The Three Essential Small-Business Skills

Having worked with over 20,000 small businesses and their owners over the course of the past 40 years, I see patterns that many other people aren't privileged to see.

I see patterns in the businesses that succeed, and I see patterns in the ones that crash and burn.

I've spoken about these in my column before, and have made some of them the ...Read more

No 'Right to Be Forgotten' in the U.S.

"I am a 40-something professional with a somewhat unusual legal problem.

"While I am well-established in my profession, I moonlight as a semi-professional musician in my area, performing at local bars, clubs and restaurants. I released a CD of my music last year, which has been very well-received, and I'm starting to build a real following on...Read more

My Entrepreneur of the Year Nomination: Part 2 of 2

Entrepreneurs are today's American heroes, and that's a good thing. But too many people have an unrealistic picture in their heads of how things are going to go. They think that being a successful entrepreneur means they will be universally loved and rewarded, both financially and psychologically, and that everything will go on without a hitch...Read more

My Entrepreneur of the Year Nomination: Part 1 of 2

"Like the guy in Psalm 130, I am writing to you out of the depths of despair.

"I started a retail business last year involving a hot new technology. We needed some local real estate and found a pretty good location, but when our contractor inspected the space after we signed the lease, he discovered all kinds of environmental and structural ...Read more

When an LLC Makes a Subchapter S Election

"I have operated a service business for the past few years as a limited liability company (LLC) and have been quite successful.

"My accountant is recommending that I change my LLC so it's taxed like a subchapter S corporation. I understand she is trying to save me money on taxes by doing this, but I'm confused by what I'm reading on the ...Read more

Collecting Your Overdue Debts From a Distance

"Your YouTube video on collecting from deadbeat clients was truly inspiring. I am an electrical contractor who is owed $3,000 from a customer located way on the other side of the state. His business is selling a product made by others and installed by electrical contractors such as myself. He has no business assets, works from home and has no ...Read more

When SAFEs Aren't So Safe: Part 2 of 2

A simple agreement for future equity, or SAFE, is a contract between a company and an investor under which the investor puts money into the company in exchange for a promise to issue shares in the future upon the occurrence of a triggering event (usually the company's first round of venture capital financing).

Like preferred stock or ...Read more

When SAFEs Aren't So Safe: Part 1 of 2

"I am a successful entrepreneur who has decided to make an angel investment in a small startup company.

"I asked for preferred stock in the company, but the founders have offered me something called a SAFE instead. I've read the paperwork, and I confess I'm a bit confused about exactly what I'm getting. Reading about SAFEs online, it sounds ...Read more

Locking up Your Suppliers When Selling Online

"I have been selling merchandise on eBay and Amazon for some time. I would like to build a 'brand' for the merchandise that I sell, but I'm being told that the only way to do that (since I'm not the manufacturer of these goods, only the distributor) is to get an exclusive distributor agreement with each manufacturer so that I am the only ...Read more

Are You Smart, Educated or Both?

I was extremely touched to receive an email from a young lady in India who had read and was reacting to a column I wrote years ago called "The Trouble With Kids Today." In the column, I commented on the lack of entrepreneurial spirit and drive in a younger generation accustomed to having things given to them and structured for them.

Her email...Read more

When Your Business Is Targeted on Social Media

The past few weeks I've been getting emails from Nextdoor, a social network (supported by advertising) where people can report lost dogs, ask for contractor referrals, complain about noisy neighbors and basically do online what neighbors have done forever.

Recently, a post appeared with a complaint about the service at a local pizza joint, a ...Read more


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