February 22, 2003
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
Featured Resource - LOOKDISK
Staff Article -
ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF READER QUESTIONS!
Guest Article -
SELLING LOCALLY USING THE WORLD WIDE WEB
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INSTALLMENT OF READER QUESTIONS!
by: Cary Christian
It's that time again. I felt it in the air this morning and the draw was so
powerful I just couldn't resist! I love it when you guys ask questions. It's
so much easier than trying to guess what you want to read about. If you have
a question of your own you'd like answered, just send it to me at
So here we go.
Question 1 (Internet Marketing):
There are so many new and seemingly unique marketing programs being
introduced online almost on a weekly basis. I've been a subscriber since the
beginning of your newsletter and I've noticed that you tend to ignore most
of them. In fact, more so now than in the beginning. Why is that?
When we first started the Peak Small Business Center, we committed a lot of
resources to evaluating different marketing methods to see what works and
what doesn't. We tried all the latest and greatest offerings and multiple
variations on the theme and studiously tracked our results. One thing became
crystal clear to us: there are certain tried and true marketing methods that
work well now and that are likely to work well far into the foreseeable
future. The rest is fluff.
I like search engines because they are generally honest and free and when
people find you, it's because they're looking for you and the products you
I like pay-per-click engines because they allow anyone the opportunity to
bid into a top search engine position without becoming a search engine
expert and spending their entire lives optimizing their website and learning
the latest SEO tactics. They also provide a means of buying very targeted
hits at bargain prices if you put enough work into it.
I like building opt-in lists, forming joint ventures and trading links
because they allow you to build relationships with other people.
These marketing methods are the meat and potatoes. You can live off them.
They are the staples of your marketing diet.
Take a look at most of the free marketing programs available. What are they
really? They are not only ineffective for you, but they are actually the
vehicle that the owners are using to apply normal tried and true marketing
methods for themselves. What do I mean by that?
Think about it. You join one of these free marketing programs and do
whatever it is you're supposed to do to drive traffic to your site. What do
the owners get in return? They get YOUR name on THEIR list. You'll notice
you will receive emails from them regularly, possibly on a daily basis,
promoting whatever products or programs they are currently involved in. Your
terms of service with their program requires you to accept these emails.
They're concentrating on one of the basics, building their opt-in list, by
giving you free participation in some program that doesn't work!
It all comes back to the basics, and it always will in one form or another.
Question 2 (Non-US Persons Doing Business in the US):
I received a question from one of our non-US subscribers about setting up a
Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the US. He was concerned that he would
not be able to do so since he is not a US citizen. His primary concern was
being able to open a US bank account for a new business he hoped would
attract lots of US affiliates. International transactions can take too long
to clear, so he felt a US bank account was an absolute requirement to
There's good news on two fronts. First, you do not need to set up an LLC or
a corporation or any other type of entity to open a US bank account. A
non-US individual can open a bank account in a US bank just like anyone
Second, you do not have to be a US citizen to set up an LLC. LLC's are
created under state law, and most US states have LLC provisions in their
statutes. I do not claim to be familiar with the law in all fifty states,
but the ones I am familiar with have no citizenship requirements. You will
need to have a "registered agent" or something similar within the state you
organize in, but there are lots of companies and attorneys who will
represent you in this capacity for a very affordable fee.
I will caution you, however, that if your business in the US is going to be
substantial, you should hire the services of an attorney to help you. There
are many business and tax consequences related to setting up a business in
the US and mistakes can cost you a lot.
For example, you are interested in setting up an LLC. Single-member LLCs are
generally taxed as though you were a sole proprietor. By setting up a
single-member LLC in the US, you will be opening yourself up to US federal
and state taxation on a PERSONAL level because the LLC's income will pass
through to you. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are unaware
this is what happens and are unprepared for it, the consequences can be
severe. You must get qualified help to understand the issues that arise as a
result of your decisions.
Question 3 (Switching from Corporation to LLC):
In a similar vein, a US subscriber asked if he should convert his existing
corporation to an LLC. He had been told that LLCs are the "way to go," and
that it's a "no-brainer" he should be organized as an LLC.
The answer is . . . there is no standard answer. The choice of form of
organization is directly dependent on the facts and circumstances
surrounding your specific business. An LLC might be perfect for business A
and an absolute mistake for business B.
Most people look at corporations and assume they will save taxes if they can
avoid being taxed on corporate earnings and then again on the remaining
earnings when they are distributed. This is not always the case. If your
current personal income tax bracket is high, or if corporate earnings will
push your personal income into a higher tax bracket, you may be better off
paying tax on up to $75,000 or so at corporate rates. This is especially
true if you plan to leave money in the corporation for working capital.
Of course, you can also elect to have your LLC taxed as a corporation.
There are many options available when it comes to the form of organization
you choose for your business, and they all have differing tax and legal
liability consequences attached to them. Your form of organization needs to
be tailored to you specifically. There is no one size fits all.
Question 4 (New Scams):
I've been receiving a lot of emails lately with no real links to click
through on, just phone numbers to call. In most cases they are notifications
that I have won something or it's about an urgent matter that I need to
attend to. Some of them might have gotten me to call, but I've received so
many of them that I've come to realize it's some kind of scam. Do you have
any idea what this is about?
I've received quite a few of these myself. Chances are good that that some
of these are variations of the "Nigerian" scam. It's likely if you called
that sooner or later you'd need to give them banking details or something
similar to complete whatever transaction it is they're trying to lure you
into. Then they would empty your bank account, of course.
It's also possible it's a phone scam like the "809" scam that originated in
the Dominican Republic. You get a phone number to call, they keep you on the
phone as long as possible, and you get billed $100 or more for the call.
You're actually dialing a service that charges exhorbitant rates by the
minute like the 900 services here in the US.
You have to watch the phone numbers carefully because the "809" scam has
spread throughout the Caribbean now. Here are the latest set of numbers you
need to look out for:
242 (Bahamas), 246 (Barbados), 264 (Anguilla), 268 (Antigua & Barbuda), 284
(British Virgin Islands), 345 (Cayman Islands), 441 (Bermuda), 473
(Grenada), 664 (Montserrat), 758 (St Lucia), 767 (Dominica), 784 (St Vincent
& Grenadines), 787 (Puerto Rico), 809 (Dominican Republic), 868 (Trinidad &
869 (St. Kitts & Nevis) and 876 (Jamaica).
Under international telecommunications treaties, each country establishes
its own telephone rates and there is no limit to the per-minute or total
charge for such calls. There have been similar scams involving numbers
originating in various Eastern European countries, and more are anticipated
as many small Pacific nations begin to receive separate area codes.
When you are targeted, the number will look like a conventional area code
plus seven-digit phone number. If you see one of the above number sequences
in the area code section, don't call!
Well, that's all for this week. Got questions of your own? Send them in!
Copyright (c) 2003
SELLING LOCALLY USING THE
WORLD WIDE WEB
by: Mark Laing
Smart webmasters and small business owners are discovering the power of the
World Wide Web to attract customers from their own hometowns.
While the Internet's global nature makes it an ideal medium for advertising
and selling over a distance, it can also be used effectively to attract
local business. After all, the web is an economical way for a small business
to advertise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without the high cost of print
and television advertising. A website can be updated instantly when pricing
and other information changes.
As more consumers become net savvy, they are using the Internet to find
information on a wide variety of products and services ... and they are
searching for local suppliers as well as national and global ones. By
creating a website that caters to local customers as well as global ones, a
business can attract new business and encourage repeat purchases, cementing
customer loyalty in the process.
However, the strategies used to leverage a local presence are
somewhat different from those used by companies looking for global exposure.
Webmasters should keep the following tips in mind when building a web
presence aimed at a local audience.
1. Create relevant content, and add a local flavor to it. Content is
king on the World Wide Web. It helps a site achieve high ranking in the
search engines, and it establishes credibility ... show people that you know
your business, and they will feel comfortable buying from you. If a local
angle is inserted into your content, it creates an emotional connection with
local visitors by reinforcing the perception that you are from the same part
of the world as they are. When given a choice, people like to buy from their
2. Include your geographical area (and all variations of it) in your
keywords. By optimizing your site for the search engines in this way,
you will ensure that people looking for a locally based service will find
3. Advertise your website offline. Print your URL on your business
cards, receipts, invoices, business vehicles, menus, and anywhere else it
will fit. As well, don't hesitate to ask your customers for their e-mail
addresses, so that you can periodically send them news about your business.
4. Publish an opt-in e-newsletter. This keeps your business in the
forefront of your customers' minds. It builds credibility and loyalty, and
encourages repeat purchases. Keep in mind that an effective newsletter must
have some value to its recipient. Adding tips or advice is a good way of
5. Provide incentives for locals to visit. Offer a 'web only'
special of some sort. People don't visit a site to read about how great a
business says it is ... they want something they can use. Everyone can use
savings and coupons.
Small businesses interested in more tips on creating an effective online
presence are invited to visit
http://www.web-tips.net , where they can download a free e-book entitled
'The Service Sellers Master Course'.
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the
Peak Small Business Newsletter and found it useful.
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http://www.peakconsultinginc.com to check out all the resources we
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