Categories: Legal

Be Wary of Personal Guarantees

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 15

As a veteran attorney, I've helped many clients avoid the risks of signing a personal guarantee. However, when it came to protecting myself in order to get financing as a...

Avoid Noncompliance Penalties

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 09

As state and local governments continue to make major changes to regulations and increase penalties for noncompliance, small businesses are struggling to revamp their compliance processes while also maintaining day-to-day...

Marketing with EU Privacy Laws in Mind

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 30

The European Union has strict directives that prescribe how you can or can't use or process personally identifiable information, like an individual's e-mail or physical address. European data protection legislation...

New Federal Regulations for Tipped Employees

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 16

The U.S. Labor Dept. issued new regulations for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that affect businesses that have tipped employees. These regulations became effective on May 5. Here are...

Put It in Writing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 12

When people enter into a business partnership, they do so with a lot of optimism and hope that the business will expand and that they'll both benefit financially. The fact...

Resolve a Dispute with a Co-Owner

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 05

We all know that divorce is typically an expensive and stressful process. However, what most people don't realize is that the same financial and emotional pains are felt when business...

Which Business Structure is Right for You?

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 01

The Sole Proprietorship is the simplest form of business entity. However, without the protection of a corporate shield, personal assets are exposed to business liabilities. And even if a small...

Incorporate Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 31

Many small businesses consider themselves too small to worry about incorporation. However, whether you're a self-employed social media consultant or a landscaper, incorporating or forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC)...

Know Your Counterparty Risk Before Signing a Contract

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 02

A counterparty is any entity with which you sign a contract. Many small businesses contract with other business providers with no knowledge of their financials, credit worthiness, or whether they...

Find the Red Flags in Your Telecom Contract

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 24

For many business owners today, sifting through the intricacies of a complex carrier contract is a task that gets pushed to the bottom of a forever-growing to-do list. In your...

Seven Legal Mistakes

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 28

Legal counsel and documentation is a form of insurance for your business. Without proper legal protection, you are open to unnecessary liability. Take time early on to set your goals...

Draft Your Business "Will"

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 20

According to the Kauffman Foundation, people aged 55 to 64 started more businesses in 2009 than ever before. While it is important for all business owners to have legal operating...

Make Your Business Accessible to People with Disabilities

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 13

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires small businesses to provide accessible goods and services to people with disabilities. Many small businesses find that complying with the ADA not only meets...

Does Your 401(k) Plan Put Your Business at Risk?

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 06

As a business owner, you probably do your best to provide your employees with quality benefits, including a 401(k) retirement plan to help them save for their golden years. So...

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 05

One of your greatest assets as a business owner is your intellectual property. IP includes inventions and literary and artistic works, as well as symbols, names, images, and designs used...

The Value of a Good Lawyer

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 15

There are endless jokes about lawyers, who somehow always seem to get blamed for the problems of the world. Here's one vote for the value of good attorneys and the...

Start Planning for the Next Tax Season

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 17

With the filing of 2009 taxes behind you, it's not too early to start thinking ahead to next year. Here are a few organization tips to make the tax filing...

Make Training a Part of Your Records Management Program

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 12

Any organization that fails to properly manage corporate records—from expense reports to customer invoices to employee e-mails—runs the risk of having those assets compromised. That can mean expensive litigation and...

Succession Planning with a Business Partner

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 19

Many small businesses are partnerships between two or more members. When times are good and the partners are healthy, there is usually little concern about having a viable succession plan....

Responding to an E-Discovery Request Without Breaking the Bank

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 06

Being faced with a regulatory inquiry or a lawsuit is nothing short of a potential disaster for a small company. Legal fees, looming penalties, and time away from work take...

Using Independent Contractors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 09

Being an entrepreneur is hard. You are a jack of all trades, master of some, and have more jobs than can fit under one title. To get help, many times...

Five Common Overtime Myths

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 21

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires all nonexempt employees to be paid one and one-half times their regular pay rate for any overtime hours worked. Don't fall for these common...

Summer Help

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 20

Every summer, many businesses look to bolster their workforce by hiring students on summer break. However, many employers are still unaware that when it comes to youth employment, the Fair...

Avoid E-Discovery Litigation Surprises

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 14

E-discovery is a challenge that is faced by virtually every organization, regardless of size. In fact, almost as many small organizations were the target of a lawsuit within the last...

Preparing for Electronic Discovery

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 24

In today's torpid economy, cutbacks are a fact of life. But amid declining resources, one thing is still on the upswing: litigation. Small businesses used to depend almost entirely on...

Understanding Rules About Employee Breaks

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 19

Everyone has to eat, and sometimes we all need a break. Seems simple, but the laws governing workplace breaks can be confusing. Federal law sets some standards for breaks as...

Pre-Employment Screening on the Internet

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 18

What if you could almost instantly find out if a job applicant is a bad fit for your organization? Social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace offer a...

Facing Down Electronic Discovery

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 05

These days e-discovery is becoming a fact of life for most companies—even if they don't know it yet. E-discovery refers to the identification, collection, preservation, and production of electronically stored...

Using Independent Contractors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 04

A lot of businesses would prefer to treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees for various tax and liability reasons. However, it's important to have a good understanding of...

Electronic Contracts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 25

Take note: Federal law now makes electronic contracts and electronic signatures as legal and enforceable as those on paper. Consider what advantages e-contracts might have for your business. Some companies...

Launch Your Product Idea with a Benefit Statement

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 08

Inventors are often confused about what they're selling to a company. Regardless of what your product may actually be, you are not selling a patent, a prototype, or a feature....

Statute of Limitations Basics

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 23

Statutes of limitations are laws that set the deadline or maximum period of time within which a lawsuit or claim may be filed. The deadlines vary depending on the circumstances...

What Is and Isn't Legal to Use on a Web Site?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 12

Is it legal to set up links to a Web site without asking? Can I copy information from a Web site and use it again? And who owns the design...

Getting Out of a Franchise

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 07

When it comes to breaking a franchise contract, the law usually swings in favor of the franchiser. That's mainly because franchisers are able to limit their liability through UFOCs and...

Selling Your Business: Entity Sale vs. Asset Sale

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 05

When selling a business you have two options. You can opt either for an entity sale or an asset sale. Making the right choice can help minimize the taxes that...

Franchisee Litigation Against Franchisors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 11

Opening up your own business is exciting, but if you get caught up in that excitement and fail to carefully review all legal documents and understand your obligations, you could...

What Is the Difference Between a Rental Agreement and a Lease?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 06

When you rent out a property, you will need to decide if you wish to offer your tenants a lease or a rental agreement. Although these terms are often used...

Patent Protection

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 21

This is the third of three tips that explore the types of intellectual property protection that are critical to establishing and protecting your brand in the small business environment. Patents...

Trademark Protection

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 20

This is the second of three tips that explore the types of intellectual property protection that are critical to establishing and protecting your brand in the small business environment. Establishing...

Copyright Protection

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 17

This is the first of three tips that explore the types of intellectual property protection that are critical to establishing and protecting your brand in the small business environment. A...

Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents, Oh My!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 07

While protecting intellectual property is critical when starting a new company, the differences between copyrights, patents, and trademarks are not always clearly understood by small-business owners, and that can spell...

Make Sure You're Adequately Insured

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 30

It's important to assess and reassess your company's insurance needs on a regular basis. Property-casualty coverage isn't enough. Consider a broad range of coverage, from business interruption and consequent loss...

Who Must Be Notified of an Impending Business Closure?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 10

If your company is a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or partnership, in order to close the business you and your associates must jointly agree to the closure, following procedures...

Common Small Business Legal Mistakes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 03

Small businesses make legal mistakes all the time—some of which can be disastrous. But knowing what pitfalls to watch out for can make all the difference.… To read the full...

Buy-Sell Agreements for Shareholders

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 27

A buy-sell agreement provides for the buying and selling of the stock in a corporation (usually a small closely held corporation) of a withdrawing shareholder. This agreement benefits both the...

Key Contracts for Small-Business Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 20

Without airtight, well-thought-out contracts, businesses may be in legal jeopardy. Companies need to retain a lawyer and make sure that business agreements are comprehensive, well thought out, and protective. The...

Hiring the Right Patent Attorney

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 15

If you are interested in protecting intellectual property, it is important that you begin the patent filing process before discussing your technology with any potential partners. To protect your intellectual...

Dealing with Zoning Laws for Your Home-Based Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 20

Are you breaking the law simply by starting a home-based business? Unless you research your city's zoning laws, you will never know. Is your business at risk? Here are some...

Written Customer Agreements

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 08

Generally, any sale should include a written statement to protect the interests of your business. In retail sales, even the wording on a sales receipt is important. In service-oriented businesses,...

Required Workplace Posters

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 28

As a small-business owner, you need to make sure you are always following the laws that affect your industry. In addition to observing the mountain of federal and state laws...

So You've Been Sued—What Now?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 27

It all starts when someone enters your business and hands you a sealed envelope stating, "You are served." Unfortunately, lawsuits are a part of doing business. Don't panic—here are several...

Top 10 Mistakes Made When Hiring a Lawyer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 25

Hiring a lawyer is an intensive process. You will often hear people complaining about their relationship with their attorney. Issues can be circumvented if you make a concerted effort to...

Trademark Concerns of Small Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 18

The idea of marking an item for ownership can be traced back in history to the finding of marks on pottery created many thousands of years ago. The economic use...

Are Your Discussions with Your Lawyer Confidential?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 29

The short answer is yes. The general rule is that when you consult with an attorney for advice about a legal problem or engage a lawyer to represent you in...

New Deferred Compensation Rules for 2006

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 11

When IRS Code Section 409A was initially enacted in October of 2004, it provided some short-term relief for employers, who could put off (for a few months) the task of...

What Is the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 09

On Mar. 29, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act, also known as SBREFA. This new law was a major coup for small businesses that...

Don't Shy Away from Hiring an Attorney

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 07

A little investment now will go a long way in reducing your problems later on. A good business attorney will bring to light a lot of the risks in your...

Business Laws That Small Businesses Should Worry About

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 04

Suffice it to say, it would take several volumes to include all of the laws that pertain to business, particularly if you start including state, city, and county laws. There...

How to Hire a Lawyer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 30

When it comes to hiring a lawyer, it's better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. No business owner wants to begin screening law firms while dealing with...

Comply with Sarbanes-Oxley from the Start

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 29

If you are planning to raise outside capital or you plan to sell to the largest companies in the country, start being Sarbanes-Oxley-compliant now. SOX is the new rule book,...

Be Thrifty with Your Legal Dollars

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 16

Lawyers calculate their fees by adding up the time spent on your case, so make sure your lawyer is using your time wisely. One way to keep legal fees down...

Early-Stage Stock Still Attracts Top-Level Talent

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 15

Though stock-for-work is a less popular pay alternative these days, it still may be the only way that you can attract the level and quality of employees you need in...

The Importance of Correctly Classifying Independent Contractors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 01

If you misclassify your workers, you can get into legal trouble with the IRS, state taxing authorities, and the misclassified worker. The IRS is interested in how you classify your...

Key Contracts for Small-Business Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 24

Without airtight, well-conceived contracts, businesses may be in legal jeopardy. Companies need to retain a lawyer and make sure that business agreements are comprehensive, carefully written, and protective. To see...

Who Owns Your Ideas?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 16

If you came up with a great idea while working at your last job, your former employer may own it. You may have signed away your rights to it in...

10 Ways to Resolve Landlord-Tenant Disputes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 28

Once you have decided to become a landlord, you will need to be prepared for disputes that will inevitably arise with your new tenants. Being prepared will help you avoid...

Finding the Right CPA

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 31

For even the smallest business, choosing the right CPA can be a major step toward minimizing taxes and maximizing profits. Here are five easy steps to make the process a...

Crafting a Privacy Policy for Your Web Site

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 29

If you require personal information from your users (such as e-mail addresses, home addresses, or credit-card information), you should let them know what you intend to do with the information....

Protecting Your Business Name

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 23

It starts with making sure the name isn't already being used by a business that will be in direct conflict with your use. It's important to remember that unless a...

Does Your Web Site Need a Privacy Statement?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 14

That depends on what kind of Web site you have. If you require personal information from your users (such as e-mail addresses, home addresses, or credit-card information), you should let...

Put That Contract in Writing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 28

Oral contracts can be as binding as written contracts. But without a written record, it can difficult to prove what you have agreed to. If your deal goes south, you...

About

Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.

To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!