TL; DR: While the twists and turns of the entrepreneurial roller coaster are impossible to avoid, they can be downright deadly without a safety harness. Since its inception in 1996, MyCorporation has worked to make the ride significantly less nerve-wracking through document filing, consulting services, and an array of educational resources. We recently caught up with CEO Deborah Sweeney, who told us how MyCorporation is continuing to ease business startup and management through long-term guidance and a customer-centric approach.
When Deborah Sweeney joined the MyCorporation team in 2003, she didn’t know how much her next five years’ experience as the company’s outside general counsel and her background in intellectual property law would prepare her for the business metamorphosis that was to come.
In 2004, just a year after joining MyCorporation, the online document filing services organization was sold to financial software provider Intuit, and Deborah began serving as general manager of the new MyCorporation division. But the company didn’t stay cocooned within Intuit for long.
In 2009, on the heels of the financial crisis, Intuit began reducing its workforce — including the MyCorporation division. That’s when Deborah proposed that Intuit and MyCorporation work as partners rather than subsidiaries. Intuit agreed.
“I bought the company from Intuit, and we’ve been privately held ever since,” Deborah said.
From there, the newly independent company continued to evolve. Competition was cut-throat, and the recession continued to result in lost jobs for workers in nearly every industry. But, instead of clinging to what had worked in the past, MyCorporation embraced change and focused on standing out from a customer service perspective.
“Our focus on differentiation is really about creating long-term value for our customers, and products and services that would resonate with their businesses throughout their business life,” Deborah said.
That unwavering commitment has helped MyCorporation emerge as an industry leader in customer service. Today, the company uses its two decades of experience to provide continuous guidance to more than 1 million corporations and LLCs through a customer-driven approach — and the team even manages to have a little fun while doing it.
Providing Long-Term Guidance to 1M+ Businesses
MyCorporation’s services cover a broad range of business formation, intellectual property, and management needs, with customer service as a major force in attracting and retaining clients.
“It’s interestingly why I think we weren’t as tight a fit with a company like Intuit because they’re focused exclusively on software for service and automation,” Deborah said. “But the connection to the customer is to show customers how to do it themselves. We have sort of an assist-the-customer type of approach, where it’s more consultative and directional.”
From an entrepreneurial perspective, Deborah told us the key is to supplement online research with stellar support.
“Customers don’t know what they need until you help them, especially small-business owners and entrepreneurs — while they often have networks of other entrepreneurs, they really don’t know what they need and when,” Deborah said. “Being able to help guide them through the process and a suite of services is really fantastic.”
That suite includes online document filing services for clients forming a corporation or LLC, trademark searches and applications, copyright registrations, DBA registrations, and registered agent services — as well as a full library of articles on business formation and startup tips.
Reliable, Time-Saving Filing Services Backed by 20 Years of Experience
Deborah said time saved and reliability are two of the biggest value propositions MyCorporation offers to entrepreneurs and business owners. Many of MyCorporation’s clients turn to the organization simply for the peace of mind that the job is done right.
“They know certain things need to get done, and they know that they could probably do them themselves,” she said. “You can change your own oil — but you don’t because there are experts to do that, and it’s a time-consuming adventure.”
MyCorporation’s mission is to take on the technical work of filing articles of incorporation, managing filings, and orchestrating annual reporting so entrepreneurs can focus on their core business missions.
“I think the differentiator for that is we complete every service,” Deborah said. “We follow up with a call, and we make sure they know that they have everything they need in place.”
Learning to Listen: A Customer-Driven Approach to R&D
When it comes to research and development, MyCorporation leans heavily on customer feedback.
“We call every customer after an order is placed, but we also do a lot of the follow-up when an order is not placed,” Deborah said.
For example, if a customer has started the process and entered a phone number and email address but then drops off, MyCorporation will follow up to see if that client has any questions or needs assistance.
“We ask, of course, whether we can help them complete their order,” Deborah said. “But, separately, our goal is to discover what made them stop there.”
The aim is to close the gap between a customer’s desire to make a purchase and the actual sale. In other instances, it’s to fuel innovation by identifying and solving problems.
“Our research often revolves around listening to our partners’ needs,” Deborah said. “We’ve been very fortunate to learn what their pain points are.”
In one such instance, MyCorporation helped payroll customers avoid costly government penalties.
“When customers sign up for payroll, they need state ID registrations,” Deborah said. “It never occurred to our payroll partners that those should be done before they get penalties from the state — and we didn’t realize customers didn’t know that they needed state ID registration.”
Thanks to a routine follow-up call with a client, MyCorporation became aware of the issue.
“Those are the areas where we learned from and listened to our partners and then were able to develop products around that,” Deborah said. “Asking ‘Could we help you with those in advance of onboarding for your payroll services?’ has yielded huge success and opportunities for products that we never had even dreamed of.”
Work Hard, Play Hard: A Company Culture That Makes Room For Fun
Deborah’s past experience with large corporations drove her to seek an alternative to rigid corporate culture.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously,” she said.
A day at MyCorporation includes hard work, for sure — but there’s also time for dancing and soaking up the sun on the company patio.
“We have dance parties for payroll days, where we all dance and pass out paychecks to each other, and every other Friday we hold a company talent show,” Deborah said. “We really go the extra mile in terms of making it a fun environment.”
Exercise also makes an appearance in the workday. Deborah told us the team tries to eke out time each day to walk two circles around the MyCorporation headquarters building, which is about a half mile in circumference.
“We end up really feeling healthy together and also just enjoy our time together,” she said. “I think that’s important.”
In business, the pursuit of happiness is a worthy goal, indeed — with a number of studies demonstrating the link between employee happiness and productivity.
“I think our customers recognize how happy we are and how that translates into better service for them,” Deborah said.
Be sure to catch up with MyCorporation and Deborah on Twitter at @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.
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