Preparing Your Business for the New Normal

It's official. The coronavirus pandemic's biggest victim is the U.S. economy.

Despite some states' recent efforts to reopen their economies, periodic surges in infections and the lack of a marketable COVID-19 vaccine make it a virtual certainty that this will be a U-shaped (or perhaps a WWWWW-shaped) recession lasting at least the next two to...Read more

Getting a New Product From Patent to Market

"I am an inventor who just got a U.S. patent for a wonderful new mechanical device that will revolutionize a particular industry.

"I am in the process of forming a company with three partners to manufacture and sell this device. My first partner has a manufacturing company that is capable of producing up to 1,000 units a year. My second ...Read more

Compensation for Sweat-Equity Players

"We are starting up a technology company and want to know the right way to compensate our technicians, developers and others who will be helping us grow the business. We don't want to give them equity at this time because we don't know how committed they will be to the business going forward. But we do want them to share in the growth of the ...Read more

Making Sure a Company's Founders Are Diluted Fairly

"A couple of months ago I started a Web-based company with two college friends. We agreed that I would have 20% of the stock in this company, and that my two friends would split the remaining 80% equally (40% each). That is okay with me, because this is really going to be their company -- I'm just designing and putting together the social ...Read more

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



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