Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 23 Sep 2019 04:20:05 -0700 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 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> 5d26c442c9dcde383783b1249595f808 Keeping Client Attrition Low When Selling a Professional Practice for 06/25/2019 Tue, 25 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <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 to realize how little it's actually worth when it comes time to sell out.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 25, 2019</p> c855f26732ea0e86fda6157f4aca2fcc Getting Started in Off-Broadway Theater for 06/18/2019 Tue, 18 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I've been a struggling actor in New York for several years, but right now I've got the chance of a lifetime. I have written, directed and produced a satirical off-Broadway play based on the life of a famous former politician. I have a couple of investors &#8212; really all the money I need &#8212; but I'm not sure what, if anything, I need to do legally to get this show off the ground. Where should I start?"</p> <p>Ah, Broadway, the "street of broken dreams." (Or is that Wall Street?) Sadly, the vast majority of these dreams never come to fruition. Most investors in Broadway-type theatrical productions &#8212; known colloquially as "angels" &#8212; view their investments as charitable contributions with only a microscopically small chance of realizing a decent return. </p> <p>First of all, look carefully at the amount of money these investors are putting in. While a couple of hundred thousand dollars should be sufficient to launch a non-musical off-Broadway play in a 30-seat theater, it will be far from enough to bring the show to Broadway if it becomes popular. You will need additional deep-pocket investors at that point, and whatever legal structure you adopt will have to be flexible enough to admit those new investors. In plain English, you need to make sure your current investors are prepared to be "diluted" if the show becomes a hit. If they are not sophisticated Broadway players, they will need to understand that a 1 percent interest in "Phantom of the Opera" is worth more than 100% of a show that closes six weeks after it opens.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 18, 2019</p> ddab3c9bea3de7144b0589666039a932 Buying a Business Without a Lawyer ... Don't! for 06/11/2019 Tue, 11 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">"Two weeks ago, I signed a contract to buy a business. I didn't use a lawyer because the contract seemed fair, and I felt I understood what it said. I put up a $25,000 deposit to buy this business, and the closing is in two weeks.</span><br></p> <p>"The seller's attorney has been calling me every day asking me questions about the documents that I am responsible for delivering for the closing. When I attempt to discuss these with him, he tells me he can't talk to me directly but only to my attorney. I told him I don't have an attorney. He says I need to have one.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 12, 2019</p> 12d8a90a71c06166549dc546b39b2fc6 Advice to a Young Lawyer for 06/04/2019 Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I had the privilege of addressing a group of about 50 law school graduates last week as part of the New York State Bar Association's semiannual Bridging the Gap program &#8212; a two-day orientation course for newly minted lawyers on the "real-world" life and practice of law.</p> <p>Here is an abridged version of my remarks:<p>Updated: Tue Jun 04, 2019</p> e242d418b9620279e30dcb0ab5a158ad 31 Questions to Ask When You're Buying a Franchise for 05/28/2019 Tue, 28 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My wife and I are thinking about a franchise. We've met with the franchise executives at their 'Discovery Day,' and they seem like nice people.</p> <p>"They're encouraging us to talk to some of their franchisees to understand exactly what goes on in the franchised business, but I confess I don't know what sorts of questions to ask. We've never owned a business before.<p>Updated: Tue May 28, 2019</p> 24a95b69d3b386372a9425d4418def6f Online Reviews: Part 2 for 05/21/2019 Tue, 21 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I started a solo law practice last year. As part of my marketing efforts, I encourage my clients to post positive reviews on their websites and social media pages. </p> <p>"Well, I just found out that a client posted a highly negative review of me on" (Author's note: Avvo is an online review site &#8212; similar to Yelp &#8212; where people can review lawyers and other legal professionals.)</p> <p>"I was shocked. Not only did the client not warn me he was going to do this, but he told me to my face he liked the job I did and would say nothing but positive things about me.<p>Updated: Tue May 21, 2019</p> a2201532fd315089fdd16af58a7d2cb9 Online Reviews: Part I for 05/14/2019 Tue, 14 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I want to put a hyperlink on my website to an article somebody else wrote on another website so that readers could read the article and then respond, whether negatively or positively, on my website what they thought of the article. Is this legal?"</p> <p>The short and easy answer is it's probably legal. The tougher question is: Should you do it?<p>Updated: Tue May 14, 2019</p> 6281996cac75d761e9dcc8a4ffb77fce Does Your Business Qualify as Woman- or Minority-Owned? for 05/07/2019 Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"My husband and I started a consulting business a while back, and we are finding ourselves getting more and more business from government agencies and nonprofit organizations. There's only one problem: Many of these people want to know if we are a 'minority-owned enterprise' or a 'woman-owned enterprise' so they can comply with federal and state laws requiring that a certain%age of their business be given to minority or woman-owned contractors.</p> <p>"I am female and own 51% of the business. My husband and I are both members of recognized minority groups. Is that enough to qualify?"</p> <p>Believe it or not, the answer may well be no, at least for a female-owned business.<p>Updated: Tue May 07, 2019</p>