Our increasingly networked world makes it as easy to reach customers across the country as it is to serve ones across town.But it’s not quite that simple to grow your business in that way. A company that does business beyond its state of incorporation may need to file additional paperwork and pay fees in the new states where it is operating, or it could face serious legal consequences and financial penalties.
Registering to do business in states besides the state of incorporation is known as foreign qualification. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with international law. It simply involves registering for a Certificate of Authority and paying any necessary fees. This serves as notification that your company is conducting business within that state’s borders. Foreign qualification subjects a company to ongoing reporting requirements, fees and taxes in the new state as well as the state of incorporation.
Before you shudder at the expense, remember that the benefit is that your company will be able to generate additional revenues from new clients in any states of qualification. The related fees and compliance requirements are simply another part of doing business and are no different than those required by the state of incorporation.
It’s a fact: Your customers are on Facebook. The Pew Internet Project’s research shows that as of May 2013, 67% of American adults are using the social networking site, while 72% use social media of some kind. That number jumps to 80% for consumers aged 18 to 29.
It’s only natural to want to be where customers are, but effectively leveraging social media takes more than opening a Facebook account and expecting potential customers to flock to you. Plus, social media options are rapidly proliferating. Small businesses generally won’t have the employee bandwidth to manage an infinite number of social media presences, so companies will have to choose the ones that seem to offer the most promise and best fit for their products, services and clientele. Some options to consider include the following:
Facebook. Facebook is the behemoth of social media. It connects businesses to customers and potential customers, and it allows them to be the first to know about your products, promotions and ideas. They enjoy insider status and you enjoy direct communication with a ripe prospect pool.
To ensure your audience is fully prepared to register their company in multiple states, please browse our Foreign Qualification banners to use for your promotional efforts. You can obtain these new banners within our online Affiliate Center. To request your Affiliate Center login credentials, please click here.
It is impossible to ignore the Internet and stay in business.
Companies without some kind of web presence will struggle to compete and stay relevant in our increasingly electronic world.
Q: What role does a website play for a business?
A: A website is your Internet storefront. Even if your business does not actually sell anything online, it is important that potential customers be able to find your site and learn a little bit about the products or services you offer, how and where you operate, and how to get more information and whom to contact for it.
Q: How sophisticated does the site need to be?
A: That depends on your business and your industry. A website doesn’t need to be flashy, but it does need to look professional. That often starts with a domain name. Ideally the domain name is also the company name. If not, it should be close. Also pay attention to site navigation; it should be easy for visitors to find the pages and information that they need. Pay attention to design and keep things clean and uncluttered. Finally, make sure the site loads easily and quickly so that visitors are not turned off by delays. Online attention spans are very, very short. Also, if you are transacting business on the site, it needs to be secure to protect your customers’ sensitive information.