Before You Buy a Franchise: Part 1

If you have downsized from a corporate job or are in your 40s, 50s or 60s and looking for a new career, you may be thinking about buying a franchise.

Franchises give people the opportunity to live an entrepreneurial life with much lower risk than starting a business from scratch. A franchise will assign you an exclusive territory for your ...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 2017:

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

Time Management for People With No Time to Manage: Part 2 of 2

Once you have mastered (or at least accepted as truth) the three basic principles of time management described in last week's column, it's time to tackle the tough job: organizing your time day to day so you can start enjoying life.

Getting control of your time is, at least in my experience, a two-step process: compartmentalization and ...Read more

Time Management for People With No Time to Manage: Part 1 of 2

Let's face it: We are all feeling a bit time-starved these days.

And there's a reason for that: technology.

Thanks to our wonderful laptops, notebooks, notepads and smartphones, which were supposed to free us from menial tasks so we could spend more time meditating on the meaning of life, we have less time to ourselves than we did before.

...Read more

The Right Way to Value a Small Business: Part 2 of 2

There is no perfect or right way to value a small business. There are, however, lots of wrong ways to do it.

When a partner or owner dies, becomes disabled or leaves the business, the business must be valued so that a fair price for his or her ownership interest can be determined. But a process that takes too long to value the company is fair...Read more

The Right Way to Value a Small Business: Part 1 of 2

"I have a corporation which I own 50/50 with my sister.

"We get along great, but our accountant is putting pressure on us to put together a shareholders' agreement so we know what to do if one of us dies, becomes disabled, or gets divorced. Our business is a high technology startup, if that makes a difference.

"Where we're stuck is that we ...Read more

Some Last-Minute Tax Tips

'Tis the season for last-minute tax questions. Here are some of the more interesting ones I've received in the last week, along with my best suggestions.

Q: "I am not yet registered as a business with the government, so have no tax I.D. number. I was just doing this as a trial for myself to see how it went first, and now plan on going forward...Read more

The Right Way to Set Up a Certification Program

"I have been running my own service business for many years. So many years, in fact, that my name is widely known in my field. Over the years I have mentored many young people who have gone into this business, and the fact that I have trained them has been a major factor in their success.

"Someone recently suggested that I should 'brand' ...Read more

A Cautionary Tale About a Brilliant Young Entrepreneur

As I get ready to celebrate my 63rd birthday, I find myself spending more and more time with young people.

As a lawyer dealing with technology start-ups and other entrepreneurial ventures, I not only find my clients getting younger and younger but also the lawyers I deal with. I find myself acting as mentor for a growing assortment of ...Read more

Putting Money Into a Nonprofit Organization -- the Right Way

"I am forming a nonprofit organization with two other investors who want to effect social change in our community.

"Because it will take quite a while to launch our fund-raising activities, get money from private donors, and file applications for government grants, the three of us have decided to put up some money to get this organization off...Read more

A Conference for the Serious Web Retailer

I had the privilege of speaking at the Sellers Conference in Philadelphia last week.

This event, formerly known as the Seller's Conference for Online Entrepreneurs, or SCOE, was and has always been the leading U.S. conference for people who sell merchandise on Amazon. But last week's event demonstrates how a virtual team headed by event ...Read more

When You Give Employees Stock Options, Expect These Questions

"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 ...Read more

Bringing Your Nonprofit Organization Back to Life

"Some friends and I formed a nonprofit organization 10 years ago to help at-risk youth in our community.

"We had a few good years, but then things fell apart. One of our board members left town because her husband got a new job. Another board member got divorced and stopped attending meetings because she didn't want to bump into her ex.

"We ...Read more


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