Inspiration and Information for Starting Your Business

Beware of “Annual Records” Scams!

By Marcia Richards Suelzer, M.A., J.D.

It is unfortunate, but there is always someone ready to use trickery or deception to make a fast buck off of virtually every aspect of daily life. You’ll see fake charities pop up after every disaster, and most of us have received at least one email asking for us to help a down-on-his-luck Nigerian prince. For the past several years, many businesses have been targeted by companies who engage in deceptive practices related to corporate recordkeeping and annual report filing requirements.

As we discussed in our earlier post, “Four Facts You Must Know About Annual Reports,” nearly every corporation and LLC must file one or more annual reports with state governments during 2015. Keeping up with annual report filing can be challenging due to lack of uniformity in due dates. Given that the consequences can be dire, it often makes excellent sense for the small business owner to partner with a trustworthy business compliance company that he or she knows and trusts, such as BizFilings. This strategy makes even more sense when that company already provides your business with registered agent services.

Unfortunately, there are a number of untrustworthy companies out to take your hard-earned cash by offering “annual record services” that are not required and cannot satisfy your annual report filing requirement. How can you spot these scams?

The company’s name may not be a give-away. Many of these outfits try to mimic names of reputable business compliance companies. For example, the Delaware secretary of state’s website warns Delaware companies to beware of the “Corporate Records Service,” as does the secretary of state of Illinois. While Corporate Records Service seems to be one of the most common names used, it is not the only name. Rhode Island secretary of state’s website warns its filers about the two such companies: “Annual Business Services” which is sending letters and “Rhode Island Corporate Compliance (RICC)” which is sending emails to companies registered in Rhode Island.

So, what should alert you? The following are common red flags:

  • You receive a letter from an unfamiliar company, not the company that serves as your registered agent or that helped you incorporate or form your LLC.
  • The envelope and form are designed to fool you into thinking that it is an official government communication. There will be quasi-governmental seals and be many citations to state statutes and provisions. While there is likely to be a disclaimer that it is sent by a private company, the overall tone and appearance of the communication strongly conveys the opposite impression.
  • There be an official-looking form with a title similar to “2015 Annual Minutes.” If you are curious what one version of this form looks like, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reproduced a copy of the form in its story about the scam operating in Wisconsin last year.
  • There will be a demand to return the form to the corporation by a specific date. As the Indiana Secretary of State’s website warns, “They include a return by date to give the false impression that action is necessary on your part.”
  • There is a fee of $125 payment for the service.

There are two major dangers with this scam. (Three, if you count throwing away $125.)

First, this bogus communication may cause you to miss the state filing deadline. These solicitations are timed to correspond with the annual report due date. The company is banking (literally) on the similarity in name the name of their form, “Annual Records,” and the state-required filing, “Annual Report,” to inspire business owners to complete their form. And, the similarity may fool business owners into thinking that they have compiled with the state filing requirement. This may result in fines, penalties, loss of good standing and dissolution.

Second, your information may not be adequately safeguarded. The form sent requests information in excess of what you are generally required to provide to the state. For example, the form requests a list of all of the shareholders’ names. The only guarantee you have that any information provided, including your credit card number, will be safeguarded and not released to third-parties is the assurance provided on the form. And, when you consider that Corporation Records Service is under investigation for fraud in multiple states—and has agreed to numerous consent judgments related to deceptive practices–your faith in the disclaimer may be ill-founded.

What should you do if you receive mail that asks you to provide information to prepare your annual minutes or consent records?

You can simply shred the correspondence and toss it into the recycle bin. However, you may wish to report the solicitation attempt by contacting your secretary of state’s office. The secretary of state can advise you on how best to proceed in your jurisdiction. If you are not sure if what you received is a scam or a legitimate offer to help streamline your paperwork responsibilities, the compliance experts at BizFilings will be glad to answer any questions that you might have. You can contact one of our customer service specialists at 800-981-7183.

Four Facts You Must Know About Annual Reports

Category: Annual Reports

By Marcia Richards Suelzer, M.A., J.D.

When you formed your LLC or incorporated your company, your business became an official entity in the eyes of the state. This status as a separate entity is what protects your personal assets from business creditors and liability. But, this separate existence also creates ongoing compliance responsibilities in the formation state. And, if your business expands to other states, you will face ongoing compliance duties in each state where you register as a foreign corporation or LLC.

One of the most crucial of these ongoing compliance obligations is filing an annual report. The term “annual report” is used in a variety of contexts. It’s not uncommon for people to hear “corporate annual report” and think of the detailed, multi-page document that published by publicly traded corporations to inform shareholders, regulators, industry analysts, and potential investors about the company’s financial well-being.  Fortunately, this elaborate and detailed exploration of the company’s fiscal health and future plan is not required for a state-mandated annual report.

The state annual report is designed to provide the public and government officials with the information necessary to determine who owns the company and how to contact the company. So the forms generally require only:

  • Company name and address
  • Officers / Managers / Directors names and addresses
  • Registered agent name and address

Some states, such as Delaware, combine the annual reporting requirement and their franchise tax assessment. In that case, the form will also ask about shares authorized and issued and/or value of the company assets.

Now that you know what an annual report is (and isn’t), here are four more facts you must know.

  1. Virtually every corporation and limited liability company will need to file an annual report this year in its state of formation and in every state where it has registered to do business. There are a few states (such as Indiana and New Mexico) that require a filing every other year, but in most it is an annual obligation.
  2. Due dates vary from state-to-state and in some states, by entity type. If would be nice if there was a single, national due date for annual reports, but that is not the case. Each state sets its own due dates. And, the deadlines may be different for a corporation and an LLC, so it is important to keep track of the correct date for your company type. For example, a Delaware corporation must file its annual report by March 1, but an LLC’s is not due until June 1.
    What’s more, most states don’t have a due date tied to the calendar. Many times, the date for the return is tied to the date the company was formed, incorporated or registered in the state. In other states, the due date is tied to the company’s fiscal year. For instance, the due date in Nevada is the last day of calendar anniversary month of incorporation, formation or qualification.  If you operate in multiple states, keeping track of due dates can become time-consuming.
  3. Not every state sends reminders. Back in the day, most states sent reminders well in advance of the filing deadline and often supplied the form for the business to complete and return. In many states, that no longer is the case because courtesy notices were among the first items trimmed from state budgets during the recent economic slowdown. In addition, more states are encouraging electronic filing.  Some states, such as Connecticut, online filing is mandatory  As the states have become less helpful, the value of partnering with a company such as BizFilings becomes more valuable in staying on top of filing obligations.
  4. Failing to file can be disastrous. Complying with the annual reporting requirement is one of the prices paid for legal recognition of your company. Failing to file can cost your company its “good standing” in the state. Proof of good standing is generally required to obtain financing, enter into contracts, or merge with another company. A certificate of good standing is also required to register your company in another state. What’s more, failing to file can result in the state stepping in and dissolving your company.
    Dissolution will prevent your company from bringing a lawsuit to enforce a contract or obtain damages. Dissolution can also expose you to personal liability for business debts and liabilities. And, you may be personally liable for fines and penalties imposed by the state.
    Failure to file – or to file on time – also alerts business scammers that you are not paying attention to your company’s compliance responsibilities.  These criminals often assume that if you aren’t watching deadline, you aren’t watching information and this gives them a green light to file a few simple papers with the state and hijack your business identity. Once they have assumed your identity, they can use that information to open lines of credit, make purchases and abscond with the illegally purchased assets—leaving you liable for the debts.

Staying on top of your ongoing compliance responsibilities can be made easier if you work with a trusted business provider, such as BizFilings. But, whether you partner with a business professional or take the do-it-yourself route, it is essential that you know the annual report filing date for each corporation and LLC that you operate and make sure to file (and pay the state fees) by the deadline.

After Anthem and Turbo Tax: Four Tips to Avoid Identity Theft During Tax Season

By Marcia Richards Suelzer, M.A., J.D.

As the world grows evermore interconnected and dependent on technology, the risks of identity theft and diversion of personal (and company) assets increases as well. And, it seems that there is always an uptake in these nefarious activities around the holiday season and around tax time.

That’s right: tax time. Tax-related identity theft is a huge problem. In fact, the IRS acknowledged that is paid that it paid roughly $5.2 billion in ID-theft-related refunds on 2013 returns, and it succeeding in detecting and thwarting an additional $24.2 billion of fraudulent claims, according to a report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office in August 2014. Bear in mind, this is only what the IRS estimated based on what it could detect—the actual risks are probably greater.

Tax-related identity theft at the state level might get less national press coverage, but the problem is significant there as well. In fact, the recent hack records of Anthem, Inc., one of the country’s largest health care networks, compromised the security of more than 80 million individual records. Anthem reports that the stolen information included names, dates of birth, member ID/ social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information. It is easy to see how individuals possessing this stolen information can assume the rightful owner’s identity for many purposes—including filing tax returns and claiming erroneous refunds.

The danger is significant enough that the state of Connecticut went on record urging its citizens who may have been affected by the Anthem data breach to file their tax returns as soon as possible. If a criminal obtains your refund, “it can take years to resolve the problem,” according to Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan Commissioner. While early filing is may be more of a priority for some individuals, it makes sense to file as early as you can

In the same week, tax preparation software giant Turbo Tax temporarily suspended the filing of state tax returns due to a sharp increase in returns that carried hallmarks of identity theft. (The issue appears to have affected only returns prepared with the Turbo Tax program, not  other Intuit products used by tax professionals.) Although the shutdown was very brief, the spike in illegal activity was significant. In the press release it issued warning its residents of the threat, the State of Utah indicated that it had flagged 8,000 returns as potentially fraudulent and reported that similar problems had been experienced in 18 other states.

Although no confirmed link exists between the Anthem data breach and the uptick in fraudulent returns, the coincidence in timing is concerning as is the fact that the states involved and Intuit have indicated that their own systems were not breached.  Again, taxpayers need to be both vigilant and aggressive in monitoring their tax returns and personal information.

What’s a taxpayer to do? Here are four tips to protect your tax information, as supplied by the IRS in this year’s “Dirty Dozen,” an annual compilation of actions that that the IRS considers the most outrageous and egregious tax-related behavior. As tax season gets underway, watch out for these dirty tricks that can put your refund—and other assets—at risk.

  • Phone Scams. The IRS will never call you out of the blue, threatening you and demanding immediate payment. As the IRS put in a news release, there been a sharp increase in “aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents.” In fact, some of these crooks are so clever that they “spoof” the phone numbers to appear as if they are calling from an IRS office.If the IRS has an issue with something on your return they will first notify you via old-fashioned snail mail. If you get such a call, report the incident to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
  • Phishing. Criminals don’t always use the phone. They also resort to emails in hopes of conning you into replying with information or visiting a bogus website that might harvest your information directly or via malware inserted into your computer. Again, remember, the IRS will not initiate an email contact. If the IRS has questions about your taxes, they will send you a letter.
  • Identity Theft. This made the Dirty Dozen list before the Anthem data breach. Now, it probably will rocket to the top of concerns about the taxpayers’ financial safety. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. The IRS is making progress on this front but taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim. The identity theft section on the IRS website has a wealth of information on prevention, detection and assistance for victims.
  • Return Preparer Fraud. The IRS reports that roughly 60 percent of taxpayers used tax professionals to prepare their returns. Ideally, every small business owner will seek guidance from an experience tax professional throughout the year for guidance. In most cases, taxpayers build a relationship with their accountant over time and are able to rely on his or her expertise.However, if tax season rolls around and you find yourself in the market for a preparer, you need to watch out for unscrupulous return preparers. The IRS cautions that there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. Others will play fast and loose with the tax laws—either through ignorance or avarice. Take the time to interview any potential preparer: ask about credentials, including IRS Preparer identification numbers, and experience with your type of business. The IRS has an online directory of qualified tax professionals, as well as tips on choosing a reputable prepare in the “Choosing a Tax Professional” section of their website.

The Anthem data breach and the problems with Turbo Tax software should be a wake-up call for every taxpayer, regardless of whether you were directly affected. While guarded your identity is important year-round, take the time during tax season to learn more about how to protect your tax identity.

Sales Tax Takes a Holiday

sales tax holidayWhere has the summer gone? It’s already “back to school” time with many school districts set to reconvene classes in only a few weeks. In many states, “back to school” means “sales tax holiday” which provide a (very) short-term exemption from sales tax on many school-related items.  If you are in one of the states that have a sales tax holiday, here are five tips to make this busy shopping time easier on you and your employees.

Know What Is “On Holiday” in Your State

Not all items are exempt from tax during the holiday. All the states provide that the exemption applies only to certain items. Most limit the exemption to items under a certain price.  And, you may still have to impose local taxes—even if there is no state tax due.

The nuances of the laws can be surprising. For example, Florida exempts a backpack—but not a briefcase—from tax during the sales tax holiday. Your state department of revenue website provides a comprehensive listing of what is and isn’t tax-exempt.  Print out the list. Make sure there are copies at each cash register. Have the list available throughout the store to help your customers know what is exempt.

Stock Your Shelves

Make sure you have enough inventory to meet the demand. This is especially important for items that are purchased in large quantities only at back-to-school time. Spiral note books, notebook paper, pens, pencils, and markers fall into this category. Running out of an item can result in lost sales. It can also cost you goodwill with your customers–even if you issue rain checks because, in nearly every state, customers have to pay sales tax when they redeem the rain check.

Market with Back-to-School in Mind

If you are in a sales tax holiday state, you are almost always required to participate if you sell any items on your state’s tax-exempt list. So, you may as well make the most of it by designing special promotions and advertising to bring new customers into your store—with the goal of turning them into repeat customers.

Focusing on repeat business is important because many tax experts feel that sales tax holidays don’t generate any extra revenue for retailers. The tax holiday does not affect buying decisions; it simply shifts when the purchases are made. Translated, this means that you may see a flood of customers during the holiday, but diminished traffic during the remainder of the month.

Your marketing strategy should meet two goals:

  • increase spending on non-tax-exempt items during the holiday weekend by offering discounts or special pricing on non-exempt items, such as sports equipment and beauty products
  • bring customers back into your store after the weekend is over by offering coupons for repeat purchases of school supplies later in the year (when the kids have lost their notebooks and destroyed their markers).

Prepare Your Employees

Knowledgeable, competent, helpful, friendly employees create customer goodwill. This is especially important when your store is crowded and procedures are more complex. Make sure each employee understands what is tax-exempt and your state’s rules regarding discounts, buy-one-get-one offers and other pricing options.  If possible, staff up for the peak periods to reduce the annoyance of long lines.

Reprogram Your Point-of-Sales Systems

You will need to account for tax-exempt and non-exempt sales. Most point-of-sales systems accommodate sales tax holidays. However, you will have to make sure that the overrides are in place and are functioning correctly. If you rely on a service to handle your systems, make sure you contact them well in advance of the holiday weekend to ensure that the system is ready when your doors open for business.

National Small Business Week Honors Entrepreneurs

SBA national small business week 2014Today is the start of National Small Business Week.  The Small Business Administration, corporations and non-profits are hosting live events and webinars throughout the week to applaud the accomplishments of small business owners and to equip them to achieve even greater success.  You can find the details of the events on the SBA website.

If you have been thinking about incorporating your business or forming an LLC, now is the perfect time to do so.  In honor of National Small Business Week, BizFilings is offering 20% off any of our business formation packages.  We are looking forward to celebrating your business accomplishments with you.

Get Ready! National Small Business Week Is Next Week

national small business weekStarting a business is an achievement. And, for more than 50 years, National Small Business Week has been giving entrepreneurs the pat on the back they so richly deserve.

National Small Business Week 2014 takes place May 12-16. The U.S. Small Business Administration, corporate and non-profit sponsors and elected leaders have joined forces to host live events throughout the country, as well as online learning opportunities.

 Live events in San Francisco (May 12), Kansas City (May 13) and Boston (May 15) offer you a chance for networking, learning and celebrating the accomplishments of fellow entrepreneurs.  A two-day live event in Washington, D.C. is slated for May 15-16, which will also include the naming of the 2014 National Small Business Person of the Year.

If you don’t live near one of the national events or unable to slot an entire day to attend, you may want to take advantage of one (or more) of the one-hour webinars that are offered throughout the week. Topics range from mastering mobile technology to grow your business to launching a customer loyalty program. Although the sessions are free, registration is required.

Here at BizFilings, we applaud the accomplishments of small business owners year-round.  And during National Small Business Week we are offering 20% percent off any formation services from May 12 – May 16. Celebrate Small Business Week and give your business the recognition it deserves by incorporating or forming an LLC.

What Late-Night Comedians Can Teach You About Social Media

Social MediaBack in 2006, Twitter was newly incorporated and most people were confused as to why they should jump on the social network bandwagon. Now, almost eight years later, the popular social medium has become one of the most unconventional yet innovative news sources in the world, delivering breaking news the moment it happens. But Twitter isn’t just a real time news hub; it has become a helpful tool for businesses, too- particularly those of the late-night comedy variety.  We break down how late-night comedians such as Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel have reaped the rewards of staying in touch with the world via 140 characters or less.

Building relationships with fans. In this day and age, fans don’t want to just be an audience. They want to interact with their idols. Twitter allows this relationship to exist. Because late night personalities are usually in control of their accounts, fans get to know the person behind the thirty minute daily segment. Jimmy Fallon has done an exceptional job at creating this connection with fans through his bit, “#latenight hashtags.” Fallon will tweet a funny hashtag for users to respond to and then find the funniest tweets from fans and read them aloud on his show. Team Coco is an account that was created by a fan of Conan O’Brien’s when he was removed from his short-lived stint on The Tonight Show. Fans joined together overnight to stand by their favorite comedian, going viral on social media and leading to a massive spike in O’Brien’s ratings and eventually the adoption of his own show.

Keeping their brand relevant. Twitter is arguably the quickest way to get news in real time these days. And as a late night personality, if you know what your fans are talking about at any given moment, it becomes easier to keep your brand relevant. Twitter provides its users with a short list of “trending topics,” a short list of what most people are talking about at that very moment. One topic in particular that gained recognition this year was “twerking,” a dance move made popular by pop icon Miley Cyrus. In reaction to the controversial dance, late night personality Jimmy Kimmel anonymously uploaded a video to YouTube titled “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire!” Thanks to social media, the video went viral, racking up 9 million views in less than a week. Jimmy Kimmel invited the girl from the video onto his talk show where he admitted to the audience that it was he, in fact, who was behind the video, creating a buzz amongst fans that lasted until the following week.

Spreading brand awareness When Conan O’Brien launched his own late night show, he recognized an audience of younger, socially active viewers. So Conan followed suit. By entering the realm of social media, Conan immediately expanded his brand awareness by connecting directly with them on Twitter.

Small Business Best Practices for the Holiday Season

Small Business Best PracticesThe holiday season is likely to be an important time for your small business. From staffing to marketing to giving back – we have some great small business best practices to help your company shine its brightest this year!

Staff appropriately

It is important to not only take into consideration the fact that you will be doing extra business during the holiday season, but also that your regular employees are going to want time off. Plan ahead of time and set expectations among your existing employees regarding what days they will be required to work.

Reward your staff

Despite it being a stressful time for your business, it is important to take the time to reward your staff so they feel appreciated. Bonuses, holiday parties, time off and gifts are all great ways to give back to your hard working team. Plus, the additional appreciation and perks will help keep your staff’s morale up!

Reward your loyal customers

Take this time to give back to the customers who have been loyal to you all year. Offer special deals or previews, which will help your frequent customers feel valued and may lead to additional business through referrals!

Utilize social media

Take advantage of your Facebook and Twitter pages to not only promote your products or services, but to offer special deals and contests to your followers. Share how your product or service can be the perfect gift this season. Social media is also effective because your followers can share your products and offers with their friends.

Give Back

Take the time to remember what the holidays are really about – giving. Donate to a local charity or non-profit organization to show your business is spreading the holiday cheer! Other small business best practices include having your office collectively donate to charities like Toys for Tots or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Not only are you giving back to your community, but it is an opportunity for you to promote your business locally!

Tips to Staying Productive this Holiday Season

productivity

As we all know, the holiday season brings mixed feelings of joy, excitement, stress and distraction. Some of us feel the motivation that comes along with a new year while others adopt a more laid-back demeanor towards the end of the year. It’s easy to get lost in the madness of the holidays and lose focus of work obligations with all of the festivities to prepare for. However, true entrepreneurship requires productivity and motivation, so here are some tips on how to keep the momentum going when all you want to do is stuff your face with pie and watch Elf (you know it’s true!):

Take time to reflect. As the year comes to a close, it’s a great time to apply the lessons you learned throughout 2013 to your plans for the New Year. How did you do this year compared to your goals? Were there things you wished you had accomplished? Can those things still add business value if pursued during the upcoming year? Take that list and figure out not only what goals you didn’t accomplish, but why you didn’t accomplish them and what you can do to succeed in 2014.

Set your New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone does this in their personal lives, but few actually stick with their resolutions throughout the year. Resolutions aren’t just for people who want to lose weight or spend more time with family; they’re for you, the entrepreneur, too! Whether it is to meet a financial goal or to expand your business to reach a new market, setting attainable goals is critical in the world of business. This could also include improving upon already existing strategies, like content marketing. Do your social channels need a refresher? Are you getting the online engagement with customers that you were hoping for? If not, it may be time to revamp your digital brand presence in the coming year.

Develop a 2014 game plan.  The reasoning behind setting goals is to achieve a certain desired result, but goals don’t achieve themselves. Take this time to really delve into your goals and research exactly what needs to be done on your end to complete your goals. Lay the groundwork for the year ahead so you can successfully manage the process from beginning to end.

Focus your Attention Wisely. Everyone multitasks – it’s how we get so much done! But with so many distractions around the holidays, both personal and work, it is important to remain focused on the key tasks that need completion before heading out of office. Channel your holiday spirit by making a list and checking it twice to be sure you have given each project the attention it deserves!

Celebrate yourself! Congratulations to you! You have made it to 2014 with many things (we are sure) that you can be proud of! Positive reinforcement is necessary to instill positive energy moving forward. You must have confidence in your abilities in order to successfully run your own business. Take a break to keep your energy up, that way you can improve your productivity, work more efficiently and accomplish as much as possible.

Happy Holidays from BizFilings! 

Startups that Made it Big

tweetEdible Arrangements

Tariq Farid started a flower shop in East Haven Connecticut at the age of 17. After seven successful years as a florist, Farid had a new idea – edible flower bouquets. So in 1999, Farid and his brother opened the first Edible Arrangements shop, going on to franchise the business in 2001. By 2012, the small business had grown to over 1,100 store locations around the world.  In 2013, Edible Arrangements reached number 40 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2013 Entrepreneur Franchise 500. Farid’s innovative way of thinking paved the way for his business to quickly become one of the most recognized companies in the United States. Farid attributes his success to hard work and taking risks. His goal when starting his business was never to get rich, but to provide consumers with something unique and fresh, original to the marketplace.

Groupon

The idea for Groupon came from Andrew Mason who incorporated the site in 2008. With $1 million in seed money, the company quickly evolved onto a $1 billion sales pace, ahead of others in the market. Not only was Groupon quick to profit, but it expanded internationally to more than 40 countries in the course of a year. One of the key factors involved in Groupon’s rapid growth as a startup? Their target audience is virtually unlimited; any given consumer can benefit from a discount.

HubSpot

HubSpot was founded and incorporated in 2006 by MIT classmates Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. With an understanding that traditional marketing was evolving into a need for more intricate tools, Halligan and Shah created software that integrates online marketing tools, from blogging to monitoring social media, into a single platform. Used by over 8,000 companies in 56 countries, HubSpot is the most powerful, tightly integrated and comprehensive marketing software available, stemmed from the founders’ analysis of a personal problem that needed a creative solution!

Twitter

Like HubSpot, Twitter found the “white space,” in the world of social media, an online platform for users to spark social conversations and share news with the click of a button. The idea came from Jack Dorsey, a then NYU undergraduate student, in 2006. Dorsey, along with Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass, launched the site within five months of the initial brainstorming session. In one year the number of tweets posted per quarter jumped from 400,000 to 100 million, and two years later Twitter users were sending up to 50 million tweets per day. One of the most important lessons for entrepreneurs to learn from Twitter is that your initial idea must meet the current and ever-changing needs of the consumer. Your idea may need to be tweaked or adjusted throughout the process and may depend on the current state of your marketplace, what your competition is doing and how consumers are responding to the change in trends. It is your responsibility, as the entrepreneur, to figure out what the consumer is missing before they know it themselves.