To Keep Lawsuits Away, Think Like a Burglar

A reader asks: "I am a small landlord. I buy houses and rent them. My accountant says I do not need a corporation or limited liability company. He says I should just get more liability insurance for my houses and call it a day. My friends and my investment adviser tell me I should incorporate this business. What do you think?"

To answer this ...Read more

When Can Landlords 'Unreasonably Withhold' Consent?

"I am a small landlord who owns several commercial buildings.

"One of my tenants -- who runs a small retail store -- is looking to sell his business and retire. There are several years left to go on his lease, and because he's such a good tenant, the rent is somewhat below market for this area.

"The buyer is a young man just out of military ...Read more

Should Your LLC Be Managed by 'Members' or 'Managers?'

When setting up a limited liability company for a new business, one of the hardest jobs is figuring out how the company should be managed.

In most states, LLCs can be set up in one of two ways, managed either:

-- by its owners (called "members"), similar to a general partnership; or

-- by one or more managers (who may or may not also be ...Read more

Your Clients Don't Have Money: Should You Lower Your Fees?

"I work in a service business where I bill by the hour.

"Because I work out of my home and have no overhead, my fees are pretty reasonable. I try to price my services at about 80% of what my closest competitors charge, and I have had little trouble finding business at that level.

"Recently, I've been having problems. My customers are telling...Read more

Murphy's Law and the Entrepreneur

"My spouse and I recently decided to start a business designing knapsacks for children. We've got a bunch of great designs; they're lighter and more flexible than other knapsacks on the market, can be made with 100% organic ingredients and have a lot more compartments where kids can put their stuff. We both wish these were the sorts of ...Read more

Turn Your Emails Into Cash!

As frequent readers of this column know, I am not the biggest fan of email.

Each day I find myself answering at least 40 emails on matters relating to my law practice, the books I've written, upcoming speaking engagements and messages from old high school friends who are preparing to attend our 50-year reunion this year, to say nothing of (...Read more

Buying a Franchise Versus Starting Your Own Business

I was recently interviewed on this topic for a major online news magazine. The questions and my answers were as follows:

No. 1: Why do many former corporate executives prefer to buy a franchise rather than starting a business from scratch?

In three words -- safety, security and support. When you buy a franchise, you are buying a model that ...Read more

You Know You Have a Business on Ebay When ...

It's the most commonly asked legal question on eBay's discussion boards for sellers, "I've been selling on eBay for a while, but I don't know if I should treat it as a hobby or a business." Sooner or later, every eBay seller has to make this fateful decision: Should I do this only occasionally for the fun of it, or should I consider making a ...Read more

It's Time To Reconsider "Free" Services

Yesterday I did something very retro.

While responding to a (paper) flyer in my mailbox, I visited a local library's annual book sale. You know the one where you can pick up yesterday's best sellers for $1 or $2 each (half-price on the second day).

I have amassed quite a lot of books over the years. I probably have three or four thousand of ...Read more

Fourteen Rules for Billing Clients

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column with "25 Rules for Better, Happier Clients." I frankly thought it was just common sense, but I have received a torrent of emails from readers saying this column has changed the way they do business.

One typical response: "I have printed out your column, reduced it to the size of a Post-it note, and I am...Read more

Yes, You're Networking, But What Are You Thinking?

A sure sign that the economy is beginning to recover from the pandemic is that, over the past couple of weeks, I have received invitations to speak at local networking groups -- live and in person. So it's time to dust off some "inconvenient truths" about the do's and don'ts of networking. While I would be flattered to think that attendees ...Read more

25 Rules For Better, Happier Clients

It's hard to believe, but I have been practicing law now for 40 years. For 25 of those years, I have been working out of my home without partners, assistants, junior lawyers, paralegals or other staff. It's been just me and my personal computer. Heck, I don't even have a dog.

A lot has changed during those 40 years, but a number of rules are ...Read more



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