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Cleveland Business & Commercial Law Blog

A family-owned business can profit from an outsider's perspective

If you are the proprietor of a family-owned business, you are most likely related to much of your workforce. In fact, your spouse, children or siblings may all hold the most important positions in your company.

Equity funds useful for capital, but with strict conditions

If you are a real estate developer, you likely understand how important it is to promote your company as being successful and capable of bringing important projects to fruition. Simply having name recognition can help you acquire valuable business.

How do I avoid legal issues with an independent contractor?

When you establish an agreement with an independent contractor, the hope is that everything will go smoothly. It benefits all parties involved if the contractor is able to complete your project on time and according to the predetermined specifications. And the last thing you need is for a dispute to arise that either interferes with the work being finished or results in the threat of legal action on behalf of the contractor.

Boilerplate contracts offer some savings, but big risks

All businesses look for ways to save money. This makes perfect sense as cost-effectiveness can lead to bigger profits. But there is a difference between finding sensible ways to limit expenses and placing yourself in financial jeopardy by trying to save a few dollars.

Survey shows family business owners have doubts about succession

According to a survey conducted by The Alternative Board, family businesses are on the whole finding financial success. And most family business owners believe that they will continue to thrive and succeed. But this optimism about the present and the immediate future is tempered by a belief among many owners that their businesses will not be carried on under the control of future generations. In fact, 62 percent of those surveyed harbored such fears.

So why the pessimism? Well, there were a couple of reasons cited. For one thing, only 45 percent of the respondents said that their children played a role in the family business. In other words, there is simply no ground work being done to help the succession process. Equally telling, 26 percent of the respondents were not satisfied with their succession plans and 29 percent actually had no plan whatsoever.

Are your shareholders prepared for possible changes?

From marriages to business partnerships, nothing lasts forever and change is inevitable in all relationships. And just as a divorce can be expedited much easier if the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, so too can businesses do themselves a tremendous service by planning for a potential dissolution.

Seeking a zoning exception or variance in Cleveland, part 1

As any developer can tell you, bringing a successful commercial real estate project to fruition is all about problem-solving. Your first problem is finding a property that you want to build on. And then you have a whole host of other problems that involve financing, construction, sales and so on. And one of the major hurdles you will have to clear is getting permission from local governmental agencies to perform construction that adheres to the needs of your project.

Verification, notarization and budgeting solidify contracts

One of the main reasons for creating contractual agreements with business partners is to establish responsibilities and obligations. Ideally, so long as both parties deliver on their promises, all will go well. An effective business contract is one that covers all contingencies in terms that are concise and understandable. But achieving this is not always as easy as it sounds. And unfortunately, problems with contracts are sometimes not discovered until well after the document has been signed.

A noncompete agreement must have a legitimate purpose

One of the most important things you can do as a business owner to protect your interests is have high-value employees sign noncompete agreements. The intent of having an employee commit to a noncompete agreement is to keep him or her from going to work for a direct competitor for a specific period of time after leaving your company. But when crafting such an agreement, you need to make sure that it is legally enforceable.

Approach potential business partnerships with deliberate care

Forming a partnership, be it limited or general, with another party can do a great deal to expand your business opportunities. But you need to examine every aspect of a potential partnership extremely carefully. And when it comes to formalizing your partnership, you want to create a contract that clearly states each party's responsibilities and obligations.

But what can you do to better ensure that the partnership you are considering will offer the benefits you are looking for? Well, first and foremost, you want to take all the time you need to fully assess the other party's commitment to the partnership. To this end, you need to sit down with the other party and craft a business plan that helps clarify your common goals and expectations. Creating a business plan is also a good way of determining if your potential partner is a good fit. If you discover that the other party has a different set of goals or conducts business in a manner that is contrary to your style, it may be best to forgo the partnership. 

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Dinn, Hochman & Potter, L.L.C.
5910 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44124
-6500

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