Business Owner & Planning Blog Posts

Unless you’ve been hiding under a bucket this summer, it’s likely you’ve heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven’t yet been called on to donate or douse yourself with a bucket of icy water, you’ve certainly seen the thousands of videos of people far and wide — famous and not — gasping from a freezing bath.

Now the ALS Association has filed two patent applications to trademark the term, “Ice Bucket Challenge” for use in raising money for charity. Since the end of July, ALS has raised almost $94 million via the Challenge, compared with just $2.7 million during the same time period last year. Naturally, they don’t want other charitable organizations using an ice bucket challenge to steal their fundraising limelight. But is it possible to trademark the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Legal experts weighing in on the matter have noted that the ALS Association will probably not prevail in its trademarking efforts. First, the term is generic, likely too much so to qualify for trademark. Second, ALS did not invent the phrase nor the use of it for fundraising. In June, several pro golfers started dumping ice water over their heads to raise money for their favorite charities. In mid-July, a minor league golfer tied the challenge to ALS, and it took off from there.

Defending itself against critics that say the Ice Bucket Challenge should be available for all charitable causes seeking to raise funds, the ALS Association said it filed the patent applications “after seeing many examples of unscrupulous profiteers trying to drive revenue to themselves, instead of the fight against ALS.”

Your business ideas are valuable property worth protecting. If you are interested in learning more about intellectual property protection strategies, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.

When venturing into a new business, there is much to be considered. Below are a few key topics to explore prior to committing your time and/or financial resources.

1. Why do you want to work for yourself? If your desire to start a new business comes from how much you dislike your current job, you may want to reconsider a decision to become an entrepreneur. To be successful, you should be pursuing a new venture because you have a passion for it, not because you are running away from something else.

2. Are you self-motivated? When you are just beginning, one of the most important traits that will get you through the first year is self-motivation. You need to be motivated to put in the long hours and hard work before there is any payout.

3. Can you multitask? A solo entrepreneur is just another way of saying “wearer of all hats”, so if you don’t welcome variety in your work life, then entrepreneurship is not right for you.

4. Can you sell yourself? Successful entrepreneurs succeed first at selling themselves – to investors, employees and customers. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you’ll have to find a way to get comfortable quickly.

5. Can you support yourself during the ramp-up phase? You need to be realistic about your financing and have the ability to support yourself for the first six months to a year that your new business is in operation…sometimes even more.

6. Can you handle uncertainty? If you are uncomfortable foregoing a steady paycheck, your annual 3 weeks of vacation and the other perks of working for someone else, then starting a new business is probably not a good plan for you. Successful entrepreneurs learn to embrace uncertainty for bigger rewards down the line.

7. Do you have a passion for what you do? A real passion for your new business will carry you through a lot of tough times, but you need to also remember that the people who buy your products or services don’t really care if you are finally fulfilling your dream. So your passion needs to be partnered with choosing a business that fills a need or desire.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, especially those with no stomach for risk. Of course, to mitigate these risks, it is imperative to have the advice and guidance of a qualified business attorney who can help you avoid unnecessary risk that can plague many small businesses.

If you are interested in learning more about legal protection strategies for your business and how we work with you as a partner in protecting your company, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.

Every business owner makes the decision to assume some portion of risk when they operate their own business, but no one wants that potential risk to affect their personal wealth. Unfortunately, there are all too many business owners who neglect to implement the correct asset protection strategies to firmly separate business risk from personal wealth. There are a number of important steps business owners should take to make sure personal wealth is protected from business liabilities, including: Choosing the right business entity. Setting your business up as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) will better protect you in case [more]
One of the first decisions an entrepreneur should be making is the selection of the right form of business entity. This is a critical decision because of its ongoing legal and tax consequences. Liability protection is the most important non-tax consideration in the business entity selection process. The business owner has to have a shield or umbrella of liability covering his or her business activities in order to protect their personal assets from liability exposure. There should be no debate over whether or not to create a liability-shielded entity in which to operate the business or to go “bare” and [more]
We are a nation of entrepreneurs, but we are also living in a litigious society, so if you are starting a new venture and there are other founders involved, a founder’s agreement is essential to protecting your fledgling enterprise. Here are some tips on how to properly structure a founder’s agreement: Assign roles and responsibilities. People tend to go into business with others who have strengths they themselves may be lacking, and this can be a good thing. But it is important to solidify those roles and responsibilities or you could find yourself with too many cooks in [more]
Choosing the right type of entity for your business is a critical decision that can have long-lasting ramifications in terms of taxes and personal liability. It is not unusual for those starting a business for the first time to have some misconceptions about incorporation; here are the top five: Myth #1: Incorporation helps avoid state income taxes. No matter what state you incorporate your business in, you will still be liable for state income taxes if you operate your business in a state that requires businesses to pay state income taxes. For example, if you incorporate in Nevada, which has [more]
Chances are if you are an entrepreneur, you have a little “issue” when it comes to controlling everything about your company -- in other words, you find it hard to trust others when it comes to your “baby.” But unless you are an experienced business attorney, you probably don’t have the knowledge -- and most certainly the time -- to understand the legal implications of just about every decision you will be making about your new business, including its structure, the agreements and contracts that will determine how your company will function and be profitable, and even hiring your [more]
In the excitement of planning and running your business, it is easy to forget about one of the most crucial components of ensuring its survival: what happens when a partner passes away or simply wants out? A buy-sell agreement is a key part of a smooth ownership transition. A buy-sell agreement does three key things: It provides a way for shares to be valued when a partner retires or dies. It ensures that the shares are sold to a buyer approved by the remaining partners. It can address the procedure for selling the business outright. Think of it as a [more]