Amanda Farrell - 7 days ago
Three Things Every Successful Notary Business Needs
Some people become notaries as part of their daily jobs, while others do it to supplement their income. If you’re thinking about turning your notary commission into more than a part of your desk job or a part-time job, there are some critical first steps to take. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you’ll have a solid foundation to watch your business flourish.
Three foundations of a prosperous notary business include:
- A variety of notary services and adjacent offerings
- A stand out brand
- The right business structure
A Variety of Notary Services and Adjacent Offerings
The truth about being a notary is that you won’t make six figures in a year doing general work like simple acknowledgments or jurats. To make more money as a notary, you’ll have to network directly with potential clients and take on higher-paying (and risker) notary assignments. These types of notarizations usually require additional training.
Take time to study and understand the market in your area. Depending on the demographics in your region, you’ll want to build a list of notary services to accommodate their needs. Do you live in an area with a high elderly population? Are there many healthcare facilities in your town? Is the real estate market growing? Are notaries allowed to perform weddings in your state?
Based on the answers to these questions, you’ll want to create a list of services that make sense for your pool of potential clients. You may think that you should offer every service possible, but be careful with this approach. You can’t be everything to everyone. Instead, focus on marketing two to three essential services to build your brand recognition at first. This will help you hone your process as well. As you grow more comfortable with each offering and create a reputation for providing a professional customer experience, expand into other services.
Once you’ve settled on your services, create a business plan that outlines:
- Types of services
- Start-up costs
- Operating budget
- Marketing plan
- Business goals
Writing down your business plan will help you identify potential obstacles, decide what resources you need, and determine the viability of your company. Some successful businesses don’t start with a business plan and get lucky based on intuition. If you aren’t the gambling kind, creating even a simple business plan will ensure you’re laying a solid foundation for your business.
A Stand Out Brand
Your brand is more than the name of the company, the logo, and the colors. The brand is the feeling your clients associate with your company. To get started on building your brand, you’ll want to
To increase the awareness of your brand, be sure to have the following:
- A creative name that conveys your value and services – It’s not easy to decide on something that’s both professional and creative. If you choose to focus on a specific service as your primary offering, like weddings, immigration documents, or loan signings, consider working that into your name. Another idea is to highlight your availability. Do you offer services anytime and anywhere?
- A professional logo – A good logo is a small upfront cost that can provide great returns in brand recognition and trust. Use websites like Fiverr or 99designs to find a designer in your price range.
- A website – First impressions matter, especially if you are hoping to draw in other professionals to work with as a notary. Having a website will help establish trust, provide vital business information, and gather leads.
- A marketing plan – Getting the word out about a small business isn’t easy, so you’ll want to consider how much to spend on marketing and add it to your operating budget. It’s possible to amass an organic following on social media, but instead of spending money, you’ll be spending time to create valuable content. Digital marketing is important, but other outbound methods still work. You’ll likely want to set aside some budget for printed materials like business cards, flyers, and brochures to hand out.
The Right Business Structure
After creating a business plan and choosing a name that reflects your brand identity, you’ll want to register your business in your state and look into trademarking it. Check your state filing office’s and the US Patent and Trademark Office’s websites when brainstorming names to ensure the one you like isn’t already taken.
Next, you’ll want to decide how to structure your business. There are different types of corporations and business structures, and each has a different impact on your personal liability and tax advantages:
LLCs are recommended for most businesses. As a notary, you purchase E&O insurance to protect you should you make a mistake while performing a notarial act.
Having a notary business may create additional risks beyond your routine functions as a notary. An LLC provides legal separation of a business owner’s personal assets if the company is sued or defaults on a debt.
If someone is injured at your office, you could be sued to pay the medical bills. If another company feels your name or logo is too similar to theirs, they could sue for copyright infringement. Having the LLC means you won’t have to sell your house, car, or other assets to settle.
The right choice depends on what you want to do with your business. If you plan to expand, employ other notaries, or look for investors and additional shareholders, you may realize that you’ll benefit from another type. There’s always the opportunity to restructure your company later, so start with the one that makes the most sense for the business you have now.
Getting started is usually the most difficult part of being a business owner. There’s a lot of self-doubt and analysis paralysis to overcome in the beginning. Create a to-do list of the steps you have to take and tackle at least one every day until it’s done. The journey to becoming a profitable business can be long and hard. You may even make some missteps, but providing valuable services to your community makes it rewarding.
This content is provided for informational purposes only. PropLogix, LLC (PLX) is not a law firm; this content is not intended as legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. PLX makes no representations as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of this content. PLX may reference or incorporate information from third-party sources, upon which a citation or a website URL shall be provided for such source. PLX does not endorse any third party or its products or services. Any comments referencing or responding to this content may be removed in the sole discretion of PLX.
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