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

Are You Selling Business Opportunities Without Knowing It?

"I have a small manufacturing business in the Midwest.

"For years, I have hired individuals to act as distributors for my products throughout the United States, similar to what the Avon cosmetics people do. They have assigned territories and cannot solicit business in a territory outside their own, but they can accept orders from anywhere.

"...Read more

Dealing With Celebrity Endorsements

"Some friends and I started a Web based business targeting people who play a particular sport.

"As it happens, one of the leading players of the sport -- a household name to fans -- has discovered our website and absolutely loves it. We have approached him about possibly endorsing our website, and he has expressed an interest in doing so.

"...Read more

Reviving the 'Walking Dead' Corporation

"In the late 1990s, I invented a product for the health care industry. I obtained patents for the product and registered trademarks for the product name. I even formed a corporation in Delaware and registered it in Texas, where my husband and I were living at that time. Then, my husband (also an entrepreneur) moved his business to New York to ...Read more

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"I am new to this country and am taking a class in the evenings on how to start my own business. I understand that you need a tax ID number and that it's a good idea to form a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) to protect myself from lawsuits. At what point in the process, though, should I prepare the business plan? Do I have to ...Read more

Teaching Lawyers About Cybersecurity

Let's face it; when it comes to professionals with technological savvy, lawyers are way, way down the list. I know lawyers who are still using Windows 98, if that gives you an idea (hey, it was a pretty good program).

So it was with great trepidation that I attended last week's Tech Summit in New York City sponsored by the New York State Bar ...Read more

When a Business Has 2 Sets of Books

"My spouse and I have been looking to buy a business for some time. We've found a good local business with a great location and lots of existing customers. The seller wants us to pay one and one-half times his gross sales last year, which our accountant says is a fair price. The seller has also agreed to let us pay him 40% of the purchase ...Read more

You Know You Have an Online Retail Business When ...

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

Can I Sell This Stuff on EBay?

"What are the rules when it comes to selling trademarked or branded items, such as Gucci handbags or Tiffany & Co. jewelry, on eBay?"

EBay's rules about trademarked items are simple to state but difficult as the Dickens to apply in practice. Even experienced eBay sellers make mistakes in this area. The rules are basically these:

--You cannot...Read more

Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status the E-Z Way: Part 2 of 2

In July 2014, the IRS adopted Form 1023-EZ, a simplified application process for nonprofit organizations that wish to obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Your organization is not eligible to use Form 1023-EZ if:

--It has more than $250,000 in total assets.

--It has gross receipts of more than $50,...Read more

Registering Your Nonprofit for Tax-Exempt Status The E-Z Way: Part 1 of 2

Getting a nonprofit organization off the ground has always involved three steps:

--Forming a nonstock corporation or limited liability company (LLC) under your state's business organization laws.

--Registering the corporation or LLC for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code.

--...Read more


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