The Business Mentoring Center
The Business Mentoring Center

Corporate Cranium Mentor Articles

Five Reasons to Establish a Revocable Trust

By Stacey Edwards Jones | April 25, 2019

Plan for Disability. Unlike a Will, a Revocable Trust allows you to plan for incapacity. This can be especially useful for small business owners. A trust is an effective way to ensure that the grantor’s assets will be used for his or her benefit in the event he or she becomes incapable of managing his or her own affairs. Enjoy Flexibility. A Revocable Trust is a flexible instrument that can be changed as the grantor’s estate planning needs change. The grantor can freely add or remove property during his or...

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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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Who Wants to be You?

By Gary Sorenson, Insurance Brokers of Minnesota / March 1, 2012

Nine million. That’s how many Americans have their identities stolen each year, estimates the Federal Trade Commission. Identity Theft a Common Risk From January 2005 until November 2011, a staggering 543 million personal records were breached, reported the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The FTC noted that, in half of the criminal incidents in 2005, thieves obtained goods…

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Changes to United States Patent Law Fees

By Michael Sherrill, Sherrill Law Offices / March 1, 2012

The Federal Government instituted sweeping changes to United States Patent Law this past fall with enactment of the “America Invents Act” (“The Act”).  The ten aspects of The Act which will likely have the biggest impact upon small and startup businesses were listed in the January issue of Corporate Cranium.  The first of these aspects…

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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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Changes to United States Patent Law: Win, Lose or Draw for Small and Startup Businesses

By Michael Sherrill, Sherrill Law Offices / January 1, 2012

The Federal Government instituted sweeping changes to United States Patent Law this past fall with enactment of the “America Invents Act”.  While many of the substantive changes do not take effect until fall of 2012, it is important to understand the likely consequences, both intended and unintended, of these changes in order to avoid costly…

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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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Chapter 4: When to Patent

By Michael Sherrill, Sherrill Law Offices / November 1, 2011

You’ve just come up with an idea for a new product or process or an improvement on an existing product or process.  You’re convinced that if this invention works the way you think it will, you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams.  You know that you need to patent this invention to prevent competitors from…

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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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Reducing Your Insurance Costs…Distinguishing Bad Advice from Good Advice

By Gary Sorenson, Insurance Brokers of Minnesota / July 1, 2011

Many Americans are struggling financially in the current economy, particularly those struck by lay-offs, and are faced with tough decisions about how to reduce expenses. As a result, much has been written in recent months about how to reduce insurance premiums as one aspect of a belt-tightening strategy. Unfortunately, too much of this advice has…

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Trademarks: How to Establish Secondary Meaning for a Descriptive Term

By Michael Sherrill, Sherrill Law Offices / July 1, 2011

To establish trademark rights in a descriptive term the user must be able to prove that in addition to its normal meaning, consumers have come to also recognize the term as a designation of source (i.e., the term has acquired secondary meaning or distinctiveness).  Specifically, it must be shown that the consuming public primarily thinks…

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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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The Employment-Related Practices Liability

By Gary Sorenson, Insurance Brokers of Minnesota / May 1, 2011

Who could be sued for violating an employee’s rights?  Just about anyone who employs another person!  Discrimination, paying incorrect overtime amounts and sexual harassment are just three of many workplace situations that could lead to a lawsuit.  Some actions result from the employer being unaware of applicable laws while others arise out of cultural differences…

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Trademarks: When is a Designation a Trademark?

By Michael Sherrill, Sherrill Law Offices / May 1, 2011

Trademarks can take many forms, including words, designs, slogans, scents, names, sounds, colors, etc. However, not every such designation is entitled to the status of a trademark and the rights appurtenant to such status.  Such designations, to be entitled to the status of a trademark, must be used in connection with goods or services, must…

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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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