How To Start & Grow Your Business

Today we visit founder of CorpNet, Nellie Akalp

Laurie Sluser
Jul 20th, 2016
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  • Biography

    Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business advocate, and mother of four children. She is married to her husband and business partner of 18 years. As CEO and founder of CorpNet.com, she has helped more than half a million businesses get off the ground. Nellie is internationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing regularly to media outlets like Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post. Each month, her regular columns and small business advice reach more than eight million people. Together with her husband Phil, Nellie has been building companies for more than 18 years.

  • #1 Tip for Startups

    My advice to fellow entrepreneurs just starting out is to ask yourself, “are you really passionate about the idea?” because it really begins with you and how passionate you are about the idea and how much you believe in the product or service that you’re about to launch.

Where she started

My husband and I graduated law school together and instead of going the typical route and working for someone else at a law firm, we decided to go into business and become partners. In 1997 we started our first company, an online legal document filing service. Eight years later in 2005 that business was acquired and we took a few years off. In that down time we realized we were too young and too motivated to retire early, so we started business all over again in 2009 with the launch of CorpNet.com.

CorpNet is a legal document filing service that provides new and existing business owners with comprehensive, cost-effective services when it comes to starting a new business. Whether it be incorporating, forming an LLC or to set up a fictitious business name, sole proprietorship, partnership, we can assist across all 50 states.

In addition to that, we also help existing business owners with any and all of their business filing needs that they require in keeping their business in compliance. That includes modifying their business information, filing an annual report or statement of information to keep the company in compliance. Finally, if entrepreneurs want to take the next level and protect their intellectual property we offer trademark protection and copyright filing services. To be clear, CorpNet does not provide legal, tax or financial advice.

Nellie and Husband

How she adds value for clients

We’re strictly a document filing service whereby we file paperwork on behalf of startups, entrepreneurs and business owners. They provide us all the information they need and we do all of the hassle work and the paperwork for them so that they can do what they do best, which is focusing on growing and running their business.

When we decided to start CorpNet in 2009, one of the biggest barriers to entry was the fact that the market that we were trying to enter in is really very saturated. In 1997, when I started our first company with my husband, there were only a few players within the industry offering the services that we were offering.

When I came back in 2009 not only were we competing with my old company but tons of other competitors. So, I had to really niche myself and our new business. It was then that I found business blogging was a fantastic way to establish myself and my company as a resource in the entrepreneurial community. I did, afterall, start a business with basically nothing and sell it for multi-millions so I wanted to share my expertise.

I have my own blog on the CorpNet website, corpnet.com called The Startup Starting Line. I also blog for a handful of other sites on a monthly basis such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, The Huffington Post and more.

I am thrilled that I can share my insight on starting, running and growing a business to other entrepreneurs. I share posts on my experience with my previous company, with my currently company and also tips on legal nuts and bolts since I have helped incorporate well over half a million businesses.

How she sticks out from the crowd

I take a lot of pride in my blogging. I write personally in a daily journal and that’s also where I jot down article ideas for the coming months on hot topics, or discussions in the office. I love that blogging has allowed me to share so much advice and insight to other entrepreneurs who may just be starting out. I was there, it’s a scary step to start a business, but I hope that my articles help people face that fear and go for it!

Nellie with Client

Favorite Tools of the Trade

A great tool that I like to let people know about is the CorpNet.com Business Information Zone, a tool for compliance and monitoring which allows a business owner to come and register their company and then receive monthly alerts as to filing deadlines and dates so they are kept up to date and not stuck with any fines or penalties. This tool is free for anyone to use, you don’t have to be a CorpNet client.

Technology Giants

I really respect Mark Zuckerberg and what he did for the world of communication through Facebook. It’s such a fantastic platform that I use both personally and for business. The power of connection it established for people is still so amazing to me!

Recommended Reading

My favorite book of all time that really helped me at the onset of my business is called Delivering Happiness, written by Tony Hsieh, an entrepreneur and the CEO of zappos.com. Currently I am reading a great book that was recommended by my husband called Leaders Eat Last. It’s a great read for any business owner about leading your company and the whole mindset that as a leader, you have to motivate and empower your team.

FInally, I actually wrote a book, published on Amazon called The No-Nonsense Guide to Small Business Marketing. I was being asked by a lot of clients about my personal marketing strategy with CorpNet and decided to share what I have learned along the way via this downloadable guide. I’ve been given great feedback and our clients enjoy the tips they get from it.

NellieAkalp_Client1

Her advice to fellow entrepreneurs

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs just starting out is to ask yourself, “are you really passionate about the idea?” because it really begins with you and how passionate you are about the idea and how much you believe in the product or service that you’re about to launch. You need to believe in it first before you can get anybody else to believe in it and get on board with you.

Once you’re sure you have the passion for the idea and you’re ready to take the next step, start finding a mentor for yourself and test the waters. Talk to people that are already in business or do a test out there with your potential target market. You don’t want to go and talk only to your family members or friends because they will always tell you want you want to hear. Start slow and steady and don’t rush into anything. With time, everything will fall into place.

About the Author

Laurie Sluser

CEO and Co-Founder of bizHUMM. Laurie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. He has managed either his own companies or other small businesses for the past 30 years. Laurie first co-founded a national marketing company, growing it to over 3 million dollars in revenue within 3 years. He sold the company and moved with his wife and son to the United States where he now resides in Fairfield, Iowa. For the past 15 years (until late 2013), he served as General Manager of a software engineering staffing firm, which he led to ten-fold growth in revenue with over 25 million dollars in gross sales. Laurie became a proud U.S. citizen in 2012 and later co-founded bizHUMM to help and support entrepreneurs to launch and grow their own small businesses.