Equity Crowdfunding, a Year Later

In October 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued proposed regulations to implement the provisions of Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012. Under Title III, startup companies would be allowed to use crowdfunding websites (such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo) to raise money for their companies from ...Read more

Dealing with Competition: Knowing Your Competitive Advantage (part 2 of 2)

Once you have identified the four different types of competitor (identified in last week's column), you now have to develop a strategy for crushing each and every one of them.

No matter what business you are in, your success will come to some extent from the failures of others. And you can't just sit around and wait for them to make mistakes....Read more

Dealing with Competition: Knowing Your Enemies (Part 1 of 2)

As my readers know, I frequently judge business plan competitions throughout the United States.

Just about every time I do one of these, I hear an entrepreneur say that his business plan "has no competition."

Every time this happens, the audience laughs. Why? Because they know better. Every business has competition. If you don't have ...Read more

The Only Four Reasons to Do Anything

"I left corporate America a few years ago. While I wouldn't go back in a million years, I have to confess that I'm struggling right now.

"In addition to running my own Internet business out of the house, I'm on the boards of three local nonprofit organizations, and I've been teaching classes as an 'adjunct professor' at two local colleges. I ...Read more

Dealing With Open Source Software in a License Agreement

"We are a small software company. We have spent years developing and copyrighting our product, which is frequently bundled with software created by other companies.

"We recently received a notice from a software company we've never heard of saying we have to hand over the source code to our product. Apparently, this other company's product is...Read more

How to Build a Successful (and Lawsuit-Proof) Benefit Corporation

"Some friends and I are thinking about setting up a benefit corporation or 'B corp' for our business, which has a strong social mission. We realize these are very new, and don't want to do anything that will cause trouble for us or our investors down the road. What should be doing to make sure things go smoothly and we actually have the ...Read more

Fan Fiction, 'Robot Chicken,' Fair Use and Copyright Laws

"I am a professional by trade, but evenings and weekends I'm involved in a local amateur theater group.

"Just for fun, our group set up a YouTube channel and recorded some short videos involving characters from popular movies and television shows and mixing them up. For example, we had actors dressed up like characters from the medieval-...Read more

How EBay Can Get Its Groove Back

It's hard to believe that eBay, one of the early Internet pioneers that celebrated its 20th anniversary as a public company last year, is viewed by many today as a stodgy, late-stage company. But so it seems.

Earlier this year eBay, under pressure from shareholder activist Carl Icahn (we used to call these people "corporate raiders"), ...Read more

Can Your Business Be Franchised?

"My family and I run a very successful pub business in a Midwestern college town. We have a huge following, and a unique and distinctive railroad-themed image.

"A number of people have approached us wanting to license our business concept. I've done some reading and it seems to do this we will have to be regulated as a franchise. Is that ...Read more

The 10 Biggest Business Plan Mistakes

In any given year, I look at hundreds of business plans from entrepreneurs and business school students across the country. While the businesses are all over the place, ranging from basic retail and service businesses to advanced technology concepts bordering on science fiction, the authors of these plans keep making the same mistakes over and...Read more

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