The Business Mentoring Center
The Business Mentoring Center

Corporate Cranium Mentor Articles

What to Look For in the Next Contract That You Sign

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. | August 6, 2018

Ok, so you are about to sign a contract with a new customer and they send you a ten-page contract to sign before you can start work; what do you look for in that contract?  While it’s a good idea to have complex contracts reviewed by an experienced attorney, there are some basics you can look for to see if your new customer is offering a deal you really want to take. Term of the contract. In most contracts there is a “term” or period of time for which the...

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Past Articles

Preparing Your Business for a Separation Between Partners

One of the most difficult challenges a business owner can face is when things go wrong with another partner/owner and a separation becomes necessary. Here is a checklist of the preliminary things I would look for as either your attorney or as a mediator/business counselor looking to structure your transition.
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Managing Relationships in a Time of Discord

There is so much noise in the air these days about all the things that separate people, the things that make us different and isolate us from one another. Everyone seems focused on their individual concerns without a commitment to the greater good. Managing employees, shareholders and business relationships can be daunting in this environment. …
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What Factors Should You Consider in Starting a Business with a Partner?

One of the bravest and most difficult decisions a person can make is decide to go into business for him- or herself.  The second bravest and most difficult may be the decision to go into business with a partner.   Taking on a partner in many ways is like getting married, so it’s important to know…
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The New Minnesota LLC Act

Effective August 1, 2015, the Minnesota Legislature adopted a new law governing Limited Liability Companies (“LLC”).  This law has the greatest impact on new LLCs but also has implications for existing LLCs and the relationship between their member/owners.  The adoption of the new law is intended to reduce the formality associated with operating an LLC. …
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How to Prepare for an Unemployment Hearing

If you have terminated an employee or are in a business with regular personnel turnover, you have probably been faced with the prospect of attending an unemployment hearing. Here are some tips on how to get ready for a hearing. Do you need to participate? The first question is whether to contest a claim for…
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Watch Out For The Worker’s Compensation Retaliation Claim!

One of the “growth” areas in employment litigation is retaliation claims, and in particular retaliation claims relating to worker’s compensation. Close ties between organizations representing employees in worker’s compensation claims and attorneys who handle plaintiffs’ employment retaliation claims, make it very likely that if you terminate an employee with an outstanding worker’s compensation claim, you…
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Employee or Partner: How to Decide When to Make a Key Employee an Owner in Your Business

In most small to mid-sized businesses, the question arises at some point in the life of the business whether to bring in a new or additional partner to the company.  Usually the question arises under one of two circumstances: (1) the employee is a dynamic rain-maker and you want to make sure he or she…
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Should Arbitration Be a Part of Your Contracts?

The cost of legal fees in resolving disputes remains one of the biggest challenges in managing your business.  Disputes that are over the minimum you can bring in conciliation court (generally $7,500 – $10,000 depending on the court) and less than $50,000 can net you a legal bill higher than the amount you recover.  Are…
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Effective Employee Discipline (Or How to Fire an Employee Without Getting Sued)

One of the most unpleasant tasks for a business owner is confronting the non-productive or misbehaving employee.  Employees are a company’s most valuable resource but they can also be a sinkhole of wasted costs, time and resources if the “rotten apple” isn’t quickly pruned.  Here are some approaches to consider when handling the employee in…
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Do’s and Don’ts for Business Sellers

If you are thinking that about selling your business, there is a long checklist of things to do to get ready for a sale.  Here is a list of some of the things you should consider: Packaging Your Business for Sale DO spend time with your accountant to make sure your financials are in acceptable…
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Building Performance Pay Into a Union Contract

One of the biggest criticisms of unions is the concept that they reward the poorest performer while failing to adequately compensate the best performers.  Union contracts typically have a one-size fits all pay scale that applies to everyone in particular classification (ex. every mechanic gets paid the same wage).  Some union contracts focus on seniority;…
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Designing an Effective Compensation Plan that Rewards Performance

I recently negotiated a labor agreement on behalf of an electric cooperative in which all of the compensation was based on achieving certain performance standards.  This type of compensation plan is extremely rare for a unionized company and reflects an approach to compensation that can serve as a model for non-union employers as well. The…
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Managing Legal Fees in Business Transactions

Recently I was involved in a business deal where the principals met to negotiate the terms and then brought the lawyers to the table to “document” the deal.  Sounds like the cheapest way to handle a transaction, right?  Not quite. The lawyers saw issues the principals didn’t anticipate and a significant amount of time was…
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Employment Agreements-When Do You Need One?

The starting point for an employment relationship in Minnesota is “at-will,” meaning that an employer is free to terminate an employment relationship at any time for any reason (as long as it’s not an unlawful reason) and an employee is free to quit their job and go to work elsewhere, at any time and for…
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Getting Your Business Ready for Sale

As we crawl out of the wreckage of this last recession and look around, we can see the world will in fact survive.  While we have lost many businesses in our communities in the past two years, the survivors are likely to have significant opportunities as our economy recovers.  If you are one of the…
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Hiring the Right Way Can Avoid the Cost of a Bad Termination

One of the worst predicaments for an employer is to face a lawsuit from a former employee alleging a wrongful termination.  Once an employee has found a lawyer willing to take his case, an employer will need to be prepared for a new budget item:  legal fees and settlement costs which can easily exceed $50,000. …
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When Does It Make Sense to Sell Stock to an Employee?

Some of the most challenging and complex decisions a business owner can make involve when and how to sell a part of their business to an employee.  The decision to sell a portion of your business to an employee may be motivated by the desire to raise capital, or as an effort to retain a…
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Is There a Lawsuit in Your Future? How to Control Costs, Risks and Your Own Attorney

The most dangerous legal expense a company can incur is the cost of litigation.  Whether you are the party suing or being sued, the costs of litigation can eat up your company’s profits in a hurry if you don’t keep a tight lease on the process and on your own attorney.  You should be very…
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The Essentials of a Non-Complete Agreement: Is it Enforceable?

There are two situations where a company typically encounters a non-compete:  (1) when it has  valuable employee, information or contacts it wants to keep within the organization; and (2) when a new potential hire arrives with a non-compete that may restrict his/her ability to work for the company.  In either case it is important to…
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Leveraging Attorney’s Fees to Avoid Litigation

A little known secret outside of law offices is that very few lawyers actually try lawsuits in front of a judge or jury anymore.  While criminal defense lawyers still actually try cases, most lawyers representing businesses who call themselves litigators are very rarely, if ever, in court for a trial.  Why is that?  Because it…
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Should You Be in Business At All? Here’s How to Know

So many business owners beat their heads against the wall, wondering why their business isn’t working. They try everything – new sales scripts, better ads, new products, yet to no avail … every day they open their doors, they plunge further into debt. In most cases, the reason things aren’t working is very simple –…
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Getting Paid-Your Company Got the Job, Now How Do You Make Sure You are Going to Get Paid?

One of the most difficult challenges in today’s economy, once you find the work, is to make sure that you get paid for the work that you do.  It has become an all too common story to watch once seemingly “safe” businesses disappear, leaving behind them a string of material suppliers, subcontractors and vendors with…
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Trade Secrets: How to Protect Yours? What Should You Do if a New Hire Brings Secrets with Them?

You have a key employee who knows all the business secrets of your organization; how do you make sure he doesn’t take them to your competitors and potentially cripple your company?  A key employee from a competitor is looking for a job and you’d like to hire her; what do you need to be concerned…
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Thinking of Adding a Business Partner? Here’s What You Need to Know About the “In” the “Out” and the In-between”

A business partnership is often compared to a marriage and that analogy is especially true when it comes to a business break-up, which can rival any marriage dissolution when it comes to hard feelings, disruption of lives and costs if the partners haven’t properly prepared for a partnership separation.  If you are starting a business…
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Halagan Law Firm, LTD.
15 Second St. NW
Buffalo, MN 55313
P: 763-682-8975
F: 763-682-6793
Email Bob
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