Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 12 Jun 2021 13:55:00 -0700 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 786d0aa6692c770fa78b9b472101da44 Converting Your Business Into a Nonprofit for 06/08/2021 Tue, 08 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My wife and I have been running a for-profit service business for the past 10 years.</p> <p>"We have recently learned that our business may qualify as a nonprofit organization, as we frequently provide our services for free or at an extremely low cost to people who can't afford them.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 08, 2021</p> fce4d0a44ed5f3efd4f237c14929a11e The Curse of the Million-Dollar Franchise for 06/01/2021 Tue, 01 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"About 10 years ago, I bought a franchise that provides an essential service for building contractors.</p> <p>"Because the franchise was new, I was able to cut a terrific deal for a large territory in my state. I'm paying only a flat royalty fee each month, not a percentage of my gross sales as is typical for most franchises, so my margins are very generous.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 01, 2021</p> 99af781745048646cc09bab0bbfea575 The One Indispensable Thing Nonprofits Need for 05/21/2021 Fri, 21 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I started a nonprofit organization about three years ago.</p> <p>"In the beginning, we had three directors &#8212; we were told we needed at least three to get our federal tax exemption &#8212; but two of them quit shortly after we formed, and I have struggled to fill those two positions since. People sign up, probably out of personal friendship for me, but then quit within a year.<p>Updated: Mon May 24, 2021</p> 9b5259f0381554965aa221fc57f6ffb8 When to Listen to Your Outside Director for 05/18/2021 Tue, 18 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"A friend of mine and I bought a metal fabrication business 15 years ago. We've been very successful and have increased sales and profits dramatically since we took over the business.</p> <p>"For many years, my friend and I were the sole directors and shareholders of our corporation. A few years ago, on the advice of our accountant, we brought a retired local banker on board as an outside director in exchange for warrants, which he has since exercised. He now owns 10% of our company.</p> <p>"A couple of months ago, we were approached by a competitor who offered to buy our company for a substantial sum of money. My friend and I are, frankly, ready to retire and were inclined to accept this offer. But when we called a board meeting to discuss it, our outside director totally freaked out and said our company was worth multiple times more than what the competitor was offering.<p>Updated: Tue May 18, 2021</p> 9e04ba3ecc23d9d0aab1695d383d9ba1 Should You Hire a Contract Manufacturer? for 05/11/2021 Tue, 11 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I'm a retired engineer who is spending his Golden Years designing new household products.</p> <p>"I've obtained several patents for my inventions but haven't yet done anything with them. I've started getting emails from companies offering to take my patents and develop them into marketable products.</p> <p>"The offers are tempting and appear to be low risk &#8212; I just assign my patent to them, they do all the work, and I just sit back and collect royalty payments each month.<p>Updated: Tue May 11, 2021</p> 2725092f2f2025036f82f35014c6731f When Worlds Collide: Seller Financing and SBA Loans for 05/04/2021 Tue, 04 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I read your recent column on selling a business and found it very useful when someone approached me a month ago offering to buy my small retail business. My wife and I have been thinking about retiring in Florida for some time now, so we felt that now was the time to make the move.</p> <p>"Except we hit a snag and don't know what to do about it.<p>Updated: Tue May 04, 2021</p> 5de1e08f04c0ffa448d8dc327ab342d6 It's Time for a Tech Update at the SEC for 04/27/2021 Tue, 27 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As readers of this column know, one of my biggest headaches in dealing with our federal government agencies is that their technology is often stuck in the 1990s, if not the 1980s.</p> <p>As a lawyer representing startup companies, I frequently have to file documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since about 10 years ago, all filings with the SEC must be made electronically.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 27, 2021</p> 1a7b00c786eed72b62c9231abcaa76f4 On Freedom and Entrepreneurship for 04/20/2021 Tue, 20 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week's column &#8212; in which I gave my readers a (perhaps too) candid look into what I personally will be doing (and not doing) in the next year or two as we emerge from our pandemic foxholes &#8212; generated a fair amount of comment, both positive and negative.</p> <p>An example of the latter: "Up to now I've always respected what you do for the small business community, but after reading this I'm starting to wonder if you believe in freedom." This was no doubt in response to my statement that I will be wearing a mask in public situations and avoiding large crowds for at least the next 12 to 24 months.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 20, 2021</p> 0c0ed2198a5f365bd72a2b34f4c0b12c When We Emerge From Our Foxholes for 04/13/2021 Tue, 13 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Like just about everyone else right now, I'm wondering what life is going to be like once enough Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19 that people feel comfortable venturing out into public life again.</p> <p>For many small business owners, this is more than just an intellectual exercise: If you own a restaurant, bar, fitness facility or any business that used to depend on packing the maximum number of people into the minimum amount of floor space, your very existence may depend on getting this right.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 13, 2021</p> f21fa4f63cda34bcb642c707280a35a1 Cheat Me Once, Shame on You; Cheat Me Twice... for 04/06/2021 Tue, 06 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Spring has sprung, and with the arrival of flowers, bunny rabbits and taxes come a trove of emails from building contractors proving beyond a doubt that "April is the cruelest month" for many small-business owners.</p> <p>"I recently had an addition put on my house, and I became very friendly with our contractor and his son. While our contractor was great at doing his job, by his own admission he wasn't very good at running his business. We had to wait forever to get an invoice out of him, and at the end he confided that he had lost money on our project. I'm thinking of suggesting that I join them as a partner. I would be their 'business manager' doing all the estimates, budgeting and billing. We would take on projects by a 'team decision,' and the contractor and his son would do the actual work on each project. Do you think that's a good idea?"<p>Updated: Tue Apr 06, 2021</p> d52d6011d564f464222bdcef8834dedf Nonfungible Tokens and the Law for 03/30/2021 Tue, 30 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Like most Americans, I was intrigued by the recent Christie's auction in which "Beeple," a digital artist, received $69.3 million for a digital artwork that was authenticated by a "nonfungible token" (or NFT).</p> <p>Like most Americans, I hadn't the foggiest clue what an NFT was.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 30, 2021</p> c14ef5d721e5e1494cbceba6897d49cd The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Programs for 03/23/2021 Tue, 23 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I have a small line of consumer products that I promote mostly from our company website.</p> <p>"A number of my competitors have set up affiliate programs in the past year, where people can sell their stuff from their own websites and get a commission. I'm thinking about doing the same, but our products have a 'luxury' cachet that I'm afraid will be diluted if the affiliates don't maintain a high-quality brand image.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 23, 2021</p> 04ecf7fb9a6e43dbd4c3ea06572e8e6a Should You Hire a Business Broker to Help Sell Your Business? for 03/16/2021 Tue, 16 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I run a small manufacturing business. We have only one product, but it's a doozy; even during the pandemic, our annual sales have been in the mid-six figures. Since I'm the only one working in the business, our profit margins are 80% or better.</p> <p>"We had a patent and trademark for this product years ago, but I let them both expire. There's been a couple of Chinese knockoffs entering the market, but I've done my marketing well: Our product is everywhere online, and just about every online review says we are way better than the knockoffs. In any event, they haven't impacted our sales.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 16, 2021</p> 773a9d5cd34142d53931d86cd2f75e63 Thinking About a Telehealth Practice? for 03/09/2021 Tue, 09 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I am a young (mid-30s) physician who has just completed his residency and recently bought a suburban general medicine (internist) practice.</p> <p>Your column last week about building a successful medical practice struck a chord with me, and I hope you won't mind a related question.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 09, 2021</p> b45f9cda90ab600a4b7307934fedde1b How to Destroy a Thriving Medical Practice for 03/02/2021 Tue, 02 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I am a young (mid-30s) physician who has just completed his residency and wants to buy a suburban general medicine (internist) practice.</p> <p>"I have been a fan of your YouTube videos for years and wonder if you have any advice for me &#8212; not so much on how to buy the practice but how to keep the patients on board after I do."<p>Updated: Tue Mar 02, 2021</p> 01a844740f8f351cc7172863911de5e5 'Moonlighting' and the Law for 02/23/2021 Tue, 23 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I am a full-time employee at a large tech company.</p> <p>"My son, who lives in another state, wants to start a small consulting business. He will need my personal expertise in servicing his clients, because I have more knowledge of the technology than he has. He wants to set up a limited liability company for this business and give me a one-third ownership stake in exchange for my help.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 23, 2021</p> 90371692de01699e22ec68dcd0b2fdc8 'Cancel Culture' and Your Clients for 02/16/2021 Tue, 16 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I have a consulting business with over 50 clients, but I'm afraid that won't last much longer unless I get some tough love from you.</p> <p>"In working with my clients, it's inevitable that we will discuss things other than the project at hand. Although I try to avoid discussing politics with my clients, several have recently asked me point-blank where I stand politically on the recent presidential election, the riot at the U.S. Capitol, and other current issues.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 16, 2021</p> c08e9d99673a2a9789f71e356c7151b4 Are You a 'Small Business' or a 'Startup'? for 02/09/2021 Tue, 09 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>For the past 30-plus years, this has been a column for people who run small businesses. But what exactly is a "small business"?</p> <p>Well, 50 years ago, we knew what a small business was: a storefront somewhere in town that could accommodate only a few customers at a time, run by a local family and selling everyday stuff. That type of small business still exists, but many if not most are on the road to extinction (or migrating online).<p>Updated: Tue Feb 09, 2021</p> dbebc41f1fc6c1f60747a501f5e87cf5 Some Billing Tips for Consultants for 02/02/2021 Tue, 02 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Many if not most clients are operating on extremely tight profit margins these days; people are obsessed with controlling costs of all kinds, including legal fees. Consultants and other professional service providers must be clear at all times about how their fees are calculated, how much a project will cost, and when payment will be due.</p> <p>To put it bluntly: You are certain to have angry clients if you:<p>Updated: Tue Feb 02, 2021</p> 03ed1e277628fb7855b0c2715c44b253 The Joy of NAICS Codes for 01/26/2021 Tue, 26 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I am trying to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan for my small business, but I've hit a snag.</p> <p>My local bank, which is part of the PPP, is telling me I can't apply for a loan because my current NAICS Code is incorrect. I didn't even know what a NAICS Code was, much less that I had one. I've been in business for over 20 years, and this has never even come up as an issue before.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 26, 2021</p>