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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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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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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Managing Legal Fees in Business Transactions

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

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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Budget for Profit

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / May 1, 2011

As small business owners, most of us are familiar with the term “Budget.”  According to wiki, a budget is “a list of all planned expenses and revenues that ‘enables the actual financial operation of the business to be measured against the forecast.’”  Yet where is the reference to “Profit?”  Given the success of a business…

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Recent Changes in Foreign Bank Account Reporting

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

Today’s world is one of international investments. On February 23, 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network amended the Federal Bank Secrecy Act and regulations governing the TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”).  The FBAR is required to report a U.S. person’s financial interest in financial accounts located…

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Employment Agreements-When Do You Need One?

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

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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Profit per What?

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / March 1, 2011

If the ultimate goal of any business is to make money, why is it that so many businesses are not profitable?  The No. 1 reason in my opinion is because the person running the business does not focus on profitability.  From what I have observed time and time again, they focus on everything but profitability. …

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Cost of Materials…There is No Such Thing

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / January 1, 2011

Clearly, when we or our clients purchase goods, raw materials or services, there is a price to pay. Any business will buy commodities such as electricity, gas, paper. Whilst there is a value applied to all of these products that we call a cost of Materials or Commodity Costs, there is really no such thing.…

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How to Tell If You are Driven by FEAR or PASSION

By Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach / November 1, 2010

Many business owners feel busy… however are your busy days, weeks and months giving you the results you hoped for when you started your business? Whether you are driving your business or your business is driving you comes down to one question – are your decisions and actions driven by fear or are they driven…

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Getting Your Business Ready for Sale

By Bob Halagan, Halagan Law Firm, LTD. / September 1, 2010

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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