Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 17 Nov 2019 19:21:48 -0800 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 5be7004df26d2c65492672d9c709ef9a Locking up Your Suppliers When Selling Online for 11/12/2019 Tue, 12 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I have been selling merchandise on eBay and Amazon for some time. I would like to build a 'brand' for the merchandise that I sell, but I'm being told that the only way to do that (since I'm not the manufacturer of these goods, only the distributor) is to get an exclusive distributor agreement with each manufacturer so that I am the only person selling these goods on eBay and Amazon.</p> <p>"What do you think of this idea? If it's a good one, how do I go about negotiating contracts with these manufacturers?"<p>Updated: Tue Nov 12, 2019</p> 1e6d0369ddb412e87bc4888510949c38 Are You Smart, Educated or Both? for 11/05/2019 Tue, 05 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I was extremely touched to receive an email from a young lady in India who had read and was reacting to a column I wrote years ago called "The Trouble With Kids Today." In the column, I commented on the lack of entrepreneurial spirit and drive in a younger generation accustomed to having things given to them and structured for them.</p> <p>Her email deserves to be quoted at length:<p>Updated: Tue Nov 05, 2019</p> fbf6d0228cf17764f1278b790cc51ece When Your Business Is Targeted on Social Media for 10/29/2019 Tue, 29 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The past few weeks I've been getting emails from Nextdoor, a social network (supported by advertising) where people can report lost dogs, ask for contractor referrals, complain about noisy neighbors and basically do online what neighbors have done forever.</p> <p>Recently, a post appeared with a complaint about the service at a local pizza joint, a family-run place I know has been in business in our town for over 35 years. Here is the exchange (all names have been changed; the person making the complaint is identified as "A"). <p>Updated: Tue Oct 29, 2019</p> c5f831b9ea47fc0e195f5cd96241ba3c Are You Selling Business Opportunities Without Knowing It? for 10/22/2019 Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I have a small manufacturing business in the Midwest.</p> <p>"For years, I have hired individuals to act as distributors for my products throughout the United States, similar to what the Avon cosmetics people do. They have assigned territories and cannot solicit business in a territory outside their own, but they can accept orders from anywhere.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 22, 2019</p> 0115d918fb5fe8f02ab71ddcf357bb43 Dealing With Celebrity Endorsements for 10/15/2019 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Some friends and I started a Web based business targeting people who play a particular sport.</p> <p>"As it happens, one of the leading players of the sport &#8212; a household name to fans &#8212; has discovered our website and absolutely loves it. We have approached him about possibly endorsing our website, and he has expressed an interest in doing so.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 15, 2019</p> 3d672863a9e2b200a43e3a916dceada8 Reviving the 'Walking Dead' Corporation for 10/08/2019 Tue, 08 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"In the late 1990s, I invented a product for the health care industry. I obtained patents for the product and registered trademarks for the product name. I even formed a corporation in Delaware and registered it in Texas, where my husband and I were living at that time. Then, my husband (also an entrepreneur) moved his business to New York to be closer to his customers, and I moved with him. I had to help him with his business for a while, as well as raise two kids, so I put my dreams on hold for a while. The patents and trademarks expired because I did not renew them, and the Delaware corporation was voided because I didn't pay the annual franchise tax in Delaware for a couple of years. Now my kids are off to private school, and I really want to revive this product and the company. I have some potential investors who are really excited about the product, but they want to deal with a 'real' company. Can I revive the company that I had in the 1990s, or should I start all over again from scratch?"</p> <p>We all have our priorities in life, and it sounds like you made the right choices, although I would love to know more about this product. Anyway, here goes.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 08, 2019</p> 74dcf8b561ae489fcf21ed083e4a47e2 Do You Really Need a Business Plan? for 10/01/2019 Tue, 01 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I am new to this country and am taking a class in the evenings on how to start my own business. I understand that you need a tax ID number and that it's a good idea to form a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) to protect myself from lawsuits. At what point in the process, though, should I prepare the business plan? Do I have to file that document anywhere?"</p> <p>Go to the small-business section of any major bookstore and you will see dozens, if not hundreds, of different books on how to prepare a business plan. You can't blame anyone &#8212; not just recent immigrants, either &#8212; for thinking that a business plan is a legal requirement in this country, and that you shouldn't even consider starting a business without first preparing a 100-page treatise with numbered sections, index tabs and the whole shebang.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 01, 2019</p> 6e0418f356b755b33dfabb0b0489e958 Teaching Lawyers About Cybersecurity for 09/24/2019 Tue, 24 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Let's face it; when it comes to professionals with technological savvy, lawyers are way, way down the list. I know lawyers who are still using Windows 98, if that gives you an idea (hey, it was a pretty good program).</p> <p>So it was with great trepidation that I attended last week's Tech Summit in New York City sponsored by the New York State Bar Association ( Lawyers have always been required to stay on top of changes in the law so as to maintain a certain level of competence. But recent changes to lawyer ethical rules require lawyers to stay on top of technology changes as well so they can keep their clients' confidential information safe from hackers (for details, see<p>Updated: Tue Sep 24, 2019</p> 0e07537fc0fb1645342e0f3175efceb2 When a Business Has 2 Sets of Books for 09/17/2019 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My spouse and I have been looking to buy a business for some time. We've found a good local business with a great location and lots of existing customers. The seller wants us to pay one and one-half times his gross sales last year, which our accountant says is a fair price. The seller has also agreed to let us pay him 40% of the purchase price over the next five years, which we think is also a good deal.</p> <p>"The problem is that the seller told us he carries two sets of books &#8212; 'one for the government, the other for real' &#8212; and that he wants us to pay one and one-half times his gross sales as reported on his private set of books, which, naturally, shows much higher gross sales.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 17, 2019</p> 6f510c810f78053dd0efec05cd022d60 You Know You Have an Online Retail Business When ... for 09/10/2019 Tue, 10 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's the most commonly asked question eBay and Amazon sellers ask me: "I've been selling on eBay/Amazon/Etsy/wherever for a while, but I don't know if I should treat it as a hobby or a business." Sooner or later, every online seller has to make the fateful decision: Should I do this only occasionally for the fun of it, or should I consider making it a part-time or full-time living? Sometimes the decision is made for you, as when so many people are asking you to sell their stuff on eBay that before you know it, you've made $50,000 or more in profits and you almost have to treat it as a business.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Here are 20 signs, David Letterman style, that your online selling activities are getting a wee bit beyond the hobby stage.</span><p>Updated: Tue Sep 10, 2019</p> d5ba2c936945c863891eaed607432376 Can I Sell This Stuff on EBay? for 09/03/2019 Tue, 03 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"What are the rules when it comes to selling trademarked or branded items, such as Gucci handbags or Tiffany & Co. jewelry, on eBay?"</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">EBay's rules about trademarked items are simple to state but difficult as the Dickens to apply in practice.</span> Even experienced eBay sellers make mistakes in this area. The rules are basically these:<p>Updated: Tue Sep 03, 2019</p> 2f7a35fa6144f0b36742c16a84449388 Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status the E-Z Way: Part 2 of 2 for 08/27/2019 Tue, 27 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In July 2014, the IRS adopted Form 1023-EZ, a simplified application process for nonprofit organizations that wish to obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.</p> <p>Your organization is not eligible to use Form 1023-EZ if:</p> <p>&#8212;It has more than $250,000 in total assets.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 27, 2019</p> 1ce8815d1dbb557e6bb836a91b7161d8 Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status The E-Z Way: Part 1 of 2 for 08/20/2019 Tue, 20 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Getting a nonprofit organization off the ground has always involved three steps:</p> <p>&#8212;Forming a nonstock corporation or limited liability company (LLC) under your state's business organization laws.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 20, 2019</p> babe96e224c3a4108525bfdb7e7f5349 The 6 C's That Should Be in Every Business Plan for 08/13/2019 Tue, 13 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There are at least 1,000 books in print telling people how to write a business plan. The problem with most of them is: They're wrong. Or at least they're not practical for the vast majority of business startups.</p> <p>Unless you are a hi-tech startup looking for venture capital, you do not need a 50-page book with dividers and index tabs to start a business.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 13, 2019</p> dd176360d4de479971a5a3b50519ff81 4 Secrets to Getting Deals Done for 08/06/2019 Tue, 06 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My partner and I own a service business we've been trying to sell for some time. We finally found a buyer, but the process just seems to be taking forever. The buyer's attorney seems to be taking a long time to review our attorney's draft documents, and our attorney doesn't seem to want to push things as fast as we want him to. We've explained to him that 'time kills deals,' and we're really worried that the deal will fall apart if pressure isn't constantly being applied to get things done. Do you agree, or are we missing something here?"</p> <p>You are right, of course, about time killing deals. But pushing things faster than they're able to go can kill deals just as easily.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 06, 2019</p> b879d49c59a84a6f5395c35f42d5bf87 A Laughing Jury Never Convicts: Part 2 of 2 for 07/30/2019 Tue, 30 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>These days, we live in a world of infotainment, marketainment and edutainment.</p> <p>It isn't enough anymore to just give out information. Your listeners need to have their emotions manipulated &#8212; to laugh, cry or get angry &#8212; even though you're talking about recent developments in sales taxation.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 30, 2019</p> b26b1099493a11a10b80d27e0273a97e A Laughing Jury Never Convicts: Part 1 of 2 for 07/23/2019 Tue, 23 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I had the privilege of hearing you speak recently at a SCORE presentation in southern Connecticut, and I've become a big fan of your small business lecture series on YouTube.</p> <p>"You seem like a pretty smart lawyer, and you've got lots of good information, but the best thing about you is your ability to make the audience laugh. Seriously, until I heard you, I didn't think it was possible for anyone to make me laugh talking about income taxes, sales taxes and tax accounting.</p> <p>"You have an amazing gift. When you have a moment, could you please share how you developed this talent?"<p>Updated: Tue Jul 23, 2019</p> 12943fef7a2fea472d7489eec6ddf9a1 It May Be a Classic Movie, but It Isn't Public Yet for 07/16/2019 Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"We have a client with a legal question that I was hoping you might be able to answer. He owns a high-end electronics business doing home theaters, security, sound systems and the like. For his website, he wants to Photoshop an image taken from a famous movie scene and place it on the black screen he photographed in a room he designed. Would there be copyright infringement or any legal issues in doing that?"</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">A lot of people are under the impression that just because something is old, you can use it without permission. Sad to say, it ain't necessarily so. </span>A lot of old things are quite valuable (I include myself among them).<p>Updated: Tue Jul 16, 2019</p> 8c7cc5fba77fd3da76b1094b097a204a Starting a Business on EBay and Amazon for 07/09/2019 Tue, 09 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As my readers know, I travel the country talking to people who make a living selling stuff on eBay, Amazon and the other online e-commerce platforms.</p> <p>As a lawyer and business consultant, I'm not always able to answer the more technical questions people have about starting and maintaining their online accounts. But as we used to say in the Bronx when I was a kid growing up, "I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy ..."<p>Updated: Tue Jul 09, 2019</p> 4dae4a481f92251d7d1e66dc5fbc01fa Minority Owners Don't Get Mad. They (Sometimes) Get Even for 07/02/2019 Tue, 02 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I formed a business with two partners a couple of years ago. We set up a corporation and divided the stock three ways. Me and my brother each had 40% of the company, and a good friend of ours had the remaining 20%.</p> <p>"Things went well for a while, but then our friend with the 20% developed other interests and began withdrawing from the business. We tried to reason with him and offered to buy him out under our stockholders' agreement, but he stonewalled us, accusing us of not running the business properly, and it came to the point where he stopped returning our phone calls. We called a meeting, to which he didn't show up, and voted to remove him from the board of directors and terminate his employment with the company.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 02, 2019</p>