Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 21 Oct 2020 17:31:13 -0700 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate c466da92f3aeecb63a81fbee07b56ce1 Should You Charge a Flat Fee or an Hourly Rate? for 10/20/2020 Tue, 20 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I run a home organizing business.</p> <p>"When I do a job for a client, my work is divided into two parts: the first part is the 'design' phase, when I look at the client's home and make recommendations &#8212; including detailed drawings &#8212; as to how they can improve their closets and other storage spaces.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 20, 2020</p> 989e7d875558feef31b1e718ee49d7d5 Your Website Terms of Service for 10/13/2020 Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I operate a website with training and instructional materials for people who want to engage in certain online activities.</p> <p>"Lately I've been getting 'cease and desist letters' from companies saying that I am doing things on their websites that violate their Terms of Service.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 13, 2020</p> 352000c7a9faa3c8d36b9abb15b9ab8e Before You Start a Nonprofit Organization for 10/06/2020 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I am looking to set up a nonprofit organization with some friends to help raise funds for an obscure but devastating disease.</p> <p>"I've been looking over the IRS forms for getting a tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and they look pretty daunting. My friends and I all have full-time jobs and are not sure we will be able to comply with all of the IRS requirements.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 06, 2020</p> 2831b1a91b2bc92e66e20f1bd9bcf617 Do You Really Have to Comply With the CCPA? for 09/29/2020 Tue, 29 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week's column dealt with the thorny topic of whether or not a web-based business really needs to comply with the European Union's new (well, fairly new) General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.</p> <p>Since the GDPR was made effective in May 2018, a number of U.S. states &#8212; most prominently California &#8212; have adopted "mini-GDPR" laws designed to regulate web-based businesses that have a significant economic presence in their states.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 29, 2020</p> 5d6d5d173f0f77e350cc9d5ef94027be Do You Really Have to Comply With GDPR? for 09/22/2020 Tue, 22 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My partners and I launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application earlier this year.</p> <p>"We've gotten a good response to our product. Virtually all of our customers so far are in the United States and Canada, but we've started getting inquiries from potential customers in Europe.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 22, 2020</p> 109fe0af43495057e9b7fb31032bc751 How You Should Vote This November for 09/15/2020 Tue, 15 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Here it comes ... another contentious election season.</p> <p>At the top of the ticket is a choice between two presidential candidates who don't exactly inspire people or represent the best America can produce (hmmm ... call it deja vu; I seem to recall we've been in this situation before).<p>Updated: Tue Sep 15, 2020</p> 7f6ffe6bd4ad2ae9bbff1354d7dc132c On the Desecration of Public Monuments for 09/08/2020 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Like many Americans, I have viewed with dismay and confusion the systematic and wanton destruction of statues and monuments honoring people I was taught in my youth to view as "great Americans."</p> <p>In a city just down the road from me, a mob pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus that had stood in a vest-pocket park of the same name for over 100 years. This over the vehement objection of the city's Italian American community who hosted an annual parade on Columbus Day centered around the park.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 08, 2020</p> 8fb57c5cdb2b672acdb0eaf47f1f8e05 In Praise of B.S. -- It's Not All Bad for Ya for 09/01/2020 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As a longtime fan of comedian George Carlin (and, frankly, in looking for any sort of comedy to help my family through the pandemic), I was recently delighted to find a DVD online of an HBO special performance Carlin gave in Los Angeles only a few months before his death in June 2008.</p> <p>The special, titled "It's Bad for Ya," was the usual blend of Carlin's spot-on social and political satire.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 01, 2020</p> 452542205d5270eee7c6f0db29fdbb8d 'The Purpose Is Profit': Not Just Another Startup Guide for 08/25/2020 Tue, 25 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">If you go to your local bookstore (they still exist, don't they?) or search for "entrepreneur" or "small business" on Amazon, you will find thousands of books and e-books on how to start a business.</span><br></p> <p>To paraphrase the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, of making many startup success books there is no end, including &#8212; truth be told &#8212; a number I have written over the years.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 25, 2020</p> 358fa8659912fde648a008ce428370a8 The Wrong Way to Run a Franchise for 08/18/2020 Tue, 18 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"A couple of years ago we bought a fast-casual restaurant franchise from a local company that has run several successful restaurants in our area.</p> <p>"While the company knew a ton about their products &#8212; which are excellent, by the way &#8212; they had only just started franchising. We were only their second franchisee, and bought one of their existing restaurants.<p>Updated: Tue Aug 18, 2020</p> 92b6aeb35402814fa4152bb1f8f4a78e What You Need to Do Today to Survive the New Normal for 08/11/2020 Tue, 11 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In last week's column, I wrote about several megatrends that I think will define the new normal for small business during the next couple of years.</p> <p>Of course, the most logical response to a column like that is "great information, but what should we do about it?"<p>Updated: Tue Aug 11, 2020</p> 5ce2583e5a1786727611a9d34cc03ae1 Preparing Your Business for the New Normal for 08/04/2020 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's official. The coronavirus pandemic's biggest victim is the U.S. economy.</p> <p>Despite some states' recent efforts to reopen their economies, periodic surges in infections and the lack of a marketable COVID-19 vaccine make it a virtual certainty that this will be a U-shaped (or perhaps a WWWWW-shaped) recession lasting at least the next two to three years, maybe longer. <p>Updated: Tue Aug 04, 2020</p> b3c09d9a53f537767ff58cb267e1f856 Getting a New Product From Patent to Market for 07/28/2020 Tue, 28 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I am an inventor who just got a U.S. patent for a wonderful new mechanical device that will revolutionize a particular industry. </p> <p>"I am in the process of forming a company with three partners to manufacture and sell this device. My first partner has a manufacturing company that is capable of producing up to 1,000 units a year. My second partner is a financial expert who has arranged a line of credit against our accounts receivable. My third partner is a retired local entrepreneur who is helping us put together our business plan and who will be approaching industry trade associations to get the word out about our device.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 28, 2020</p> 715d4aea6eef167d00dde779d1843e6e Compensation for Sweat-Equity Players for 07/21/2020 Tue, 21 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"We are starting up a technology company and want to know the right way to compensate our technicians, developers and others who will be helping us grow the business. We don't want to give them equity at this time because we don't know how committed they will be to the business going forward. But we do want them to share in the growth of the company if it's successful. We've done some research online and it's all pretty overwhelming. Can you put together a simple 'checklist' of the different ways we can incentivize our key players?"</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">My motto has always been "No challenge too great; no fee too low."</span> So here goes ...<p>Updated: Tue Jul 21, 2020</p> 87fed7513235b73c831b3f0cb9f296e9 Making Sure a Company's Founders Are Diluted Fairly for 07/14/2020 Tue, 14 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"A couple of months ago I started a Web-based company with two college friends. We agreed that I would have 20% of the stock in this company, and that my two friends would split the remaining 80% equally (40% each). That is okay with me, because this is really going to be their company &#8212; I'm just designing and putting together the social media Website for them, and I won't be involved in the business full-time.</p> <p>"We hired an attorney to draft a Stockholders' Agreement for us, and he sent us a draft the other day. It's a 40 page monster with all sorts of provisions I don't understand.<p>Updated: Tue Jul 14, 2020</p> 899aa2b399aab9b980583de8deb6c071 Creating a Hit Reality TV Show for 07/07/2020 Tue, 07 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I have an idea for a terrific reality television show that would target 'tweens' &#8212; American boys and girls who are no longer children but not quite teenagers yet. I have done some marketing research with my own tween children and their friends, and they all seem to love the idea. I haven't the foggiest idea how to start, though. I don't have a big budget, I have zero Hollywood connections, and I don't think any big corporation is going to want to sponsor an upstart TV show in the current economy. Is there any way I can make this show a reality?"</p> <p>Creating a hit TV show is extremely difficult, even in the best of economic times and even if you have extensive contacts in Hollywood. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">there is always hope if you have a terrific idea, are extremely patient and are not too fussy about generating big returns quickly.</span> <p>Updated: Tue Jul 07, 2020</p> eb0a2db1e56baa6d53fabaa1c1b3dc1f Buying a Business in Troubled Times for 06/30/2020 Tue, 30 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My wife and I are looking to buy a small business.</p> <p>"We were looking for a very specific type of business, but we're a little nervous because there's a good chance the business model will be affected by Covid-19 and any future economic shutdowns.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 30, 2020</p> c6782b152faefd5663d52818decf0491 Starting a New Business in the Middle of Divorce for 06/23/2020 Tue, 23 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My wife and I started a business a couple of years ago. We formed a limited liability company (LLC) to run the business, and split the ownership (and the work) 50-50.</p> <p>"My wife and I are currently ... divorcing. We have agreed to continue running the business as joint owners (frankly, we both need the income), but unbeknownst to my wife I have been meeting with an extremely wealthy 'angel investor' in our community. This person loves our business, and has offered to help me expand to multiple locations. He is aware my wife and I are divorcing, and has made it clear he doesn't want to work with anyone but me as his business partner.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 23, 2020</p> 6c3575fce6cadea00009ea23aa968ad1 My Summer 2020 Reading List for 06/16/2020 Tue, 16 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's hard to believe, but summer is here already. Thanks to COVID-19, this summer is likely to be a staycation for most folks &#8212; binge-watching television series from the 1960s (seriously, watch every episode of the camp 1965 "Batman" series with Adam West and see if you have a cerebellum afterward), mastering the art of Kiribati cooking and, of course, reading your way through the library.</p> <p>So what does a small-business expert put in his bookbag when he goes on vacation?<p>Updated: Tue Jun 16, 2020</p> 7a0c139059a5bd679998226257a06961 Some Rules of Thumb When Considering Bankruptcy for 06/09/2020 Tue, 09 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week's column on the new small-business bankruptcy law (known as Subchapter V) generated a ton of email responses, most of which asked for guidance on whether a small business should consider a bankruptcy filing under the new law as opposed to toughing it out and negotiating with creditors.</p> <p>When it comes to bankruptcy, every situation is unique, and you are best advised to speak to an accountant, financial advisor or bankruptcy attorney to determine whether or not you are so in over your head financially that bankruptcy is the only option.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 09, 2020</p>