Cliff Ennico's "Succeeding in Your Business" column offers straightforward small business advice and tips. Ennico is best known for his PBS series "Money Hunt," as well as his weekly program on the internet radio station smartbusiness.com. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, he acts as corporate legal counsel for many up-and-coming companies, and teaches courses in business law and industrial organization at several colleges and institutions. He is also a regular speaker at small business conferences, seminars, and workshops.
People frequently confuse "ownership" of something with the "intellectual property rights" to that something. The two concepts are quite different.
If you are taking orders for products or services on a trade show floor, taking the customer's money there and fulfilling the order later from your home office, you are liable for sales tax.
These days anyone with a franchise concept and the money necessary to register with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is launching a franchise.
Whenever a company says they will pay something "in their sole discretion," what that means is "I will pay it when I can, and then only if I feel like it."
By giving an investor a convertible note, you are enabling them to straddle the fence. If your company takes off and becomes wildly successful, the investor will convert the note into equity so she can grow along with you. If your company goes belly-up, the investor can hold onto the note so that, as a creditor, she will get their money out before others do.
The decision to shut a corporation down is never easy, but if you're going to do it, the end of the calendar year is a great time.
I've got someone who owes my business money. I've made several efforts to negotiate with this person, but it turns out he's 'judgment proof' -- he has no assets in his personal name.
As a frequent judge in business plan competitions around the country, and as an advisor to "angels" and other professional investors, I review hundreds of business plans a year. Most are terrible.
This event, which grows bigger and bigger each year, boasted thousands of attendees and over 100 exhibitors with products and services designed to help small businesses and their owners.
Congratulations, you are tax-exempt! Now comes the hard part. Go out and make the world a better place.
It's harder than ever before to get tax-exempt status from the IRS. You are asking the government for the right not to pay taxes, and (perhaps) also for the right to accept donations that people can deduct on their taxes.
When you are starting a business, it's OK to be ignorant. Very often, your marketplace will insist you take a different direction than you originally wanted to go.
Nobody wants a commencement speech that's a total downer. But I do wish today's graduates were getting a dose of reality and solid advice along with the platitudes.
Here are some "cutting edge" tax issues facing eBay sellers today, and how I responded.
In most states, the statute of limitations for "breach of contract" (such as a loan default) is quite long -- sometimes as long as three to five years.
The franchise really likes this location and is pushing us to start building our territory, since we've had it for a year now. But we do not want to 'throw good money after bad,' building a location that won't ever be profitable.
During the afternoon session of last week's Business Plan Competition sponsored by The Entrepreneurship Foundation the focus was on "personal businesses."