The Proper Way to Start Your Startup

Starting a new business is incredibly exciting. Whether you are starting your first business or your fifth, the process of being on your own and being able to bring your expertise to customers or clients is one of the most fulfilling career moves one can make. However, starting a business can also be very stressful, especially if you’re trying to do everything yourself.

If you’re ready to start your own business, it’s helpful to know a bit about the legal requirements needed so you can ensure you start off on the right foot. Here is some advice on what you should consider before you take the plunge.

Have the Right Documents

Knowing which documents you need to complete is an important part of the process and they will differ depending on whether you are starting a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC). If you are starting a corporation, you will need a certificate of incorporation, organizational minutes and bylaws and a shareholder agreement, a share certificate for each shareholder, and an IRS form SS4.

If you are starting an LLC, you will need articles of formation or articles of organization, an operating agreement, members certificates for each member, and an IRS form SS4.

Know the Right Forms and Filing Fees for Your State

Filing fees and forms differ depending on what state you are starting your business in. They also tend to change regularly. These tables are a good place to start when organizing the files and forms you’ll need to start your business.

Work with a Business Attorney

Keeping track of everything you need to have in place to legally start a new business can be a headache. As a new business owner, you need to focus your attention on getting clients, marketing, business development, and the many other hats you’ll need to wear to make your business a success. When you work with a business attorney, you can leave the details in the hands of a professional so you can focus on what truly matters. When choosing a business attorney, consider how long they have been in business, what types of businesses they specialize in, and if your personalities mesh well in the initial meeting.

Taking the first steps to launch a startup is an exciting and potentially nerve-wracking experience. By educating yourself beforehand on what you’ll need and working with a good business attorney, you can lessen the headache and focus on your future success. If you have any questions about starting your business, please visit our website.

Data Security: It’s About More Than Just Locking the Office Door

In this day and age, cyber criminals are even more of a threat than traditional burglars or thieves. A hacker could easily take down your business’s entire network, sell your client information on the dark web, and leave you with thousands of dollars in damages and a tarnished business image. To stay as safe as possible from digital crime, you need to take precautions with your online security. Here are a few tips on keeping your data safe and secure.

Always Have a Digital Backup Stored Off-Site

If you are still keeping all of your data in physical folders or file cabinets, you’re not only hampering your company’s productivity, but you’re also at risk for damage  flood, fire, or theft. Data should be stored digitally and in a location that is not tied to your physical office such as in the cloud or at a remote location. If you must retain physical files, make sure they are all backed up digitally and stored remotely.

Use Strong Passwords

Did you know that the most common password used in 2016 was 123456? Many business owners underestimate the importance of strong passwords. However, they are a vital part of your security. Passwords should be at least 12 characters and mix numbers, symbols, and capital letters. You should never use the same passwords for different accounts and never write them down somewhere where others can see them. Consider using a password manager to keep them secure and accessible.

Understand What Private Data You Store and Regulations that Apply

You need to know what type of personal information you have in your data and where it comes from. Do you have information from credit card companies or banks? Do you retain private information about health history, criminal records, or social security numbers? Knowing what you have is the first step to properly securing it. You should also be aware of any regulatory bodies that apply to your industry. If you are in healthcare, for example, you must abide by HIPAA regulations or run the risk of fines or other punishments should you not keep private information secure.

Have a Secure Plan for Transmitting Information

In this day and age, it’s not safe to email, text, or post private information to shared apps unless they are properly secured. You must be under the impression that ANY form of correspondence can be intercepted by a hacker. Work with a security professional to develop a secure portal in which to transmit private or sensitive information.

Train Your Staff

No matter how much security you have in place, it just takes one employee clicking on the wrong attachment to bring your network down. Train your staff or have them attend training on cyber security so they know what to watch out for and how to keep themselves and your business safe online.

You’ve worked too hard building your business to let a hacker destroy it with a few strokes of the keyboard. Keep yourself safe online by properly storing and transmitting data and work with a cyber security professional if you need help. If you have any legal questions about cyber security, please visit our website

Cleaning House: How Your Home Affects Your Headspace

We all know the obvious benefits of a clean home. We can find what we’re looking for easier, we won’t trip on clutter, and we won’t be embarrassed if the neighbors stop over to borrow a cup of sugar. However, a home’s cleanliness has a much deeper effect on its inhabitants than mere lack of embarrassment. In fact, it can affect everything from your health and happiness to how productive you are at work. Here are just a few ways that a clean home can impact your headspace.

A Cluttered Home Leads to Distraction

A Princeton Neuroscience Institute study found that clutter, or multiple visual stimuli present in the same space, can lead to distraction. When you are presented with too many things to look at, they all compete for your attention and it’s much more difficult to focus on a certain thought or task. This is especially a concern for those who are trying to work—and focus—at home.

Messy Homes Cause High Cortisol Levels

The stress hormone cortisol is a major factor in anxiety, depression, and a number of physical ailments. A University of California study found that women who described their homes as messy or chaotic had higher cortisol levels throughout the day than their counterparts who thought of their homes as clean or organized. High cortisol, which is associated with the ‘fight or flight’ response, is unhealthy for a number of reasons and can impact how well we deal with stress in other areas of our lives.

Simple Acts of Cleaning Can Lead to a More Organized and Fulfilling Day

Something as simple as making the bed every morning can be just what you need to start the day off on the right foot. Accomplishing a simple task lets you start the day with a ‘win’, and it’s much easier to keep that momentum going and build up to bigger and bigger accomplishments throughout the day.

An Organized and Clean Home is Restful and Restorative

Your house should be your home base. It should be where you return to rest and restore your mind and body before going out and taking on the world each day. When you begin from or return to a home that is disorganized or messy, you pile more stress on instead of diffusing it. This makes it more difficult to handle stress at work or in your other outside the home activities.

A beautiful and organized home is about so much more than showing off to the neighbors. It can literally affect every part of your life from happiness to health. If you’re interested in learning more about our efficient homes that are built for an organized life, please visit our website.

Pooch Poison: Keeping Your Dog Safe in and Around Your Home

Dogs are not just pets for most of us—they are part of our family. Just as we would not allow our children to play with or ingest dangerous household items, we should also apply these rules to our furry friends. Many people are not aware of all the dangers that lurk in and around their homes that can put their dog at risk. Here are a few of the biggest offenders that you should always keep out of reach of your pooch.


Chocolate tops the list of foods that are toxic to dogs due to their caffeine and the ingredient theobromine. Keep all chocolate (especially dark chocolate) somewhere that your dog cannot get to and NEVER give it as a treat. Other dangerous foods include grapes, coffee, onions, macadamia nuts, avocadoes, and chicken bones.


There are numerous chemicals that are toxic to animals, with antifreeze topping the list. Due to its ethylene glycol content, antifreeze attracts animals with its sweet smell and taste, but it is deadly even in small quantities. Other chemical dangers include de-icers, pest control traps and poisons, and certain fertilizer and plant foods.

Household Items

If your dog spends most of his time indoors, there are numerous hazards he can encounter that could result in internal damage or even death. These include batteries, insect control products, toys with moving parts, human pain killers and other medications, and cedar and other wood shavings. Another surprising toxin for dogs is something that it technically made for them—rawhide chews. As well as being a choking hazard, rawhide chews can also harbor toxic salmonella.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

All possible toxins and choking hazards should be kept in areas your dog does not have access to. This could include garages, in high cupboards they cannot reach, or in locked cabinets. If you leave your dog alone in the house when you go to work, you might consider penning off certain rooms that have not been properly scoured for toxins.

Keeping a pet first aid kit in your home is also a good idea. This allows you to treat your pet for poisoning or choking before taking them to an emergency vet. Make sure everyone in the home knows how to use the kit to provide first aid to your dog.

At Landmark24, we know that your dog is much more than just your pet. In fact, we love animals so much that we regularly partner with Coastal Pet Rescue to help find pooches the forever homes they deserve. If you have more questions on how to adopt a pet or how to make your home pet-friendly, please visit our website or contact us for more information.

How To Hide Household Eyesores

No matter how much we clean and organize or homes, we usually find there are at least a few eyesores that remain. A nest of cables or an ugly garbage can ruin an otherwise perfectly decorated and organized room. The key to hiding these items is all about creativity. Here are a few clever ideas that will help you minimize eyesores and enhance the appearance of your home.

Routers and Cables

A common eyesore is the cords and cables that come from TVs, routers, gaming systems, and other technology. An easy fix for this is to hide them in decorative boxes with holes cut in the back to allow the cords to connect where they need to. Voila! Guests will never know that the cool boxes beside your television are really clever hiding spots.

Use Convertible or Removable Artwork

Wondering how to hide ugly fuse boxes or thermostats? Or do you want to have a beautiful cover for your jewelry or hanging keys? Consider a piece of artwork that either converts to a jewelry box or catch-all hanging unit or that can be hung over thermostats and fuse boxes and removed when you need access to them. No one will know that your gorgeous piece of art is really a cover for clutter

Don’t Forget About Under the Stairs

If you have stairs in your home, it’s likely there is some unused space beneath them that makes a perfect hiding spot for household cleaning items or other unattractive clutter that you don’t know where to put. If the space is currently open and visible, you can close it off and install a discrete door so that no one knows about your tidy little secret except you and your family members.

Install a Shed

Is that ugly garbage can or lawn mower impacting your enjoyment of outdoor spaces? A simple shed could be the answer to your problems. Small sheds are very affordable and you can decorate them with flowers and paint them to match your home so they become an enhancement to your landscape. Hide garbage, recycling, gardening and lawn tools, bikes, and whatever other items won’t fit in the garage.

Optimize Your Utility Room

Utility rooms are perfect places to convert to storage because its rare that anyone sees them except you! Install attractive, clever storage options like shelving, cupboards, and drawers to store everything from cleaning products to kids’ backpacks. By keeping your utility room organized, you’ll be able to store more clutter and you won’t have to deal with an eyesore every time you walk in.

A home that has smart storage solutions helps you stay organized and increases your enjoyment of every room in the house. If you’d like more information on our move-in ready homes that are ready for your clever touches, please visit our website.