Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Business Operations Category

Most small businesses gave up on accepting only cash a couple decades ago. And in another couple decades we may look back and think of dollars, cents, and even credit and debit cards as antiquated payment methods.

At this point, it's not a matter of determining whether your small business will accept cryptocurrencies, but deciding when, which ones, and how you will creatively fold them into your existing payment structures. Here's a quick primer on cryptocurrencies, and how blockchain, Bitcoin, and the rest can be a boon to your small business.

When some small businesses see the holiday season approaching, their eyes get as big as dinner plates, looking forward to a boost in sales. Other small business owners might start sweating, anticipating numerous time-off requests, and wondering whether they have to pay extra for the employees that do stick around.

Whether you're anticipating big things for your small business in the coming months or anxiously awaiting February, 'tis the season to start making those holiday plans. Here's how:

Most entrepreneurs have a laser focus on their companies, and that doesn't leave a whole lot of time to keep up with the latest legal cases. (After all, that's what they pay their attorneys for.) But small business owners are going to have a big interest in what's going on in the Supreme Court this term, with cases touching on just about every aspect running a business, from employee unions to customer discrimination to patent and intellectual property law.

Here are the three biggest:

October is National Women's Small Business Month, and at a time when the news concerning women employees getting equal pay might be depressing, the news concerning women entrepreneurs and small business owners is a bit more hopeful. "National Women's Small Business Month is a time to recognize and applaud the talented, dedicated and driven women whose entrepreneurial spirit helps drive our nation's economy forward," said National Women's Business Council Chair Carla Harris. "Women's entrepreneurship has evolved from a growing trend to an inarguable contributor to the economic success, job growth and innovative backbone of this country."

Indeed, the trends of female small business ownership, funding, and success are on the rise, and hopefully that continues. Here are three other reasons to celebrate women small business owners this month:

California's recreational pot law goes into effect in January, and the state's largest metropolitan area wants to be ready. On Monday, the Los Angeles city council approved new cannabis industry rules and regulations for growers, manufacturers and sellers of marijuana, including licensing requirements, operating hours, record-keeping, and security measures.

And as with any new industry or new regulation, there are going to be some growing pains. Here's what L.A.'s legalized pot industry may look like.

Part of the appeal of a family business is the family part, as opposed to the business part. Having a warmer, more informal relationship between the owners and employees stands in stark contrast to the calculating, profit-driven world of LLCs. Plus, why share profits with stockholders when you can keep all that money in-house, as it were?

Then again, we all know how families are. There is the ideal of the "Mom and Pop Shop," and then there is the cold reality of succession plans and sibling rivalries, where the fantasy of a happy family business often gives way to the realities of family and financial strife. So how do you make sure your family business weathers those storms? With a good operating agreement.

Finding commercial real estate for your small business can be difficult. And finding favorable lease terms as a small business or startup may seem impossible. Between rights to relocate and personal guarantees, negotiating a commercial lease feels more like pulling teeth than pushing your product, and that's if you understand all the terminology and types of leases.

One you may not have heard of is called a triple net or "NNN" lease. These commercial leases can put a heavy financial burden on small business tenants, but can also ending up costing landlords in the long run. Here's what you need to know:

On September 1, 2017, in what could not be worse timing for the residents of Texas still reeling from the aftermath of hurricane Harvey, a new law is going into effect that benefits insurers in the state rather than the insured.

Unfortunately, in addition to Texas residents, the new pro-insurer law also impacts Texas businesses that file insurance claims after a natural disaster. While proponents for the change believe it will lead to a reduction in the number of "frivolous" lawsuits filed against insurance companies, opponents believe it will provide more incentive for insurers to bully their insured into accepting low valuations and claim denials.

Sure, you may have been daydreaming about Batman when you signed your first apartment lease, and that's okay. But, when it comes to signing your first ever commercial lease for your business, there's quite a bit more to consider.

Courts are much less flexible when it comes to commercial leases compared to residential ones, particularly for the lessees. Generally, this is due to the fact that there are fewer statutory protections for lessees in business/commercial leases, and the legal issues don't involve an individual's, or family's, home. As such, business owners need to carefully review (and have their attorney review) leases prior to signing.

Below, you'll find an easy to follow checklist to review before signing a  commercial lease.

One of the biggest first steps for your small business, right after crafting a business plan and tracking down funding, is securing your space. And whether you're looking for offices, retail, or manufacturing, signing your first commercial lease can have an enormous impact on the future of your business, from your brand to your bottom line.

So here are a few legal considerations before you sign on the dotted line.