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Cole Haan Pinterest Contest Spurs FTC Warning

Fashion brand Cole Haan landed in some hot water for a Pinterest contest when it received a letter from the FTC alleging violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The FTC interpreted the pins as endorsements for the company's "Wandering Sole" contest and dinged Cole Haan for not clearly communicating that there was a financial incentive to win a shopping spree.

So what can small business owners learn from Cole Haan's FTC warning letter?

7 Lawsuit Settlement Tips for Business Owners

If your business is sued, should you settle? The vast majority of lawsuits are resolved before trial, but there are many factors a business owner needs to consider before making an initial settlement offer.

Not only can a settlement be much less costly than going to court, it can also be a way to protect your business' reputation. Still, choosing to settle a lawsuit is not a decision to be taken lightly.

If you're thinking about settling, here are seven tips to keep in mind:

5 Business Lessons From the Winter Olympics

With the Winter Olympics winding down, what are some good business lessons that can be learned from the Sochi games?

Despite fierce competition, the Olympics are meant to bring the international community together. The medalists, of course, are the ones who've succeeded by working hard without resorting to underhanded tactics.

The same can apply to many business situations. So here are five lessons business owners can take away from the Winter Olympics:

Incorporating in Delaware? 5 Issues to Consider

When starting a business, a major consideration is deciding where to incorporate.

The state of Delaware is known as a somewhat magical place in the realm of business. Although it's an incredibly popular place for businesses to incorporate, it doesn't necessarily make a good fit for small business owners -- especially if you only conduct business in your home state.

Here are five issues you'll want to consider if you're thinking of incorporating in Delaware:

Incorporating a Small Business: 3 Basic Questions

If you're interested in incorporating your small business, you're likely wondering how to get started. Our Starting Your Own Business series is here to help.

A number of factors go into the incorporation process, but there are a few issues in particular that you should initially think about.

Here are three basic questions to ask yourself before you incorporate your business:

Macy's, Martha Stewart Living Settle Lawsuit

Martha Stewart's company has settled a lawsuit by Macy's over Stewart's home products deal with rival retailer J.C. Penney.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. gave Macy's an exclusive contract to sell products from the "Martha Stewart Collection." But Stewart's company and J.C. Penney were able to find a "loophole" in the contract, CNNMoney reports.

Though terms of the settlement were not disclosed, the corporate dispute provides a teachable moment for small business owners when it comes to contract law.

Do You Have a Family Business Succession Plan?

A solid succession plan is essential to the longevity of a family business.

Though family businesses account for a staggering 50 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States, only 52 percent of family business owners have faith in younger relatives' ability to sustain the business for generations to come, according to a PwC survey reported by Forbes.

To assuage such concerns, here are five tips on how to form a family business succession plan:

Nat'l Women's Small Business Month: 5 Things to Know

October is National Women's Small Business Month. While the glass ceiling may still be alive and well, women are "leaning in" more than ever, and the hard work is paying off.

Consider this: There are now more ladies serving as general counsel at Fortune 500 companies than ever before -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

To commemorate National Women's Small Business Month, here are five interesting facts about women in the small business sector:

5 Clauses Every Partnership Agreement Should Include

If you're thinking about starting a business partnership, it's important to have a partnership agreement in place to spell out each party's duties, financial obligations and legal liability.

Some states even require a partnership agreement to be filed along with business formation documents.

Here are five clauses every partnership agreement should include:

How to Draft a Business Franchise Agreement

If your small business is flourishing and you're ready to expand into a franchise, congratulations are definitely in order! But so too are some legal considerations -- especially when it comes to drafting a business franchise agreement.

As you know, a franchise agreement is essential to spell out each party's obligations and protect your legal and financial interests.

Here's how to draft a business franchise agreement -- or at least, how to get a solid start: