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Tips for Creating a Business Succession Plan

You’ve put countless hours of hard work into building your successful business, but have you put any time into considering who will run your business once you retire? If you’re like the majority of small business owners, you probably don’t have a succession plan in place, which can be detrimental in the future to the business you’ve worked so hard to build. By following some tips for creating a business succession plan, you can help ensure your company stays prosperous after you are no longer running it. Seven Tips for Creating a Business Succession Plan Many people put off creating business succession plans because retirement seems so far away and running the business consumes all of their time. However, while retirement might be years or even decades away, depending on your age and circumstances, you can’t be sure what the future holds. Should you become seriously ill or suffer a…

Can You Sue For Failure to Disclose Property Defects?

Maryland law requires sellers to disclose certain known defects to buyers. If these defects aren’t disclosed, buyers can file a claim to receive compensation for the costs they face from undisclosed defects. However, to truly understand this issue, you must first understand the two different paths a seller can take: disclosure and disclaimer. Failure to disclose defects isn’t just a bad practice, it is also against Maryland law. The property’s owner should be forthcoming about defects that they are aware of. The agent or party selling the property should communicate those defects to buyers. If a buyer discovers defects after a purchase, they might be forced to spend money on repairs. Buyers then have the right to hold the party who failed to disclose property defects accountable for those costs. Obviously, if a seller doesn’t know about a defect, they can’t disclose it. In the case that a seller isn’t…

What Business Contracts Should (and Shouldn’t) Accomplish

Maryland Business Contract LawyerNo one starts a business because they love paperwork. For most business owners, worrying about things like contracts is simply part of doing business, and it can seem tedious or even boring. For most of us, the contracts we have with employees, clients, contractors and landlords are something we hope to just set and forget. We notice these contracts only if they end up causing us problems. However, a well-drafted contract can save you an unimaginable amount of work and stress, just like a poorly drafted contract can spell doom for a business. Not every contract you sign will be drafted by you or your attorney. Over the course of running a business, many entrepreneurs will be asked to sign things that are given to them by other businesses - and, by the way, you should be asking your attorney to review any contract given to you by someone else…

What is the MD Consumer Protection Act – And How Does it Affect You?

If you live in Maryland and have been the victim of an unscrupulous landlord, service provider, or seller of consumer goods, you have a powerful tool to help you fight back and win restitution: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Created in 1973 to protect citizens against unfair and deceptive business practices and “restore an undermined public confidence in merchants,” the legislation is designed to “set minimum statewide standards for the protection of consumers” with the recognition that existing laws were “inadequate, poorly coordinated and not widely known or adequately enforced.” More specifically, the CPA strives to offer “strong protective and preventive steps to investigate unlawful consumer practices, to assist the public in obtaining relief from these practices, and to prevent these practices from occurring in Maryland.” Realizing you’ve been duped or scammed is frustrating, embarrassing, and can cost you money that you can’t afford to lose. Call the skilled…

Minimum Standards of Care for Animals

Domestic animals are completely dependent on their human caretakers for food, shelter, medical care, and their overall health and happiness. If they are being abused or neglected, they can’t speak up, and they don’t have recourse to improve their quality of life. We understand that as the proprietor of an animal-based enterprise, you face the same challenges as any small business, and then some. Whether you’re a farmer, veterinarian, dog walker, trainer, groomer, or pet boarder, you have to juggle the needs of customers, employees, and the animals in your care — all while watching your bottom line. The well-being of your charges is paramount. In Maryland criminal code 10-604, the state defines the minimum standard of care that every animal is entitled to receive. Attorney Rebekah Lusk not only knows animal and equine law inside and out, she runs a horse farm and boarding facility herself, giving her valuable…

5 Steps Businesses Should Take to Reduce the Threat of a Lawsuit

It’s an unpleasant part of doing business, but it’s an increasingly common one: If you’re a business owner, you may very well find yourself facing a lawsuit. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of small-business owners in the U.S. have been threatened with or involved with a civil lawsuit. And as luck would have it, the U.S. legal system is the world’s most costly. A report by the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy found that the cost of litigation for small firms can range up to $130,000. That’s a big bill for a small business trying to make ends meet. As a business owner, you might be sued by one of your customers, accusing you of providing faulty goods or services or claiming to have been injured on your property. You might also be sued by employees claiming, for example, discrimination or other breaches of HR policy. Prepare Now to…

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall Liability

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall LiabilityAs a small-business owner, you likely don’t have the deep pockets of a large corporation. If sued, you can’t pay out a hefty settlement and then just move on. One costly lawsuit may have the power to break you and your company. The good news is that Maryland is one of the few states that applies a principle called “contributory negligence” to personal injury claims. As opposed to the “comparative negligence” rule that most states follow, contributory negligence is more favorable to defendants. Basically, it means that in order to win compensation, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is entirely responsible for the incident that led to injury. In comparative negligence states, the party being sued may be on the hook for some damages even if the plaintiff is found to be partly responsible for the accident. That said, it’s in your and your customers’ best interests to make…

What is the Impact of Low Unemployment on Small Business Owners?

Low unemployment numbers are great for the economy, but not always for small business owners. In late 2018, unemployment numbers in the United States dropped to 3.7 percent. According to a report from NPR, this was the lowest point in nearly 50 years. This means more Americans are working abd putting more money into the local economies. This is beneficial to business owners, because more money in the local economy means customers and clients have more to spend with businesses. But for small business owners considering making a hire, this lower unemployment number also means that the pool of available employees is shrinking. Here is what today’s business owners need to understand about the mixed blessing of low unemployment. Many Small Businesses Concerned About Filling Available Positions A strong economy means growth for small businesses, and with growth comes a need to hire additional employees. In a recent survey, 29 percent of…

New Insight for Women Entrepreneurs

New Insight for Women EntrepreneursIf you’re a woman thinking of starting your own business, you’re not alone. According to SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping small businesses, women-owned businesses currently make up 39 percent of the 28 million small businesses in the United States. And, SCORE notes, that number is rising. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned businesses rose 45 percent—five times the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. SCORE recently released the results of a wide-ranging survey of more than 12,000 female entrepreneurs. The report, “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship,” contains several key insights on the unique opportunities and challenges these business owners face. Why did these women start their businesses? They reported many different motivations, such as open opportunities, family considerations, job changes, and financial necessity. One interesting detail is how the reasons differed for each age demographic. Most of the women surveyed under age…

Understanding the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

Understanding the Maryland Healthy Working Families ActOn Jan. 12, 2018, Maryland became the ninth state to adopt a mandatory sick leave statute, when the Maryland General Assembly overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of legislation requiring Maryland employers to provide sick and safe leave to their employees. Known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, this law provides employees with up to 40 hours of sick and safe leave each year and went into effect on Feb. 11, 2018. Who is Affected? The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act applies to all employers, including state and local governments, in the state of Maryland. However, the law distinguishes between large and small employers. For employers with 14 or fewer employees, leave may be provided on an unpaid basis. For employers with 15 or more employees, sick and safe leave is paid at the employee’s normal pay wage rate, unless the employee is a tipped employee, in which case the…