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Business Law

Monday, May 24, 2021

8 Important Provisions Small Businesses Should Include in Commercial Leases


Are you considering leasing office or retail space for your small business? The terms of your lease can have a huge impact on whether your business succeeds or fails. There are several important provisions that should be considered before you sign on the dotted line.

Leases of a certain duration (usually one to three years, depending upon the state) are generally required to be in writing and signed by the party against which they are being enforced. In reality, it is advisable for all commercial leases to be in writing, regardless of their duration. They should clearly spell out certain terms that are of crucial importance, including the following:

(1) The leased space.
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Monday, May 17, 2021

Steps to Protect Your Small Business from Non-Paying Customers


Unfortunately, most businesses must deal with non-paying customers at least occasionally. You can safeguard the time and money you have invested in your small business by taking several steps, both to lessen the likelihood of nonpayment and to obtain the amount owed once a customer has failed to make a timely payment.

Be Proactive

  1. Screen potential customers in advance. Particularly if a transaction will require the customer to make a large payment, it is worthwhile to do a little checking before entering into a contract with them. A simple internet search may reveal court records, complaints with the Better Business Bureau, or other warning signs.
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Monday, May 10, 2021

Does Your Small Business Need a Social Media Policy?


According to 2018 data provided by SCORE, the largest provider of volunteer business mentors in the United States, 77% of U.S. small businesses use social media for their sales, marketing, and customer service. If you plan to use social media to promote your business, a social media policy is essential to protect your business’s reputation and avoid litigation by preventing the dissemination of inaccurate, unflattering, or illegal information.

Here are a few tips for creating a social media policy for your business:

Let employees know that the guidelines are intended to help them understand how to use social media in a positive way to help the business grow.
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Monday, May 3, 2021

Legally Terminating Employees


Most small business owners will occasionally have to face the unpleasant task of firing an employee. Small businesses, in particular, rely heavily on each employee. An underperforming employee may not only lower the morale of other employees who have to pick up the slack, but may also jeopardize the success of the business.  When an employee must be terminated, it is important to ensure that it is done legally.

At-Will Employees

Many businesses hire employees on an at-will basis, that is, the employment contract specifically states that the employee is at-will or does not specify that the employee has been hired for a specific term.
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Monday, April 26, 2021

What You Need to Know about Hiring Virtual Workers for Your Small Business


As a small business owner, you may be considering using virtual workers to expand your workforce. A virtual worker is an employee who uses technology to complete their duties outside of the traditional workplace setting.

 

Many businesses today find this workforce model quite attractive for several reasons. For one, having a virtual business work model allows employers to reduce the cost of housing all their workers in a physical location, thereby drastically reducing overhead. Additionally, employers find that hiring virtual workers allows them to expand their search for talent beyond geographic limitations.
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Monday, April 19, 2021

What You Need to Know About Non-Compete Agreements for Your Employees


A small business that has invested substantial resources in developing a product or a customer base could be devastated if its employees then go to work for a competitor down the street or set up their own competing business.  A noncompetition agreement is an important tool that could protect your business from former employees who could otherwise reveal or use your sensitive information, trade secrets, strategies, or customer information for the benefit of a competitor. These agreements are not favored by the courts, however, because they place a restriction on workers’ ability to freely earn a living (and a few states refuse to enforce them at all). If you choose to require a non-compete agreement for employees, it is important to keep the following factors in mind.

  1. Your business must have a legitimate, good faith reason for the non-compete agreement.
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Monday, April 12, 2021

Summer is Here: Should Your Small Business Have a Vacation Policy?


There is no legal requirement for businesses to offer paid or unpaid vacation time to employees, but it is common knowledge (and common sense) that employees who occasionally take time off are more productive and engaged when they return to work. If you decide to offer vacation time to your employees, a well-drafted vacation policy will help to ensure that it works well for both your small business and your employees. Here are some important tips to consider.

  • Consider offering paid vacation time. Although offering paid vacation time will be an expense for your business, it is likely to be a benefit over the long term.
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Monday, April 5, 2021

4 Reasons to Consider Changing Your Business Structure


As your small business expands and evolves, it may make sense to consider changing its structure. Many small businesses start out as sole proprietorships or partnerships, with only one or two owners and no employees. Over time, as your business grows and changes, a more complex business structure may become beneficial. There are several key considerations in deciding whether a change in your business structure may be right for you and your company.


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Monday, March 29, 2021

Can Your Small Business Write Off Bad Debts?


Despite your best efforts to work only with customers or clients you believe will pay for the goods or services your business provides and to diligently collect delinquent amounts owed, you will almost inevitably have to deal with bad debts on occasion. In some circumstances, the IRS allows you to take a bad debt deduction.

What Is Considered a Business Bad Debt?

According to the IRS, a business bad debt is considered a loss incurred from the worthlessness of a debt that was created or acquired in a trade or business or was “closely related” to your trade or business when it became partly or completely worthless. If your primary motive for incurring the debt was related to the business, the IRS will consider the debt to be closely related to the business.

The IRS provides the following examples of bad business debts: (1) loans to clients, suppliers, distributors, and employees, (2) credit sales to customers, or (3) business loan guarantees.
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Monday, March 22, 2021

What Small Business Owners Should Know about Business Credit


For a small business to grow, it is often necessary to borrow money. In fact, the Small Business Administration reports that the inability to obtain funding is one of the main obstacles that prevents small businesses from expanding their operations. To increase your business’s chances of obtaining much-needed funding, it is important to understand and establish business credit.

What is Business Credit?

Most people know that each individual has a personal credit score that helps lenders decide how likely a person is to repay a loan. Lenders use that score to determine whether to provide a person with financing—auto loans, home mortgages, or lines of credit—as well as the terms for such financing.
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Monday, March 15, 2021

How to Attract Stellar Employees for Your Small Business


The economy is booming, which is excellent news for small businesses, right? In general, it is great news for all businesses. However, it also presents some challenges, particularly for small businesses. According to the


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