Dell Technologies
BMS-center-logo
 

Guide to Legalese for Veteran Business Owners

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

We’ve all heard of “legalese.” It’s famously confusing. But how are we supposed to follow the law when barely understand the letter of it? We all must deal with business contracts, especially in the business world. But slogging through the thick language is enough to send the best of us into a trance.

What do Veteran Business Owners need to know? Let’s start with the basics that might help us wade through the marshland without getting stuck in the mud.

Business owners should understand the concept of offer and acceptance. An offer legally binds us and grants us the right to accept at any time before withdrawal. In fact, the offeror may withdraw at any time before acceptance. Business owners should realize the weight of such terms when dealing with customers and contractors. 

Weasel words abound, so scan any document you sign. Also, here is an important point. Not every contract involves a signature on paper.

Before you sign (or agree to) a contract, look out for these terms, however, worded, before any danger breach:

Offer: Remember that the offer itself carries its own legal weight. The offer in most cases grants the right to accept. Ideally, the offer carries terms precise enough to convey what is expected. Assuming a “meeting of minds” (and yes, that is a term of art), the offer becomes law upon acceptance.

Acceptance: When the offer is accepted, it binds both parties. An outstanding question remains: what are the terms? 

Negotiators need to think of what they are agreeing to. Also, think carefully about how you are supposed to agree to it. sometimes just behaving like you’ve sealed the deal is enough to bind you in court.

Breach: This is a magic word. A contract binds each party. The terms of the contract, however, may get wrangled over in court. Parties should always know what they agreed to. 

Force Majeure: Some legal terms are tough to pin down. Force majeure can encompass any variety of circumstances that make performance impossible. It is a fancy way of saying undue burden. 

Perhaps Hurricane Katrina just struck on the other side of the country, where you get your supplies. Maybe someone in the supply chain got the flu during the Pandemic. The situation will differ on a case-by-case basis, and the burdened party may be excused from performing their part of the deal.

Parties: A contract should make clear the identity of the parties. 

Indemnity, Waiver, Hold Harmless: Each of these terms is a fancy piece of jargon to get someone off the hook. 

First, a contract may indemnify against harm to third parties, assigning liability entirely to one of the contractors. 

Second, a waiver may spell out conditions under which some responsibility under some circumstance.  Occasionally, a contract may even waive liability for a court claim. These clauses may or may not be completely enforceable and should be read carefully.

Third, a contract may hold a party harmless in cases of harm to the other party. Again, these clauses have varying degrees of legality, and their validity should be verified by an attorney.

Now let’s see what happens after a breach:

Arbitration or Mediation: In some cases, parties may agree to pass through a professional who will settle disagreements. They may escape a trial in court, but the resulting decision is considered an enforceable contract.

Forum/Choice of Law: Sometimes, the physical location of a court case may influence the outcome of a court case. Other times, controversy arises over the law to be applied case itself.  Lawyers routinely fight over these questions. The law is not the same in any jurisdiction. Similarly, the forum, or physical location, may unduly burden one party. For this reason, parties often spell out these issues beforehand during the formation of the contract.

Liquidated Damages: Contracts may prescribe a preset compensation in case things fall through. These clauses are usually enforceable when reasonable.  However, remember that “reasonable” may be a matter for the courts to decide.

Severability: Sometimes, part of a contract is simply unenforceable. A severability clause ensures that the rest of the contract is still in force.

Each of these terms may be referred to as something else. However, all appear routinely in business, and even in personal transactions. An understanding of the basic principles behind each can term prevent a serious headache for everyone involved.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It was not written by attorneys and should not be considered legal advice.  VAMBOA recommends that you consult your own attorney before entering into any type of legal agreement.

 

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

By James Pruitt – Senior Staff Writer

Newcomers Should Consider Breadth as well as Depth. In Fact, They Should Emphasize It!

Before broadening your scope, a Veteran Business Owner should develop a name for themselves in a niche field after finding demand for their services. A specific niche in the economy can ensure a minimum stream of income before the business slowly diversifies.

Remember, large online stores can suck the life out of smaller companies.  However, newcomers often have the flexibility to develop a neglected market share that the Goliaths simply don’t bother with.  These stores often miss out on the market for specialists and hobbyists.   These segments can often give entrepreneurs a foot in the door to short-term profits as well as better things to come.

Find the Right Forums

What is the key to finding the right niche? Business owners should find the right place to familiarize themselves with their audience. 

To get their foot in the door, beginning marketers should do two things. First, narrow down your focus as much as possible. Two, make sure you are part of a community of fellow travelers.

Even for eCommerce, brick-and-mortar venues still matter. Perhaps a sports league or school group may break the ice of a frosty reception and lead to promising business relationships.

Remember the importance of finding the right clients early on. These clients may provide crucial positive feedback and referrals to help your business grow.

Use the Internet to its Full Potential

Social media often provides fertile ground for new connections. Unfortunately for marketers, some people simply aren’t that active on social media. 

However, remember that the online world is full of workarounds. Some business owners simply may not use social media extensively. In such a case, the best option really is to get your start setting up social media accounts specifically for your business. 

Remember, the first customers often have the most to offer the business, in terms of feedback, referrals, and repeat patronage. The initial cultivation of these initial relationships can lead to the growth of your new social media sites.

Additionally, some of your best potential customers may avoid social media. Such clients may turn up on special interest and hobby sites. New business owners may benefit from engagement on these specialty sites. Never spam, of course, but developing relationships with fellow travelers could mean big business later. Here, the new business owner’s depth of engagement with that special interest may come in handy. 

Develop Your Company in Phases

Starting a new business occurs step by step.  In the initial excitement, the grandest ambitions may distract even the most level-headed entrepreneur. However, no one gains from pouring resources into lofty goals before establishing a proper foundation.

Remember the value of initial marketing efforts. These measures set the stage for planning the scope of the enterprise, as well as the necessary operations procedures that may become the everyday life of the business.

The subsequent phases could refine the company’s style of professionalism after its personality has been established. Here is the time to refine the culture and aesthetics to reflect the life of the company after it has already begun. 

Prioritize

On a related note, while it’s true that the devil may be in the details, the perfectionist in us may lose sight of the “here-and-now” issues that really matter. Minor tweaks in website design matter less than, for example, procuring those crucial initial contracts and finding the right supply chains.

For example, changing the font on a website shouldn’t take too much time when bigger work needs to be done. An office in its first few months can do with less than perfect décor. Sometimes, the best plan is to delay the little things, perhaps even until more specified expertise becomes available.

Summary 

Basically, new business owners should put first things first. A good business plan should come before a snazzy website, and an involved client base should precede expansion into unknown territory. The early stages of a business are an easy place to lose focus and shift in the wrong direction. These wayward shifts can waste time, and money, and in some cases even destroy the enterprise.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

Common Mistakes of New Internet-Based Entrepreneurs

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Choosing the Wrong Metrics of Success

Consider the industry and market. Many businesses are seasonal, especially in the eCommerce field. Short-term measurements may hold limited relevance for long-term success. In addition to sales revenue, important considerations may include customer satisfaction, customer turnover, customer engagement, as well as the cost of acquiring new clients. Feedback from customers may prove just as useful and important input for long-term growth as raw numbers reflecting factors such as sales revenue.

Remember the bottom line. Metrics such as site views are a good sign, but don’t let your head puff up until you’ve seen the end rewards. Beyond tactics such as “search engine optimization,” businesses should flesh out their intelligence with a multidimensional approach that provides multiple perspectives and can better develop strategies for the future.

Plan for a Reasonable Balance Between Supply and Demand

In the initial excitement of contract negotiation, business owners might overestimate demand for their projects. Wise entrepreneurs take baby steps while wading through the planning phase. The time for a deeper plunge is after a realistic assessment of product demand. Only after meeting demand becomes a challenge in itself should a new business expand its initial investment.

Too much product at the outset complicates a website, adds to maintenance costs, and wastes the original investment.  There is something to be said for keeping it simple.

Work Out Sales Promotion Strategies in the Early Stages

New business owners can also go overboard with their initial advertising. Remember to carefully ponder sales promotions, and tailor them to your company’s goals. Some business managers can dump money into advertising that can misfire, even harming brand image or simply wasting resources.

A tasteless, spammy, or annoying sales promotion does no one favors. Neither do wasteful practices such as carelessly executed free sample campaigns. Remember that ads should take advantage of the right time, place, and style to effectively influence potential clientele.

Prioritize Wise Contract Negotiation

Irrational optimism can doom new companies. Small business owners need to put together contracts with the worst possible outcomes in mind. Human nature tends to assume everything will go smoothly, but the inevitable snags often pop up unexpectedly. Veteran business owners should pour over contracts with a fine-tooth comb with an eye toward the life of a contract rather than the bare minimums and the foreseeable future.

Careless Choice of Advertising Partners

Remember that you have as much of a right to choose your advertisers as they do to choose you. Advertisers need to stay relevant, ethical, and lucrative. Advertisements should stay interesting and tasteful. In other words, new business owners should maintain self-respect and not get carried away in the excitement of finally receiving sponsorship.

Consider Effective Customer Contact Strategies

Email lists can provide a free method to reach prospects on demand. Remember to form these lists quickly, efficiently, and ethically. When soliciting contact information, make sure to obtain a full profile of the customer’s interests, goals, and potential. Effective customer contact lists can save a fortune in advertising later.

Conclusion

Ecommerce presents its own set of risks. Without careful contemplation, Veteran Business Owners can go overboard in the wrong direction at the outset, in ways that can quickly deplete resources. The remote nature of the online customer relationship amplifies these. Careful, realistic, and multidimensional feedback and planning can effectively prepare for success in the modern, largely internet-based economy.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Can Same-Day Pay Help a Labor Shortage?

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

“Same-day pay” saw a redefinition in recent years. The past stigma associated with same-day pay has worn down in the face of current needs. In the past, observers have associated same-day pay schemes with agencies and employers that sometimes exploit those desperate for money. However, despite the stigma, economic developments and technological advances could make these relationships more workable.

  1. Same Day Pay in the Past Historically Has been Associated with Exploitation

Some temporary agencies have always used “same-day pay” to fill labor shortages. Often, these agencies use people who may need the money more than the companies need labor. Sometimes, the agencies and their clients “fudged” the labor factor to compensate. In other words, the workers have ended up doing harder work than they bargained for. 

Developments in technology and in the economy might sand out some of the inefficiencies that prevent more streamlined processes. Remember, the “same-day work economy” keeps many workers active. Such workers may include college students, caregivers, retired people, those in difficult straits, and any number of other people who just plain have labor to provide.

On the management front, managers often struggle to find the right labor at the right moment. Companies make do with what they have, and sometimes lack the flexibility to adapt to sudden changes in the market. 

“Same day pay” can provide an incentive to bring workers on board with short notice. Sometimes companies need labor now, and in exchange can tap into any supply of people who need money today. However, small companies may have trouble developing an equitable synergy between management and worker in these circumstances.

  1. Finding People and Keeping People

The “neglected labor pool” is diverse. Often, those outside the traditional labor market need short-term gigs. In addition, many competent people have idled for years, due to the prejudice against “gaps in employment.”  

Simultaneously, many smaller businesses need good help. As these companies and these people “find each other,” the businesses and the people can grow together. The employment role can grow as the relationship grows, and the business can grow as a result.

In other words, short-term labor and same-day pay can be a blessing for workers and managers. The right strategies and processes can separate the most exploitative practices from that synergy.

  1. Payroll Service Providers Have Advanced Technologically. Fees Are No Longer as Burdensome to Business Owners or Workers.

In the past, payroll service companies charged larger fees for the processing of quick paychecks. For example, cutting a check for a same-day worker may have cost a pretty penny. Smaller businesses sometimes paid in cash, which may have prevented the best possible record-keeping.

These days, technological advances have facilitated these short-term employment relationships. Expenses for cutting a same-day check, direct deposit, or even cold, hard, cash, have relaxed. Veteran Business Owners can thank technological advances for a decreased burden in the recordkeeping department, and increased efficiency in processing their workforce payroll issues.

  1. Bottom Line

The recent labor shortage has caused burdens throughout different sectors of the economy. However, advances in the “short-term economy” could facilitate a new synergy between small business owners and even some parts of the neglected workforce. Many companies have adopted a novel practice of providing half the pay on the same day, and the balance during the payroll period. 

In general, same-day pay has become more workable with technological advances, which can help both workers and employers with their record-keeping and avoid fees. Veteran Business Owners should always consider the exploitation factor, but also consider the benefits to all parties when determining employment relationships.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

How Not to Design Websites

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Never Lose Sight of your Core Competency

Your business idea is your own, companies should never lose sight of the uniqueness of your core enterprise. Superfluous bells and whistles only add confusion when they distract from the basic functions of your business. 

Merchants can control the traffic to the website, if not their profit margins. Websites should be carefully designed considering the basic functions of your business. 

In other words, your website should center around the services you can provide. Tangential and superfluous information waste resources and distract from the bottom line. The marketing pitch should be clear and to the point, and traffic to the website should consist of interested consumers rather than gawkers attracted by irrelevant additions to the website. Good SEO (search engine optimization) can avoid this failure.

Don’t Turn Your Website into an Unrelatable Mess of Brick-a-Brack

A website rife with irrelevant information messes with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your company, as well as its analytics. An organized website, on the other hand, attracts the best kinds of business. 

Some ugly websites can get away with it. Craigslist, for example, has a nostalgic, folksy appeal that reminds us of the days before sophisticated website creating apps such as WordPress and Etsy. The Drudge Report has a brutalist look that harkens to the days before “web designer” became a staple hipster freelance gig. These older websites already have established reputations, with the associated goodwill.

New Veteran Business Owners need to put more thought into website design. Remember the importance of the brand building. With the development of the company, the “goodwill” of target customers develops

In the case of some websites, such as Craigslist, the plain, no-frills design is in fact part of the brand. Established users enjoy the look because of the familiarity and would probably raise hell in the case of a redesigning. Craigslist is an example of a company whose website in fact has accumulated enough “goodwill” to compensate for its hideous look.

However, most new business owners need to develop that goodwill over time. “Goodwill” for a business means positive relationships with your consumer base. Good marketing should reflect in your website. Hopefully, as you develop a more sleek, well-directed website, your marketing strategy should communicate more directly with your target audience.

 WordPress and other web-building applications tend to give analytics that shows progress as your website develops. In general, website analytics go a long way in showing how well your website reaches your target. 

The Work Doesn’t End with a Finished Website

Even with the development of your own business, remember the importance of consistent improvement of your own product or service. Business owners should take feedback seriously, consistently building up the quality of their products.

Veteran Business Owners should not rest on their laurels after designing a workable online presence. Any such website should provide comments sections and other forums for feedback. On the business owner’s end, this feedback should provide starting points for improvements, especially when the feedback is consistent. 

Conclusion

In the end, remember the importance of good communication. Some terrible websites maintain relevance through their relationships with customers. However, generally, new business owners should consider relevant designs that speak directly to their consumer base. Who knows, maybe even your own design might go out of fashion one day. But with goodwill and brand loyalty, you may preserve good relationships in the long term.

In other words, for the initial stages of business development, don’t forget the importance of a sleek website that speaks to its target audience. Goodwill can take time to develop. But consider whatever market analytics you have available and try to make sure your website fulfills the goals of your business in the here and now.  

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

ibmpos_blurgb