Fundamental Concepts Still Apply

Last year, they shut down the post office in our town.

Well, not exactly. What they did was consolidate three branch offices into a single post office, which they located in a part of town that's absolutely impossible to get to, especially during rush hours.

What's interesting is what they did with the building of the post office they shut ...Read more

When Was Your Last Stockholders Meeting?

Q: My brother and I started a small retail business 10 years ago, and it has done very well.

We always wanted this to be a family business, so several years ago we sold 25 percent of our company's stock to five family members, none of whom are actively involved in the business (although we have given their kids summer jobs every once in a ...Read more

Sponsoring Foreign Workers for H-1B Visas

Q: I run a small software development business. Last summer, we had an intern from China who was absolutely fantastic. She is studying engineering at a local university and plans to graduate this spring. We would love to offer her a permanent position. She has asked us to sponsor her for an H-1B visa. We would love to do this for her but are ...Read more

Is Equity Crowdfunding Right for Your Business?

Last week, my new book, "The Crowdfunding Handbook," was officially released. Three years in the making, this book is the first of many you will be reading about equity crowdfunding -- how a business can utilize crowdfunding websites, such as Kickstarter, to raise capital online from its social media followers and fans.

On May 16, 2016, new ...Read more

Getting Your Nonprofit Approved By The IRS

Q: "I am trying to start a nonprofit organization to raise money for a local institution that has lost its state funding due to budget cuts.

I formed a limited liability company, which went through without difficulty, but I am having trouble obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS. I filed the application (Form 1023) awhile back, but they ...Read more

New Tools for Online Retailers

Twice a year I have the privilege of speaking at a leading conference and exhibition for people who sell merchandise online: the Seller's Conference for Online Entrepreneurs.

The event was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week. More than 100 Amazon third-party resellers from around the country attended, just a small percentage of the ...Read more

Nondisclosure Agreements Are Not Boilerplate

Q: I'm starting a consulting business and have been asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement with my first client, a large multinational corporation.

The agreement seems straightforward enough, and it's my understanding that these are pretty much boilerplate agreements that you don't want to spend a lot of time negotiating for fear of sending ...Read more

The 12 Biggest Small Business Mistakes: Part 2

Last week we covered six of the 12 biggest mistakes most small businesses make. Here, in my humble opinion, are the other six:

Number 7: Working in the business rather than on the business. Many self-employed people think they are entrepreneurs but really aren't. They work full time without any partners, employees or assistants. They take ...Read more

The 12 Biggest Small Business Mistakes: Part 1

One of my readers recently wrote to me: "Cliff, we love your column. You give lots of good advice, but you dole it out in piecemeal week by week.

Every once in a while, can you pull together some of your pearls of wisdom and summarize them in a single column? It would be nice to have a handy checklist of things to do or avoid."

In the next ...Read more

Should Your LLC Be Managed by Members or Managers?

When setting up a limited liability company for a new business, one of the hardest tasks is figuring out how the company should be managed.

In most states, LLCs can be managed two different ways:

--By its owners (who are called members), similar to a general partnership.

--By one or more managers (who may or may not be members), similar to ...Read more

When Withdrawing Is Better Than Fighting

"For the past several years I have run a small service business with a partner. We are 50/50 owners of a limited liability company but have never signed a formal agreement.

"Over the past year, we have found ourselves disagreeing more than agreeing on things. Late last year, I discovered that my partner had formed her own company and was ...Read more

When Buying a Troubled Business, Consider a Royalty Deal

"I have an opportunity to buy a service business in my area.

"The business has been run forever by a gentleman who is now 88 years old. He has run the business very informally over the years, with several employees who have become "family" (his daughter, not a professional accountant, has been keeping the books).

"We have looked at his books...Read more

When Buying a Business, Beware of the Eager Seller

"I've been looking to buy a business for some time now. My college graduate daughter has been out of work and living at home for two years, despite tons of effort and countless rejections, and I thought it might be a good idea for the two of us to own something where I could help her out for a while until she got the hang of things and could ...Read more


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