In a Nutshell: The process of starting a small business can quickly become overwhelming, from choosing the type of business structure to adopt to knowing which paperwork to file. CorpNet helps to keep this process running smoothly with its efficient document filing service. We recently spoke with CorpNet Founder and CEO Nellie Akalp about how the company can assist new and current businesses in filing the correct paperwork to get started or stay in compliance. She also touched on the characteristics of a few of the main types of small business structures. CorpNet has overwhelmingly positive online reviews and receives most of its customers from word-of-mouth referrals, indicating that the business is getting great results for its many clients.
When Nellie and Philip Akalp founded one of the first online legal document filing companies in 1997, the couple was attending law school, but they quickly had to learn how to balance their legal studies with their new influx of clients.
After the couple graduated from law school, their business continued to flourish, and in 2005, they sold the company to Intuit and retired.
But their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for helping people didn’t let them stay in retirement for long — after all, they were barely over 30 years old.
Nellie founded CorpNet — and also serves as CEO — and Philip came on as the Director of Web Marketing. With CorpNet, the couple continues its journey of helping businesses get up and running by offering a convenient document filing service.
“I felt like this was an opportunity for us to fill an opening in the market and offer a service that just about everybody can utilize and benefit from,” Nellie said. “A lot of people think a lawyer is needed to fill out and submit forms to start a business, but in many cases, that’s not true.”
She said that oftentimes, a business owner can launch a small business without the high legal fees and confusing paperwork of an attorney’s office. Most of the paperwork is readily available and doesn’t require legal expertise to fill out and submit.
CorpNet Presents the Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow to Start a New Business
“I think the most common issue that we find is that when our clients have used other services in the past, they haven’t really been truly informed about what to expect in the process of forming a business or what to expect moving forward,” Nellie said.
This sets the business owners up to pay unnecessary fees in the startup process and puts them at risk of falling out of compliance in the future.
She said CorpNet wants to make sure the client is fully aware of the process from start to finish. And when dealing with businesses that are already established, the company helps them stay in compliance when it comes to renewing licenses or other critical filings on deadline.
Nellie said some entrepreneurs come to CorpNet because they have a great business idea but just don’t know where to start. She said the company works to collaborate with the client and keep him or her as informed as possible for every step along the way.
CorpNet is set up to work with clients in all 50 states.
“If you are ready to incorporate a business, form an LLC (Limited Liability Company), or File a DBA (“Doing Business As” / Sole Proprietor), Corpnet offers a fast, reliable, and guaranteed way to complete all of the business filings needed to start your business online today,” according to the CorpNet website.
The CorpNet website offers a wealth of resources for small businesses, starting with its Business Structure Wizard and a free download of “The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business.”
“I find it quite amusing that to this day there’s a lack of awareness that a service like ours exists for average consumers,” Nellie said. “They think all these filings have to be done by an attorney, but it’s simply not the case.”
She said a small business owner can quickly rack up fees exceeding $1,500 when establishing an LLC through an attorney. But entrepreneurs can set up the same business using CorpNet’s resources for under $500.
The Importance of Establishing the Correct Structure for Your Business
Nellie said that, while some entrepreneurs approach CorpNet knowing what classification of business they want to launch, many need some guidance to determine which type of business structure best suits their situation.
In these cases, the Business Structure Wizard is the best place to start. The short quiz asks a number of questions about the purpose and structure of the business.
“By the end of the quiz, clients usually know which type of business structure is going to be best for them,” Nellie said. “For startups, there are really only a few options that are going to be available to them.”
She said that, in general, sole proprietorship, a C Corporation, an S Corporation, or a limited liability company are the most common structures.
One of the biggest factors to consider when selecting which type of business structure to adopt is how it will be taxed.
“Sole proprietorship is the simplest structure with the least amount of paperwork,” Nellie said. “There’s not much asset protection with this approach because you’re not really separating yourself from your business. It comes with higher liability.”
Forming a corporation will require more paperwork and higher administrative demands than a sole proprietorship, she said. But, the business exists as a separate entity from the business owner which comes with the benefit of greater asset protection.
“With the LLC, you get the best of both worlds — all the asset protection of a corporation but without many of the accompanying formalities,” Nellie said. “At the end of the day, you just have to determine what level of formality and compliance you want to deal with while considering what’s best for your particular business.”
Word-of-Mouth Recommendations and Positive Reviews Fuel This Family Company
“I can honestly say that the majority of our clients are repeat customers,” Nellie said. “We don’t do any kind of internet advertising; most of our business is generated by word-of-mouth.”
CorpNet also receives overwhelmingly positive reviews through websites like Trustpilot because the company’s brand is so strong, she said. “We view ourselves as a very clear, honest, open company that’s really out there to provide a top-notch service to people.”
As of this writing, CorpNet boasts a 9.7 trust score with 336 reviews on Trustpilot.
“Common themes in CorpNet reviews are the company’s ability to exceed expectations, to provide peace of mind, give the fairest price for the excellent work being done and the company’s commitment to giving only the best customer service every time, for every customer,” according to the CorpNet website.
Nellie said the fact that CorpNet is a family-run business between her and her husband helps to set the company apart from others.
“It has its challenges, but we look at challenges as opportunities,” she said. “It works for us because we come from two different schools of thought. Philip is an idea man, the visionary. I come from an operational background. With those two approaches, we can really solve problems together.”
Nellie said at the end of the day, CorpNet is all about making sure clients can rely on the company to take care of crucial filings.
“Leave that stuff to us,” she said. “We deal with those headaches so you don’t have to, and you can focus on growing your business.”