The Business Mentoring Center
The Business Mentoring Center

Corporate Cranium Mentor Articles

The Small Business: How Do You Know When You Need HR?

By Sheri Stolp, The Stolp Group | February 1, 2013

For the small business owner, conquering challenges like creating new business opportunities,  improving the bottom line or finding a new office can seem like small potatoes compared to hiring and managing employees. And as the business grows, entrepreneurs can experience major challenges in terms of finding great people, performance issues and the thing we all dread most, firing someone. Add to that a complex set of state and federal employment regulations and the whole thing can seem pretty overwhelming.  But here’s the good news.  In the world of HR, which...

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How to Get Your Customers to do Your Selling for You

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / June 1, 2013

We all hope that if we acquire a new customer and deliver our product or services to their expectations, we have a customer for life and through ‘word of mouth’ they’ll introduce us to many more.  While this happens some of the time, it’s a very passive and re-active way to grow your customer base…

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Are your Key Documents Up to Date?

By Kevin Lanigan, Carlson Estate Planning / April 29, 2013

Estate attorneys were relieved when Congress finally agreed to a long-term resolution of the amount of the federal estate tax exemption. Finally, after a decade of not knowing what would happen to federal estate taxes, lawmakers settled the matter when the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 became law.  As a reminder, the estate-tax exclusion,…

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Think Your Business is Different? Here’s Why It’s Costing You Money

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / April 1, 2013

If I received a dollar every time I heard that statement well, I’d have a lot of dollars.  There is a simple formula that determines where your current profits come from and how to systematically increase your profits.  And this formula applies to every business, everywhere, every time.  If this is the case, why do…

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The Small Business: How Do You Know When You Need HR?

By Sheri Stolp, The Stolp Group / February 1, 2013

For the small business owner, conquering challenges like creating new business opportunities,  improving the bottom line or finding a new office can seem like small potatoes compared to hiring and managing employees. And as the business grows, entrepreneurs can experience major challenges in terms of finding great people, performance issues and the thing we all…

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Success through Failure

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / February 1, 2013

In business, massive failure should be avoided at all costs except if you want to achieve massive success.  The level of success you have experienced in your business and in your life is directly proportional to the level of failure you are willing to experience.  Most of us only achieve a limited amount of success…

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The Key to Business Success and Financial Independence is…Leverage!

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / December 1, 2012

One of the biggest keys to business success is…leverage.  John D. Rockefeller famously said “I would rather earn 1% off 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”  As one of the founders of Standard Oil and the richest man of his time, John D. Rockefeller had successfully mastered the game of business through…

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Should Arbitration Be a Part of Your Contracts?

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / December 1, 2012

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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With All the Congress Uncertainty, Can We Provide Planning for Year-End 2012? Yes-And This Year It is Necessary

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / December 1, 2012

In the 22 years of service I have provided as an advisor, I have not seen any year more complex that this one.  My suggestion is to get to your advisors, sooner rather than later, for 2012/2013 planning.  For example, unless something is done in Congress, the federal individual income tax rates themselves will increase…

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Understanding the Overall “Climate” in Your Office

By Sheri Stolp, The Stolp Group / September 1, 2012

Most business owners have a good understanding of things like cash flow, business prospects, sales and other tangible measurements. To truly have a finger on the pulse of the business, however, you’ve got to understand what’s going on in terms of employee morale. As a business grows, that can be harder and harder to gauge.…

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Need to Set Goals for Your Business, Here’s How

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / September 1, 2012

As a small business owner, do you find that you are easily achieving the results you planned in your business? Do you find that you have intentions and goals that you are not able to accomplish? Are you inconsistent in your ability to achieve your business goals? If you are like many small business owners,…

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Effective Employee Discipline (Or How to Fire an Employee Without Getting Sued)

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / September 1, 2012

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

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / July 1, 2012

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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A Look to the Future

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / July 1, 2012

None of us know what November will bring.  Congress, no matter who takes over, can’t seem to agree on anything except to blame the other side for things that can’t get done or go wrong.  As a CPA and attorney, I am quite tired of trying to plan an effective strategy with my clients with…

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Increase Revenue in Your Small Business…Then Don’t Focus on Sales

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / May 1, 2012

Small business owners focus getting on new customers and making new sales but leave money on the table with their existing customer base. If your business goal is to increase revenue, I’m guessing the number one thing you are focusing on is how to get more customers or how to get more sales.  This may…

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Independent Contractors vs. Employees

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / May 1, 2012

For many years the IRS has been scrutinizing the distinction between Independent Contractors and Employees for businesses.  Business owners would prefer the workers categorized as independent contractors.  Some of the reasons are as follows: Independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation or unemployment; Businesses do not need to withhold payroll tax on the earnings…

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Building Performance Pay Into a Union Contract

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / March 1, 2012

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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Taxes…Taxes – What to Know for 2012 Planning

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / January 1, 2012

Although much of the tax returns look the same as last year, there are a few items that you should be aware of that will affect your 2012 tax planning.  The following tax provisions for individuals have been extended through 2012: Capital gain tax rate of 15% for both regular tax and alternative minimum tax…

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New Increases for Social Security in 2012

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / November 1, 2011

There are new increases in Social Security that have been recently announced, both for the recipients and the employee/employers currently paying into the system.  For those of us paying into Social Security in 2012, the Social Security tax will be payable on the first $110,100 of income received per person in 2012, which is an…

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New Exclusions from Minnesota Estate Tax

By Roben Hunter, Hunter Advisors, PLLC / September 1, 2011

At the end of 2010, the federal estate tax exemption amount was increased to $5 million, which means that up to $5 million dollars worth of assets can pass from an individual to others at death without incurring a federal estate tax.  Unfortunately, Minnesota did not adopt the federal exemption amount but instead has continue…

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Designing an Effective Compensation Plan that Rewards Performance

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / July 1, 2011

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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