Category Archive : Business & Tech

Why Do You Need a Business Attorney

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Business Attorney

Staring a business may be a fun venture for entrepreneurs, but it comes with many considerations as well. You have to know exactly what your product or service is, understand who your audience is and check off all of the legal boxes when starting the business. While you can figure out the details with your products, services and the audience you serve, you’ll need to hire an attorney to help with the legalities of establishing a new business.

What Does a Business Attorney Do?

The most asked question of business attorneys is what exactly they do. First and foremost, they exist to advise on any ill-mannered legal business dealings. Secondly, they help entrepreneurs establish properly with the right type of business entity, the right tax category and business licensing.

What Are Business Entities?

Every business must be established as a sole proprietorship (most common for entrepreneurs), limited liability corporation (LLC), s-corp or c-corp. Without a business entity filed in your local region, your business doesn’t really exist in the eyes of the law. This means if you were to be sued by an unhappy customer, you wouldn’t have any legal ground to fall back on.

Why Do You Need a Business License?

Every incorporated business entity must register with the local county, city and/or state. This is mostly used for tax purposes, but again, it helps if you were to ever be taken to court by a disgruntled customer.

What Does a Business Attorney Not Do?

There is a common misconception that a business attorney will advise on tax strategy. According to the business lawyers at Scheid Cleveland in Denver (https://www.cololawyers.com), the number one thing they are asked is if they can help with taxes. Their attorneys will advise on the right tax category a business needs to file in (based on their business entity), but they do not advise on tax strategy. If you’re looking for ways to save money through taxes, you’ll need to reach out to a tax strategist.

Additionally, most business lawyers are not trial attorneys. They handle any sort of paperwork that needs to be filed with the local government, but most won’t go to court for you and your business. You can easily find a business litigation attorney, but it’s not a core offering from most business attorneys.

What Else Can Your Business Attorney Do For You?

In addition to helping establish your business with the local government, your business attorney can serve you in a number of additional ways.

Contract Review

Have your attorney review any contracts or agreements you send out to clients. It’s important to have all of the legal details buttoned up as much as possible and to avoid future court appearances.

Collections

Your attorney can work with you to set up a collections program for customers with past due bills. Having the strong arm of the law on your side always seems to help customers pay their bill.

Employee Disputes

As your business grows, you may reach the point of hiring employees. In some cases, an employee may choose to sue you over one thing or another. It’s important to have an attorney at your side to help with these disputes and reach a settlement with the former employee (if necessary).

As you can see, a business attorney serves many purposes for all types of businesses including entrepreneurs and start up organizations. If you don’t have a business attorney as part of your organization, it’s highly recommended.

Review Management

How Do You Handle Review Management

With much of the world going online in the last year, businesses saw an influx in new traffic from a variety of places like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. As these businesses acquire new customers, they also acquire reviews from those customers pertaining to their experience with the business. For this reason, it has become even more important for businesses to stay on top of their reviews and respond to customers in an immediate fashion. The last thing a business owner wants to encounter is a negative experience with a customer who is left waiting for a response.

Your Reputation Matters

In this day and age, people are going online to find reviews about businesses before choosing to work with them. Most customers will either turn to Google My Business, Facebook or Yelp to look up experiences others have had with that business. This means as the business owner, you have to be active on these profiles and respond to these reviews as quickly as possible.

Do You Handle Your Reviews?

Out of 10 small businesses interviewed, 60% claimed to ignore or not even know they had reviews online. A quick Google search of your business name + reviews will show you exactly what customers are using to decide if they want to hire you. This makes knowing where your reviews are being left a critical component of your business’s reputation.

So, what channels do you need to be paying attention to?

Yelp

While it’s commonly associated with restaurant reviews, Yelp is actually a great place for a variety of businesses to acquire reviews. Head over to Yelp and look at your specific category to see what competitors are already listing and acquiring reviews.

For example, this insurance agent on Yelp created a profile and regularly receives reviews on his profile, to which he can quickly respond to. This lets the customer know they are important to the business and are more likely to be hired again.

Facebook

Everyone and their grandma are on Facebook, and these people are also leaving reviews about local businesses. Make sure you have a profile for your business built out so you are able to 1) be found by people on Facebook and 2) be able to interact with customers who have left reviews.

Google My Business

Notably the largest review network online, Google My Business is likely the first destination for customers to leave a review. Nearly 80% of the internet uses Google and it’s likely they will go here to leave a review, either positive or negative. Like other profiles, it’s imperative for business owners to create a profile with their information, contact details and any other pertinent characteristics about the business.

In this example, we see where a personal injury attorney in Denver created a profile with information about his firm and is now collecting reviews from clients.

Every business should have a profile on Google My Business no matter the industry they operate in.

Specialized Review Services

Aside from the major three review networks listed above, you’ll also discover customers leaving reviews on more industry-specific websites. These may include Zillow or Trulia for real estate agents, Judy’s Book or Home Advisor for homes services professionals and Avvo for legal professionals. If you find yourself in a specialized industry, you need to be sure you have a profile built out on these kinds of sites.

Are Review Websites Free?

Most sites that offer reviews from customers are free to the business owner to use. This helps generate content for the review platform and helps the local community. These platforms of course have advertising tools as well, but any business owner can get started on a review platform for absolutely free.

Follow Up with Customers

Although it may seem somewhat difficult, the number one way to increase your reviews is simply to ask. Consider creating a text message or email program that will automatically send requests for reviews as soon as the interaction with your customer has ended. Not only will the experience be fresh on the customer’s mind, it’s also convenient for them.

If you have recently started managing your online reviews, we would love to know how it’s going in the comments.

Google Search: Paid vs. Organic

Pay Per Click vs. SEO: What’s Best for Business?

Two of the most prominent types of digital marketing on Google come in the form of search engine optimization and pay per click advertising. They’re both very different and have varying sets of success metrics, and both are important businesses both online and offline.

It’s important to know the differences between the two different strategies so you know exactly where your marketing budget is goin.

What is Organic Search?

Organic search refers to the natural listings found in Google and Bing. When a user searches for something on these platforms, they are presented with a set of non-paid results. This is what we refer to as natural or organic results. When a business invests in an SEO strategy, they are working to make their pages show in this set of natural, non-paid set of results.

Why Choose Organic Search?

The biggest key with organic search is that you will not pay for clicks. Every time someone searches a keyword or phrase related to your business and clicks on a result, the click is essentially free. It takes a bit of elbow grease to get the listing to show in this result set, but once you are listed in this section, you’ll will stay there for the foreseeable future and benefit from free clicks.

What is Paid Search?

Paid search refers to the advertised listings on Google and Bing. When a user searches for a keyword on these platforms, they are presented with a set of paid results at the top and at the bottom of the page. Every ad that is shown in either of these sections is paid for by an advertiser to show here. And of course, when a user clicks on the listing, the advertiser is charged.

Different Types of Paid Search

As you will be able to see from a crowded Google search engine results page, there are multiple types of paid ads in the result set. You’ll first see text ads at the top and bottom of the page, and if you are searching for a product, you’ll see a section of shopping ads with product titles, product images, pricing information and reviews. Additionally, for local advertisers, you may see an ad showing in the 3-pack of localized results. Try searching “Denver SEO Company” for example and you’ll notice there is an ad displayed in this section.

Why Choose Paid Search?

The number one reason to invest into paid search is to acquire traffic now. Unlike an SEO strategy, a paid advertising campaign will get you listed on the first page of Google or Bing for your targeted search terms right away. You’ll have to pay for each click you receive, but you’ll be getting traffic for your website right away.

Where Does Social Media Fit In This?

Although Google tried its hand at social media with Google+, the platform is driven by search. It’s important, especially for an SEO company, to have profiles and information built out on important social media platforms, but it won’t necessarily improve organic or paid search.

Securing a Branded Result Page

The one area where social media does impact SEO is by having a fully branded search engine results page. This means when someone searches for your business, they will be presented with a variety of different properties about your business. This should include a Facebook page, a Twitter page, an Instagram (if applicable to a business), a LinkedIn company page and even a Yelp page.

Check out your brand result page by searching your company name in Google.

What Should You Do?

It’s important to work with a digital marketing company who can evaluate your current needs and choose the right strategy with you. For quick traffic, choose paid search. For long-term, sustainable traffic that takes a bit of time to acquire, choose organic search.

Most importantly, you want to be active on one or the other to increase visibility to your website.

Hiring IT Support

How to Find a Qualified IT Specialist

The last year showed us just how vital technology is to small businesses. A lot of businesses had to shift to using Zoom, Google Hangouts or WebEx to conduct meetings with customers and their staff due to the pandemic. Throughout this process, many business owners ran into complications and IT issues with trying to use various web conferencing platforms. As a result, businesses turned to IT service providers to help.

As an essential component of successful businesses, having an IT person you can call for help is a must. For businesses still struggling with their information technology needs, there are a few things to know before hiring just any IT service provider.

Check Online Reviews

As the number one recommendation for business owners who find themselves in this spot, check reviews of an IT provider you are interested in working with. It’s critical to see reviews from real customers the IT service has previously worked with. If you notice a lot of negative reviews and ratings, it’s a good indication to avoid that business altogether.

Be sure to check reviews from a number of locations too. Look for reviews on Google My Business, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Chamber of Commerce and Nextdoor (if this is available in your area).

Determine A Realistic Budget

Computer support and IT services are costly. Whether you are hiring someone on an hourly basis or monthly retainer, you’ll need to determine a realistic budget for the professional. Plan to spend a minimum of $75 / hour for general IT support. If you require support for something a bit more complex, you’ll be looking at $100 to $150 an hour. Just like an attorney, an IT specialist charges you as soon as you are “on the clock” so be sure to manage their time wisely.

Check LinkedIn

Just like checking online reviews for the service provider, you’ll also want to scope out the professional’s LinkedIn page. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume and will show you who the individual has worked with. If they have limited experience, you may want to find another professional. Try to find how many connections the individual has and how active they are on LinkedIn. If they are actively sharing articles and information related to IT services, it’s a safe bet that they are current on the industry and will be a good hire.

Hire Local, Always

Most computer support requires a hands-on person to do the job. While services like Fiverr and Upwork exist and you’ll find plenty of IT providers, it’s important to choose someone local who can visit your office in person. A local service provider like Gravity IT Solutions will be able to come in your office or business location, diagnose any computer-related issues and solve them for you. If you hire an online IT expert, you’ll likely be put in a queue and they will have no way to physically fix your problem.

When Is It Time for a Full-Time Employee?

Any business owner knows it’s less expensive to hire an outside consultant on an hourly basis. However, if your consultant is working 100+ hours a month, it may be time to consider bringing someone on-board on a full-time basis. While you’ll need to pay a salary and benefits, you’ll have an IT expert in-house and at willing to work on just about any issue.


If you recently hired an IT partner for your business, let us know in the comments how it’s going.

4 Business Types Thriving In Denver

Although we had one of the roughest years ever for our economy in 2020, certain cities in the United States experienced major changes. And some of these economical changes occurred in a positive way.

From Miami to San Francisco, various business types thrived and helped improve the economy. Things still aren’t where they were before the pandemic began, but some business types are finding ways to succeed.

Of the improved local economies, Denver, CO is showing growth in 4 distinct business types.

Personal Injury Law

People drove less in 2020, but accidents still happened. Collisions involving automobiles, motorcycles and pedestrians continued to grow throughout the Mile High City despite statewide stay-at-home orders. For this reason, work for personal injury lawyers in Denver grew too.

One personal injury attorney for CO Injury Law told us,

Automobile accidents increased during the pandemic. Many people quarantined and drove less compared to previous years, but we still identified an increase in vehicle collisions and automobile-related deaths in 2020.

Chiropractors

As suspected and related to car accidents, chiropractors experienced an increase in work too. But many chiropractors noted they found growth in existing patients who found more time for routine, weekly visits. As people have more time to address their pain management, chiropractic care has been integrated more into health routines.

Chiropractors in Denver had limited exposure to patients during the first few months of the pandemic, but quickly figured out ways to make their practices clean and safe to accommodate patients.

Business & Contract Law

Contrary to many cities in the United States, a lot of new businesses opened their doors in 2020 in Colorado. Because of this, lawyers who operate in business establishment law saw sizable growth. These Colorado business lawyers establish entities as proprietorships, LLCs or corporations and file all the necessary paperwork with the county clerk.

And as expected, courts were also busy filing paperwork on their end. New business licenses will likely continue into 2021 as more Denver-based businesses open, keeping attorneys occupied.

Web Design & SEO

Lastly, businesses who operate in the digital space experienced exponential growth in the last year. Business owners had more time to review their websites and online marketing plans, and came up with a variety of changes. Denver SEO businesses were able to maintain growth during the pandemic by bringing on more and more businesses online.

Likewise, web designers were busy creating new websites for businesses or handling maintenance for them. The average number of managed hours by agencies in Denver went up by 15%.

Keep An Eye Out In 2021

With the recent swings in the market, it’s reasonable to think real estate and mortgages will experience a lot of changes in the coming year. We’ll likely see more businesses develop a digital presence too, having websites built and pursuing new online market tactics to accommodate a new way to do business; this will be especially true of restaurants adopting new delivery methods.

Finally, it’s also worth noting medical positions are on a steady rise with the state of Colorado needed more nurses than ever before. This trend will of course continue in the new year.

What business types have you seen thrive in your local area? Let us know in the comments.

Investment Opportunities for Seniors

You’ve worked hard your entire life and now it’s time to sit back, relax and let your money work for you. In what we would consider a turbulent world, the stock market and real estate sector have seen tremendous growth as of late. A lot of people, including senior citizens and retired individuals, are taking full advantage of the current state of the economy and thriving with their investments.

Investing In Real Estate

Any savvy investor knows real estate is one of the best things to invest in. Whether buying property for yourself, flipping a house or renting out a home, real estate offers an abundance of wealth with little upfront capital. For seniors specifically, you’re likely in a situation where your home is paid off and you have the capital to invest in another property. Or you’re living in a 55 and older community and have the assets to afford investing into another property. In either situation, real estate should be your go-to investment.

Rental Properties

Single family homes and apartments have the best value to turn around and rent to tenants. You can easily find FHA, conventional or VA loans to provide a competitive interest rate and only be required to put down a few thousand dollars. Once the property is ready to rent, you’ll quickly recoup your initial investment and then profit from the monthly rent. Your only monthly expense at that point will be for a property management company like Home River Group.

Townhouses & Condos

Townhouses and condo complexes are another investment gem. Here you will likely be able to purchase multiple properties and then profit even more. Keep an eye out for new construction condos and townhouses as they have the most potential for return.

With a little upfront investment, you’ll be flush with cash no time.

Stocks, Bonds or CDs?

Wall Street has been booming since the onset of the pandemic. Large tech companies like Apple and Tesla have grown their stock price through the roof and many investors are benefitting. For retired seniors, having a wealth manager who is on top of the market is key to your success. A wealth manager should be able to advise you on the best strategies for stocks, bonds, certificate of deposits and any other investing options you should be taking advantage of.

Certificates of Investment

A traditional broker with Edward Jones or Charles Schwaab will advise you on the stocks and bonds they know the best. But did you know you could be investing in a fixed rate fund with little volatility? Certain investment firms offer a Certificate of Investment fund with tremendous returns. The required upfront capital is a bit more, but the returns will get you exactly where you want to be.

Don’t Sleep On Tech Companies

The pandemic has proven that technology isn’t going anywhere. Big companies have improved their technology throughout the pandemic to have more stability and be able to offer products to customers in more efficient ways. Just think how food delivery businesses like DoorDash and GrubHub have grown their services in the past year. The good news here is that it offers you a chance to benefit from a company’s technological advancements.

If you’re working with a financial advisor, ask them to identify high growth tech companies you should be investing in.

Where To Start

If you’re a retired senior with money burning a hole in your wallet, real estate and the stock market are where you will want to turn. Start researching properties for sale through sites like Zillow or The Lynne Koy Group and make a list of properties you would consider investing in. Be sure to schedule a meeting with your financial advisor and determine where you should try to invest in the coming year. While we recommend investing in tech companies actively growing on Wall Street, your advisor may suggest otherwise.

If you started making investments in the new year, let us know how it’s going in the comments.

What Kind of Insurance Is Best for Entrepreneurs?

As any entrepreneur might know, insurance is a tricky subject to tackle when you employ yourself or a small group of people. Obtaining health insurance is a must, but it’s vastly different from signing up for a corporate insurance plan. When you are employed by a company, you sign up for insurance when you start and you renew your plan during open enrollment.

Pretty simple, right?

But when you are self-employed or run your own business, there are a lot more considerations in front of you.

Insurance for Solopreneurs

Self-employed? You still need health insurance for yourself and your family. Although self-employment has its benefits, one drawback is finding insurance. Most insurance carriers want to charge a higher premium when you are not on a group rate. Unfortunately, you might end up paying more for an individual health insurance plan versus signing up for a plan as a group even if the plan includes your family.

You’ll want to check rates from several different carriers and evaluate your current health situation to decide which plan is best for you. Be sure to consider pre-existing health conditions as they can drive up your monthly premiums.

Insurance for a Small Company

Every entrepreneur starts on their own and eventually hires a team. Once you begin hiring new team members, you’ll need to decide how you want to offer insurance to them. Like a desirable salary and bonuses, insurance benefits are a major attraction for those seeking work. Unlike individual health insurance, you’ll provide your employees with a group health insurance plan. And lucky for you, group health insurance plans have lower monthly premiums. Again, you’ll want to review plans from a variety of carriers to find one that fits best for your company.

Health Insurance Can Be Regional

As you shop for new insurance plans, you’ll also discover the plans can be somewhat regional. For instance, a health insurance plan in Manhattan, New York will likely cost you more than an individual health insurance plan in Bend, OR. It’s best to consult with an insurance carrier or individual insurance provider to understand what is best for you and your business.

Think About Long-Term Costs

Insurance isn’t a one-time investment for your business. You’ll need to consider the cost accrued for insurance over the next 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. The insurance plan you select should be part of your overall business plan. Determine where it fits into your costs and how you can scale it over time.

Other Considerations

Before you begin to tackle health insurance for your business, you’ll want to be sure your business is correctly established first. You’ll need to properly register your business as a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, s-corporation or c-corporation. Depending on the assets your business has and how you want to approach taxes, you may choose one entity over another. If you haven’t done so already, consider hiring a business lawyer to review your articles of establishment. While it may be costly, an attorney will advise you on what you need to do to properly and legally establish your business.

If you have recently purchased insurance for yourself or your business, let us know how it went in the comments.

Hiring An SEO Company? Ask These Questions First

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of helping website pages show up higher in Google’s search results. To small business owners, this type of marketing is huge for driving new business. As potential customers search keywords related to your business, an optimized page with information and contact details can show up in search results. The small business gets the click from Google and eventually earns the business of the customer who is searching.

While SEO is a complex form of marketing, there are a few things to consider before hiring a company to handle this for you.

Does the Provider Write Copy?

One of the biggest areas of a successful SEO campaign is copywriting. Writing copy for a website’s content, social media channels and other outlets is key for Google to recognize a website. For this reason, it’s highly important to work with an SEO provider who writes their own copy and doesn’t outsource to a foreign country. Google is able to understand semantics, spelling and grammar, so it’s in your best interest to work with a company who writes in near perfect English.

Transparency with Reporting

Transparency is another key area of an SEO campaign. You never want to hire a provider who takes your money and doesn’t provide results. It’s not good for business and it’s not good for your marketing budget. Ask a potential SEO provider what kind of reporting you’ll receive from the campaign. Is it weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? It’s important to measure progress of the campaign and have the results be shared with you. Additionally, ask them what kind of tools they use to measure success.

What Color Hat Do They Wear?

When it comes SEO, there are three “hat” colors providers may have:

  • White Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider abides by Google’s rules and rarely strays into anything not recommended by Google. The results are slower to obtain, but they are at a low risk of being penalized by Google.
  • Gray Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider bends the rules slightly in order to get results faster. The tactics aren’t promoted by Google, but they aren’t necessarily bad either.
  • Black Hat SEO: this type of SEO provider goes completely against Google’s quality standards in order to “game” search results. These tactics are not long-lasting and can get a website in deep trouble.

If you plan to keep your business running for a while, avoid working with someone who dabbles in black hat SEO.

What About Links?

Another major component of SEO is developing quality links. You should ask a potential provider to show you the type of placements (backlinks) they can achieve for you. If you notice the links they acquire are coming from low quality, untrustworthy sources, just know you won’t see the progress you are wanting. Strong SEO campaigns include links coming from real websites with actual traffic and statistics.

Budget

Lastly, you should ask questions about what kind of budget you will need for an SEO campaign. SEO is a technical skill, takes time and hard work to get it right, so you’ll need to be prepared with a realistic budget. However, if an SEO provider asks you to pay $5,000 a month for a small business, you’ve gone past a realistic budget. Shop around with a few SEO companies to get the best gauge of what budget you will need.

If you have recently hired an SEO company to work on your website, let us know about your experience in the comments.