Articles for Small Business

Buying Your First (or second) Building

You’ve decided to buy instead of rent. You found a building you couldn’t refuse in today’s market. Now you can stop paying the landlord and generate some equity. But who should own it?  It sounded simple when you decided to buy, but suddenly there are a lot of questions. Your banker wants to keep it simple and just have your…

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Do LLC’s Have “corporate formalities”?

You just formed a new LLC and your attorney says, “We recommend an annual retainer. For this retainer we serve as your registered agent and assure that you meet the necessary “company formalities”.” Before you write that check allow us to give you a little education on this often misunderstood subject. Why can’t you be the registered agent? Why would…

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Leases – Reasonable Wear and Tear Excepted

Every commercial lease has a sentence that reads like this: “… at the end of the lease term, the Tenant must return the leased premises to the Landlord in the same condition as when the lease term began, normal wear and tear excepted.” Sounds pretty simple. But what about all of the improvements you made, like cabinets, lighting and partitions”? Those improvements weren’t there…

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The Lease Always Comes Last … Unless You Ask

You love to shop … or maybe you don’t. But in either event we have to buy things to survive. In your business you routinely make purchase decisions, large and small. Here’s a business purchase quiz for you: Have you ever negotiated a critical purchase for your business without knowing how much the item costs? Nope. Have you ever bargained…

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Non-Compete Agreements in Business Sales (Part 3 of 3)

The Contents of a Well Drafted Non-Competition Agreement What Can You(the Employer) Include in a Non-Compete Agreement? Non-competes are often mis-understood and viewed as dreaded creatures designed to punish or put people out of work. But they need not be so fearsome. They can be simple and fair. Remember the purpose is not that complicated. It’s to prevent a former…

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Non-Compete Agreements in Business Sales (Part 2 of 3)

Non-Competes for Employees and Independent Contractors In the first article we talked about non-competes in the sale of a business. In a business sale, the non-compete must be separately purchased, i.e. the person who agrees not to compete must be paid directly for that commitment. But for employees (or independent contractors) no such “purchase” is necessary. In Missouri (as in…

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Non-Compete Agreements in Business Sales (Part 1 of 3)

Ever hear this? “Non-compete agreements are not worth anything.” It astounds me how many people believe this. Because just the opposite is true. Repeat … the opposite is true. Non-compete agreements are commonly used in two contexts: sale of a business (i.e. the seller/owner agrees not to compete after the sale) and for employees and independent contractors. (We’ll cover the…

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Sole Owner LLC – Is Your Liability Really Limited?

You are proud of yourself. You went on-line at the Secretary of State’s website and filed your Articles of Organization. This means that you have limited your personal liability right? Well … maybe. People rarely understand that what they do AFTER filling Articles of Organization is as important as the filing itself. You are living under a rock if you…

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Doing Business As a Corporation? You’re Living in the Past

So, your family business has been a corporation forever. All these years you’ve been dutifully filing your annual report with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office along with your annual fee; and filing the mandatory annual franchise tax return (even though you don’t owe any such tax). You know about “corporate formalities” and you’ve been putting some boilerplate shareholders and…

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