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3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Slow Things Down for Greater Success

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how entrepreneurs can slow things down for greater success
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Entrepreneurs understand that their world is accelerating. Growth is exponential. Technologies are converging. Business lifecycles are collapsing. Communication is instantaneous. But consider this, in a race between a 1920 Model T Ford, whose top speed is 45 miles per hour, and a new Mercedes-Benz sedan going 100 miles per hour, the Mercedes will win. There’s no question that the Mercedes can travel more quickly. Yet, which driver is more comfortable, more in control?  Which driver is sipping a latte and listening to Enya?

Absolute speed is important, but relative speed is everything. Similarly, professional football has gotten undeniably faster in the last generation. The players are bigger, stronger, and more agile. Yet, after ten years in the league, star linebacker Ray Lewis said, “Nowadays the game has slowed down so much. When I sit and watch film from ten years ago, and I watch now, I think, wow, why would I take that step, or why would I even go that way?”

“It’s all about angles,” Lewis added, and “all about knowing where the players are going to go before they even think about doing it. It’s about recognizing the formations.”

For Ray Lewis, experience and constant study slowed the game. He never claimed to know the future. Only, that if he paid attention, he could anticipate how events might unfold just a little bit before his opponent.

There’s a word for this ability to read angles and recognize formations. It’s not “smart” because Lewis was always a smart player. It’s called “wisdom,” and it’s about reacting to things faster than others because you can recognize the shape of the near-future a second, a day, or a month before others do. It’s about finding ways to turn absolute speed into relative speed—so you can enjoy that latte even as the world passes by at 100 miles per hour.

Hacking Speed for Entrepreneurial Wisdom

As an entrepreneur, wisdom normally accumulates one day at a time. But if you could hack this pace, one-day-of-experience for one-day-of-work, you might be able to slow the world down even as it accelerates. And that ability, as Ray Lewis discovered on the football field, would be a game-changing competitive advantage.

Below are three ways you can hack speed and accumulate entrepreneurial wisdom:

1. You need to embrace speed

If you are a skier, do you complain that the snow is cold? Of course not. You dress for the weather. You recognize cold as the thing that makes skiing possible, even enjoyable. On a mountain slope in winter, cold is a given. For a twenty-first century entrepreneur, speed is a given. Choosing to embrace it is the first step in slowing things down and creating an advantage.

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” – John De Paola

2. Be a student of today

If the entrepreneurial world is accelerating, so too is our ability to analyze, forecast, predict, integrate, and disseminate information. Take advantage of all the smart people helping us to make sense of the world. Read the blogs. Listen to the podcasts. Follow your industry on social media. Take some quiet time every week to study the angles and check the formations.

3. Seek wisdom in experience

That’s what Ray Lewis did during his career and what other great players do today. That’s what smart entrepreneurs do, too. I’ve spent the last few years writing about the history of American innovation. It’s been an eye-opening and productive journey. Nothing puts events in perspective and slows the world down better than “studying the videos” of the entrepreneurs who preceded us.

For example, one of America’s first serial entrepreneurs, Eli Whitney, saved his bankrupt musket business with a spectacular (and maybe deceptive) product demo; wouldn’t it be good to understand how that entrepreneurial “formation” came together?

Alfred Sloan of General Motors found himself more than 40 points behind Henry Ford in market share, yet, less than a decade later, GM had passed Ford, never looking back. As a modern entrepreneur, that would be a very helpful “video” to watch.

Likewise, J.K. Milliken’s use (and overuse) of employee benefits to create a loyal workforce and John Merrick’s leveraging commercial success to fight for social justice both have modern applications, as does Elizabeth Arden’s ability to sense and then shape consumer needs.

“Trade your busy life for a full one.” – Courtney Carver

These stories are reminders that, while others might focus on absolute speed, you can manage the relative speed of change. Be a student of today, study the historic formations and angles and learn from experience. Enjoy the latte.  

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Entrepreneurs

How Entrepreneurs Are Harnessing LLCs to Launch Successful Startups

LLCs have unique advantages for starting up and growing a successful business

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why you should set up an LLC

In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned that LLCs have unique advantages for starting up and growing a successful business. But, before delving into the advantages, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of what an LLC is and how it operates. 

What is an LLC?

An LLC is a hybrid business entity that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship. This unique blend provides entrepreneurs with the best of both worlds: personal asset protection and simplified taxation.

One of the most significant advantages of an LLC is its limited liability feature. This means that as the owner, my personal assets are shielded from any liabilities or debts incurred by the business.

In the event of lawsuits or financial obligations, only the assets of the LLC are at risk, offering me peace of mind and protecting my personal wealth.

Advantages of Forming an LLC

Flexibility in Management and Structure

Another aspect of the LLC that appealed to me was its flexibility in management and structure. Unlike corporations, which have rigid hierarchies and formalities, LLCs allow for a more relaxed approach to governance. As the founder, I have the freedom to structure the company in a way that suits the needs and goals of my startup.

For instance, LLCs can choose to be managed by their members (owners) or appoint a manager to oversee operations. This flexibility enables me to maintain full control of the business or delegate management responsibilities to trusted individuals while retaining ownership.

Additionally, LLCs are not bound by strict meeting requirements or extensive record-keeping obligations, reducing administrative burdens and allowing me to focus on building and growing the business.

Pass-Through Taxation and Financial Efficiency

One of the most attractive features of an LLC, particularly for startups, is its pass-through taxation. Unlike corporations, which are subject to double taxation (taxation at both the corporate and individual levels), LLCs pass profits and losses directly to their members’ personal tax returns.

This tax efficiency not only simplifies the filing process but also allows for greater flexibility in managing cash flow and reinvesting profits back into the business. As an entrepreneur, minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing financial efficiency are critical components of long-term success, and the pass-through taxation feature of an LLC aligns perfectly with these objectives.

Enhanced Credibility and Professionalism

Establishing an LLC can also enhance the credibility and professionalism of a startup. Unlike sole proprietorships or general partnerships, which may be perceived as informal or less legitimate, an LLC provides a formal business structure that instills confidence in customers, investors, and partners.

By operating under the umbrella of an LLC, I can present my startup as a reputable and established entity, which can open doors to opportunities such as securing financing, attracting top talent, and forging strategic partnerships.

This enhanced credibility can be a significant advantage, particularly in competitive industries or when seeking to differentiate my startup in the market.

Protection of Intellectual Property and Brand Assets

For startups built around innovative ideas or unique intellectual property, protecting these assets is paramount. An LLC offers an additional layer of protection for intellectual property and brand assets, safeguarding them from infringement or unauthorized use.

By registering trademarks, copyrights, or patents under the name of the LLC, I can establish legal ownership and enforce my rights more effectively in the event of disputes or infringement claims. This protection not only preserves the value of my intellectual property but also enhances the overall stability and longevity of the startup.

Steps to Form an LLC

Let us now look at the general steps to form an LLC for your business:

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

Selecting a unique and distinguishable name is the first step in forming an LLC. Ensure that the name you choose complies with the rules set by your state’s LLC division. Typically, the name must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or an abbreviation of these terms.

Additionally, the name should not infringe on the trademarks of existing businesses.

Step 2: Designate a Registered Agent

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive legal documents, such as lawsuits or subpoenas, on behalf of the LLC. The registered agent must have a physical address within the state where the LLC is formed.

For instance, if you are forming an LLC in Texas, ensure that your registered agent has a physical address in Texas.

This role is crucial for ensuring that the LLC remains compliant with legal requirements and maintains good standing.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization, also known as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization in some states, is a document that formally establishes the LLC. You’ll need to submit this document to the appropriate state agency, usually the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations.

The articles typically include basic information such as the LLC’s name, address, registered agent details, and the purpose of the business.

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

While not always a legal requirement, drafting an operating agreement is highly recommended for LLCs. This document outlines the ownership structure, management roles, voting rights, profit-sharing arrangements, and other important aspects of the LLC’s operations.

Even if you’re the sole owner of the LLC, having an operating agreement in place can help clarify expectations and prevent disputes in the future.

Step 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your LLC for tax purposes.

Even if your LLC doesn’t have employees, obtaining an EIN is necessary for opening a business bank account, filing taxes, and conducting other financial transactions.

Step 6: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your business and its location, you may need to obtain various permits, licenses, or certifications to operate legally. These requirements can vary widely from one industry and jurisdiction to another. Common examples include business licenses, zoning permits, health permits, and professional licenses.

In my entrepreneurial journey, the decision to establish my startups as LLCs has been instrumental in mitigating risks, optimizing financial performance, and positioning my ventures for long-term success.

By harnessing the advantages of the LLC structure, I’ve been able to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence and resilience, laying the groundwork for a bright and prosperous future.

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Entrepreneurs

Build a Strong IT Team with These Smart Hiring Tips

Without dedicated IT staff, your company may not be able to function as efficiently or effectively

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Hiring tips for tech industry

The role of IT staff in your company is not only essential but also ever-evolving. As your business grows, so does the need for qualified IT staff and more robust recruiting solutions.

After all, from maintaining and troubleshooting the computer systems that keep your business running smoothly, IT staff also help employees stay connected and productive by providing technical support at all times. (more…)

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Entrepreneurs

5 Important Legal Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

With a firm commitment to legal knowledge, you pave the way to grow your business sustainably

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legal tips for entrepreneurs

Embarking on the entrepreneurial path is a courageous venture that calls for a diverse skill set to achieve enduring success.

While creativity, drive, and strategic vision are paramount, integrating legal insight into your entrepreneurial toolkit can be a game-changer.

This comprehensive guide delves deeper into the five critical steps that can empower you to navigate the intricate legal landscape and propel your venture toward prosperity. (more…)

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Entrepreneurs

6 Hacks to Boost Your Productivity as a Business Owner

To improve how much you get done each day, it’s smart to establish routines and use careful planning

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productivity for business owners

Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to get more done with the time and resources they have. Business owners can use clever productivity tricks to break these limits and make the most of their projects. (more…)

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