Montpelier. Secretary of StateDeb Markowitz announced March 13 that the number of new businesses registered withher office’s Corporations Division during the year 2007 have declined ascompared to prior years. As of January 1, 2008, there wereregistered in Vermont 16,561 Vermont corporations, 8,848 foreign corporations(out-of-state companies doing business in Vermont), 43,143 trade names (soleproprietorships), and 15,641 limited liabilities companies. Of these, 9,452were newly formed in 2007. This is somewhat less than the 9,971 newbusinesses that registered in 2006. “In past years we have foundthat our business-starts statistic is a good barometer of confidence within thebusiness community, said Secretary Markowitz. The fact that wecontinue to have over 9,000 new businesses registering in the state is goodnews, but we should be watching carefully to see whether the slight decline isan aberration or the start of a new downward trend, Markowitz said. According to Markowitz, corporate dissolutions are also upslightly. The 867 dissolutions in 2007 represent a small decrease from the883 dissolutions in 2006. In addition to seeing a decrease ingrowth for certain for-profit enterprises, the Secretary of State’s office alsoexperienced a decrease in filings of new non-profit corporations. The 413new nonprofit corporations represented 50 fewer filings than in 2006. NewBusiness Starts Slow Down in 2007 Filings with Vermont’s Secretary of State’s Office shownew business starts lagging in 2007 Secretary of State Deb Markowitzsaid, The slow down of newly formed business entities is a change fromthe steady increases we have seen over the past decade. It may simply be ananomaly or it may reflect Vermonters concerns about a potentialrecession or it could be a result of the contraction of the lendingmarket. Markowitz said, Although500 fewer new businesses registered in 2007 than the previous year, it isimportant to remember that this is considerably more than what we saw a decadeago. In 1997 there were 7,235 new business registrations, which isover 2,000 less than in 2007. The 9,452 new Vermont business starts in 2007 includebusinesses that have been formed as corporations, as limited liabilitycorporations and those using a tradename. Markowitz said We didnot see a decrease in every form of business entity this year. This yearwe saw continued growth in new businesses forming as LLCs. Markowitz said, With the exception of last year, over the past six yearsthe number of new LLCs has increased by about 300 a year, said SecretaryMarkowitz. In 2007 about 260 more new LLCs formed as compared to2006. Markowitz said The 929 newforeign corporations filed in 2006 represent a decrease of about 40 from thenew filings registered in 2006. #30Secretary ofStates Office New Business RegistrationsYEAR (1996 – 2007)199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007New Corporations283327032494263525562387257727532634247923911851New Trade Names402539983948402439893866432845914296421243174074New LLC18453468291712231504186322622801312432633527TOTAL704272357124757677687757876896069731981599719452 The Office of the Vermont Secretaryof State licenses and registers foreign and domestic corporations, non-profits,LLCs, and tradenames and is the repository for Uniform Commercial Code filings.Information about the services offered by the Corporations Division, includingregistration forms and searchable databases, is available at www.sec.state.vt.us(link is external).
What are you the best in the world at? Successful brands are built on specialization. Specialization is one of the key insights of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, which gave birth to modern economics and the modern world. There is not a successful brand alive that is truly trying to sell everything to every person. When you put together your credit union website design, consider what makes your credit union special. Successful brands have strengths and weaknesses that set them apart from other brands. For example, MacBooks are high-quality (strength) and expensive (weakness). On the other hand, most PCs are more customizable (strength), less expensive (strength), and lower quality (weakness).If you want to design a killer credit union website, then focus on your strengths. In order for visitors to join your credit union and apply for loans, they need to choose you above their other options. They will choose you only if you can prove you are uniquely suited to meet their needs and desires better than anyone else. In this post, we’ll discuss how to determine your strengths. We’ll then give examples of successful credit union websites that illustrate how showing off your strengths can dramatically improve your design. Source:http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2010/06/21How to determine your strengths Here are the three key questions to ask yourself before you ever start a credit union website design: What is your credit union the best in the world at? What does your credit union offer, specifically, that no one else offers? What does it do extraordinarily well? In a world rife with options, you can’t offer just low rates or point out that you’re not-for-profit. Sure those are important things, but go deeper. Consider how you serve your members in a way that no one else can. Determine what niche you fill in your community.For example, Navy Federal Credit Union is known for catering only to military service members. Alongside, that, they offer a number of exclusive services aimed at members of the armed forces, such as special checking accounts for those in active duty, and savings plans to help supplement traditional military retirement plans. How do members benefit from you being the best in the world at that thing? Of course, it’s not enough to just be the best in the world at something. Your credit union could have the best employee softball team in the nation, but how does that help your members? Consider which strengths you have that specifically respond to essential human needs. Does your credit union help members feel like a part of a privileged group? Make it easier for them to shelter and clothe their families? Remember, people don’t buy products, they buy benefits. Why would someone choose your credit union over other financial institutions? Make sure you know what sets you apart from your competitors. This includes the big banks of course, but may also include your local friendly rivals. You can do this using a comparison table or another types of side-by-side comparison that gets straight to the point.A comparison table from Redwood Credit UnionAsking these three questions will force you to think about your brand. Maybe your credit union is uniquely positioned to serve the healthcare industry. Maybe you have special programs in place that help young people and first-time borrowers. Whatever the answer to these questions, you should use your credit union website design to backup these answers with testimonials, examples, stats, and stories. Studies have shown that testimonials and stories have a direct impact on the conversions on your website. The visual elements of your website should also show off your strengths. You want to choose imagery that emphasizes who you are and what you stand for. That means you need more than just pictures of credit cards and piggy banks. If you serve the San Diego area, have real images from San Diego. If your primary membership base is a very Christian community, don’t be afraid to show a church or two. When you pick authentic images that resonate with your audience, they will be much more likely to linger on your website. Examples Case Study #1 OE Federal OE Federal’s site highlights union workersStrength: OE Federal is 100% union and proud of it. All of their members are union workers and they offer special products and services to union workers. Support: On their website (oefcu.org) , you’ll find the union theme running through every page. The imagery,color scheme and design elements reflect a blue-collar vibe. The site also backs up their claims with facts. Right on the homepage you’ll find info on the unique benefits OE Federal offers union workers, such as the ability to pause payments during a strike, and their initiative to donate money to union-backed charities. Case Study #2 Acadia FCUAcadia’s site emphasizes their caring natureStrength: Acadia FCU’s greatest strength is its caring staff. They genuinely want to help their members and that’s why people love the credit union. Their website highlights their caring culture.Support: Acadia’s website (acadiafcu.org) features many testimonials about how Acadia’s employees have helped the members, such as on their Business Star Checking page. The site also has a lengthy staff page, with pictures of every single person who works for the credit union. The homepage is full of images and anecdotes featuring Acadia’s staff helping members, or participating in community volunteer efforts. Case Study #3 HFS FCUHFS’s site shows how they help members find successStrength: HFS FCU believes the success of their credit union is measured by the success stories they create for members. Support: Right at the top of the homepage there is a testimonial from a customer that states HFS helped him find business success, alongside an image of him standing proudly in the middle of his salon. Additionally, many product pages throughout the site also contain testimonials from members who have found success in personal and business finances—with HFS’s guidance and support. The key to success is to focus on your strengths because no one can be good at everything. Your credit union website design can show visitors who you are and what makes you special, and attract more members who will be satisfied with the unique benefits you give them. 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Derik Krauss Derik is a cofounder of BloomCU, an award-winning website design agency for credit unions. His agency’s design work has received recognition from CUNA (Diamond Award), TheFinancialBrand.com, and others. He … Web: bloomCU.com Details