My Employees Oughta Know! Not if You Don’t Have a Written Handbook!


By Jamie Moore Marcario

Your company started small: just you, a computer, and your supplies in your garage apartment. And then almost overnight, you moved to an office downtown and added your first, second . . . maybe even your fifteenth employee. Or maybe you’re about to hire your first team member. Congrats on your growth! You’re clearly doing a lot of things right!

But if your company is in a growth spurt, chances are you struggle with enforcing company “rules”: rules that you have discussed with your team, but never committed to writing. Or maybe you deem these “rules” to be intuitive with no need for discussion or explanation. Like showing up on time. Or dressing professionally. Or giving advance notice if you need a half day off to get that root canal taken care of. If this describes you, read on! Read more

The Donald, Jamie, and Intellectual Property?

In case you missed it…

Thrive Law’s managing attorney, Jamie Moore Marcario was recently interviewed by David Byrd, the host of American Cafe of Voice of America. President Trump recently announced billions of dollars of tariffs against China. The president said theft of intellectual property by China was one reason for his action. But what actually is intellectual property and what constitutes piracy? Jamie breaks it down for us and explains what content creators can do to protect themselves.

You can listen by clicking play below!

 

This interview is an educational service of Thrive LawTM, a business law boutique. It does not constitute legal advice or imply an attorney-client relationship. At Thrive Law, we offer a full spectrum of legal services for businesses and are equipped to help you make the wisest choices about your business dealings while you’re alive and well or in the event of your incapacity or death. We also offer a Healthy Business & Creative Checkup for ongoing ventures, as well as outsourced company counsel plans for businesses who need a legal team on speed dial. Contact us today to schedule: 727.300.1990 or hello@thrivelaw.com. We cannot wait to meet you!

Independent Contractors are the Bomb (That Can Blow Up your Business)! When and How to Hire IC’s Safely

By Jamie Moore Marcario

We get it. You’re the new biz on the block and you need help. But the thought of hiring employees freaks you out! Where will you get the money? So you hire an independent contractor (IC) instead. You pat yourself on the back. Maybe you tell your best friend, “I’m brilliant! I hired someone to do my bidding and I’m saving a ton in payroll taxes. I am the bomb!”

But what if the real bomb is that IC that’s going to explode right in your face? If you don’t engage the right IC for the right job—a mistake the IRS and the NLRB call “misclassification” — you might be on the hook for fines, penalties, back wages, overtime pay and possibly a lawsuit that could sink your business. To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, check out these pros and cons of working with independent contractors. Use them as your guide on when and how to hire them without blowing up your business.

Independent Contractor Pros

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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

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

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.

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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!