard (sold separately)
  • USB port
  • SD card slot

Click here for a Surface Pro 4 full review of the Surface Pro 4 from Business News Daily.

Best Small Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 is my favorite business notebook with a screen under 13 inches. You get a compact 12.5-inch screen, an industry-leading keyboard and good battery life. And true to its name, the Yoga 12 s screen can fold backward a full 360 degrees so you can use it like a tablet. Plus, the machine comes with a top-notch Wacom pen digitizer and a built-in stylus, so you can take notes right on the notebook s display. And since it s a ThinkPad, you get great business features like an extra-durable design, a TrackPoint pointing stick and a desktop docking port. Plus, it matches up very well against non-hybrid competitors in terms of performance (see chart below).

Best Chromebook

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Chromebooks aren t for everyone, but they re an affordable alternative for business users who have only basic computing needs. Toshiba s Chromebook 2 is the best overall package, offering a sharp, 13-inch display; a slim, lightweight frame; an impressive 8 hours of battery life; and faster performance than competing Chromebooks (see chart below). And you get all that for an affordable $329. Like other Chromebooks, this model runs on Chrome OS, which is not compatible with software made for Windows or Mac computers. Regardless, the Chromebook 2 is a great bargain for users who primarily want to check email, browse the Web and run basic apps.

Click here for a full review of the Chromebook 2 from our sister site Laptop Mag.

Best Budget Laptop

Asus VivoBook E403SA

The VivoBook E403SA delivers more bang for your buck than just about any other laptop, providing zippy performance in a slim package for just $400. You also get a 14-inch, full-HD display, a comfy keyboard and a lightweight design that won t weigh you down on your commute. Plus, its battery lasts all day.

Best Battery Life Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X260

Lenovo s ThinkPad X260 is the longest-lasting laptop on the market, bar none. It ran for an amazing 17 hours on a single charge, so it will have no trouble lasting through a long business flight or two. The X260 also gives you a durable design, strong security and fast performance even if it s a bit bulkier than other 12.5-inch notebooks.

  • Long battery life
  • Durable design
  • Excellent keyboard
  • TrackPoint pointing stick
  • Fingerprint reader (optional)

Click here for a full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X260 from our sister site Laptop Mag.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page .]



6 Reasons Why a Website is Important for your Business #business #clothing


#business website

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6 Reasons Why a Website is Important for your Business

A simple question, What is a website? In its bare form, a website is a single domain that consists of different web pages. We should all know that by now, but surprisingly what we don t all know, is the benefits a website can provide for your business and its shocking to witness how many business don t actually have a website or online presence!

If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. A website itself can be used to accomplish many different marketing strategies to help your business grow.

As a business owner, you need to know where your consumers are. But what if consumers know your business and what you can offer, but they can’t reach you? That is one of the risks you take by not having a website for your business.

What are some other benefits of having a business website?

Cost Effective
You know exactly how much your website is going to cost you and it s ongoings a brick and mortar store, on the other hand, is susceptible to many out of the ordinary occurrences which could blow out the costs such as leaving the lights on, theft, damage, extra staff etc.

A strategically developed website and online presence solution provides tremendous benefits and costing outlines.

Accessible around the clock
Your website and social media accounts are accessible 24/7/365. Imagine that you want to buy from a store. You put in all the effort required to go to the store, but when you get there, it s closed. We all know how irate we feel in that situation. You ll think twice about going back given the bad taste its left (ok might have been your fault for not checking but hey, this is proving the point here!). You will just find another store that is more easily accessible.

Since your website is operational around the clock, from the convenience of the local coffee shop, their couch or their bed, your customers and clients can easily access your website and services.

Convenient
What is more convenient: driving outside to look for different stores that are available to shop in, or sitting in the comfort of your own home and shopping for the products you re looking for? Pretty obvious answer, unless you like aimlessly driving around. Smart businesses realise this and thus have their own website housing their products and services so that potential customers can browse online for the products they want to purchase.

Credibility
By building a website you are giving your business the opportunity to tell consumers why they should trust you and the testimonials and facts to back up those opportunities. Believe it or not, most people will search the internet for a product or service before the purchase to check the credibility first. When you provide good service or product, positive word-of-mouth about your business is likely to spread. Which in turn, delivers more repeat and new business.

People tend to trust a business after they have done business with it. Using your website, you can continuously serve consumers online and increase your credibility as a business owner.

Sales
Without sales, or selling more than you spend, your business is doomed. By having an online presence you allow for the sale of your products or services around the clock to whoever whenever with no or hardly any limitations; Unless you run out of stock or overworked, but that s a good problem to have right! Giving your business the online presence it deserves is crucial to your brand and accountants smile.

In short, being visible worldwide means you are very likely to gain more customers. The more customers and visitors you have, the more sales you will generate. The more sales you generate the happier you and your shareholders will be!

Marketing
Having a website and online presence strategy allows you to market your business online. There are lots of marketing strategies you can use to advertise and market your business. All online marketing strategies have been proven to be effective. Which ones you choose depends on the type of business you are in. Speak to us to see which are best for your business.

Bottom Line
It is imperative for every business to have a website. The more professional your website is, the more advantages you can gain. Feel free to let us know your thoughts by commenting on our Facebook Page .

You might also want to check out our services page. Let us help you develop an effective website solution for your business, tailored to honing in on your prospective clients.



Buying an Internet Business – Why 2016 is the Year to Buy

#internet business

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Buying an Internet Business Why 2016 is the Year to Buy

The start of a new year is always a natural time of year to make plans for the future. be it personally or professionally. It’s a good time to take stock of previous experience and think about what’s taking place in the world. Indeed, you don’t have to look too far for predictions posts at the moment, the internet is positively awash with musings about the year ahead with many exciting internet marketing trends predicted (mobile, the internet of things and as ever, more content marketing!)

Strangely though there is not much in the way of thoughts on business buying in 2016,particularly for buying an internet business. so I’ve put some thoughts together on why 2016 is potentially a very timely year to buy.

Buying an internet business – macro favors the opportunist

There’s so much uncertainty in both the US and global economy at the moment that you can carve a pretty convincing argument either way for economic collapse or prosperity in 2016 (presumably that’s how Wall Street analysts keep in business come high or low…)

I think though that when it comes to small business ownership there is strong cause for optimism this year. Consumer confidence has continued to climb through 2016 to the mid 90 s. Good news for consumer facing e-businesses.

Investment levels always tell you something about the market’s sentiment toward both the economy and small business growth. Whilst you shouldn’t always follow the herd it’s important to note we operate in an economy based largely on consent, so if everyone else is investing it’s a good sign for personal acquisitions. US venture capital investment continue to grow year over year, and 2015 saw the largest amount of investment dollars.

Lastly, borrowing is an essential component for acquisition and growth and it’s refreshing to see that whilst SBA lending softened a little in 2014 to $3.8bn (from $4.0bn in 2013), the lender is anticipating a huge boost in 2015 to $4.8bn. If you’re looking to debt finance an internet business acquisition, 2016 could well be the year to do it.

A word of warning though, it can still be quite difficult to secure debt financing for online business acquisitions. SaaS businesses and recurring revenue models that have at least three years of history tend to be the most successful candidates for funding, though cash buyers will continue to have pole position in 2016. If you want to learn about alternative finance options you can read How to Buy a Website with Finance .

Surging internet growth continues

The nice thing about most internet trends is that they almost always face upwards which makes the old Chinese proverb of “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now” true at the start of almost every year.

E-commerce continues to be one of the biggest areas of internet growth and eMarketer expects the global E-commerce industry to increase another $263bn in 2015 to $1.763trn (yes trillion), all boding very well for site owners and potential business acquirers.

Content sites will not miss out on a continued surge in internet usage as multi-device and particularly mobile usage make the web a major source of advertising dollars. Internet advertising revenues continue to rise with spending up across every single sector. from 5% YoY in entertainment to 20% YoY in retail. Digital advertising revenue is now worth more than $40bn in the US alone (as of 2014), second only to TV, and rising at 15% per annum (5x faster than any other medium).

It’s not just the growth opportunities that are appearing in the internet investment landscape, the risk factors are somewhat fading too. Many online business acquirers are cautious of pending Google algorithm updates particularly when looking at websites with high search traffic (and they are wise to be). With the last 18 months seeing an unprecedented amount of algorithm changes. things have now started to calm and the industry is expecting a smoother runway in 2016.

That’s not to say there won’t be movement but there is much less concern over 20% single-day traffic falls as we saw with the Penguin and Panda rollouts in 2013 and 2014. The good news for site buyers is that investors now have the pick of sites that are still standing after the updates and they also have some runway ahead before Google consider another major algorithm update.

Mobile is an explosive opportunity

A major part of the trends above is the continued penetration of smartphones across the US, Western Europe and Asia as well as the proliferation of multi-device. Multi-device ownership is increasingly commonplace in developed markets with 1 in 4 smartphone owners in the US and EU5 also owning a tablet.

Almost every internet marketing predictions post is citing mobile’s importance this year and its clear from listings at FEI that site owners who have mobile-optimised their sites (at the least) or built new service or content offerings around mobile, are very well positioned for selling. With Google putting greater emphasis on the mobile user experience, potentially even incorporating “mobile-friendliness” into its search ranking algorithm, mobile-friendly is now essential.

Digi-Capital predict 61.3% CAGR of revenue growth in mobile app revenue (ex-gaming) to 2017 which is a staggering growth rate and a huge growth opportunity for buyers of e-businesses and apps in 2016 and beyond. Advertisers worldwide are recognizing the increasing penetration of mobile and its impact on consumers, and in response, plan to spend more than $64bn on mobile ads in 2015. 60% higher than 2014.

Favorable industry trends

Thomas and I wrote about industry trends at the end of 2015 and we think they are aligning positively for buyers. Whilst there’s undoubtedly more buyers in the industry than ever before, the market is formalizing and this can only be a good thing for raising industry standards amongst brokers, sellers and other industry participants alike.

An exciting new development has been the launch of Escrow’s new domain name holding service in 2014 which has dramatically increased the scope for creatively financed deals in 2016. With domain(s) held in Escrow during the deferred consideration period there is much less fear about payment default, which warms sellers to the idea of earn outs, holdbacks and other financing methods. All of this is great news for buyers looking to stretch out their funds or structures deals for lower risk.

Speaking of formalisation, the website buying industry definitely embraced content marketing in the past few years and we have seen a marked increase in content posting by brokers, marketplaces and industry commentators alike. Centurica now publish an annual website buying report and its co-founder Justin Gilchrist also published an in-depth primer on business buying.

FEI published a free Guide to Buying an Online Business to help educate buyers on how to run through the process successfully and to raise awareness about the asset class. In short, there’s never been more quality information available about internet business buying which is great news for new and seasoned buyers alike.

Buying an online business?

Download our free 83-page guide to buying and learn all you need to know

If not now, when?

So there are a lot of good reasons why 2016 presents a unique opportunity to buy an internet business. But the truth is, every year gives advantages over the previous year. So, if you’re waiting for the perfect time, then you’ve perhaps already waited too long. The right time to buy a business is now! Don’t wait for any arbitrary date like January 1st.

Instead, commit to your plan and get started right now. Yes, 2016 will be a great time for buying a business but so is today .

David Newell

David is the Brokerage Director at FE International. Starting out as an investment banker, he moved online to use his transaction experience for website brokerage. At FE International, he spends his time speaking with buyers, executing deals and working on raising industry standards to encourage more investments. In 2014 he closed more than $6m in sales and wrote a book on buying internet businesses for investors new to the space.



Retire in Delaware, why form an llc in delaware.#Why #form #an #llc

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Retire in Delaware The secret is out. Southern Delaware is a retirement oasis.

“For people living in the area between Southern New Jersey and Washington DC, a popular weekend and retirement destination lies near the Delaware shore. A three-hour drive from both Philadelphia and Washington DC, the Rehoboth Beach area has been a magnet for retirees over the past several years. The beaches feature dolphins throughout the summer months, a mile-long boardwalk and more than 70 restaurants.”

Why form an llc in delaware

Tax Benefits Delaware property taxes are among the lowest in the nation. With your savings, you’ll enjoy fun times together.

Location Retire in Southern Delaware and enjoy natural beauty, year-round comfort, and miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Healthy Lifestyle Retiring in Southern Delaware offers many recreational opportunities and access to top-rated healthcare facilities such as Beebe Medical Center.

Why form an llc in delaware

Why Love Delaware?

WhyLoveDE.com is a website dedicated to exposing everything great about living and retiring in Delaware. Check it out and share why you love DE!

Tax Benefits:

Property taxes on a 2,000 square foot home in Delaware will run in the range of $125/month (less than 10% of the tax on an equivalent home in New Jersey). Sussex County Delaware is tied for second among all U.S. counties for the lowest ratio of median annual property tax to home value. This means that the percent of your home value devoted to property taxes will be about as low as it can be.

With your savings, you’ll enjoy fun times together — and with the grandkids.

Why form an llc in delaware

Location:

Sussex County, Delaware offers a relaxed environment that is close to the action while providing a vibrant culture all its own. The location affords easy access to the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast. Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore are all within a three hour drive.

Add one more hour to your drive and you can see a Broadway show in New York City. But you really won’t need to go that far to enjoy five star restaurants, a lively theater and arts community, and endless opportunities for events and outdoor recreation. Most are available year round, with V.I.P. benefits for local residents during the off season.

Why form an llc in delaware

Healthy Lifestyle:

Beebe Healthcare, a not-for-profit community hospital, is located in downtown, historic Lewes. Specialized service lines include Cardiac and Vascular, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology/Bariatrics and Women’s Health. Beebe has received the Healthgrades Orthopaedic Surgery Excellence Award nine years in a row (2007-2015).

Why form an llc in delaware



6 Reasons Why a Website is Important for your Business #small #business

#business website

#

6 Reasons Why a Website is Important for your Business

A simple question, What is a website? In its bare form, a website is a single domain that consists of different web pages. We should all know that by now, but surprisingly what we don t all know, is the benefits a website can provide for your business and its shocking to witness how many business don t actually have a website or online presence!

If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. A website itself can be used to accomplish many different marketing strategies to help your business grow.

As a business owner, you need to know where your consumers are. But what if consumers know your business and what you can offer, but they can’t reach you? That is one of the risks you take by not having a website for your business.

What are some other benefits of having a business website?

Cost Effective
You know exactly how much your website is going to cost you and it s ongoings a brick and mortar store, on the other hand, is susceptible to many out of the ordinary occurrences which could blow out the costs such as leaving the lights on, theft, damage, extra staff etc.

A strategically developed website and online presence solution provides tremendous benefits and costing outlines.

Accessible around the clock
Your website and social media accounts are accessible 24/7/365. Imagine that you want to buy from a store. You put in all the effort required to go to the store, but when you get there, it s closed. We all know how irate we feel in that situation. You ll think twice about going back given the bad taste its left (ok might have been your fault for not checking but hey, this is proving the point here!). You will just find another store that is more easily accessible.

Since your website is operational around the clock, from the convenience of the local coffee shop, their couch or their bed, your customers and clients can easily access your website and services.

Convenient
What is more convenient: driving outside to look for different stores that are available to shop in, or sitting in the comfort of your own home and shopping for the products you re looking for? Pretty obvious answer, unless you like aimlessly driving around. Smart businesses realise this and thus have their own website housing their products and services so that potential customers can browse online for the products they want to purchase.

Credibility
By building a website you are giving your business the opportunity to tell consumers why they should trust you and the testimonials and facts to back up those opportunities. Believe it or not, most people will search the internet for a product or service before the purchase to check the credibility first. When you provide good service or product, positive word-of-mouth about your business is likely to spread. Which in turn, delivers more repeat and new business.

People tend to trust a business after they have done business with it. Using your website, you can continuously serve consumers online and increase your credibility as a business owner.

Sales
Without sales, or selling more than you spend, your business is doomed. By having an online presence you allow for the sale of your products or services around the clock to whoever whenever with no or hardly any limitations; Unless you run out of stock or overworked, but that s a good problem to have right! Giving your business the online presence it deserves is crucial to your brand and accountants smile.

In short, being visible worldwide means you are very likely to gain more customers. The more customers and visitors you have, the more sales you will generate. The more sales you generate the happier you and your shareholders will be!

Marketing
Having a website and online presence strategy allows you to market your business online. There are lots of marketing strategies you can use to advertise and market your business. All online marketing strategies have been proven to be effective. Which ones you choose depends on the type of business you are in. Speak to us to see which are best for your business.

Bottom Line
It is imperative for every business to have a website. The more professional your website is, the more advantages you can gain. Feel free to let us know your thoughts by commenting on our Facebook Page .

You might also want to check out our services page. Let us help you develop an effective website solution for your business, tailored to honing in on your prospective clients.