Local dental firm pays $46,000 in employment law fines. Are you next?

This is part one of a two part employment law series based on an interview I did with Mindy Flanigan, PHR, (www.inspiringhr.com) who is a Human Resource Specialist with more than twenty years of experience.  During our interview Mindy said that due to increased enforcement by the federal and state governments, businesses with questionable if not illegal employment law practices like the dental firm referenced in the title, are being fined thousands of dollars, particularly under the fair labor standards act (FLSA).

Like the dental firm most businesses don’t know about the intricacies of the FLSA and don’t know much about the various federal and state laws that they are subject too.  What’s more problematic is that businesses that are too small to hire a full time HR specialist may base their HR practices on incomplete and even mistaken beliefs and information.  One example that Mindy mentioned is the continued practice of classifying employees as independent contractors (IC’s).  While the IRS has a multiple question test to determine if a person is an employee or independent contractor, classifying someone as an employee may be based on as little as having the right to tell the employee what time to be at work and what time to leave work. Misclassifying employees as ICs to avoid paying payroll and other taxes may save you lots of money if you don’t get caught. If you’re caught however, the fines and penalties you pay may significantly affect your bottom line for that quarter and even the year.

In the next article I will discuss the two strategic ways that Mindy brings value to businesses. To learn more about her services visit her web site or email her at mflanigan@inspiringhr.com or call her at 804-822-6383.

To learn more about Torus Law and our commitment to help you grow your business through a processing of Planning, Building and Protecting please call me at 804-368-7397 or visit us at www.torus.law.com.

Business Plans: What makes some better than others?

business plan bank loanAs a business lawyer I recently sat down with the branch manager (BM) at a local community bank in Hanover County. I asked the BM to identify the information his bank needs to evaluate a business plan from an existing business here in Central Virginia. The BM said when an existing business is looking for capital generally its business plan needs to include:

  • Two years of business and personal tax returns;
  • Current balance sheet and income statement;
  • An accounts receivable report;
  • An accounts payable report; and
  • The company’s debt schedule.

I also asked the BM what information a business start up had to include in its business plan. Start ups generally need to provide more information than existing businesses including:

  • A description of the business;
  • A summary of the owner’s business experience;
  • The demographics for the business;
  • Industry research;
  • Three years of projections;
  • An opening day balance sheet;
  • Two years of tax returns; and
  • Two years of personal financial statements.

A start up business may also need to provide collateral for the loan and may need to contribute up to 20% of the amount requested.

I then asked the BM about the most common deficiencies in business plans. The BM identified three:

  1. The number one deficiency is unrealistic projections for revenue and net income on an annual basis, due to the fact that the owner didn’t  do the appropriate research and is at a disconnect with where their industry trends are.
  2. The second most common deficiency is providing insufficient information about the business and/or lacking a description about what they do as a business. The BM said that existing and prospective owners need to tell their story to the underwriter.
  3. A third deficiency, which applies more to start-ups is their lack of experience in the industry and/or having insufficient collateral.  The BM noted that while a business plan needs to include sufficient information he also cautioned against putting too much information into the plan. The BM said the underwriters need to be able to understand the business but putting too much information in the plan could be counterproductive.

Finally the BM said as to business plans that are approved the process takes about two weeks, from the time it receives the application to when it issues a check. The BM noted that if the business is a franchise the process could take an additional ten weeks if the franchise is not already listed with the SBA as an “approved franchise.” And if the loan is over 100k, the process may take up to eight weeks depending on the appraisal of the collateral.

For more information about how our law firm can help you write a business plan as well as help you plan, grow and protect your business, please contact me.

Contact Info

Torus Law, PLC
JC Cancelleri

Email JC
Phone: 804-548-4810

John Cancelleri, PC: Richmond RMA Article

The following article by JC Cancelleri appears in the Richmond, VA Retail Merchants Association (RMA) newsletter.

Summer Planting

Members of the Retail Merchants Association (RMA) have access to a variety of products and services. These include floral and apparel products and payroll and marketing services just to name a few. This article focuses on the services that RMA members provide and discuses why you should consider using some of them.

As a business adviser and lawyer, life coach and financial mentor I need the services of a variety of businesses to help my firm grow. While it may be counter intuitive this is particularly true during difficult times. Unless you’re planning on retiring or quitting you should be thinking about and planning for the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010. What are you’re going to do to at least maintain your market share? If you have a bigger vision you may be thinking about how to increase your market share.

I’m determined to increase market share. Consequently and despite the economy I am investing in more education, marketing and search engine optimization programs than ever before. Did I mention I’m doing this despite already being a lawyer, having a PhD and being a certified life coach? Why…..because everyday we’re becoming more of a knowledge based economy. And I simply don’t want to get left behind! In fact I’m determined to become a world class business consultant, life coach and financial mentor.

Consequently during the last month alone I’ve met with several RMA members to learn how they can help me grow my business. I’ve become a client of one member and in the future will likely hire another one that provides administrative services.

I titled this article summer planting. I did so because nothing gets done without having a plan and being intentional. I have to be intentional because being passive will result in a slow but certain death…..on second though it may not be a slow death.

What about my fellow business owners? Do you think web sites, social networks and search engine optimizations service are expenses instead of investments? Or maybe you think they’re fads. You’d likely be wrong on both accounts. I encourage every business owner during the summer to contact at least three professionals to explore how they can help grow your business. If you want to learn more about what I’m doing call me as I’m happy to share ideas.

Author: JC Cancelleri is a business strategist and consultant with John Cancelleri, P.C. JC’s value as a Hanover business professional is augmented by being a lawyer and life coach as well as his educational background; he also has  a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Contact Info

Torus Law, PLC
JC Cancelleri

Email JC
Phone: 804-548-4810

Business: Fall Planning

Article by JC Cancelleri published in the Retail Merchants Association Newsletter:

As a member of the Retail Merchants Association you have access to members who provide a variety of products and services. These include floral and apparel products and payroll and marketing services just to name a few. This article focuses on the services that RMA members provide and discuses why you should consider using some of them.

As a business advisor and lawyer, life coach and financial counselor I need the services of a variety of businesses to help my firm grow. While it may be counter intuitive this is particularly true during difficult times. Unless you’re planning on retiring or quitting you should be thinking about and planning for the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010. What are you’re going to do to at least maintain your market share? If you have a bigger vision you may be thinking about how to increase your market share.

I’m determined to increase market share. Consequently and despite the economy I am investing in more education, marketing and search engine optimization programs than ever before. Did I mention I’m doing this despite already being a lawyer, having a PhD and being a certified life coach? Why…..because everyday we’re becoming more of a knowledge based economy. And I simply don’t want to get left behind! In fact I’m determined to become a world class business consultant, life coach and financial counselor.

Consequently during the last month alone I’ve met with several RMA members to learn how they can help me grow my business. I’ve become a client of one member and in the future will likely hire another RMA member that provides administrative services.

I titled this article intentional fall planting. I did so because nothing gets done without having a plan and being intentional. I have to be intentional because being passive will result in a slow but certain death…..on second though it may not be a slow death.

What about my fellow RMA members? Do you think web sites, social networks and search engine optimizations services are expenses instead of investments? Or maybe you think they’re fads. You’d likely be wrong on both accounts. I would encourage every RMA member during the summer to contact at least three members to explore how they can help grow your business. If you want to learn more about what I’m doing call me. While I’m just getting started I’d be happy to share ideas.

Author: JC Cancelleri is a business strategist and consultant with John Cancelleri, P.C. JC’s value as a business professional is augmented by being a lawyer, life coach and by having a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Torus Law, PLC
JC Cancelleri

Email JC
Phone: 804-548-4810

Top Business Trends

The following is a summary of an article by Steve King, Carolyn Ockels and Anthony Townsend that appeared in Small Business Labs (December 2008).

Economic Trends

The authors report five trends that will have an economic impact in 2009.

  1. The recession will drive innovation compelling businesses to focus on cash flow, customer retention and survival. The recession will also drive businesses to improve productivity and increase customer value. Businesses will re-evaluate, re-design and refine their products. Consequently the recession will create new opportunities for many businesses.
  2. Governments will become more active in regulating their economies. The regulatory failures that contributed to the recession will result in more government control and oversight. Businesses will need to be aware of how the legal, regulatory and policy changes will affect their business.
  3. Billions of dollars will be spent through the stimulus package passed by Congress. Many businesses will benefit from the investment in infrastructure, energy, transportation and education. Businesses that serve these providers will also benefit.
  4. Small business will increase. Job losses will result in more businesses forming. While business failures will also increase there should be a net gain at the end of the year. In Virginia it’s relatively easy to form an LLC. It takes even less to operate as a sole proprietor. This may further contribute to an increase in business formations.
  5. Globalization and exports will continue to shrink. While the short term picture is sobering the long term prospects are still strong.

Demographic Trends

  1. Baby boomers retirement issues will increase business formations. The current recession and the loss of asset value may compel baby boomers to stay employed even longer. Combining that with the continuing decline of traditional jobs may result in boomers forming various small or personal service businesses.
  2. Generation Y, those born between 1978 and 2000 may also react to the economy by becoming more entrepreneurial.

Technology Trends

  1. Mobile Computing will continue to grow. In the second half of 2008 notebooks outsold desktops; smart phones continue to claim more market share, while the sales of net books also increased. These trends will continue to have a significant impact on businesses in 2009.
  2. Cloud Computing will increase. Cloud computing refers to accessing software stored on some else’s server versus your own server. Cloud computing helps to lower capital costs which should help every businesses bottom line, particularly in a recession.
  3. Businesses will increase their on line marketing tools. Online marketing is not just a trend but a sea change. Online marketing is cheaper and becoming more effective than traditional methods. Competition and the economy will compel businesses to develop a greater online presence.

Visit Small Business Labs for more info on Steve King, Carolyn Ockels and Anthony Townsend.

JC Cancelleri is a business strategist and consultant. JC’s value as a business professional is augmented by being a lawyer, life coach and by having a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Torus Law, PLC
JC Cancelleri

Email JC
Phone: 804-548-4810