As the Texas Legislature ramps up another session, my thoughts turn to hoping the politicians don’t add more burden to business owners trying to make an honest living. I’m reminded of one of my favorite stories of a politician who finally “got it.” I’ll leave to others the debate over McGovern’s place in American history (or his politics in general), but I do think his post-political life is instructive to business owners and the politicians who make the regulations that burden them. [Read more…]
With a birthday coming up this spring (a birthday north of 40), my attention starts to turn to the annual tune-up at the doctor’s office. After an embarrassing wait in a drafty “robe” and being intimately checked out by my doctor, I get the usual news: lose 20 pounds, get more sleep, drink less, and limit stress in my life. The same attention that one should pay to your own health should be given to your company. Every company needs an annual checkup, particularly with its attorney and CPA. You should be prepared to meaningfully discuss at the least the following topics: [Read more…]
The following is a true story with the names changed to protect the innocent.
I was once introduced to a prospective client who owned an environmental services company; he cleaned out tank cars. Serious work. When I asked him what kind of entity his company was, he said, “a DBA.” After picking my jaw up off the floor, I realized he was serious. Because he was not operating through an entity, the owner could be sued for (and be personally liable) for any claim against his company. He was undertaking an extremely dangerous business venture while placing all of his personal assets at risk. The fact that the business owner didn’t understand the enormity of his exposure was depressing. Following is an overview of the most common business structures. [Read more…]
Negotiations concerning your business can be stressful and overwhelming. Many people are under the misconception that anything goes in negotiations, as long as it achieves the desired result. Bluffing, or bending the truth, has been a common tactic of many business owners and lawyers in these negotiations. For most people, fudging a few numbers is a necessary evil when conducting business because they feel it is effective. Turns out, that’s not the case. Research has shown that deception and a lack of ethics in negotiations are actually counterproductive. [Read more…]
In 2009, during the heart of the housing crisis of the Great Recession, Congress enacted the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA). The PTFA was designed to protect honest tenants who did not know the house they were renting was in default and sold at a foreclosure sale. As the tidal wave of foreclosures grew larger and larger during that financial crisis, more and more tenants woke to find the owner of the house they rented had changed by foreclosure. The PTFA was passed by Congress to give some breathing room to those tenants, giving them more time than typical under state law to stay in the house post-foreclosure. As with many federal interventions into the housing market, unintended consequences quickly followed. [Read more…]