To Compete or to Non-Compete, That is the Question

By Jamie Moore Marcario, Managing Attorney

If you’re a business owner with employees, chances are you’ve at least contemplated the idea of having them sign a “non-compete.”  Today, employee agreements not to compete with the employer are the rule, not the exception. According to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, about 19% of American workers—about 30 million people—are currently bound some form of a non-compete agreement.  Read more

Revenge Reviews: What to Do When Someone Trashes Your Business or Professional Reputation Online

No matter how much we hear about fake news, false stories going viral, and hackers taking over online business profiles, most people assume that the “Internet of Things” is the truth. This state of affairs is particularly troublesome for entrepreneurs whose businesses become the subject of online defamation in the form of “revenge reviews,” many of which go viral. “Revenge reviews” are either false or grossly exaggerated negative “opinions” about a business posted to various social media sites by unhappy clients, angry former employees, or . . . WORSE . . . a competitor business looking to skew search results in its favor. The impact that one negative review can have on a business can be catastrophic . . . unless you have access to an experienced legal team, like the great folks at Thrive Law, that know how to leverage the law to fight for your reputation online and, in many cases, recover money from the offenders for the economic damage they caused.  Read more

Insurance is a Scam! Or is it?

5 Types of Insurance Every Business Cannot Go Without

Before you even launch, it’s imperative that you protect your business with the right types of insurance coverage. A single lawsuit or catastrophic event can wipe your company before it even has a chance to get off the ground. Don’t believe me? Ask other business owners in your community to share their horror stories about spending all the money they intended to invest in growing their companies on paying attorneys to defend suits against their business—all because they had no insurance coverage OR the wrong type of coverage.  Read more

Without these 4 Vital Legal Agreements, Your Business Could be at Risk

When launching a new venture, business owners are sometimes so focused on drumming up dollars that they forget to do what is necessary to build a firm legal foundation on which to build a business that is ready for and will not be rocked by unforeseen legal problems or circumstances. The most effective bedrock for building a legally strong business is to ensure you have in place 4 key legal agreements that no business should be without!

Based on our own experience and the advice of many seasoned, successful entrepreneurs, below are the four core agreements founders need from the moment that brilliant business idea becomes a reality. Read more

Myth Busters: The Intellectual Property for Small Business Edition

Many small business owners fail to realize just how valuable their intellectual property is. Yet according to some valuation experts, intellectual property (IP) makes up between 40% to 90% of the total value of many companies. So, it’s extremely important that you identify your company’s intellectual assets and take steps to protect them!

However, IP is a murky area of law, and if you’re not educated about how things like copyrights, trademarks, and patents work, you might be at a huge disadvantage. To identify and secure your IP, schedule an appointment with Thrive Law today. In the interim, here are four popular myths about IP protection that we would like to debunk for you! Read more

How to Deduct $5,250 of Your Adult Child’s College Tuition as a Business Expense (Yes, You Read That Correctly!)

By Jamie Moore Marcario, Managing Attorney

With today’s tuition costs at astronomically high levels, paying for a child’s college education can feel like extortion. If your child is an adult, you may have decided that it’s up to him or her to pay for tuition. But if you DO  want to help your adult child (or grandchild) with college tuition, there are some ways to do it—at least part of it—TAX FREE! Read more

Wicked or Windfall? What the New Tax Bill Holds for Biz Owners and Creatives

By Jamie Moore Marcario, Managing Attorney Thrive Law: a Business Law Boutique with Kathy Cregan, CEO Cregan and Co.

Although many progressives warned that No. 45’s tax plan would bring nothing but wailing and gnashing of teeth, the highly touted “business friendly” nature of the Republican tax bill allowed it to pass both the House and Senate, and many business owners are anxiously anticipating its effects. Known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the bill reduces tax rates, adjusts tax structures, and revamps tax benefits for businesses to stimulate economic growth.

No matter what your political leanings, the new tax bill includes certain elements of which prudent business owners should be aware when planning 2017’s year-end taxes and devising tax strategies for 2018. For example, as a business owner, the bill allows you to adopt tax-saving strategies like deferring income to 2018 or accelerating deductions into 2017 if your business’s marginal tax rate is likely to be lower in 2018. You can also do the exact opposite if the new bill means you’ll experience a tax rate increase or if certain tax deductions will be unavailable to you in the new year. Wicked or windfall? You be the judge.

Read more

5 Simple Steps to Building a Legacy You Can Leave Behind

5 Simple Steps to Building a Legacy You Can Leave Behind

You started your business or creative venture with a clear vision of the end-goal . . . or did you? If you haven’t provided for your life’s work in your estate plan but fantasize about leaving it as an entrepreneurial or artrepreneurial legacy for your kids (and their kids’ kids), your dream might just become a nightmare for your heirs—and for your business partners, employees and clients, too.  Read more

Protect Your Brilliant Idea with 3 Basic Tools

Protect Your Brilliant Idea with 3 Basic Tools

You know you’ve done it. We all have. You’ve seen an advertisement, read an article in Inc. magazine, or watched Shark Tank and thought, “That’s my idea! He stole my idea!”

The difference between your idea and the one featured in Fortune is someone believed in it—and herself—enough to make it happen, including talking to people who could help make the dream a reality. We hear a lot of “wannabe” entrepreneurs excuse their lack of action by telling themselves—and others—they refuse to share their brilliant idea because someone will steal it. (Case in point: that guy on Shark Tank who clearly heard you talking about your night vision camera mop with you buddies four years ago and just got funding from Daymond John for the same thing).

We at Uncommon Legal call BS. In fact, we are going to rip that excuse right out from under you with these three LEGAL tools to use for protecting your amazing ideas, regardless at where you are in the development process.

1. NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT. Ask any vendors, clients, or collaborators with whom you intend to work to sign non-disclosure agreement to protect confidentiality BEFORE you start talking. Call us to create a customized version just for you.

2. NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT. When (not if) you need to hire employees or engage independent contractors to help you manifest your incredible idea, be sure each one of them signs a non-compete agreement that prohibits them from learning all your secrets, leaving you high and dry, and setting up shop down the block having taken your ideas (and perhaps your clients) with them.

3. WORK-FOR-HIRE AGREEMENT. Did you know that every vendor and independent contractor you hire owns the work they create for you by default—unless you have them sign an agreement that says otherwise. That means every web developer, designer, copywriter, or editor that you retain to create or improve the information products or other materials you are putting out there must sign an agreement that contains specific language stating that their work is “work-for-hire” under the US Copyright Act. Any such agreement must clearly state that YOU, not the vendor, retain complete ownership and authorship rights, including moral and licensure rights, to use the work created for your entity as you see fit. Without such an agreement, you have no insurance that you retain your rights as the creator or develop of your brilliant product, service, or business model. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, call us and we’ll schedule time to simplify this even further.

Here is the big damn deal:

If you don’t talk about your ideas so you can act on them, someone else will beat you to it. Don’t let that happen. Do what you need to do NOW to protect yourself, your ideas, and alleviate your worries so you can tell the whole world about your brilliance (and perhaps get some funding for it along the way). And don’t forget that we’re here to help.

If you’re a small or mid-size business owner who wants help with these agreements and could use someone to ensure your intellectual property is ready for high-velocity growth, call us today to schedule your comprehensive Business Health Check-Up. Normally, this session is $1,500, but if you mention this article, you will receive a 50% discount. Let that sink in.

Then call or email us to schedule. We look forward to seeing you!