Starting a business – a couple of links

I was going through old emails and came across this one from my accountant. It has valuable information that I thought would be good to share.

LLC or Other Form of Entity:

I would definitely consider forming an LLC. You could contact an attorney if you wish but many people having been setting them up on their own using the following web-site . It does cost a few bucks so you need to evaluate whether the cost is worth the liability protection depending on how many sales you will have.

If this thing really takes off and you want to (you would not have to) change to a corporate form of business in a few years, it is very easy to do with an LLC. Also, an LLC would not complicate your tax situation. LLC’s with single owners are considered “disregarded entities”, a technical firm that means that the IRS treats you as if the LLC didn’t exist.

Income Taxes (Yuck):

As to deducting expenses – keep track of what you’re spending. You would definitely want to offset your sales with expenses as much as possible. If the expenses exceed sales result in a loss, we can make a call on whether it makes sense to deduct the loss.

Sales Taxes (Mega Yuck):

Don’t forget about the state sales tax permit for in-state sales. You can apply for the Wisconsin one at


Our patent is issued!

After lots of years and dollars, our patent was issued. Being my first completed patent, I’m kind-of new to all this and all the benefits.

The patent is really quite broad which is quite amazing to have it through. The patent covers displayed content of digital signage at distant locations that is at least partially controlled by a processor and database at a central location. The processing system collects, samples and evaluates general information to determine what specific information should be displayed on local signage. The system also provides for additional signage content to be selected by the server based on general parameters setup by the user.

Almost 5 years ago when I applied for the patent, we were one of the few SAAS providers and I have always believed in the technology (even though SAAS was seen as a disadvantage back then). Also, patents are an asset for the business. So, we decided to pursue it.

As for our plans, I am not sure of all the avenues that are available to us. Obviously licensing arrangements are beneficial to everyone involved. Reviewing competitive products to determine infringement is also an option. We also have plans relating to future products and features which the patent has provisions for.

For more information, check out


More about free products…

After reading lots of information regarding how free can earn revenue, it definitely came to light that you have to be careful with it. Obviously it can forever diminish the value of a product.

One key point that I gleaned were that it is important to find ways that people will WANT to pay a little extra. Another is that it needs to be valuable enough to not only get people to take the time to select your free product, but it is best if they tell their friends and associates about it.

One valuable thing for people is to save their time, so upgrades should include some time saving features. Another way to make paid for products valuable is to offer free support for them and keep free product support limited to automated methods. The best thing is to have supplemental products that make the setup easier. In our case, we are considering offering a free digital signage software product, and we will have a pre-configured set of hardware that makes the installation quick and easy.

Getting people to talk about it is a tricky area. There not only needs to be a good reason to talk about the free product, but it is beneficial if they can make money, recognition or some other value for them to talk about it. Getting the word out to existing customers is a starting place. Advertising can be beneficial to get the buzz started. Using the social networking mediums can do some, but again, it is better to have hundreds (or better still millions) of people using those mediums rather than you. The key is to add value to everyone who “gives’ your product away. We think we have got an interesting approach – but that is confidential until the day we announce it…

More to come I suspect! Have a great Easter everyone.