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 2023:

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

Cutting Costs the Right Way

"We have a retail business (both brick-and-mortar and internet).

We have tried every marketing trick in the book, but we can't seem to push our sales up beyond a certain point due to too much competition.

We need to grow our business but are not sure how to do it in such a tough climate. Any suggestions?"

There are only two ways to grow a ...Read more

Preparing For Your First 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 need...Read more

To the Baby Boomers: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Being cooped up in a New England house this time of year isn't fun. It's all rain, mud and washed-out blossoms covering the streets and driveways. To live up here one must have a rich interior life. If you don't have a Netflix subscription, books become really important in maintaining a positive state of mind.

Each year I try to have a theme ...Read more

Fan Fiction, 'Robot Chicken,' Fair Use and the Copyright Laws

"I am a professional by trade, but evenings and weekends I'm involved in a local amateur theater group.

Just for fun, our group set up a YouTube channel and recorded some short videos involving characters from popular movies and television shows and mixing them up. For example, we had actors dressed up like characters from the medieval-themed...Read more

Tips for Dealing With a Temp Agency

"I was downsized from a large corporation a couple of months ago.

I'm excited about starting my own solo consulting practice. I've had some business cards and stationery printed out and have already lined up a couple of interviews for consulting work.

I've also been approached by a local temporary employment agency that wants to place me for...Read more

5 Easy Rules That Will Keep Your Delaware Corporation Alive

"Some friends and I started a high-tech business a couple of years ago and formed a Delaware corporation to run the business. We live and work in another state but were told that Delaware was the place to be for tech startups (it may have been one of your columns, actually ...).

We formed the corporation online to save money, and it seemed ...Read more

Business or Hobby?

Doing something fun and making a little money at it? Maybe you sell stuff on eBay, Amazon or Etsy just to clean out your basement and you are (pleasantly) surprised that people in Brazil actually want this stuff and are willing to pay good money for it. Maybe you have a backyard full of chickens and have started selling eggs to folks who can't...Read more

Some Real-world Advice for Amazon Sellers

It's hard to believe, but next year will mark the 20th anniversary of my involvement with the eBay and Amazon seller communities.

It all began quite harmlessly, with an out-of-the-blue call from Entrepreneur magazine asking me if I could put together a quick and dirty talk on the "legal and tax aspects of selling on eBay" and presenting it at...Read more

Some Legal and Tax Tips for Professional Speakers

"I do a lot of public speaking to promote my small business. Most of my speaking is for local organizations; I don't charge them a fee, and there's no contract involved. But lately I've been contacted by some event planners to speak at trade shows around the country, and their contracts are several pages long! What are some of the things I ...Read more

Before You Start Your Business Opportunity (Part 2 of 2)

You have built a successful business and have set up a training program to teach people how to start and run that business successfully. They don't have to use your name, nor will they be given assigned territories. But they will have to pay a sizable upfront fee for the training program, and pay additional amounts for annual refresher courses...Read more

Before You Start Your Business Opportunity (Part 1 of 2)

"We have operated a successful service business for many years.

We no longer want to run the business ourselves, but we think this type of business is an excellent opportunity for other people. So we have come up with a training program to teach other people how to build a business like ours.

Customers will pay $10,000 up front for the ...Read more



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