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LLC filing often pact with state

Special to The Times

Dear Karen: Is the filing for a limited liability company different from the fictitious business name registration?

Answer: Yes. They are two completely different things. A limited liability company is a legal form of business organization (similar to a corporation) governed by state statute. A fictitious name registration is a legal listing of the public name of a business.

State statutes regulate the corporate governance rights of LLC owners, how property is held, what authority they have to enter contracts, liability to third parties and tax issues, said Israel Kushnir, president of management consulting firm George S. May International Co. “LLCs are usually created by an agreement and filing with the secretary of state,” Kushnir said. Talk to your accountant or attorney about which structure is best for your company.

A fictitious name registration, often called a “doing business as” notice, must be filed for businesses whether they operate as sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships or LLCs. Your DBA notice can be registered with the county clerk in Los Angeles County (www.la vote.net/CLERK/Business_ Name.cfm) and Orange County ( www.ocgov.com/recorder/ fbnfiling.asp).

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Vast resources exist for start-ups

Dear Karen: I’m a nurse just taking on what appears to be a good work-from-home enterprise. Where can I get information on issues like starting a business, what I can write off for my business and how to pay my taxes?

Answer: There are many good books on starting a business and tons of terrific resources online that will walk you through the basics of entrepreneurship.

The Small Business Administration’s website (www.sba .gov) provides excellent, easy-to-follow advice on planning and running a business. MyOwnBusiness.org offers a free online course on the basics.

“For federal taxes, the IRS .gov site is an excellent resource,” said Janet Attard, founder of BusinessKnowHow.com, which also has ample business advice.

Others can help boost Web traffic

Dear Karen: I’m starting up a Web business. How can I sell successfully online?

Answer: The best way to succeed online is to go off-line, said Andrew Morrison, president of Small Business Camp.

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“Discover the organizations that your prospects belong to and the media they enjoy. Make a special offer to these organizations in return for promoting your website,” he said.

Select domain names that include keywords important to your industry. After customers find you, focus on sales.

“When someone comes to your website they should be asked to do one of two things: enter their e-mail address or credit card information,” Morrison said.

Build your business by creating affiliate relationships. Contact your shopping cart vendor, or www.1shoppingcart .com, and see if you can use their affiliate tracking software. “Next, contact other websites and see if they would be willing to place your banner or include a mention in their e-mail newsletter in exchange for a percentage of each sale” resulting from promotions by the other sites Morrison said.

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Finally, emulate the success of industry leaders. “Check out Alexa.com and the directory at Yahoo.com to get a list of the websites in your industry with the highest number of monthly visitors,” he said.

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Got a question about running or starting a small enterprise? E-mail it to ke.klein@ latimes.com or mail it to In Box, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012


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