Setting up a Worker Cooperative With an LLC

"I have run a successful service business for many years.

I am getting ready to retire and have been approached by several local competitors who would love to buy my business.

The problem is that I have several long-serving employees in their 40s and 50s who would probably be terminated if I sold the business, with little chance of their ...Read more

One More Thing America Needs From Its Media

After last week's column on the need for more slapstick comedy from our entertainment media, I am emboldened to write on a related subject, something else we need from our media right now if America is to get through the coming tough years:

More positive role models -- what we used to call "heroes".

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that most...Read more

Oh, Ben Turpin, Where Art Thou?

As summertime approaches and we all get out for some (long overdue) fun in the sun, it's time to get a little philosophical and take a longer-range view of some things that are happening in the world.

Few people would disagree that the United States is facing some tough times ahead. Not only business owners but all Americans will need some ...Read more

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Small Business

Most small businesses wait until it's too late before hiring their first lawyer -- usually after someone has served them with a lawsuit or has sent a threatening letter.

While nobody enjoys paying legal fees, having a good business lawyer on your team from the beginning can save you tons of money and heartache down the road.

What should you ...Read more

The Only 4 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

Seeking an Entrepreneurial Solution to a Smelly Problem

For the past several years, I have taught an MBA-level online class on entrepreneurship and small business management for a local university.

Rather than give students a traditional final exam with multiple choice and true/false questions, I adopt a "Zen exam" approach. Each question is a real-world entrepreneurial challenge that not only ...Read more

Protecting Your Online Business With Exclusive Agreements

"I buy a fashion accessory at the full retail price, directly from the manufacturer's own retail store, and then resell it on Amazon and eBay where, believe it or not, I make money. The only official way to get this product as 'new' in the United States is through the manufacturer. They know exactly what I am doing, as this is not a product a ...Read more

The Graduation Speech Your Kids Really, Really Need to Hear

This column, which originally appeared in May 2009, is one of the most requested and reprinted "Succeeding in Your Business" columns, especially during graduation season.

Members of the Class of 2022:

I was sorry to hear that the reality TV star who was to be your commencement speaker today had to bow out at the last minute. I was ...Read more

Preparing for Your First 'Real' Investor

"We set up a limited liability company last year for a tech business. There are three of us -- one of us acts as 'managing member' and the other two vote only on important decisions. We have never had a written agreement for our business.

A wealthy individual has indicated an interest in investing in us, and our accountant is telling us we ...Read more

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"I am new to this country and am taking a class in the evenings on how to start my own business. I understand that you need a tax ID number and that it's a good idea to form a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) to protect myself from lawsuits. At what point in the process, though, should I prepare the business plan? Do I have to ...Read more

Using SBA Financing to Buy a Business or Franchise

"I have been thinking about buying a franchise.

I was going to roll over some money from a 401(k) I have with a former employer, but my spouse isn't keen on the idea as it's our only retirement money.

I visited a local bank recently and was surprised -- actually, shocked -- to find they were willing to consider an SBA loan to finance my ...Read more

Expect These Questions When You Give Employees Stock Options

"We started a business some time ago and have about 10 employees.

The business has done well, to the point where we want to give our employees options to acquire stock in our company.

We had our lawyer draw up a stock option plan and agreements granting options to our employees, but we're getting hit with tons of questions and don't know how...Read more

Nondisclosure Agreements (NDAs) Are Not Boilerplate

"I'm starting a consulting business and have been asked to sign a 'confidentiality and 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 ...Read more



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