Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 10 Jul 2020 21:53:23 -0700 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 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> f15c80a14c37fc2868ed705294de2c24 The New Small Business Bankruptcy Law for 06/02/2020 Tue, 02 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It should come as no surprise that many small businesses will be going under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the government restrictions that have virtually shut down the U.S. economy.</p> <p>Many of those small businesses will be thinking about bankruptcy and might not be aware that the government has &#8212; believe it or not &#8212; come to their rescue.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 02, 2020</p> 5bcfb14b42ec26471a818cb165eb4f01 Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?: Part 2 of 2 for 05/26/2020 Tue, 26 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Once you have crunched the numbers and decided there's no point in negotiating with your creditors &#8212; either because there are too many of them or they refuse to negotiate &#8212; you have to consider whether a bankruptcy filing is the only way out.</p> <p>Here are your options:<p>Updated: Tue May 26, 2020</p> 017b4a0afb1348e4ad45130f0f25ccb1 Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?: Part 1 of 2 for 05/19/2020 Tue, 19 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"My business has been shut down the past couple of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>"My state is just beginning to ease things up a bit, and I may be able to open up again in the next couple of weeks.<p>Updated: Tue May 19, 2020</p> 644495345198059ff5f530d2a9927182 A Pandemic Survival Lesson From Ancient Rome for 05/12/2020 Tue, 12 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As a lifelong student of history and philosophy (my two college majors), I always look for the bigger picture when following events in the news. </p> <p>While many history-minded commentators are comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to previous epidemiological disasters, such as the bubonic plague pandemic, which devastated Europe in the 1350s, or the Great Plague that devastated London in 1665-1666, not so many have looked for historical antecedents to the (almost) unprecedented intrusion of government into our lives the past few weeks.<p>Updated: Tue May 12, 2020</p> 6b06282249a1d7dfcae06edcc11ebcdd How to Negotiate With Your Landlord or Franchisor for 05/05/2020 Tue, 05 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>"I operate three hair styling salons as a franchisee of a big nationwide franchise. My state government has shut down our operations because of the coronavirus pandemic as we are considered a 'nonessential business.' As the projections for our state to reopen get pushed out further and further, is there a case for me to present to my three business property landlords and my franchisor an adjustment to our agreements? The rent was negotiated in good faith based upon business conditions prior to the pandemic. So far the only concessions I have received from the landlords is to push out April 2020 rent payment to May 2020 without penalty."<p>Updated: Tue May 05, 2020</p> 8caf450234fb330fdf4e677c9bd508ab Can You Legally Spy on Your Independent Contractors? for 04/28/2020 Tue, 28 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I read with interest a column you did a while back on whether or not you can legally spy on what your employees are doing on the Internet. I have a 'virtual company' with one or two full-time employees, but work with several independent contractors who work out of their homes. Occasionally, we have meetings at the office, and the contractors bring their laptops to work on while they're here. Do I have the same rights to spy on their online activities as I do with my employees?"</p> <p>In a word, no.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 28, 2020</p> c693572893eb0cea01eb90f771dae2fb A Terrible Choice: Save Lives, or Save Jobs? for 04/14/2020 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown is something I never would have thought possible 45 days ago.</p> <p>I have developed sympathy for politicians.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 14, 2020</p> 102726dd3da5020e3d7556119b0265fd Should Your Teenager Start a Summer Lawn Service? for 04/07/2020 Tue, 07 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Dear Mr. Ennico: I am a junior in high school, and I have an interest in business. I have seen a multitude of your YouTube seminars, and appreciate the insight you share through them. During this upcoming summer, I want to start my own lawn service business. I do a lot of sports during the summer, so I want my business to be more part-time, where I do not have to work too long every day, and I am the sole worker. Do I need a business license, or what other legal information should I know about in order to get this business ready for summer?" </p> <p>Boy, does this email take me back. When my wife and I bought our first home shortly after getting married, one of our very first visitors was a teenager who introduced himself by saying: "Hi, I'm so-and-so from down the street. Welcome to the neighborhood. I'm the local kid who mows people's lawns and does odd jobs." He handed me a computer-generated price list for all his services &#8212; keep in mind this is 1985, when personal computers were first coming on the market &#8212; and &#8212; I will never forget this &#8212; remembered to add sales tax. Needless to say, I was bowled over and actually used his services for a while until he graduated high school.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 07, 2020</p> 578bb1862674c89030d1d31c072d27a1 When a Side Venture Becomes a Corporate Opportunity for 03/31/2020 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I have a very successful service business with two partners who have become very close friends. The business is organized as a limited liability company (LLC).</p> <p>"Our business is doing quite well, but we see an opportunity to start a wholly unrelated business (in the online retail space) that might serve as a marketing and distribution channel for our service business. Basically, we would be offering a wholly unrelated line of products online in the hopes of 'cross selling' our LLC's services down the road.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 279ee9d020aaf37fdc17c3f0e46241c1 Can You Copyright a Common Name? for 03/24/2020 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I just watched your YouTube video on basic copyright law and didn't hear you touch on this subject, so I thought I'd drop you a line and ask you this question. I'm having trouble understanding the part of copyright law that does not extend to titles, names, slogans or short phrases. </p> <p>"I wrote a story a few years ago and did all kinds of research on character names to make sure they hadn't been used before. But recently I found out that the first and last name of my main character was used by a minor character in one episode of a TV show. I can't say I'm surprised by this because it's a name made up of a common first name and a common last name. The two characters have nothing in common except they have the same name. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> ee23b37922975967a1cc8eba4fe78a7b How Small Business Can Survive the Coronavirus for 03/17/2020 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What a difference a week makes.</p> <p>Last Saturday my wife and I attended a Broadway show in New York City and had dinner at a popular Italian restaurant in Times Square, taking the commuter train to and from our home in Connecticut. We were planning a vacation in Florida this week. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> 06e3406b4365b3ddb32f9ef111c4d02f Choosing the Right Way to Account for Sales for 03/10/2020 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Last year I started a business selling on eBay. I'm doing my taxes now, and my accountant is telling me I have to choose between the 'cash' and 'accrual' methods of accounting. Frankly, I haven't been doing any accounting as such. When people pay me, I just deposit their checks or money orders into my business checking account (I'm not using PayPal yet, though I plan to next year). Could you please explain the difference between these two accounting methods in language I can understand?" </p> <p>As Curly Joe Howard of "The Three Stooges" used to say, "soitenly." <p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> 86be85925650fe5d2a48afbb4a31607f The Case of the Doormat Partner for 03/03/2020 Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Most of the emails I get for this column are pretty straightforward. Some, though, come straight out of the daytime soap operas, positively oozing with bile and vitriol. Here's a good one: "I am the co-founder/CEO of a seminar production company. I started a Limited Liability Company with my partner two years ago. Unfortunately, the partnership is no longer working out. During the last year, we have had some challenges in regards to 'control' and the image of the business we want to acquire. The problem, I believe, stems from the fact that I was too generous and agreed to a 50/50 partnership from the beginning. My partner has taken advantage of that and has forgotten that it was me who invited her as a partner. I am always struggling with her in regards to decision making and the order of business. </p> <p>"She has manipulated situations in which she gained access of the business in her possession. For example, the business was registered at her home address, the bank book ended up in her possession because she located a bank near her home, the telephone is in her home, and the post office that we have a box registered is near her home. In other words, she has taken over all aspects of the company. My partner has been very petty and whines a lot about being the first to speak at an event. She is always looking to impress others, wanting to be seen in public, and letting people know she is President of a company. However, she has not been effective as a President of the company. Her letter writing skills have demonstrated only High School level. Her communications with our clients have led to confusion and ruined business relationships.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p> 19dd6cfc6a9ba3886b44acc4529a875c The Right Way to Let Franchisees Go for 02/25/2020 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A lot of corporate executives who have been downsized in the economy downturn, 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 Feb 25, 2020</p> c5ce546fd3d8a0eb52f9ae1c76350fde Should You Be a Guinea Pig for a New Franchise? for 02/18/2020 Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I was downsized from a corporate job about a year ago. I have never run my own business before, but I am realizing now there is no future for me in corporate America (I am over 50 years of age), so I am looking at entrepreneurial options.</p> <p>"My outplacement firm recommended that I consider buying a franchise. The problem with franchises, though, is that the really good ones are too expensive.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 18, 2020</p>