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, 15 Jan 2021 06:09:42 -0800 Succeeding in Your Business from Creators Syndicate 7f4df5dd8c48cdd98cf2d4e72a270bb7 I Think It's About ... PPP Loan Forgiveness for 01/12/2021 Tue, 12 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>If you received proceeds of a loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020, you are probably wondering if, when and how those loan proceeds will be forgiven, and how you should treat them when you file your tax returns.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 12, 2021</p> 7e4ff6f2bed44a65efeb94f5c11b81ed Coping With the New PPP Rules for 01/05/2021 Tue, 05 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Last week, Congress and the president gave small businesses across the country a belated holiday gift in the form of a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. </p> <p>First, some acronyms you need to wrap your brain around. The first two rounds of individual and small business loans and grants were handed out last year under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law in March 2020, creating the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program. The new law is known as the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Bill 2021, which I'm going to call PPP-2 in this column. For a general overview of the PPP program as originally enacted, see</p> <p>New Money. The new legislation revives the original PPP program, which closed on Aug. 8, 2020, and includes appropriations for new loans and advances to be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), including approximately $284 billion for PPP loans and $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). Such funding is to be made available between the enactment of this legislation and March 31, 2021. <p>Updated: Tue Jan 05, 2021</p> 03593f0d638b1edda01043b84886f420 The Best Small Business Advice for 2021 for 12/29/2020 Tue, 29 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Normally, at year-end, I do a column on New Year's resolutions for small-business owners, with simple but practical suggestions such as taking your lawyer and accountant to lunch once a year and asking them to name three things you could be doing better.</p> <p>But 2020 was a year like no other in our lifetime, and I think it's more important to talk about some of the megachanges small businesses will be facing as we emerge from the pandemic &#8212; hopefully next year, but more probably in 2022. Besides, no one is taking anyone to lunch these days.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 29, 2020</p> 024114a7482e941d77d3d5254f4e7bb8 Year-End Tax Planning: Part 2 of 2 for 12/22/2020 Tue, 22 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>When it comes to tax planning this year, there is good news and bad news.</p> <p>The good news: If your small business was clobbered by the COVID-19 pandemic and government shutdowns, you shouldn't have to pay a lot in taxes for 2020.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 22, 2020</p> 3713312f21ceaa67f2cb1846bc513f62 Year-End Tax Planning: Part 1 of 2 for 12/15/2020 Tue, 15 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>As we reach the end of the annus horribilis that was 2020, it's hard to even think of another income tax deadline in three to four months.</p> <p>But as Mark Twain once observed, the only two things you can count on in life are death and taxes.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 15, 2020</p> 048707478eb408a1bab55d84e7173a73 The Pitfalls of Client Referrals for 12/08/2020 Tue, 08 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>As a business owner, consultant or professional, you are always asked for referrals to other professionals. My small-business clients frequently ask me for referrals to local accountants, bookkeepers, insurance agents and attorneys with specialized practices (such as patent or immigration law) who do stuff I can't or don't want to do. Sometimes, though, referrals that are made with the best of intentions go bad, and they can hurt your business and your reputation in the community. </p> <p>A lawyer friend of mine shared with me this letter from a local accountant: "I am writing to you about a referral that came to me through you. I understand that you sometimes give my name to people you really don't know that well. I think perhaps you need to rethink that a bit.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 08, 2020</p> 20d9a6e145d3458a51aac3c9c70ee1b8 Business Partners Gone Wild: Case No. 448 for 12/01/2020 Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"Two years ago, my wife's brother and I decided to start up a local taxi service (it's a small town, well off the radar screens of Uber and Lyft). We set up a limited liability company (LLC) for the business. Because of some credit problems I had in the past, the city wouldn't give us the medallion to operate the taxi service if I was a member of the LLC. So we made my wife 50% owner of the business, with my wife's brother owning the other 50%. The business has done really well, so well that it's totally gone to my brother-in-law's head. He thinks it's HIS business, even though my wife does all the books and I'm driving cabs just as much as he is. Last week we learned that he re-registered all of our taxicabs in his own name, shut down the LLC checking account, and opened a new LLC checking account at another bank with him as the only authorized signature. He's totally out of control. How can we get rid of him?"</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">There's an old saying that says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," and here's a classic example. </span>As I've said before in this column, nothing &#8212; and I mean NOTHING &#8212; will keep a business owner awake at night like when a partner goes over to the dark side and starts doing weird stuff without his or her knowledge.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 01, 2020</p> f9cd15000fa079cb760fc6529c95c3f0 Business Plans From Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs for 11/24/2020 Tue, 24 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Twice a year, I have the honor of being a judge at the Connecticut Business Plan Competition, where students from business schools and undergraduate business programs throughout Connecticut compete for cash prizes and mentoring from leading business experts, in a format very similar to the popular "Shark Tank" television show.</p> <p>The event has grown wildly popular over the years, and even though the final judging took place via Zoom meeting due to COVID-19 restrictions, eight student teams participated in this year's competition. Here are some ideas the students came up with, along with my judge's notes describing their strengths and weaknesses.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 24, 2020</p> 040642382df7d63f4727adf4db53dfa7 Buying a One-Way Ticket to a Courtroom for 11/10/2020 Tue, 10 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I have a consulting business. Earlier this year, I contracted with a local business to provide management consulting services on a particular project. I normally charge by the hour, but the local business had an excellent reputation, and, frankly, I wanted to give them a good first experience, so I quoted them a flat fee for the project. </p> <p>"No sooner was the ink dry on our contract than they started asking for things that weren't included in the original fee quote. People within the organization had difficulty communicating with each other, and as a result, the company's senior management kept changing their minds &#8212; as soon as I sent them something I promised I would deliver, they told me they really wanted something else.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 10, 2020</p> d22b45af79e9341cc4851e10b393b187 Is It Good? Is It Bad? Who Knows? for 11/03/2020 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There's an old vaudeville comedy routine that goes by the name "That's good. That's bad."</p> <p>This routine was (at least for my generation) made famous by the late Archie Campbell, a country comedian who performed on "Hee Haw" and other comedy-variety television programs of the 1960s and 1970s (for an audio clip of Campbell's performance, go to YouTube and search Archie Campbell "That's Good That's Bad").<p>Updated: Tue Nov 03, 2020</p> 5a90a83e8466cc201800aad50ae84396 Getting Cold Comfort When Joining a Startup for 10/27/2020 Tue, 27 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I'm thinking about joining a new Web-based business where I would be one of three founders. The other two founders came from a previous company that's being liquidated, and the startup is buying the assets of the previous company with the proceeds of a bank loan. The loan money will be used to cash out the other owners of the previous company who are not joining the new startup, but as part of the deal the new startup will be assuming some debt that had been held by the previous startup. </p> <p>"What sort of legal due diligence should I do before getting involved with this startup?"<p>Updated: Tue Oct 27, 2020</p> 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>