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, 18 Nov 2018 10:04:47 -0800 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 717f230236ed5a3f55d2aa3495e8d8ff When Selling Your Business, Watch out for Client Attrition for 11/13/2018 Tue, 13 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I am a podiatrist with a fairly large practice in a large Midwestern city. My wife and I have decided to move south to Florida to be closer to our grandchildren. I have found a younger podiatrist who wants to take over my practice, but I'm not sure exactly how to put the deal together with him. Any suggestions?"</p> <p>You have obviously worked hard and long to build this practice, and it's always a big letdown when owners realize how little theirs is actually worth when it comes time to sell.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 13, 2018</p> ed18561a333b95bc21515bb4856c4308 Give Me a Perfect Life ... or I'll Kill You! for 11/06/2018 Tue, 06 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Is it just me, or are people getting awfully touchy these days?</p> <p>Within the past week, I have received calls from three consultants and other professionals who had received phone calls from their clients screaming and threatening lawsuits for things the consultants absolutely weren't responsible for. Without getting into specifics, here's what the clients said:</p> <p>&#8212;"Even though you pointed out several reasons why this was a bad deal and I ignored your advice and went ahead with the deal anyway, you are liable for anything that happens because you didn't do enough to prevent me from going forward."<p>Updated: Tue Nov 06, 2018</p> af96fbacc0e2fb7aab0e3fd81196cbde What Lawyers Won't Do to Help Your Business for 10/30/2018 Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I hired an attorney a couple of weeks ago to help me prepare and negotiate a couple of contracts for my business. He's done a good job so far, and his fees are fairly reasonable. But whenever I ask him for help with the business discussions and negotiations, he tells me that that's not his job. He says that I am ultimately responsible for negotiating the deal and that he cannot guarantee that the deal will work or even that I will be satisfied with his work. It seems to me that he's being a little too conservative and that he could be doing more for me. Am I right, or is this just the way lawyers work?"</p> <p>Being a lawyer myself, I have to give you that most lawyerly of answers: It depends.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 30, 2018</p> 4a8203339fd6afcb333a7faefac0e6af When You Find Yourself in a Gray Area for 10/23/2018 Tue, 23 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Twice a year, I host a program for the New York State Bar Association targeting young lawyers who are looking to set up solo law practices.</p> <p>These people ask a million questions, and while there are clear answers to many of them, there are some that simply cannot be answered because there aren't clear legal precedents.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 23, 2018</p> d5bf47769dae596419508bcdd683b138 The 'Magnificent 7' Marketing Tools for Professionals for 10/16/2018 Tue, 16 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I was laid off from a large law firm earlier this year. After several failed attempts to find a job with another large firm elsewhere in the country, I have decided to 'hang out my shingle' in my hometown and work out of my home office. Since I think you do pretty much the same thing as I want to do, do you have any good tips for marketing a successful one-person law practice?"</p> <p>Oh, boy, do I ever ...<p>Updated: Tue Oct 16, 2018</p> 61e209a11ad6d8503f0f14eb341c7c56 How to Pay People When You Don't Have Any Money for 10/09/2018 Tue, 09 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I just recently started a social media Website for people who share an interest in certain niche collectibles. I want people to contribute articles and other content to my Website, but right now I've spent all of my money on developing the Website and don't have any left over to pay people with.</p> <p>"I am thinking about setting aside 20 percent of my company &#8212; I'm a limited liability company (LLC), by the way &#8212; and giving pieces of that to people who contribute articles or otherwise help me build this Website.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 09, 2018</p> 8a003157b6d2455863ff3cbf6e507411 To Skype, or Not to Skype: That Is the Question for 10/02/2018 Tue, 02 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I am a licensed psychiatrist and relationship counselor. For the past few years I have been a successful blogger on the topic of dating, specifically online dating strategies for people over the age of 40.</p> <p>"I have a fairly sizeable following on social media, and want to start a series of online webinars using Skype, the popular wireless telecommunications platform. Basically, people would register for a webinar on my website, be given an access code, and dial in to the Skype communication at the appropriate time. Just like a telephone conference call, except that attendees can see me, what I'm writing on the whiteboard, and so forth. Eventually, I plan to sell advertising for these webinars.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 02, 2018</p> a262ad869b347553956e2f460362d837 Building Your Business, One Square At a Time for 09/25/2018 Tue, 25 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I was laid off from a corporate management job last year. Having decided not to return to corporate America, I have decided to take what little remains of my severance package and buy a franchise. I've found a perfect franchise I can operate from my home office. I've visited the franchise's corporate offices, and I love the people. I've spoken to lots of the franchise's franchisees, and they all seem to love what they do. The upfront franchise fee is affordable, and they are actually willing to let me pay it in installments, which I understand franchises don't normally do.</p> <p>"My problem is a more personal one. I've had the franchise agreement in my hands for several weeks now, but I can't seem to bring myself to sign the bloody thing. It's not that I'm nervous about the franchise, but I'm questioning whether I have what it takes to succeed in running my own business. How can I get over this and move forward with my life?"<p>Updated: Tue Sep 25, 2018</p> 4b0154ed924b4b6b113793ed9c13dc24 Moving a Company When You Can't Stay Put for 09/18/2018 Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I'm an Army wife looking to start up a home-based graphics and web design business. I know I need to set things up legally &#8212; and desperately want to, but my problem is our upcoming out of state move. My husband's been given orders to become a recruiter which means he'll be shipped off to Recruiter School soon and upon graduation in the middle of next year we'll be moving to a new location. We won't learn where we're moving until early February. As my husband has at least another eight years in the Army, this kind of thing is bound to happen at least three more times. How do I even begin to set up a business? Do I work as a sole proprietor until we're relocated? Or do I set up something more structured now?"</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Until your situation changes and you get more settled, you are probably better off operating as a sole proprietor, as you will be able to move that from one location to another a lot easier than you could a corporation or limited liability company.</span> <p>Updated: Tue Sep 18, 2018</p> 75f4bcae1cbd5015ac0501bac3641b37 The Right Way to Exit a Franchise for 09/11/2018 Tue, 11 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A lot of corporate executives who have been downsized, especially those in their 40s and 50s, are looking to buy franchises. Their thinking seems to go something like this:</p> <p>&#8212;"My 401(k) has lost a ton of value, and there aren't any safe investments out there right now, so why not use at least some of what's left in my 401(k) to provide an income stream and a future for myself?"<p>Updated: Tue Sep 11, 2018</p> cece97f46f9f1e2980db312c099d3a47 Tips on Selling a Franchised Business: Part 2 of 2 for 09/04/2018 Tue, 04 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now that you have the information you need from your attorney in order to sell your franchise territory to a neighboring franchisee, here are some of the questions you will need to ask your accountant:</p> <p>1) How should the purchase price be allocated for tax purposes? When you buy a business of any kind (franchised or otherwise), you are acquiring a lot of different assets &#8212; equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, motor vehicles (maybe), intellectual property like patents or copyrights, and goodwill. Under IRS rules, these all depreciate at different rates, and both you and your buyer have to tell the IRS (using IRS Form 8594, available at how much of the purchase price was used to purchase each type of asset. This is called "allocating the purchase price for tax purposes," and it is best done by having your accountant speak directly to your buyer's accountant and agree on how best to allocate the purchase price. Make sure you do this before you sell the business, as people tend to forget about it afterward. As long as you and your buyer tell the IRS the same story about how the purchase price will be allocated, life will be beautiful. But if you and your seller tell the IRS different stories, then both of you will be audited. Not a good thing.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 04, 2018</p> eab031c777ad2347688ccebcb3eea16d Tips on Selling a Franchised Business: Part 1 of 2 for 08/28/2018 Tue, 28 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I bought a franchise several years ago, and while I made back my initial investment, it hasn't exactly made me rich and I'm no longer that excited about running the business. Also, my husband and I want to retire and move to Florida to be closer to our grandkids. The franchisee in the territory next to ours has made us an offer to buy our territory. What are some of the things we need to think about in selling our franchise to him?"</p> <p>First of all, congratulations on finding a good buyer for your territory in a difficult economy. The fact that your buyer is already part of the franchise system will make things a whole lot easier for you.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 28, 2018</p> 07ccf3b9c038e9b7040199ffd8c46e37 The Dangers of Buying an Early-Stage Franchise: Part 2 of 2 for 08/21/2018 Tue, 21 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now that you've assessed the viability of an early-stage-franchise business model, <span class="column--highlighted-text">it's time to drill down on the franchise disclosure document, or FDD, and look for potential trouble spots.</span></p> <p>First, look at the franchise name and logo. Are they compelling? Can people driving down the street, look at your sign and know instantly what type of restaurant it is? Since this franchise does not have the instant name recognition of McDonald's or Burger King, the name will not drive customers to your business unless it describes the customer experience. If the franchise offers Italian-themed food, a name like Nunzio's Italian Trattoria will work a lot better than Buona Sera ("good evening" in Italian), which could be just about anything &#8212; a clothing boutique, perhaps.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 21, 2018</p> c053546094dff507390c0ddf93b7216e The Dangers of Buying an Early-Stage Franchise: Part 1 of 2 for 08/14/2018 Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My husband and I have been looking to buy a fast-food franchise for some time. The problem is that we cannot afford the large upfront fee that most established franchises want. We recently found a franchise that we really like, and the upfront fee is only $10,000. The problem is that the franchise is only five years old. We would be only the third franchise outlet, and the only one in our state. What are some of the questions we should be asking this franchise so we can make sure we're not throwing our money away?"</p> <p>The main reason for buying a franchise, as opposed to starting a business from scratch, is that the odds of failure are much lower. The franchise model has been proven successful in dozens, if not hundreds, of locations around the country: The franchise name has instant brand recognition throughout the country; the franchise has experienced management who will train and coach you in the operation of the business; and the franchise will support you during the tough times.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 14, 2018</p> 49123a67f3e17bb6443fe2811d7b1bef When a Business Has 2 Sets of Books for 08/07/2018 Tue, 07 Aug 2018 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.</p> <p>"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 percent of the purchase price over the next five years, which we think is also a good deal.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 07, 2018</p> 23a698f51f0f49091acbe84ff823c3d2 Turn Your Emails Into Cash for 07/31/2018 Tue, 31 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As frequent readers of this column know, I am not the biggest fan of email.</p> <p>Each day, I find myself answering at least 30 to 40 emails on matters related to my law practice, the books I've written, upcoming speaking engagements and messages from old college friends who are preparing to attend our 45-year reunion this year, to say nothing of (ahem) this column.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 31, 2018</p> 42f6555f86e08049cb2cf62d8e322ca5 Don't Let Your Education Get in the Way of Your Success for 07/24/2018 Tue, 24 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I was laid off from a corporate job over a year ago, and have since been looking for work as a high-level consultant to senior management of large organizations. Frankly, no one seems to want what I have to offer. I have received several offers to join smaller companies, but frankly I'm afraid I would be underemployed if I accepted any of them. I'm a graduate of an Ivy League college, and my M.B.A. degree is from one of the top business schools. Any high school graduate with a brain can do some of the jobs I've been offered, and I want to be working at a level appropriate to my education and years of experience. Do you have any advice as to how I can do that?"</p> <p>I could easily respond to this email by saying "beggars can't be choosers," but that would make for a very short column.</p> <p>It's no secret there are a lot of highly educated folks out there looking for work, but a lot of those degrees are utterly worthless. Gender studies? Victorian literature? Heaven help us. Philosophy? We have way, way too many educated people out there, and not enough people are competent at the jobs that are available. <p>Updated: Tue Jul 24, 2018</p> 50474e12581236c32091b71716754473 6 Ways to Value a Small Business for 07/17/2018 Tue, 17 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The toughest part of drafting any owners agreement for a corporation partnership or limited liability company LLC is figuring out how to value the company when a triggering event (somebody dies, divorces, withdraws from the business, etc.) occurs and an owner must be bought out. </p> <p>The following are the six basic approaches:<p>Updated: Tue Jul 17, 2018</p> 75bf51e7ee1f0e810fa12c58c67c1613 The Greatest Motivator and How to Harness It for 07/10/2018 Tue, 10 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Can you believe we're halfway through 2018 already? Here's a sobering question for my readers: How many of your New Year's resolutions for 2018 have you accomplished?</p> <p>Betcha dollars to a doughnut your answer is none.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 10, 2018</p> 9010eb15ef70dec38b910409c0653994 The Greatest Freedom of All for 07/03/2018 Tue, 03 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Every Fourth of July weekend, it's common to talk about the freedoms and liberties we enjoy (and frequently take for granted) as Americans &#8212; freedoms that few other countries on Earth can match. We are proud of them, and we should be.</p> <p>The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution (known as the Bill of Rights) list a number of these basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 03, 2018</p>