Posts in Business
Independent Contractors – 1099 vs. W2

Today’s employers are classifying more and more workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Small business owners in particular need to research this decision carefully, and take steps to make sure you are complying with all tax rules and regulations. The IRS expects you to know the difference between employees and independent contractors and there are penalties for incorrectly classifying your workers

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Benefit Corporations

B Lab, a nonprofit organization, awards Benefit Corporation certifications (B Corp) to for-profit companies that “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” To earn Certified B Corporation status from B Lab demonstrates that a company is committed to sustainability and aims to create value for society as well as the economy. This is a deviation from normal corporate standards, which are focused primarily on increasing profitability for shareholders. B Lab states that, "B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.” 

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Business Succession Planning

Family owned businesses contribute roughly 50% of the gross domestic product in the US and are responsible for over half of all jobs. All businesses need to have a succession plan in order to provide for the retiring owners and give the business the opportunity for continued success and growth. This is particularly true for small family owned businesses that often have complex histories that are intertwined with family dynamics.

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Board Observer v. Board Advisor

It has become common practice for corporations to invite former board members, investors or people with certain expertise to serve as corporate board observers or corporate board advisors. These arrangements can be mutually advantageous; as it gives corporations opportunities to form strategic partnerships while potential investors get insight into corporations. It is important to understand the differences between the board observer and board advisor roles in order to determine which would be best for your company.

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Crowdfunding is a modern approach to the process of raising capital. In this model, individuals, businesses and organizations seek donations from a large pool of backers (the “crowd”). Successful crowdfunding initiatives have financed everything from political campaigns to movies and start up companies.

Crowdfunding is typically made possible by a web platform. is the largest crowdfunding platform for creative endeavors. There have been several successful Kickstarter campaigns funded locally in Asheville including: Asheville Free Media, Appalatch, and Asheville Tango Orchestra.

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Blog Update: Intellectual Property Warning

This is an update to my November 15, 2013 blog: Intellectual Property Warning for Small Business Owners.  In the past, I discussed issues that might arise for small business owners if they intentionally or inadvertently use any photographs owned or licensed by digital photo agency Getty Images on their website, social media sites or any marketing content. Getty Images recently announced they are now releasing up to 40 million images that can be used for “noncommercial” uses in blogs, social media websites and other online uses for free.

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Intellectual Property Warning for Small Business Owners

The owner of a local small business contacted me about an unfortunate situation involving copyright law and online marketing. A year ago, she inadvertently posted two copyright protected images on her business’s Facebook page and website. Recently she received a threatening letter from a company called Getty Images demanding a large sum of money for a settlement amount for copyright infringement.

To prevent this problem for your business, make sure that you have properly licensed all of the images used on your website, or in any marketing materials or social media sites. Assume that any image you see on the Internet has some level copyright protection unless it expressly states otherwise. Copyright protections exist as soon as a “work of authorship” is fixed in a tangible form and they do not have to be registered, although registration is recommended. Copyright infringement does not require either knowledge or intent. Inadvertently or not, if you use a copyrighted image for commercial purposes without permission you are leaving yourself vulnerable to litigation.

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New NC LLC Statute

In the midst of this tumultuous political season, North Carolina has passed a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) statute. The stated purpose of the new Act is, “to provide a flexible framework under which one or more persons may organize and manage one or more businesses as they determine to be appropriate with minimum prescribed formalities or constraints.” This Act will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

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