Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

Smart Ways Female Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their SMB

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, a celebration of the more than 11 million woman-owned businesses in the United States and their fearless leaders. According to research conducted by SCORE in a recent infographic, 1,071 woman-owned firms are started every day. Since 2007, women have started businesses five times faster than the national average.

As more women pursue entrepreneurship, it’s important that they conduct their due diligence. They must understand which legal steps to take so they can protect their small businesses and intellectual property. There are several items all entrepreneurs must be able to cross off their legal to-do list, including covering these key areas:

  • Incorporate or form a limited liability company (LLC) to protect the business.
  • Register for trademarks to ensure exclusive rights to the marks.
  • File for necessary business licenses.
  • Obtain an employer identification number (EIN) to hire employees.
  • Determine who will act as your registered agent.
  • Keep up with annual maintenance to stay in compliance with the state.

You’ve drafted a business plan, reviewed the viability of your business idea and accessed how much capital you’ll need to start your business. Now, it’s time to protect your startup.

1. Incorporate the business.

This is one of the basic, first steps many entrepreneurs take to protect their small businesses. An unincorporated business struggles to establish credibility, and it does not receive liability protection like an incorporated formation. An incorporated business receives liability protection. This allows personal and professional assets to remain separate from each other. It also ensures that personal assets, like houses and cars, are protected in the event of an unforeseen circumstance that may negatively impact the company.

Entrepreneurs may choose to incorporate as one of several different types of business structures. Here’s a look at some of the most common, and popular, options


Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

Tips on Creating and Maintaining a Business Plan

One of the most important tasks any new entrepreneur has on their plates is drafting a business plan. This essential document lays out all the basics of a company, including financial projections, short- and long-term goals, and more.

And while writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of tech tools, templates and approaches available that can help you streamline the process. To learn more, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about their favorite ways to easily build or maintain a business plan. Here is what they said.

1. Evernote

“I really like the flexibility that Evernote offers when it comes to jotting down ideas and just plain old throwing paint up on the wall. You can quickly compile assets like spreadsheets, images and even video to help make your plan incredibly detailed.” – Nick PonteOffline Sharks

2. Business Model Canvas

“The Business Model Canvas is a straightforward and visual way of mapping out a business plan, without the need to write long paragraphs in a long-form traditional word document. It ensures you think of the core limitations, customers and value propositions of what you’re looking to accomplish, which is the core benefit of business planning.” – Keith ShieldsDesignli

3. An online business plan template

“Instead of starting from scratch, I prefer using a business plan template. Using a template helps you ensure your business plan has everything it needs, and it helps speed up the business plan creation process. You can find a ton of quality business plan templates online. Or, if you’ve created a business plan before, turn it into a template to save time.” – Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms


“The website SCORE has a plethora of business plan templates you can take advantage


How to Keep Your Job and Your Side Business

How to Keep Your Job and Your Side Business

Millions of employees work hard for the companies that hired them but hope to launch their own side businesses one day. Even though they may dream of nursing their side businesses into full-fledged commercial operations, for now they need to keep their day jobs.

Before launching a side business, it’s important to remember that many employees who begin small projects end up getting fired thanks to their inability to attend to their primary responsibilities.

How do you start a side business without losing your primary employment? Here are some tips that can help you stop your side business from getting you fired.

Have you signed an employment contract?

The first and most important consideration when checking if you can establish your own side business without getting fired is to determine if you signed an employment contract when you were hired. If you did, you’ll want to read through it in its entirety to understand what limitations may have been placed on you by your current employer. Many companies prohibit their workers from launching side businesses as they don’t want your attention and creative energy to be used elsewhere, so failing to check your contract could end up costing you big time.

It’s important to understand how important these contracts can be. If you have indeed signed a contract guaranteeing that you won’t start a side hustle or pledging not to compete in the same industry if you suddenly resign, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to achieve your ambitions. Employees who have been boxed into a corner like this are encouraged to seek out legal expertise, as only a clever lawyer can help you after you’ve signed a contract which narrows your future opportunities and mitigates your ability to pursue them.

While you may not be explicitly banned from launching your


How to Accept Credit Card Payments

How to Accept Credit Card Payments

Credit and debit cards are a common payment method favored by many customers. It has become an expectation that your business will accept cards, a standard you are all too familiar with if you must repeatedly explain to customers that your business accepts cash only. Luckily, accepting credit and debit cards is as easy as partnering with a credit card processing company.

This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of the credit card processing industry, and highlight the important factors you need to look for when choosing a card processor. It will also cover the different credit card processing platforms, from point-of-sale systems to mobile devices.

How do you accept credit card payments for your small business?

Accepting credit and debit cards begins with selecting a processor. To choose the one that is best for your business, it’s important to understand the different types of companies that are out there. In addition, you should always look for a credit card processor that offers low rates, few or no fees and month-to-month contracts.

Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry is a crowded field that can often be confusing to navigate. With varying pricing models, complicated fee structures and different types of processors for different platforms, it can be a gargantuan task to find the right partner for your business. Breaking the process down into several steps can help simplify your decision-making:

  1. Determine the type of processor you need. Choosing the type of credit card processor you want to work with is based on two main factors: whether you want to partner with a service for individuals or businesses, and your average monthly volume of credit and debit card payments.
  • If you’re an individual accepting payment from a handful of trusted sources, using a peer-to-peer application like Venmo is

How to Build a Sales Team

How to Build a Sales Team

You are working hard to build your business and launch your product. You have done your market research, and know you have a quality product that your customers want and need. But how are you going to market and sell your product? With the right sales team in place, your new product could be the next big thing on the market.

Increasing sales cost-effectively is the key to growing an organization sustainably and profitably. To achieve your sales goal and growth target, you need to not only build a high-performing sales team but also structure it so you can scale up quickly to support your growth.

Building the right sales team involves more than simply posting a position on Indeed for an experienced sales rep. You will also need to set them up for success by providing them with the right sales tool, creating measurable performance indicators and motivating them to reach your desired sales quotas. Here’s how to build a sales team and set it up for success.

1. Determine the type of sales team you need.

The type of sales professionals you need on your team depends on your business model, the nature of your products or services, your growth trajectory and your target market(s).

Consider whether you need inside sales, field sales or both. Identify the kind of background and experience required, and determine the number of sales reps you need to scale up. You will also need to decide on the processes and tools that will be required to support the growth. Planning these things in advance will ensure that you are hiring the right people for the right job.

Once you have determined what type of sales personnel you will need to assemble, it is time to start hiring them.

2. Hire the right team