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Cleveland Business & Commercial Law Blog

Is the government trying to take your real estate?

Yes, eminent domain still exists and can happen. The government may come in and attempt to take possession of an Ohio resident's real estate, whether it is residential or commercial. Fortunately, it cannot do so without giving the property owner notice and the opportunity for a hearing.

The government agency must send the property owner notice that it wants to acquire the land. The notice must indicate the intent to take the land, and specifically identify the land, the use it proposes and an initial purchase offer. It must then negotiate compensation in good faith.

Commercial real estate offers many options for investors

Many who are looking to diversify their portfolios are discovering the benefits of investing in real estate. While it is common for those new to the Ohio real estate world to consider residential properties, more experts are encouraging investors to look at the flexibility and stability of commercial real estate. In addition to tenants who typically remain in place longer than residential tenants, commercial real estate offers multiple options for getting started with investing.

An owner of commercial property can expect to have lower tenant turnover and longer leases, which means steady income for a longer period of time. An investor also has options for purchasing properties that meet the buyer's level of experience and financing. For example, a class A property may be more expensive because it is newer and in need of fewer repairs. A class C property may be affordable but require extensive renovations and some creativity in attracting tenants.

Contract disputes can damage one's business

Ohio businesses often enter into written agreements with other businesses or individuals. These contracts contain the terms of those agreements between the parties. A business that decides not to honor a contract faces many potential consequences. Contract disputes can cause damage to one's business in numerous ways.

Failing to honor a contract can do irreparable harm to one's business reputation and relationships. Many consumers and other entrepreneurs often associate with those who are trustworthy in their dealings. Business owners who breach contracts may have difficulty finding others who will do business with them because of their reputation for not following through.

Business planning can include a strategy for success

For many Ohio entrepreneurs, making money is the objective. However, setting definable goals for one's business is an excellent way to plan for success and to bring one's employees into the process of achieving that success. This is why business planning advocates recommend that every business owner create a strategy that identifies the company's priorities and the necessary steps to reach those goals.

A business strategy can give a business owner a big-picture view of the company by projecting three to five years into the future. Including employees in the planning of the strategy can give those employees a better idea of the role they play in the mission and success of the company. A thorough strategy can address profits, department oversight, performance of products and how to address inefficiency, as well as keeping one's entire staff unified.

Closely held business organization has common pitfalls

It makes sense that large, public corporations receive more press than small businesses. After all, those who have a financial interest in a large corporation may be far-reaching since public companies offer their stock on the open market. However, the most common Ohio business organization is the closely held business, which means only a few people own the company. While closely held businesses have the advantage of allowing owners to maintain control of their companies, there are risks those owners must be careful to avoid.

Like any successful business, a closely held operation needs a strong contract to protect its owners from many contingencies. However, that contract may become the company's worst enemy if it does not evolve and grow with the business. Shareholders who meet regularly to evaluate and discuss necessary changes in the contract may have a greater chance of avoiding the conflicts that can damage relationships among partners.

Early contract termination can lead to contract disputes

At some point in time, most Ohio contracts come to an end. This can be because the contract has been fulfilled or one or both parties decide to terminate the contract. When the contract comes to an end due to termination by one or both parties, it is likely that a variety of contract disputes are the root cause and will play a role in what happens going forward.

In one such instance, a state agency decided to change vendors prior to the expiration of the contract with the current vendor. The contractor was responsible for provided courtesy shuttle services for stranded motorists throughout the state. In May, the agency notified the contractor that it would terminate the contract effective January. The contract was due to expire the following September.

Commercial real estate investors must be flexible

One of the challenges Ohio commercial property owners are facing is the rise of the digital marketplace. Studies show that 96 percent of consumers do their shopping online, and more industries are hiring remote employees who work from home. This eliminates the need for brick-and-mortar retail and office space. How is a commercial real estate owner to thrive in such conditions?

Some of the top advisors in the real estate industry recommend flexibility and adaptability. This may include investing in properties that have multiple uses, such as strip malls, to avoid having the entire property become obsolete as trends fluctuate. Currently, tenants seem to be preferring smaller spaces rather than vast commercial enterprises. Property owners may also find more success if they are willing to repurpose buildings and seek out tenants who are the best fit for the space.

What is a breach of contract?

Contracts are a common part of doing business. Ohio businesses use them in the sale and purchase of products, in the employment of individuals and in many other instances. The purpose of the contract typically is to establish the specific terms of the individuals' or businesses' agreement. When the terms of such an agreement are not met, then it is possible that a breach of contract has occurred.

When individuals or businesses believe that a breach of contract has occurred, it is possible that they will seek to rectify the situation through legal means. If such a claim is made, there are a number of questions that must be answered. Additionally, it may be necessary to determine that if a breach did occur and whether any breach identified was a material or a minor one.

Business planning can minimize risk and maximize reward

Risk and reward often go hand in hand. For some, starting a business is just something to dream about; however, for others, it is more than just a dream. Turning this dream into reality is the driving force behind new Ohio business ventures. One part of the risk and reward equation involves the various business planning decisions that will need to be addressed.

The first step is to focus on the specifics that will bring in business revenue. While it is true that there is often a number of expenses associated with any business, the majority of businesses do need to focus on income in order to sustain the business through the start-up phase. Along with focusing on income, focusing on making sure that the right people are in place to drive the business is essential.

Shareholder disputes: Papa John's pizza involved in lawsuit

It often takes many people to help run a successful business. Typically, companies create boards with shareholders that can have at least some say in how certain operations within the company take place. However, it is not uncommon for shareholder disputes to take place when one or more shareholders become disgruntled with how the business is running.

Ohio residents may be interested in a lawsuit involving Papa John's pizza. Reports indicated that the pizza chain's founder and largest shareholder John Schnatter has filed a lawsuit against the company, including the board of directors and the CEO. Schnatter was previously the chairman of the board, but after making a controversial statement, he removed himself from the position. However, he now wants reinstated and claims that his statement was taken out of context.

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