How Does Your Business Grow?

Businesses, like children, need a lot of care and tending. And just like your family has it’s family doctor, I serve as your business’ general practitioner. Working with you and your accountant, I help you reach your goals for your business.

Although I am ready to deal with a myriad of issues facing privately held businesses, the “BIG THREE” are:

  • helping with the hiring, firing and managing of employees, including telecommuters
  • advising in the area of independent contractors and outsourcing.
  • reviewing contracts to be sure your interests are covered

Employess

Hire or Fire Employees

Congratulations!! You’ve grown your business to the point where you need to hire employees. Condolences, you have to deal with a complex and sometimes onerous system of wage and hour laws; payroll taxes; anti-discrimination laws, and the list goes on.

One of the biggest problems with hiring and firing employees is that if you do make a mistake, much of the system is one-sided in favor of the employee. The penalties for minor mistakes can be stiff, and often you have to take things up through multiple appeals before you get out of a very employee-centered administrative system.

As a result, this is an area of business law where careful planning and a little bit of knowledge can save you a lot of aggravation (and money) down the line.

In spite of all of the Texas, California and Federal employment laws, I don’t believe “one size fits all.” Smaller businesses need more flexibility when it comes to their employment practices, and in fact, they are given that. Some laws have “small business” exceptions, and many others have a “reasonable business practices” requirements which will be different for different sized businesses.

When it comes to ending an employment relationship, many small business owners are their own worst enemy. Unemployment insurance is thought of as an employee benefit, but it’s also an employer benefit. Let me explain how you can protect your business by understanding the UE system?

Another hot issue involving labor but not employees is the use of independent contractors. There’s a lot of mis-information out there about ICs and I am happy to discuss how your company can grow more efficiently with the appropriate use of independent contractors.

Contracts

Manage Contractors

Using independent contractors can not only save your business money, but it can also enable you to explore higher risk and higher return projects because the investment is not as great. But the government has kept a cloud over the use of independent contractors. This is causing many accountants and some lawyers to recommend not using them at all, or outsourcing overseas instead. This is not always the right solution for your business.

Is just signing a contract enough? Not usually. But creating a system that includes an analysis of your independent contractor usage, well written contracts and procedures can help. This system limits both the risk of an audit, and the odds of losing the audit should one occur.

I have extensive experience in crafting just such systems. I have successfully defended EDD audits in excess of $700,000 (that would have been close to a $7million IRS audit) and have set up systems that have allowed my clients to win reassessment appeals when others in their industries have lost all appeals. I have a 90% success rate in defending EDD independent contractor reassessment cases. This is because I am very realistic and will not tell you that something is defendable if it’s not.

If you have concerns about your usage of independent contractors, or you’d like to start using them, but have been told not to by others, please give me a call or drop me an email to discuss this. If you have an EDD reassessment petition currently outstanding, definitely call me now.

There are also many posts about independent contractor issues on my blog.

Interwebz

Connecting with the World

It’s hard to grow a business without customers, and for most businesses, some online presence is necessary to let potential customers know you exist.

My first online client was the owner of a very large section on CompuServe (Remember them? This was the era before Web browsers were commercially available). I counseled him on copyright and liability issues. Since then I’ve worked with totally online-based businesses as well as brick and mortar businesses with an online presence.

At first the Internet was like the wild-wild west. No one knew how traditional laws would apply there. But things have settled out now, and governments have begun to regulate Internet activities more and more. Knowing which traditional legal concepts apply on the Internet, which ones don’t, and where the new legislation is, makes running an online business that much easier.

I am happy to help with terms of use, privacy policies and an assortment of liability issues. (For example, do you have more or less liability if you monitor comments are your website?) I speak Interwebz.