Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog


3 Contract Drafting Tips to Help Your Business

If you are in business, then you definitely enter contracts regularly. Sometimes you're buying and sometimes you're selling, but most likely you're dealing quite a lot.

In light of that, you should create standard contracts for your business, or form agreements that are both general enough to work for different kinds of deals but specific enough that they address your priorities. If you don't do this, chances are good that you'll be continually getting into agreements that are on others' terms. That might work some of the time but it's not an ideal approach.

In today's small biz world, many startups, especially Silicon Valley-based tech companies, are asking early employees to forgo high salaries in favor of shares in the company, essentially betting on their own future success. Such equity arrangements can be great for employees and entrepreneurs alike, but they may come with a snag: how can new employee-shareholders find out how much of the company they're getting and how much their shares are worth?

For publicly traded companies, it's easy -- check the share price. But for privately held startups getting that kind of information is more difficult, if not impossible. But an oft-overlooked Delaware incorporation law may be opening the books to shareholders. Here's what you need to know:

Brexit and Your Business: Making Sense of Events

The British are not coming but they may be going, or Brexiting if you will, quitting the European Union. The referendum is being voted on today and if they don't remain, this will impact business internationally, including here in the US.

But there are a lot of factors that influence the economy, and isolating which precise event caused what outcomes is impossible. In fact, that is why the British are voting on exiting the European Union despite reports that partnership has led to prosperity and that Brexit could be a headache. Let's try to make sense of it all, to the extent possible.

High Court Says VA Must Open More Bids to Veteran-Owned Businesses

Sometimes but not that often everyone on the US Supreme Court agrees on a topic. That is what happened last week when the eight justices had to consider government contracts for veteran-owned businesses. The nation's highest court decided last week that the Department of Veteran Affairs must set aside more contracts to be filled by veteran-owned small businesses, and that it's not optional as lower courts ruled.

The court's reasoning was remarkably simple and straightforward, and its decision turned on one word: "shall." The hope is that veterans in business will be awarded more government contracts as a result. Let's consider the case, reported by The Washington Post.

Turning your dream job into an LLC can make you feel like you finally made it. Or it can feel like a needless hassle that will corporatize your mom and pop shop. Most often, what incorporating your small business will mean is legal protection for both you and your company.

So if you're still weighing your options, or if you've just begun the incorporation process, here are seven big questions you'll want the answers to:

Marijuana Startups Still Face Many Legal Obstacles

Marijuana has come to seem like the growth industry to get in on for anyone who can handle a little uncertainty. States are increasingly legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational use, sometimes both, and celebrities are scrambling to establish marijuana brands while the industry is still young. It seems like those who invest in cannabis today could do great financially down the line.

But the cannabis business has its own special wrinkles. Even if you believe in weed and want to see marijuana businesses succeed, you need to be aware of some legal issues that continue to threaten the industry, despite its increasing legitimacy.

Labor Regulation and San Diego's New Minimum Wage

San Diego is the latest city to raise the local minimum wage and outline obligatory accrual of sick leave for employees. The change will take effect as soon as July of this year, JD Supra reports, but won't apply retroactively.

The measure will gradually increase the minimum wage for workers in San Diego, and provide much-needed sick leave. As soon as it takes effect, employees will see a 50 cent bump in hourly wages to $10.50. In January, there will be a one dollar bump and from 2019, wages will increase with the cost of living annually, based on the Consumer Price Index for the previous year. Let's consider labor regulation in the Californian city and beyond.

It's a balance that we Americans are consistently told we get wrong: weighing the responsibility of getting work done against the need for vacation, rest, and travel. We always hear how the Europeans got summer vacation right, and when we try to make it up by offering employees more paid vacation days, they're too afraid and stressed to take advantage.

So does taking care of your employees mean kicking them out of the office for at least three weeks this summer? The New York Times seems to think so. Here's how the three-week vacation could work for your small business.

Can Businesses Ban Gun Owners?

The owner of two restaurants in Portland, Maine ignited a national debate after she claimed on Facebook that she would no longer allow owners of semi-automatic rifles in her businesses. Anne Verrill's post, which has since been removed, raises interesting questions, one of which is: can she do that?

Actually, it seems highly unlikely. Let's consider the legality and practicality of the proposal.

If your small business handles enough credit card transactions, you already know how much of a hassle they can be. There's the processing equipment, the interchange fees, the data security issues, and the risk of fraud, all of which can fall on the small business owner. But a slightly larger business has decided to fight back.

Home Depot filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard, claiming the two largest credit card issuers colluded to hike transaction fees and suppress new chip-based card technology that can prevent fraud. So what does this mean for credit cards at your small business?