Criticism Is a Good Thing, Except on the Web

"I want to put a hyperlink on my website to an article on another website, so that readers could see the article, read it, and then respond whether negative or positive on my website what they thought of the article. Is this legal?"

The short and easy answer is that it's probably legal. The tougher question is: Should you do it?

For those ...Read more

5 Ways to Identify Problem Clients

"I've been running a small service business for a while now, and it seems like I have problems with every client these days.

"Most don't pay on time -- I have to remind them every month to pay their invoices, and a couple have stopped returning my phone calls altogether.

"Other clients make unreasonable demands on me, asking me to do things ...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 2018: 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 (and, by ...Read more

Dealing With the Trademark Bully

"I started an online business last year. We've had an amazing run so far, with over 10,000 unique hits every day on our website, and a 30 percent gross profit margin on sales of over $250,000 in our first year. Our site has been written up in some major magazines, and we are getting attention from industry bloggers who have rated our site very...Read more

How Should Small Businesses Respond to the GDPR?

"My partner and I run a small software business that caters to a niche market.

"Our customers (all businesses -- we don't sell to individuals) are located primarily in the United States and Canada, but we do have two corporate customers in the United Kingdom that account for less than 1 percent of our total global revenue. We don't advertise ...Read more

Is Blockchain the Solution to the World's Problems?

Have you ever picked up two books that seemed to be about two entirely different subjects only to realize they were pretty much the same?

Book No. 1: Last week, I was very excited to receive a review copy of Jim Blasingame's latest book, "The 3rd Ingredient: The Journey of Analog Ethics Into the World of Digital Fear and Greed."

For those ...Read more

Does Your Business Qualify as Women- or Minority-Owned?

"My husband and I started a consulting business a while back, and we are finding ourselves getting more and more business from government agencies and nonprofit organizations. There's only one problem: many of these people want to know if we are a 'minority-owned enterprise' or a 'female-owned enterprise' so they can comply with federal and ...Read more

Do Personal Guarantees Go on Forever?

"My partner and I bought a small business five years ago from the person who originally started it. We assumed his existing lease for a terrific retail space, and personally guaranteed the lease. As we are both getting ready to retire, we decided to sell the business. We found a great buyer, who is willing to pay us an above-market price ...Read more

Getting the 'Three Stooges' out of Your LLC Operating Agreement

"I just started a limited liability company (LLC) with three partners. Our attorney drafted an Operating Agreement for us, but I'm a little confused by the buyout provisions he drafted.

"The agreement says that if one of us dies, becomes disabled, or otherwise withdraws from the company, we have to buy his shares in the company so the ...Read more

Exorcising the Ghost of Partners Past

"Three years ago, I started a business with two other guys. We set up a limited liability company (LLC), and split the ownership 40 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent.

"The business grew for about a year but then really tapered off when the recession hit. All three of us had to take 'day jobs' just to make ends meet, but we kept the business ...Read more

Does Your Employer Own Everything You Create?

"I'm a full-time employee (W-2) for a large financial institution.

"In my spare time, I have been doing research on a new technology product that will have a dramatic impact on the financial industry, and would like to write a book about it. I am concerned, however, that if my employer finds out about this project that they will claim ...Read more

3 Easy Things the IRS Should Do to Help Small Businesses

With tax time once again upon us, it is time to give some thought to the agency we all love to hate this time of year: the Internal Revenue Service.

While nobody likes paying taxes and anyone who's been through an IRS audit probably doesn't have warm and fuzzy feelings toward the agency and its personnel, I do have more than a little sympathy...Read more


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