A blog about making your business leaner, faster and smarter

Crowdfunding Laws: Will They Help or Hurt My Business?

It seems like new buzzwords pop up all the time and the one that I am hearing a lot about lately is “crowdfunding.” I know it’s been around for several years, but it seems to be picking up speed and becoming a readily accepted method of fundraising for both nonprofit and entrepreneurial ventures. As this new virtual tool continues to gain popularity, laws have been passed to regulate these financial exchanges. If you are crowdfunding or are just curious about garnering additional funds for your small business, there are a few guidelines that you should be aware of.

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Immigration and the Executive Order

Immigration is a difficult issue and I understand both sides of this complex topic: with the exception of Native Americans, we are all from immigrant ancestors. How can we discriminate against something that we so clearly have benefitted from? On the other side, amnesty of current illegal immigrants could cost an estimated $6.3 trillion which would trickle down for taxpayers to cover. Among all of the underlying factors that make up this heated debate, small business owners will also be impacted with what President Obama has dictated in his plan for an immigration overhaul.

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Employee Agreements and Stock Options – What am I Agreeing to at My New Job?

You got the job!!! It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college or if you’ve been in the work force for many years; signing on with a new company is exciting, nerve wracking, and worthy of a full out celebration. But don’t pop the cork to the champagne yet. Let’s talk about your employee agreements and stock options.

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Do Small Business Owners Have a Strong Enough Voice in Political Elections?

Popular computer programmer and activist Richard Stallman once said, “The paradigm of competition is a race: by rewarding the winner, we encourage everyone to run faster. When capitalism really works this way, it does a good job; but its defenders are wrong in assuming it always works this way.” While capitalism and democracy do go hand in hand, the outcomes don’t always benefit the masses. Does money equal power in politics? Many small businesses seem to think so.

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How to Keep Your Trade Secrets Safe

“I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” That line has been used jokingly in many circumstances ranging from overly dramatic spy movies to restauranteurs on the Food Network protecting a recipe. Not that we’re promoting violence, but a similar sentiment is felt by many entrepreneurs and business owners guarding their trade secrets. 

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How the November Elections Will Affect Small Businesses

Change is in the air, can you feel it? It’s been a little over a week since Election Day and it will be interesting to see how long this “quiet after the storm” lasts. Some things will change, some will be stalled, but small businesses need to be prepared for whatever legislation will trickle down the pipes and into their daily lives. In this day and age no one is safe from taxes, immigration law, affordable health care policies, and minimum wage increases. Are you ready? 

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President Obama’s Plan for Net Neutrality

Earlier this week, President Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement stricter rules in the effort to protect Net Neutrality. The President is pushing for a plan that will have the FCC classify the Internet as a public utility (like water or electricity) in order to avoid such concepts as throttling or paid prioritization. 

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When Should a Startup Hire its First General Counsel?

There has been a lot of debate on whether a startup should hire a General Counsel (GC) and if so, when the appropriate time is to do so. Startups fear that since attorneys are always looking to minimize risk, a General Counsel will be a constant “no-person,” shutting down every idea that the company has because the risk is too high. On the other hand, there are many issues startups deal with that could be taken care of by an attorney – like governmental regulations, stocks and securities obstacles, and intellectual property protection. 

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Affordable Health Care and the Role of Employers

Democracy is a cornerstone to what makes this country strong and the recent election has proven that we still believe in the power of the ballot. However, with politics comes controversy and certain topics cause even the most un-opinionated person to take sides. One such poignant topic continues to be the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As an individual and as an employer, this issue and it’s continuing complications can greatly affect you.

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500 Startups General Counsel Greg Raiten Chats with UpCounsel

We had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Raiten, General Counsel at 500 Startups, to discuss some of the challenges he faces when it comes to being part of a startup accelerator and venture capital fund. As you can imagine, his work spans across many levels from being a general business advisor to small startups to dealing with 500’s legal work internationally. It takes a great deal of dedication to wear multiple hats, but Greg has no problem juggling them all.

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