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Do You Need a License to Manage Money?

With some professions, like medicine and law, it's clear that you need a license to practice. For other things, like sales management, it's pretty clear that you don't. But what about OPM -- Other People's Money? Though you surely don't need a license to manage your own money, you definitely need one to manage other people's.

Unpaid invoices aren't just a hassle for most small business -- they can significantly derail your cash flow, to the point you have trouble making investments, compensating employees, or paying your own bills. What seems like a minor headache of harassing a customer or client into payment could turn into a major business roadblock.

Your first inclination might be to sue a recalcitrant customer or send the bill to collections. But you might have another option. You might be able to sell that unpaid invoice, avoiding both litigation and a disruption in your cash flow.

If you're an entrepreneur or startup that's been banging on the doors of banks, best friends, and potential backers you barely know, it can be frustrating to see a Kickstarter campaign raise half a million bucks in just a few months. Especially when you think your idea or company is better than whatever silly thing all these strangers are throwing cash at.

But before you start salivating at the seemingly bottomless pool of internet investors, you need to figure out if crowdfunding is right for your small business or startup. Are you a software or app company? Have you failed to fully flesh out or vet your business plan? Do you lack something tangible for investors to grasp onto, either in prototype or potential reward? Crowdfunding might not be for you. But if you've already got a great network of fans and can show new ones something of value early on, you may be off to the financing races.

Here are a few other variables to consider before launching your crowdfunding campaign.

Most small businesses need a little financial help getting off the ground or out of the garage. And while there are many ways to finance a startup, from angel investors to friends and family, most small biz owners are turning to loans to get their businesses up and running, or get them through a rough patch.

While borrowing a large amount of money for your small business may seem daunting, there are government programs and incentives that can help. Here's some essential legal information you need to know when looking for a small business loan.

Canadian Company Gets First Marijuana IPO in US

Canadian based Tilray Inc. became the first marijuana company to complete an initial public offering (IPO) on a major U.S. Stock Exchange. Shares debuted at $17/share and reached as high as $34/share within the first week of trading.

Tilray isn't the first marijuana company traded on the US Stock Exchange, but the first to do so with an IPO. This is relevant for two reasons: first, it was able to tap into the lucrative U.S. IPO market, raising $153 million, and second, it signifies the maturation and legitimacy of the marijuana business, evidenced by its world-class book-runner, Cowen. As Tilray's Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy states, the IPO signifies tremendous validation for the industry. "It gives us access to large pools of capital, capital that feeds the global paradigm shift taking place".

Back in 2012, Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, easing the restrictions on crowdfunding for certain private companies. The JOBS Act also created a new category of securities issuer, the "emerging growth company" (EGC), that included those with revenues under $1 billion which had either not gone public or just had their IPO.

Given the difficulty in securing funding for many startups and small business, any rule that makes it easier to raise capital or go public is some very good news. So could your company qualify as an EGC? And how could that help your crowdfunding?

If you run a business, particularly one that isn't operated as a sole proprietorship, you should be rather careful about commingling funds. Using business funds to pay for personal expenses could run afoul of the law, contracts, ethical, and fiduciary duties.

Even if you operate a sole proprietorship, you may want to follow the following advice, that way, when the time comes to grow, your business doesn't have a questionable and difficult to understand financial history. It'll also make life easier come tax time.

MedBox, the company that promised to bring biometric medical marijuana vending machines into existence, was recently busted by the SEC for some rather deceptive practices, which surprisingly doesn't involve the controversial substance. Rather, MedBox was busted for deceiving investors by using fake earnings generated by a secret affiliate and not MedBox to claim the company had substantial revenue and was a marijuana industry leader.

The founder of MedBox, and the company itself, have settled the claims made by the SEC by agreeing to disgorge profits and pay fines, totaling over $12 million, and by the founder agreeing to not be a corporate director or officer of any public companies, and for him not to participate in any penny stock offerings. Others involved, including former corporate directors and officers, are still being investigated and/or pursued by the SEC for their involvement, or complacency (which likely won't suffice as a defense).

Getting a business venture started or making a product via a crowdfunding project can be exciting. Seeing supporters, or backers, putting their money into your project can be uplifting. Just don’t forget about the IRS.

Many people who get funded often wonder whether the money received from crowdfunding is taxable. Despite the lack of specific guidance from the IRS, the answer is yes, crowdfunded monies are taxable income for the year that they are received, with limited exception. Fortunately, there are a few things that crowdfunding startups, individuals and businesses can do to maybe save a few bucks and avoid tax troubles.

Starting or running a business frequently involves lines of credit. As business owners know, inventory must be acquired, rents must be paid, and wheels need to keep on turning. Many entrepreneurs just starting out frequently rely on their own personal credit to get their businesses off the ground.

However, depending on the type of business structure you choose for your business, your personal credit score may have a negative impact on your business.