Our Comprehensive Starting a Business Checklist includes the steps for Pre-Startup, Business Formation and How to Establish your Startup. It’s your roadmap to launch a new business while protecting your personal assets and income.
In this post, I will be addressing how to pay yourself as a business owner and these related subjects:
Business owner compensation overview
Why does Reasonable Compensation of business owners matter
S-Corp Shareholder Employee compensation
C Corporation Shareholder Employee compensation
Distribution of Property & Cash to Other Shareholders
Taxes Applicable When a Business is Sold to a New S Corp or C Corp owner
Partnerships – Compensation, Distributions & Sale Proceeds Tax Consequences
Sole Proprietorships Compensation,Distributions & Sale Tax Consequences
LLC Member Compensation, Distributions & Sale Tax Consequences
In this post we will be addressing how to protect your business name and whether filing for a DBA, registering a trademark or copyright, creating a URL, filing a patent application, and registering your business in your state of operation is appropriate, and most importantly why.
Understanding the differences between the various methods used to protect your intellectual property allows you to be prepared to make the best decisions possible for your new business. By doing so, the fence around your valuable business will be strengthened!
What can be branded? Names of businesses, associated logos, taglines, slogans, names of products, and even product shapes, sounds, smells, and colors can be part of your brand.
If the headline of this piece makes you nod in agreement, you’ll be surprised by what we have to say. Have you noticed, for example, that some of the most successful websites today, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Images offer infinite scrolling? The truth is, the last time people had any difficulty scrolling was before the turn of the century, and the idea that websites should keep their information “above the fold” is an outdated myth.
Managing the people side of a growing business is often just as difficult as managing operational challenges. From finding top talent to establishing and building a company culture, the human side of a business is a constant work in progress.
As businesses grow, one consideration leaders must wrestle with has to do with what is the best organizational structure. How many layers will the business have? At what point are other leadership roles outside of the CEO required? Answering these questions is essential if the business wants to continue to grow.
If you are considering getting a patent, you should be familiar with the items that must be included in a patent application. Below is a detailed outline of the material you will need to prepare to patent your new invention.
In the last six years, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and found it exceedingly difficult to find new ones, even after putting in decades with the same company. Many forward-thinking individuals among the unemployed have concluded that creating their own businesses and jobs may be their best hope for working again. The entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well in America!
Check out the website of your favorite fast food chain and you will see most have multiple business entity structures noted in the fine print. For a large business, this practice has been commonplace for decades. It involves layering one form of a business entity either alongside or in conjunction with an operating business.
When optimizing your website for search, you might wonder: Am I creating a site for search bots or for real people to use, and is there a difference?
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act there is a distinct difference between an independent contractor and an employee. This difference lies mainly in the way they are paid and the way taxes are withheld. Understanding the difference between them and times when both are appropriate to use can help business owners determine which is best for their situation.
The legal definition of a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods and services. Most commonly we think of names and logos, but marks also include taglines, slogans, and even product shapes, sounds, smells, and colors.
The DBA is often misunderstood, but it can be a valuable way to promote your business and gain some protections of your rights as a business owner. However, you need to make sure you know the limitations of a DBA to protect your intellectual property and trademark rights.
A copyright protects the particular ways by which people expressed themselves. A copyright gives an owner the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute an original creative work.
In part 1 of this series, we discussed the various options to incorporate multiple businesses while keeping each business as a separate entity. But what if you want to keep all of your businesses under one roof?
In the recent Apple-Samsung case, the jury found that Samsung infringed six of Apple’s patents. While we think of Apple as having such technological superiority, three of the patents that Samsung were found to infringe were design patents. Unlike utility patents which cover any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof; design patents cover any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
Proprietary information such as customer lists and recipes are intellectual property. However they are not formally protected in the same way as are trademarks, copyrights or patents. These and other types of confidential information can only be protected if they are treated as trade secrets.
It takes a special kind of person to start a business: a rare combination of drive, ambition, creativity, tenacity and impatience for action. But even within the community of business experts and entrepreneurs there is a special breed of person known as a “serial entrepreneur.”
As I listen to the stories told by many entrepreneurs, it reminds me of the dangers they face in part because of their own abilities. Many entrepreneurs are literally jack of all trades. They are very good at doing many things! This trait has allowed them to strike out and start their own business. How in the world could this trait be bad you wonder?
Intellectual property is a concept that is not obvious to most people; you probably have heard of it, but what is it really? Intellectual property is the result of human ingenuity and creativity and the law provides mechanisms through which creativity can be protected. Intellectual property can be broken down into three parts.
When you started your small or family business you more than likely developed a business plan. In this plan you laid out your purpose, vision, and strategy in great detail. As your business grew you created contracts, invoices, marketing materials, and other documents, all on paper, so that you had written evidence to signal agreements, to showcase your work, and to provide the necessary leverage should you ever have needed it.
A patent is a governmentally granted monopoly that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, or sell their invention for a limited time, in exchange for disclosure of that invention. There are three types of patents: design patents, plant patents, and utility patents. Generally utility patents are being referenced when you hear the word ‘patent’ and these will be the focus of the rest of this article.
Did you ever hear the story of the businessman who was pulled over by a State Trooper? When told he had been going more than 20 miles per hour over the limit, the man gestured toward the traffic zipping by and quite reasonably observed “Officer, everyone out there is doing the same thing!”
Unimpressed, the trooper asked a question of his own. “Sir, have you ever gone fishing?” “Yes, of course,” the speeder answered, somewhat confused by the turn of conversation.
“Well,” continued the officer as he handed over the ticket, “did you ever catch all the fish?”
The Great Recession has been a great teacher for many seasoned entrepreneurs. Those who have survived have been the ones willing to truly look at their businesses objectively. And in doing so, they have learned many lessons.
How many times have you been to a cocktail or Christmas party, making friendly conversation, when someone in the group asks, “So what do you do?” Most business owners and consultants struggle with giving elevator speeches. Actually, let’s forget struggle and move straight to panic, dread, and sweat. They think, “How could I possibly sum up what I do in 10 seconds?
It never ceases to amaze entrepreneurs how certain seemingly simple decisions, made during the early years of their business startup, can become fatal errors down the road. After meeting with many business owners across a broad spectrum of industries it’s common to find them enduring the consequences of the same, or similar, errors over and over again.