Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
Most good corporations in EVE are either carefully cultivated, or stolen from a larger corporation. Either build a start-up brick by brick, and claw your way to success, or calve off from a larger corporation as some sort of social mitosis.
It's a lot of hard work being in charge. Anything that happens to your corporation, good or ill, is your fault. The choices you make as CEO will affect your members' ability to succeed and enjoy themselves in EVE Online. The alliances you make, the plans you enact, the members you recruit -- all of these things melt together into an alloy of high-tensile responsibility.
"Oh no, Space Junkie," I can hear you saying, "corporations don't need to be run like they are jobs. My friends and I can run missions in our corporation just fine, and we even form a PVP fleet of assault frigates, once a week."
Yeah, I get that. So let me qualify my assertion: If you want your corporation to have any kind of serious revenue, if you want it to attract talented members, or if you want any kind of PVP force projection, you need to take your corporation seriously.
Why Start A Corporation
Most players in EVE Online that start a corporation do so on a whim, or with faint dreams of pulling in some tax income from gullible recruits. Many lack established EVE friends that are willing to join the corporation, or a concrete plan for the corp to follow.
Don't make those mistakes. Have an idea what you want to do, a definite plan for how your corporation can achieve it, and bring your players into the loop so they feel like they have a stake in the success of your corporation.
Knowing Your Audience
When EVE players are looking for a corporation, there are a few things that they are almost certainly be checking, no matter how unschooled in the ways of EVE. When making your corporation, be sure to evaluate what you want to offer. One corporation can't do everything, nor be all things to all people.
The kind of corporation is the most important. Players that want to mine asteroids aren't going to be interested in joining a pirate corp, or vice-versa. Advanced PVPers will quite probably be less interested in joining a corporation that accepts newbie PVPers, and will certainly lose interest if their CEO seems ignorant of PVPing. The way to alleviate this is to know your audience, and you not bite off more than you can chew when you're recruiting.
The number of players already in your corporation is an unfortunate but major consideration, as well. After joining a couple corporations run by idiots and stuffed with inactive jerks, most players get pretty weary of start-ups. This makes it extra hard for small corporations to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. You can alleviate this by showing potential players that you have your act together, and that you have the trappings of success. This includes being able to show them things like an active killboard, out of game forums, a teamspeak or ventrilo server, and useful information to help acclimate them to your corporation.
The corp tax is the other big thing. Corporation tax income tends to be fairly minor, and heavy mission runners won't run their missions in a player corporation with a high tax, because they can easily create their own corp, set the tax to 0%, and not have you tap into their profits. Anything above 10% is right out, as the NPC corporations have a default tax of 11%. Your best bet is something around 5-8%, which will bring in a little extra cash, but the players won't mind too much. Note that some corporations charge higher than 11%, but offer ship reimbursement programs in order to compensate. If you think you can make that profit model work for you, go for it.