Creating a Hit Reality TV Show

"I have an idea for a terrific reality television show that would target 'tweens' -- 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...Read more

Buying a Business in Troubled Times

"My wife and I are looking to buy a small business.

"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.

"We've found a fairly healthy business in our area. The seller is willing to sell, and ...Read more

Starting a New Business in the Middle of Divorce

"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.

"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 ...Read more

My Summer 2020 Reading List

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 -- 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, ...Read more

Some Rules of Thumb When Considering Bankruptcy

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.

When it comes to bankruptcy, every situation is...Read more

The New Small Business Bankruptcy Law

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.

Many of those small businesses will be thinking about bankruptcy and might not be aware that the government has -- believe it or not -- come to ...Read more

Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?: Part 2 of 2

Once you have crunched the numbers and decided there's no point in negotiating with your creditors -- either because there are too many of them or they refuse to negotiate -- you have to consider whether a bankruptcy filing is the only way out.

Here are your options:

Dissolution. If you are a corporation or limited liability company and you ...Read more

Is It Time to Throw in the Towel?: Part 1 of 2

"My business has been shut down the past couple of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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.

"But there is no way I can catch up on all my debts. I owe three months' back rent to my landlord, three months' missed payments to my SBA...Read more

A Pandemic Survival Lesson From Ancient Rome

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.

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 ...Read more

How to Negotiate With Your Landlord or Franchisor

"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 ...Read more

Can You Legally Spy on Your Independent Contractors?

"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 ...Read more

A Terrible Choice: Save Lives, or Save Jobs?

One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown is something I never would have thought possible 45 days ago.

I have developed sympathy for politicians.

Politicians of every stripe: federal, state, local, Republican, Democrat -- makes no difference. I feel sorry for these people.

They may or may not have seen this ...Read more


Social Connections


Shoe Mike Peters Mike Shelton Gary Varvel David M. Hitch Crankshaft