The Right Way to 'Private Label' Online

In last week's column, we talked about some of the wrong ways to engage in "private labeling" on eBay, Amazon and other e-commerce websites -- buying someone else's merchandise (legally) and reselling it online at a significantly higher price under your own trademark or "brand label."

A lot of online retailers are taking someone else's ...Read more

Trademark Infringement and 'Private Labeling' Online

Two emails I received this week deal with a recent phenomenon in e-commerce -- the so-called "private labeling" of merchandise on Amazon, eBay and other online venues.

Here's how it works: a seller buys merchandise in bulk from a manufacturer (usually in China or elsewhere in Asia). The merchandise is not trademarked or branded in any way. ...Read more

Your New Year's Resolutions for 2016 (Part 2 of 2)

Here are some more New Year's Resolutions for business owners.

Find three new sources of saleable product. If your business is selling stuff online, one of your biggest challenges is finding high quality stuff to sell at a profit. If you're not currently taking consignments, you're out of your mind. Take out an ad in your local newspaper ...Read more

Your New Years Resolutions For 2016 (Part 1 of 2)

New Year's Resolutions are all about habits. Breaking some bad ones -- smoking, drinking excessively, binging on fast food -- and starting new ones -- working out, eating more Brussels sprouts.

Businesses, like individuals, develop bad habits over time that need correction, while success in business over the long run usually means adopting ...Read more

My 'Entrepreneur of the Year' Nomination (Part 2 of 2)

Entrepreneurs are today's American heroes, and that's a good thing. But too many people have unrealistic pictures in their heads of how things are going to go. They think that being a successful entrepreneur means they will be universally loved and rewarded, both financially and psychologically, and that everything will go without a hitch as ...Read more

My Entrepreneur of the Year Nomination (Part 1 of 2)

"Like the guy in Psalm 130, I am writing to you out of the depths of despair.

"I started a retail business last year involving a hot new technology. We needed some local real estate, and found a pretty good location, but when our contractor inspected the space after we signed the lease he discovered all kinds of environmental and structural ...Read more

A Business Owner's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa: Well, another year has gone by. My business is surviving, by a thread, but I'm still facing lots of challenges. You know I've been really, really good this year (maybe that's the problem with my business -- I'm too darned good for my own good and should borrow more from the "ruthless entrepreneur" playbook, but never mind).

So ...Read more

Preparing Your 'Cap Table' Right Away

"We have a 'good news, bad news' problem in our business.

"On one hand, a local angel investor has offered to buy 15 percent of our company for $300,000.

"On the other hand, we don't know exactly who owns our company. My brother and I inherited my father's 80 percent share in the business when he died last year. The remaining 20 percent is ...Read more

Thinking About Crowdfunding? Watch the Fine Print

Make no mistake about it. If you own a small business or startup company, 2016 is going to be the year of crowdfunding.

For several years now, it has been possible to raise money online for projects such as a new invention, a documentary film or a nonprofit campaign using websites such as KickStarter and IndieGoGo. Basically, you make a pitch...Read more

Year-End Tax Planning for 2016

For most people, the end of December is called "the holidays." For lawyers, accountants and other financial types, however, it's called "year-end."

While most of us celebrate with turkey, eggnog, ugly sweaters and football -- often all at once -- these folks are working late hours trying to save their clients as much money in taxes as ...Read more

Should a Lawyer 'Sell' Legal Documents?

"I am looking for an attorney who could provide my business with a master form of client agreement. We understand that your services are not cheap, but would like to know how much you would charge for this kind of document. We were hoping you might offer a template agreement for this kind of arrangement. Unlike some people in this business, ...Read more

Should You Sign Up for a Nonprofit Board?

"A local nonprofit organization has asked me to join its board of directors. It's a real honor for me, and a cause I believe in, but I'm just a little nervous about my legal responsibilities. Could you tackle those at some point?"

A lot of nonprofit startups are looking to build their boards right now; I have even received some invitations. ...Read more

When Do You Sign Up for Income and Sales Taxes?

"I started an online retail business earlier this year, and have generated so much income already that I know I'm going to get a Form 1099 from PayPal this year.

"When do I need to sign my business up for federal and state taxes? I know I have to do this eventually but would prefer to hold off forming a limited liability company until after ...Read more


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