First Friday docDeals!

by Rochelle on January 27, 2012

 

For our first docDeals, we’ve got a treat: 2 huge packages with a total of 50 documents, for only $6 dollars combined!

 

 

 

 

Is 5 bucks worth relieving the stress of taxes?

Be ready for  tax season, with this comprehensive

collection of tax forms, guides and worksheets.

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Ready to start a business? We’ve got you covered.

For one dollar, get our most popular legal, sales,

HR and budgeting forms to manage all operations.

 

Next Friday we’ll be having another exciting set of savings, please comment here or tweet us with suggestions for the next resources you want to see on sale! And keep an eye on the blog for insider business tips & previews of new features and resources we’re working on.

 

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Announcing Weekly DocDeals!

by Rochelle on January 23, 2012

This Friday we’ll be kicking off a new tradition: weekly docDeals. Every Friday on the blog we’ll announce at least one document and/or package that will be 75% off (or more!). No catch, just huge savings on at least one featured resource, every Friday. Only blog readers will get the scoop on what’s discounted that week, so check the blog on Fridays and snag those contracts and agreements you’ve been needing, for only a few bucks.

We encourage you to comment on the blog and tell us what docs you would like to see on next week’s docDeals, and we’ll do our best to bring you the business, professional and legal resources our readers need. We’ll also include tips on how to get the most out of the featured resource. See you this Friday!

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Cover Your Bases, and Stick with your State

by Rochelle on January 17, 2012

From Alabama to Wyoming, legal standards vary state to state. Many of our general documents apply nationwide, but recently Docstoc has been rapidly expanding on our state-specific legal documents to meet unique locational requirements. For those of you who want to cover all your bases, last month we released comprehensive packages for all 50 states at nearly 90% off the regular price of these documents. Packages cover a wide range your legal needs, including:

  • operating a business
  • maintaining finances
  • selling or leasing property
  • hiring or contracting services
  • protecting intellectual property

… and much more. You can see a list of the newest packages here, or search for specific state documents under the Docstoc Premium profile.

 

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Get an Edge, Get the Job

by Rochelle on January 11, 2012

As January goes along many companies are busy strategizing for a year of growth, and a few of them are opening their doors to new employees to help them expand. The beginning of the year may be the traditional hiring season, but the job market remains cut-throat. Many college seniors are entering their final semester and are looking towards their career prospects, while young professionals scramble to take advantage of fresh job opportunities in the new year.

If you are amongst the job seekers, remember this: Every step counts, from your resume to your post-interview follow up, and the small details can help give you the edge required to stand out.

Our solution: Docstoc has hand-selected our highest selling and premium quality documents, videos and articles on getting a job, and released them on our free iPad app.

The five-chapter layout of the app covers every step of the process in detail, from resume guides and templates, to job interview tips, to negotiating your contract. Hear suggestions from business owners who’ve conducted hundreds of interviews, on how to dress, how to prepare and what to say. Learn how to follow up with your interviewer, and negotiate the salary you deserve. Download out the app here today!

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2012 has begun, and employment prospects are a little brighter. After a promising spending boost this holiday season, the future of business may not glowing, but rays have begun to peek through the cracks of the recession. In fact, 96% of fastest growing companies interviewed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in September of last year said they planned to hire in 2012, and 41% predicting bringing on at least 20 new workers.

If you are among the entrepreneurs seeking to expand your company or even hire your first employee, thoughtful HR will be one of your most crucial steps. It’s very important that your lay the proper legal and professional foundations with each of your employees as you bring them in. This is why one of our top-selling documents (and the featured document of the week) is the Employee Handbook Template.

The Employee Handbook will remain a permanent fixture in both you and your employee’s relationship, and will help lay out what you expect from them and what they can expect from you; you’ll also buy yourself valuable legal protection if an employee later challenges you in court.

There are, of course, many other contracts and guides you must consider presenting to employees before they begin. You can check out our bundled package of Employee Hiring Documents, and don’t miss these three unique tips on Employee Agreements from business Partner David Young:

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The Why and How of a Marketing Plan

by Rochelle on December 21, 2011

Why you need a Marketing Plan

Starting a new business requires developing an array of plans and projections, and one of the most resisted tasks is often writing a Marketing Plan. Many people feel that a Marketing Plan is too speculative, and of less importance than, for example, a Business Plan.

Perhaps the most common objection to developing a thorough Marketing Plan is that your strategies will fluctuate, especially in relation to technology. But the “it will only change as we go along” excuse is focusing on the wrong objective. The most basic value of a marketing plan is simply that it forces you to sit down and consider your company’s goals and how you will achieve them. You may have decided your general mission, but when it comes to marketing, the devil’s in the details. You will also have the chance to hash out abstract ideas that may otherwise conflict with future business objectives. Your strategies will inevitably change, but a good Marketing Plan will account for these fluctuations.

 

How to Prepare

Who: Before you begin your marketing plan, basic positions in the company should be assigned. Decide who will be covering which aspects of business, and what his or her authority is.

When: Try to nail down a date for completing your first draft. There will be versions and variations of the Marketing Plan after this point, but it will be easier to flesh out the plan once the foundation has been laid.

How Much: Evaluate exactly what your budget is before you start composing a marketing plan; this will define a lot of what you are capable of achieving.

Research: Conduct as much research and analysis of your market as you can, utilizing free government, business resource and media resources, and even speaking with other professionals in the field.

 

Writing the Plan

So it’s time to decide your company’s mission and how it’s going to achieve it. Where do you begin? Many business experts strongly encourage beginning with an S.W.O.T. analysis of your business potential: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Assess what will make your service unique, what niche market(s) you can serve, and how you will distinguish yourself from the competition. Keeping your SWOT analysis in mind, the following elements are all fundamental in most marketing plans:

  • Ideal Customer: Who are you targeting? If the competition already serves your target market, how will you focus on an underserved or unique segment?
  • Brand and Vision: What image and culture will your business embody, and what is your company’s mission?
  • Lead Generation Strategy: Focus on how to generate consumer interest.
  • Lead Conversion Plan: Devise multiple strategies for turning lead gens into customers.
  • Customer Retention: How will you maintain users in the short and long term?
  • Web and Technology: Plan for your website, mobile technology and online revenue streams.
  • Marketing Budget: In the Preparation stage you gauged how much you can spend on marketing, now evaluate and prioritize what amounts are delegated to different tasks.
  • Marketing Calendar: Block out time for certain projects and initiatives, set deadlines for conclusions and evaluations.
  • Revenue and Profit Projections:  What are your strategies for accruing revenue, and realistic projections of profit growth?
  • Room for Adjustment: Plan for perennial measurement and adjustment of your plan, including specific and overall tactics. Leave room in your plan for flexibility, and decide when and how you will measure and adjust your marketing strategies.

For more help on creating a marketing plan, read our Marketing Guide, or use the Marketing Plan Template instead of starting from scratch.

Photo credit: neiljashworth.com/

 

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2012 Business Trends: How to Stay Ahead

by Rochelle on December 15, 2011

As the holidays approach and the year comes to a close, many business owners are reviewing their performance this year while looking optimistically towards 2012. 2011 has been a tough year for business, and analysts aren’t predicting a sudden economic upswing. That being said, the strenuousness of competition combined with the quick pace of technology means that the most innovative, creative companies are excelling.
 
There are several goals that businesses should set every year, but certain tactics have become more relevant as we approach 2012. Here at Docstoc it’s our goal to support businesses, and in an effort to get your creative juices flowing for next year we’ve scoured the top business blogs for 2012 suggestions and predictions from writers across the web. We’ve collected the common themes and compiled them into an abridged summary for our readers. So here they are, steps your company should consider taking to succeed in the coming year:

  • Go Mobile: The purchase and usage of mobile phones is rising, and will only continue in 2012. If your company does not have an app, strongly consider making an investment in developing one. Consider creative ways to make your product available through the app (for example, Docstoc’s iPad app makes legal documents available on-the-go), or to monetize the app in some way. Also note that the use of tablets such as iPads is increasing at an even faster rate than smart phones, so it’s worth considering an iPad app, specifically.
  • QR-ify: While we’re on the mobile note, here’s a quick, free and easy tip: if you haven’t already, create a QR code. Watch CEO of ShareSquare Matthias explain how and why below:

  • Collaborate: It may seem counter-intuitive, but many companies managed to stay afloat by co-marketing and collaboration. Teaming up with a company with complementary services can help you stay afloat in a tough economy. Be sure to include these co-marketing goals and strategies in your marketing plan.
  • Step Up Social Marketing:  More and more of the world is online, and most major businesses have a Facebook at Twitter account. However, simply having a Facebook page is not the same as engaging and creating customers. Measure the progression of your social media influence through metrics such as a Klout Score, and research methods for harnessing those likes and followers like the video below. For retailers or commercial businesses, remember that your digital reputation on websites such as Yelp will only become more pivotal in 2012, so make them a priority.
  • Get SEOrious: Do we even have to say this? If you’re not taking SEO seriously, direct competitors who are will pull even further ahead next year. You can start off with a basic SEO Checklist, and go from there. Make a quantifiable goal to boost your SEO, and keep an eye on your Alexa ranking to track your progress.
  • Head in the Clouds: Hacks, viruses and cyber-criminals will only get smarter in 2012, and (especially for online-based companies) it will become essential to increase your online security. Many technology bloggers suggest embracing cloud technology if you haven’t already in order to back up your data. You can also get creative with a customized cloud experience, to read more about cloud computing click here.
  • Be Creative: It sounds trite, but difficult times lead to a high level of experimentation in search of that perfect market. Don’t be afraid to rework the design of your website or retail space, or hire an artist or designer to give your business some flair; this is what will make your company stand out in the crowd.

That last point will be crucial in 2012; more than ever, customers are searching for personalized and outside-the-box experiences. For example, while gym attendance remains stagnant, high intensity boot camps and urban adventure races have attracted a huge market of customers in 2011 (just don’t forget to have your boot camp attendees sign a waiver before they start those tire drills!)
 
Personalized fitness isn’t the only young market beginning to blossom. Technology bloggers predict that trends such as collaborative consumption, local and urban farming and green design will continue to expand in 2012. Entrepreneurs requiring capital also have something to look forward to, as credit card experts foresee greater credit availability and lower underwriting standards in the coming year. There’s always risk in business, but if you keep your finger on the pulse of the market you may find yourself at the right place at the perfect time. Let’s hope that time is 2012! Happy holidays from Docstoc, and a prosperous new year!

 
As always, please keep in mind this should not be taken as business advice from Docstoc. The above entry is merely a collection of tips and predictions made by the sources referenced below.
 
References
Business Insider Software Trends
The Street 2012 Business Trends
Entrepreneur.com 2012 Business Predictions
Entrepreneur Slideshow:10 Hot Startup Sectors for New Business
High Beam Business: New Small Business Trends
Business To Community: Predictions of Business and Marketing Trends in 2012
AZ Central: 10 small-business trends to know about for 2012
Blue Focus Marketing: 2012 Social Media Business Trends
Card Hub: Credit Predictions for 2012

 

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Here at Docstoc, we pride ourselves on being a top resource for small business owners and professionals. As you know, we provide the best documents to help you start, grow, and manage your small business and professional life. We’re excited to announce the launch of our new Articles section.

Our growing database of articles covers every aspect that is essential to small business success, including Business Affairs, Finance, Sales and Marketing, and Human Resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though recently we’ve launched this part of our site, we already have several hit articles! Check out some of our reader favorites:

How to Win Like Kobe Bryant in the Business World
Mastering Work-At-Home Productivity
5 Reasons WordPress is King When Building Your Small Business Website
Content As Strategy for an Online Business

We’re adding new articles every day, so check back frequently! Got a burning business question that you want expert answers on? Comment below and we’ll tap our pool of experts to help get the answers you need to help make your business succeed.

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We’ve recently launched DocstocTV. Have you checked it out yet? In our efforts to add more valuable resources to our site to help you start, grow, and manage your small business, we’ve launched DocstocTV with several key videos to get you started.

Here are a few we think you’ll enjoy:

What to Look for When Hiring Employees

The 4 Factors to Making Successful Business Decisions

The One Most Important Thing for a Startup or Small Business

10 Tips for Successful Business Development

We’ll be adding new videos soon, so check out our resources page or subscribe to us on YouTube.  Is there a topic you’d love to see covered in a video?  Let us know!

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Docstoc partners with online retailer Etsy

by Jason on June 22, 2011

Docstoc is excited to announce that we’ve added online retailer Etsy to our family of partners. For those of you who don’t know, Etsy is a fantastic place to buy and sell all things handmade and vintage. They also sell supplies to help you creativee types do what you do best. We’re excited to join forces with this amazing company that exists to help creative entrepreneurs thrive!

In working with Etsy, Docstoc provides the documents, templates, and forms that artists need to effectively manage their Etsy businesses.

Etsy members get to enjoy the same wide range of benefits as our other Docstoc Premium Members, which includes immediate access to 1,500+ certified legal contracts and business forms created by professionals – meaning they are some of the best business documents available on the web.

Check out our special deal for Etsy members:  http://www.etsy.com/sell/offers

 

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New Docstoc Homepage Tools and Features

by Jason on February 3, 2011

Tired of searching through millions and millions of documents and not finding what you need? Fear no more, our amazing staffs at Docstoc have solved your problem again! We have released a new Docstoc’s login Home Page.  Now you are able to find docs, use your credits to download DocstocPremium docs, and view the best docs that fit your needs. Not only that, we also show you all of the related docs that you would be interested in!

Let’s not waste any time and get right to it:

1. Search:

Our smart search engine mechanism allows you to easily search and find any documents on our site. We search through 25 million documents and find several options. From there you are able to rank the results by most used, recent, and viewed. Just click on your choice, download and print. Easy!

2. Credits:

Docstoc Credits

Subscribers get credits for every month they are enrolled. Credits are used to access high quality, attorney-reviewed documents that normally cost between $15 and $40 each. An amazing bargain!

3. Best Docs:

Docstoc BestDoc

Here are the documents we think best fit your needs and interests. The more you tell us, the more we know and the better we’ll perform.

4. Related Docs:

Docstoc My Related Docs

Our mission is to provide documents that will help you. Click here to see material we think can enhance what you’ve found so far.

5. Your Interests:

Docstoc My Interests

These are your categories of interest; yours, not ours. Change or edit the groupings whenever you’d like. We’ll use them to provide top quality resources you can trust – this time, next time, every time.

So what are you waiting for? Register on Docstoc and get access to the largest document repository for personal and small business.

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Simplified. Add to your Cart and Checkout!

by Jason on June 18, 2010

We here at Docstoc are always striving to increase our customer’s experience. We have recently launched Docstoc Cart, which allows users to add any professional documents from our site to their cart and perform a bulk checkout, without purchasing documents individually. The process is easy and quick!

First login into your Free Docstoc account or sign up for free here. After you have created your account, start browsing our thousands of professional documents. You can search our newly uploaded eBooks, check out our attorney drafted legal documents, read our business case studies, or purchase our universities essays and outlines. Remember, you can also add our Docstoc user’s document too. Once you are ready to purchase a document, just click on the “Add to Cart” button on the left hand side. Once you have added all of the documnets you want to purchase to you cart, just go ahead and click on the “My Cart” button on top of the webpage:

Now that you are ready to checkout and start using your professional documents. Forgot a marking template or business report? Don’t worry! You have the option to continue shopping and adding any extra documents you want.

Now you can easily browser and add any document/template to your cart, so go ahead and try it!

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Over Thousands of NEW books on DocStore

by Jason on April 30, 2010

We’re proud to announce that Docstoc is now home to some of the best eBooks from our digital media distributor Overdrive.com. We have added a collection of 100,000 books from a variety of well known publishers as well as 150,000 new professional documents, which include research reports, legal forms, business plans and other contents.

Among the publishers that are included on our DocStore are McGraw-Hill, Random House, and Simon & Schuster. Included in the collections are book series like the ‘For Dummies’ books, Management books, financial reports, and Microsoft guides.

Make sure to check out our store!

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Docstoc Across the Web!

by Jason on April 28, 2010

Docstoc’s new Facebook Login allow you to share professionally drafted legal agreements, eBooks, research reports, marketing presentations, and other written works with your friends and your Docstoc community.

Starting today, you’ll stay updated on what your Facebook friends and similar Facebook users are recommending, commenting on, and sharing all without leaving Docstoc.com. You can quickly look at the Facebook Activity log on our Home Page to view the documents your friends are recommending to read. To make this easier for our users, the ‘Like’ button is now part of all Docstoc documents (See below- in Red Circle) allowing you effortlessly post the document you recommended to your Facebook account.

Top right hand side of Docstoc pages:

Right hand side of professional documents:

Bottom of the Docstoc Viewer:

For example, visit one of Docstoc’s presentations, log in using either your facebook account or your Docstoc account, and from there, you’ll be able to recommend the presentation to your friends and colleagues.  Also, your profile will appear by your recommend document. This makes finding your friends’ reviews on Docstoc a snap!

You’re recommendation will also appear on your Facebook wall:

Not only that, with your Facebook account, you can access our 17 million professional documents and be able to purchase our premium and established publisher’s documents.

This new cool feature will allow you to easily share and recommend documents to your friends across the web and to get their opinions on what you’re reading and purchasing on Docstoc.

Try it out by logging in today and visiting any professional document!

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New Partnership with Inc Magazine

by Jason on April 20, 2010

It’s an exciting day at Docstoc as we are pleased to announce a new partnership with Inc. Magazine.  Inc. is now hosting an exclusive selection of Docstoc documents on their Tools page and we’re very proud to see some of our finest documents being made available to their entrepreneurial-minded readership.

 

Documents being offered have been selected to help in starting a business, running a business, handling money and finances, improving management, and more.  Inc. has organized them in a forum specially designed for their followers and made access to Docstoc’s premium quality content even more easily available on the web.

While this first launch is very exciting by itself, we’re also anticipating working even more closely with Inc. in the future to provide additional value to our common users.

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