CorpNet.com is an online legal document filing service that forms business structures for entrepreneurs on a daily basis. The small business based in southern California helps form LLCs, Incs, DBAs and even registers trademarks and conducts free name searches for those looking to start new business ventures.
CorpNet.com started during the economic downturn. They are finding their niche in a space that had become commoditized. The website is clear and direct, and their blog is updated regularly.
Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet.com. She has formed more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S, building a strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting and protecting their business the right way. You can visit Nellie’s free resource center at http://bit.ly/pChZbV follow her on Twitter @CorpNetNellie and “Like” CorpNet.com on Facebook.
MO: Welcome to Mo.com, Nellie. What are the main benefits businesses would receive by using your service, instead of someone else’s? For those who are used to having a lawyer do this kind of service for them, is your service going to replace a lawyer, or can it be used in conjunction with a lawyer?
Nellie: I have nothing against lawyers. I’m married to one, in fact. And I myself graduated law school and obtained my JD (Juris Doctorate Degree) back in 1998. But with that said, there are times when attorneys are overused — and those unnecessary retainer fees and hourly rates can hurt the startup process when cash is tight.
One such situation is when you’re considering forming a corporation or an LLC for your startup. Too many entrepreneurs think they need a lawyer for this matter, when viable alternatives exist that can save significant dollars and be just as reliable. By working with a legal document filing service such as my company, Corpnet.com, you get the help you need to properly fill out the paperwork and complete the process, without those sky-high fees.
Of course, there’s a key difference that’s important to understand. A document filing service such as CorpNet.com is simply … a document filing service. It’s not a substitute for an attorney, accountant or tax advisor. We cannot give you specific legal or financial advice for your set of circumstances. If you have particularly complex business needs — for example you have strict requirements for shareholder structure or stock allocation, or you’re dealing with millions of dollars up front — you should retain your own expert counsel to help get you started.
However, for many startups, the general information provided by my company is all you need to help make your own decisions.
To answer your first question, I strongly believe that people who use our service opposed to some other similar services find that we truly take the time to help them succeed. We hold their hand through a process that is very daunting to most people starting out their own business and make sure all of the paperwork is completed the right way and answer questions we are able to.
MO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced or are facing with CorpNet.com and what have you learned from that or are learning from that?
Nellie: My biggest challenge in general is aligning the business tasks that I enjoy doing with the “must do” business tasks that make the business profitable.
Specifically with respect to Corpnet.com it is increasing traffic to our website and getting more brand recognition while remaining profitable. What I have learned from this whole process is that times have changed since I launched my first document filing business, MyCorporation.com, in 1997. You cannot simply throw a bunch of dollars towards advertising/marketing and expect to make money overnight as it was the case with my first company. This time around I’ve learned that in order to play the game and get the brand recognition that I want for Corpnet.com, we have to get there by organically engaging in social media marketing, blogging and community awareness. We listen to the social world and try to take a friendly and helpful approach instead of pushing a sale in someone’s face.
MO: What is your revenue model? Are you currently earning revenue? Are you satisfied with the revenue trajectory you are on?
Nellie: Today’s business revenue model requires so many skill sets: Cloud migration, Social media marketing, SEO, business logic workflow and fulfillment, front end marketing design and development …I could go on forever. Under the pressure and pain of decreasing margins, however, we finally turned our attention to our pricing model.
We discovered that our services are on the growth to mature portion of its lifecycle so the best formula for success is to engage in skim to neutral pricing. We decided to change up our pricing structure and actually raise prices across the board. Service prices were a bit higher than some competitors and a bit lower than others.
In the end, raising our prices garnered a 22% sales increase in just a few months! We realized that offering a few extra services along with that increased price meant a lot to customers alongside our very attentive staff, so the customers came.
MO: How much do you rely on your affiliate program? Please tell us more about it.
Nellie: Our affiliate program comprises approximately 10-15 percent of our total business. Our affiliate team works aggressively to market our affiliate program out to potential new affiliates.
Affiliates who join CorpNet.com make a 25 – 30% commission.
We have teamed up with Commission Junction to provide our publishers with trusted third-party tracking, real-time reporting, and monthly commission checks. If you are already a Commission Junction Publisher, you can skip the form and sign up for the Corpnet, Incorporated Program directly through the Commission Junction Member’s Area. For more info, visit: http://www.corpnet.com/aboutus/affiliates/
MO: How often do potential or current customers use your Toll Free phone number? Is it very important for you to offer phone support? How much support is covered thru email?
Nellie: Since Corpnet.com offers its business filing services nationwide, most of our clients take advantage of contacting us through our toll free number and some through email. The reputation and stellar track record that Corpnet.com has built for itself to date is simply based on the excellent personal service we provide to each and every one of our clients through our phone and email support. It’s a critical part of our business model because that is what sets us apart from our competition; creating that personal relationship with our clients from the get go. That includes having live phone support each time a new or potential client calls into Corpnet.com.
The same goes for email support. We respond to each email inquiry and start a dialogue with the clients rather than taking the boiler plate approach and responding in that manner. We create that personal touch by engaging with them, listening to their needs, providing guidance and support and ultimately becoming a problem solver for them.
MO: “Do what you love and love what you do each and every day.. you only live once!!!!” -Nellie Akalp
That’s a powerful quote and idea. How many years did it take you to put that into practice?
Nellie: Thank you and yes it is and it took me about 35 years to put it into practice….and I just celebrated my 40th birthday…LOL!!!!! Life is very precious and it could change in a second and I’ve learned to live and love every moment of it.
First and foremost, I love helping other entrepreneurs. I love the concept of the small business. And I love giving small business owners access to resources they might not be able to afford otherwise. Because every business, no matter how small, should have the right legal protection to help them thrive. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped form more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S.
After I sold my first company, I dabbled in a few other industries and none of them quite satisfied me as helping entrepreneurs succeed and grow with their new business ventures. I soon realized that there was a reason why nothing stuck, so that’s when I sat down with my husband and we both decided it was time to jump back into the document filing industry.
Life’s just too short to waste time. We knew the passion was there so we went for it! And I’m so happy we did!
MO: If you only had 3 days left to live and were given a cheque for 7 million tax free dollars to spend any way you’d want, what would you do for the next 3 days and what would you do with that 7 million dollars?
Nellie: So this question hits home for me, because I was blessed with the opportunity of selling my first business MyCorporation.com to Intuit for a significant amount of cash back in 2005. This is what I learned from that experience if I could do it again…
Block out a portion of money that does not matter and just blow it all on hats, cars or watches or whatever you fancy and just get it out of your system. Eventually you’ll get bored. When you have enough money, “MORE” is never enough and always leaves you empty if your core values are missing. Once you get bored with spending, you’ll see that the best things in life are for free. I’d also learn to say no to family members and friends because when you come into a lot of money/wealth, they seem to come out of the woodworks….we now have “cousins and old friends” that we never knew we had….LOL!!!!
MO: Nellie, we want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for our readers.
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