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.
"I've been looking to buy a business for some time now. My college graduate daughter has been out of work and living at home for two years, despite tons of effort and countless rejections, and I thought it might be a good idea for the two of us to own something where I could help her out for a while until she got the hang of things and could manage on her own.
In last week's column, we talked about some of the wrong ways to engage in "private labeling" on eBay, Amazon and other e-commerce websites -- buying someone else's merchandise (legally) and reselling it online at a significantly higher price under your own trademark or "brand label."
Here are some more New Year's Resolutions for business owners.
Dear Santa: Well, another year has gone by. My business is surviving, by a thread, but I'm still facing lots of challenges. You know I've been really, really good this year (maybe that's the problem with my business -- I'm too darned good for my own good and should borrow more from the "ruthless entrepreneur" playbook, but never mind).
"I am looking for an attorney who could provide my business with a master form of client agreement. We understand that your services are not cheap, but would like to know how much you would charge for this kind of document.
"A local nonprofit organization has asked me to join its board of directors. It's a real honor for me, and a cause I believe in, but I'm just a little nervous about my legal responsibilities. Could you tackle those at some point?"
"I started an online retail business earlier this year, and have generated so much income already that I know I'm going to get a Form 1099 from PayPal this year.
As I bounce around this great country of ours giving talks at conferences and trade shows and discovering the finer points of airport cuisine, I was pleased to have the chance to speak closer to home at the New York Business Expo and Conference last week.
I just got back from speaking at this year's eCom Chicago conference for online retailers.
Few things in life are more unsettling than getting a letter from the IRS.
Since the beginning of time, business owners have wrestled with the question: "Why are my customers buying?"
Slowly but surely, the courts and government regulators are taking the stand that there is no middle ground between employees and independent contractors.
"I started a service business earlier this year. I formed a limited liability company, and I'm the sole owner.
"Several friends and I are setting up a local charity to help recent college graduates pay off their student loans. We also intend to lobby our state government to pass laws allowing banks to forgive student loans.
When your limited liability company starts attracting investors, you will need to adopt a more formal way for people to own, operate and manage the company.
Ah, summer. A chance to lie on the beach, do some camping or outlet shopping, and ... do some big picture thinking about where your business has been and where it's going.
"My wife and I are planning to start a food truck business, but are confused about all the licenses and permits we will need to operate the truck. Do we need all the same licenses that a regular restaurant would need?"
"My partners and I formed a technology startup last year. We've done a 'friends and family' round of financing and have perfected our product.
"I was downsized from a large corporation a couple of months ago."
Last week, over 200 top-level eBay sellers attended the 12th annual eBay Radio Party and Conference in Las Vegas. This event, sponsored by the eBay Radio podcast, has become the must-attend national meetup for people who sell on eBay.