Laying Your Business Foundation, Part 2: Business Formation

In this series we will take about business formation. If you have not read Part One, stop what you are doing and read the article now.

Again, laying your business foundation requires the same intensity as building a bridge, school, museum or any beautiful structure. It takes planning, time and execution, which means doing whatever, needs to be doing to complete the project.

I cannot tell you which business formation is best for your business, only you can make those types of decision. Your attorney, spouse, children or friends cannot shape your reality for you, it’s personal. Before making a decision or selecting which business formations consult with a licensed attorney and accountant to advise you of your legal rights.

Let’s begin…

Sole Proprietorship (SP)

The term “sole proprietorship” means that the business is the same as its owner. The assets and liabilities of the business are one and the same as the owner. There is no mandatory filing requirement on the state level; however, a sole proprietor may register a trade name. Although I do not recommend this entity; however the choice is yours.

Advantages

No other documents needed to open a bank account; purchase materials or supplies needed for the business and you can file taxes under your name. There are other reasons but these are the main reasons for doing so.

Disadvantages

You are responsible for any lawsuits against your company; therefore, this will affect your family well-being. Lenders do not see your business entity as a mom and pop business without any growth. Vendors are less likely to extend credit for major purchases. Contractors, governmental agencies prefer to utilize the services of a company that is not a sole proprietorship.

Incorporated (Inc)

A corporation is a type of legal entity, often formed to conduct business. A corporation is an institution that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of its members. The incorporated entity can be very complex; however, you can delegate these complexities to someone who is skilled with incorporation such as an attorney or accountant who are knowledgeable about business laws and taxation.

Advantages

Your business will be accepted as a major contender within the business arenas. You and your businesses are separate entities which mean if your company is ever sued or liable the plaintiff can only charge the company not you personally. Lenders are more apt to lend funds to an established corporation entity compared to other business structures. You are telling the world that you are serious about expanding, growing and or selling your business. There are a number of good advantages to this particular entity and the decision is entirely up to you.

Disadvantages

The number one disadvantage is double taxation. You or your account will have to file taxes in the company name and your name. This drives most potential companies to sway from incorporating under this business entity. Contact your attorney and account to help you navigate through the incorporation process.

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

A form of business whose owners enjoy limited liability, but is not a corporation. The State of Wyoming is known as the LLC formation capital since 1976.

Note: Wyoming is not the only state that welcomes LLC formations.

Advantages

LLC members are afforded limited liability and have pass-through taxes similar to a partnership. By forming LLC instead of a corporation, you get all the benefits of forming a corporation but you avoid a few drawbacks that you would run into if you formed a corporation. Specifically, when you form a corporation, you subject yourself to double taxation and excessive paperwork. Both of those annoyances can be avoided if you form LLC. The LLC allows for multiple owners, or members. Additionally, there is a managing member, who also enjoys the benefits of limited liability and is typically the person responsible for managing the business. Members of LLC can be other companies, trusts, organizations or individuals. Members share power, ownership and responsibility over the LLC operations based upon an agreement each member signs upon formation of the company.

Note: If you are the only LLC member or manager you are allowed to use the 1040 or 1040-A filing forms. Check with your accountant or tax provider for advice.

Disadvantages

The entity we were forming will be seeking outside investment and will be offering stock options to employees. Many angel investors and venture capital firms are not lenient about investing in LLC because it’s a new business formation that is not well understood. When raising capital, it helps to keep things simple and avoid anything that makes an investor think twice.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

A partnership where a partner’s liability for the debts of the partnership is limited except in the case of liability for acts of professional negligence or malpractice. In some states LLP may only be formed for purposes of practicing a licensed profession, typically attorneys, accountants and architects. This is often the only form of limited partnership allowed for law firms (as opposed to general partnerships).

Advantages

Both LLC and LLP entities are treated as pass-through entities for federal tax purposes. This means that the owners report company profits and losses on their personal income tax forms. The business itself is not subject to a federal income tax, as a corporation.

Disadvantages

LLP offer the same type of limited liability that of LLC; however, some states require a minimum of one partner of LLP liable for the obligations of the company. There are other business formations; however, these are the most popular.

Until Next Time! Stay tuned to “Laying Your Business Foundation.”

The overall scope for choosing a business formation is to give your business an identity that is separate your personal identity. Doing so will level the placing field within the business community should you choose to grow or expand your business. The topic of discussion for the next article of “Laying Your Business Foundation – Part 3”: Customer Service.

Business Coach Explains To You How Build Solid Business Foundations

Make sure you have solid foundations.

Have you ever seen a skyscraper being built?

The first thing they do to build it is to dig down.

It’s a little strange to see, but it makes sense if you think about it.

By digging down and making sure all the foundations are in place, and making sure they are rock solid… the building can then reach up towards the sky.

Without the rock solid foundations the building could topple and crash to the ground.

Unfortunately that’s what happens to some businesses.

Some owners neglect, ignore or are ignorant of some of the ‘foundations’ that MUST be in place to allow the business safe and secure business growth.

The things we are covering aren’t as exciting or as ‘glamorous’ as the topics that most business owners want to delve into like marketing, or team training… yet the areas are fundamental to the success of your business.

And they are topics that all multi-million dollar business owners are great at… and follow religiously.

Although they aren’t as glamorous – they are still fundamental to the successful growth and in some cases – the existence of your business.

So please don’t fall into the trap of ignoring these areas like some business owners do – because you can find yourself in serious trouble.

Insurances – Go over the kind of insurances that you need, and your business needs in case of any form of mishap, act of god and/or litigation. There are some critical ones that you need to be aware of. And there’s some that you may not have thought of that are fundamental to your business. So check them out and put them into place.

Contracts – How good are the contracts you have in place? Do you have any? Do you have them with your team and suppliers?

Make sure you’re working with a good contract lawyer to make sure you’re adequately protected in your contracts. Don’t just copy other people contracts; get them done specifically for your business.

Disclaimers – With the increasing rate of litigation make sure you are working with your lawyer to protect yourself from any type of litigation that may occur.

Technology – Find the appropriate levels of technology for your business so you can become more effective and efficient with your current workloads… and make sure you’re continually taking care of your current technology and updating regularly before the need arises.

Technology is only a cost if you don’t use it. When you use it, it’s an investment.

Software – When you start off in business you can get away with rip off versions of software. Yet when you’re aiming to grow – get the real versions.

I recommend it.

As you start to grow and you’re producing data that’s becoming more and more valuable you need to protect it and have constant support and access to it.

If you don’t have the ‘real McCoy’ you can say goodbye to sometimes years of hard work.

Back ups Virus Protections – Make sure you’re following the guidelines of backing up your data and keeping up-to-date virus software as well.

The data on your computer has taken you and your business literally thousands of hours at around $20 per hour. So you’ve probably got $100K or more worth of data on your system. Back it up, and store it off site.

If you’re online – you’ll know how many viruses are around. So get yourself a great system and update it daily.

I use Vet and I update it daily.

Correct Asset Protection – There’s no point making great money and building wealth if – seemingly at the drop of a hat – you lose it all. It happens because of poor asset protection. Make sure your assets are protected.

Get yourself a good asset protection lawyer and accountant.

Statutory Obligations – Be aware of all the statutory obligations that you have of running and owning a business – and comply with them. It’s the law.

Taxation – Make contact and work with the tax office often to understand all the different forms or taxation that you and your business are subject to. Know when payments are due, budget for them and make sure you get everything in on time.

Rateable Remuneration – As your business grows and you employ more and more people make sure you’re updating your rateable remuneration with WorkCover. Otherwise you can be stuck with an unpleasant bill or even be fined.

Time Off – Like the axe man that cuts wood. You’ve got to take time off to sharpen your saw. Otherwise it just becomes blunt and ineffective.

Time off helps charge up your batteries – and it also makes your team step up when you’re away.

Regular time off will have you feeling fresh and ‘on-the-ball’.

There may be many more things that you can do for your business to make sure you have nice strong foundations in place for growing your business.

Go through all the potential areas and topics that are specific for your business – and make sure they are in place. That way you’re geared up for growth.

Copyright © 2006 by Casey Gollan. All Rights Reserved

Emerging Technology Trends and Business Opportunities for Solution/Service Providers

The business landscape is changing due to rapid technology changes. Innovation, technology and product life cycles are getting shortened; business use cases and application scenarios are changing swiftly due to globalization and technology integration. Organizations need to be flexible to quickly adapt to these emerging trends and be nimble to respond to changing market dynamics.

Emerging technology trends such as Software Defined everything, Object Storage, Flash, Cloud, Converged Infrastructure, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Internet of Things, Big Data analytics etc. are becoming more and more relevant with the emergence of multiple data streams. These innovative trends are transformational and are likely to shape the future.

Trends and Opportunities:

1. Software defined everything

Software defined everything will result in true interoperability standards, forcing individual technology suppliers to abandon working in silos with proprietary standards. Service providers can only offer value if they have the capability to offer all the constituents of computing, storage and network.

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Software Defined Storage (SDS)
• Supporting software defined storage applications from leading storage vendors
• Support these SDS products to extend them to other platforms and make them feature rich, enable integration with other ecosystems etc.
• Building test strategy, tools and frameworks and various types of testing opportunities
• Software Defined Networking (SDN)
• Network orchestration and automation, manage and implement SDN in enterprise data center
• Professional services such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) implementation consulting or SDN and NFV testing for telecom vendors

2. Flash

Flash technology will definitely show an uptick in the 3-5 year horizon. One has to stay invested in terms of money, time. There may not be much of immediate progress in Flash adoption by enterprises due to the prohibitive cost, stable legacy set up, evolving enterprise features. Hence, most enterprises are still in the experimental phase, but there are lots of business opportunities.

The below trends represent some of the opportunities for solution/service providers:

• Most flash players are start-ups and would like to keep core work in-house and outsource peripheral activities
• Immense product engineering opportunities will lie with the big industry players in the form of testing wherein they plan to move products from existing legacy to all flash based platforms
• Flash storage OEMs are consuming PCIe based cards, AHCI and NVMe interface and most of these solutions are targeted towards cloud service providers

3. Object storage

Enterprises are inspired by the Internet companies’ adoption of object storage. Demand for object storage is driven by big data challenges of storing and analyzing a huge amount of data to provide value to the business.

Factors driving growth of object storage

• amassed unstructured data
• ease of accessibility via HTTP and SMTP protocols and REST APIs
• growing trend of organizations building their private or hybrid clouds
• software-defined storage (SDS) approach

Some of the opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Ongoing integration of newer versions of OpenStack swift with existing storage products
• Mergers and acquisitions happening in the object storage industry, which will result into new product acquisitions by large storage vendors. This opens up product integration opportunities for service providers

4. OpenStack

OpenStack is moving beyond the early adoption as more and more enterprises and service providers are moving towards its adoption. Telecom space will drive growth for OpenStack. Openstack is the main driver for NFV thus helping it to become a reality.

Some opportunities for solution/service providers include:

• Provide storage vendors to enable their storage for OpenStack
• Help enterprises setup their OpenStack cloud, offer professional services
• Large storage vendors are building platforms with OpenStack using proprietary underlying infrastructure. It opens up integration and automation opportunities

5. Server SAN

Server SAN is poised to disrupt traditional storage architectures over the next decade. It involves sharing and distributing storage across multiple nodes. It is an architecture that turns multiple direct-attached storage (DAS) devices into a pool of shared resources via a high-speed interconnection such as InfiniBand or Low-latency Ethernet.

Some of the Server SAN solutions include EMC ScaleIO, VMware’s VSAN, and Quantum StorNext. One needs to follow this trend and see which of the existing solution gains momentum and is likely to emerge as a front runner.

6. BYOD

Businesses are implementing BYOD to save costs on software and hardware or to address the expectations of their mobile workforce. Provisioning of all of these devices is a Herculean task.

Some of the opportunities for solution and service providers include:

• Solution accelerators and automation frameworks in area of desktop virtualization, image management, Content collaboration and Bring Your Own PC solutions
• In mobile cloud era, the user is increasingly beginning to rely on endpoints, devices with very limited processing power, smaller screens, maybe no keyboard which makes manageability an area to explore.

7. Hyper/Converged Infrastructure

Massive improvements in processing power are driving converged infrastructure trend and reason for quicker adoption of it by data centers. All major infrastructure providers are moving towards the converged space. Many industry players are competing for significant market share in converged infrastructure space to uproot legacy installed base or protect own share of the market pie. It includes majors such as HP, EMC, IBM, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, VMware, VCE and start-ups like Scale Computing, SimpliVity and Nutanix.

There are two trends emerging:

• Hyper-converged Infrastructure – One vendor builds an entire infrastructure by taking all the various pieces that make up a traditional infrastructure in the market today and put it in a box. It is entirely seamless.

• Converged infrastructure – Vendor takes the fundamental pieces of storage, network, compute and server virtualization, possibly from different companies, perhaps put a management layer on top of it to make the deployment and the management of those pieces easier and make them operate as a whole.

Opportunities for solution/service providers are in the area of consulting, design, implementation, and management services related to private and hybrid cloud deployments.

8. Internet of Things (IoT)

Other related terms for IoT used by industry giants are Industrial Internet by GE, Internet of Everything (IoE) by Cisco, and Smart Planet by IBM.

IoT is being driven by a huge increase in data volumes collected from various types of sensors deployed by business, and business benefits provided by the analysis of sensor data.

9. Big Data Analytics

There will be competition to develop optimized cloud platforms which can leverage real-time data streams and/or massive data as enterprises look for varied data sources as well as applications that help them to get insightful information about the markets, customers, and products.

Opportunity for solution/service providers to offer Big Data implementation and analytics outsourcing services is huge. Some of the opportunities include:

• Professional services related to big data like data migration among platforms, maintenance etc.
• Opportunities such as Big Data technology implementation, including data collection, integration and designing of Big Data architecture etc.
• Log and sensor analytics are also gaining traction as very insightful information can be drawn using them. It opens up opportunity for data science specialists.

10. Cloud Computing

Cloud promises a growth on every front be it IaaS, SaaS, PaaS or customized security.

Businesses are adopting a cloud-based infrastructure due to the upsurge of Hybrid cloud architectures which include an amalgamation of private and public clouds

Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions allows businesses to lower IT costs. It speeds up application development through more efficient testing and deployment.

Security policies need renewed attention with cloud-based applications are growing and taking over businesses. Hence there is increased demand for security solutions to bring new exemplars of security to the cloud.

Some of the opportunity areas for solution/service providers can be:

• PaaS enablement services, application re-engineering and migration services, assessment, advisory services etc.
• Consulting services requiring strategic direction and guidance in a broad range of areas which will help organizations to migrate critical systems and infrastructure to the cloud

The pace at which technology is driving the change is phenomenal. It is inspiring new business strategies across industries. Organizations are embracing technology to draw meaningful insights from their operations and leveraging it to explore growth and revenue opportunities.

The trend is turning into a demanding environment where companies are seeking more returns from their technology investments. This represents a unique opportunity for solution/service providers wherein they can help companies maximize their return on investment through their offerings.

In summary, solution/service providers must adapt to these emerging technologies and quickly grab immense business opportunities emerging out of it.

Building Your Business Foundations – The Key Components Explained

So where do I start?

If you are new to internet marketing the whole process can seem a little overwhelming; however following a few simple rules will ensure that you get your business off to a flying start and enable you to feel more confident with your new business venture.

The basis of starting on your foundations is essentially to clarify what you need to achieve with your business; how are you going to set these foundations up? And an element you need to consider is how long will the process take?

There are many areas within your foundations that you need to look at; start by making a list of what you need as far as your business is concerned and work from there. Communication is essential for your business and it takes many forms. E Mail is an obvious one to look at first; you need to make sure that your e mail provider allows you to receive e mails into your in box. The last thing you need is for all your essential mail to be dropped into your spam box; you could miss out on information that is important to the running of your business. A lot of the top providers will offer free accounts and it is down to personal preference as to which one you choose.

You need to look at the financial aspect of your business; how are payments going to be made and how are these going to be set up within your business structure.

A working business bank account should be looked into as quickly as possible; this usually takes time to set up and as your payment processor will need the information in order to make payments into your account this is your first point of call. again it is personal preference as to which bank you use. Look for the best deals around that will save you money and give you the best benefits available.

Payment processors are an essential part of you business structure; this is what you will use so that your customers can make payments for the products and services that you offer. This will be linked up with your bank account; again make this a priority in setting up as these elements can take time to process.

Auto responders form the basis of your communication with your customer base; it allows you the freedom to communicate with a large audience and keep them up to date with all aspects of your business. This will be an essential part of your foundations; something that you need to spend time looking into to get the best for your business.

Domains; sounds obvious given that you are working on the internet, however this does take time to get right. Choosing the right domain name is important so that it will meet the criteria for your business and that the idea of your business name is available to you. Finding the right domain is part of the finer detail that you need to achieve; essentially a window into your business. Focus upon the elements that you wish to promote and work from there, opt for a good service provider that will meet all the needs you require. This can be in to form of a provider who will host your domain as well as providing other services such as auto responder integration, web design as well as training and support.

Although there are many areas to take into consideration when setting up your business you should treat all that you set out to achieve as a great learning curve; trust your abilities and do your research. There are many people out there who will give you all the advice that you need. Sometimes you just need to ask.