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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…

What You Need to Know If You Run a Horse Boarding Facility

Maryland has many protections, regulations, and guidelines regarding the care of horses. Several of these directly impact owners of horse boarding facilities. As a boarding facility owner, it is crucial that you understand your obligations under the law. Whether you are running a large-scale horse operation, are just only one boarder to help defray your horse expenses, giving lessons, have a horse rental service, or are a rescue or stable sanctuary in the state of Maryland, you are required by law to be licensed through the Maryland Horse Industry Board. (Additionally, a few counties have further licensing requirements for boarding facilities.) Regulations Affecting Horse Boarding Facilities The MHIB requires that each horse be provided with shelter that is clean, dry, well-ventilated (but not drafty), and protects the horse from inclement weather. The stables and surrounding areas must also be kept neat and orderly and in good repair. This includes making sure…

Client Spotlight: Media to Memories

We regularly highlight one of the community’s promising businesses in our Client Spotlight. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Media to Memories, LLC.Lusk Law, LLC, serves a wide array of business clients. We regularly highlight one of the community’s promising businesses in our Client Spotlight. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Media to Memories, LLC. Media to Memories is a photo-organizing business based in Severna Park, Maryland, that helps people organize, archive, and display their photos in such a way as to make them more enjoyable to view. Owner and lead memory organizer Kristy Stephens came up with the idea to start her business when she sat down to work with her family photos to create her family’s annual yearbook. “I was amazed by how many photos my family of three took in one year,” said Stephens. “We had taken well over 3,000 photos and videos in just one year.” This was when she realized that she had so many photos and videos that it was unrealistic that her family would be…

City Council Bill Enhances Requirements for Baltimore Landlords

City Council Bill Enhances Requirements for Baltimore LandlordsBaltimore City Councilman Bill Henry introduced a bill this year that would require licensing and inspection of all private rental properties. Currently, landlords with one- and two-unit rental properties are exempt from those requirements, but those are the properties that most often are the subject of tenant complaints. Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the legislation on May 7, so the new law becomes effective in 2019. Provisions of the Law The new law establishes a three-tier licensing structure: Landlords whose properties pass initial inspections or who promptly repair violations may be licensed for three years and subject to inspection every three years. Landlords whose properties have lingering violations may be required to submit to inspection every year or every two years (depending on the severity and nature of the violations) in order to renew their licenses. Pros and Cons of the New Law Supporters of the legislation say it’s a long-overdue…

Women Entrepreneurs Optimistic About Coming Decades

Maryland Small Business LawyersThe concept of “the glass ceiling” in business seems to be fading away – female entrepreneurs predict big changes in the next 20 years that will put them on par with, or ahead of, their male counterparts. These findings come from the 2017 Bank of America Women Small Business Owner Spotlight. For this year’s annual study, researchers gathered input from 1,022 small business owners – 375 of them, women – that employ two to 99 employees and have annual revenue of $100,000 to $4,999,999. Here are some highlights of this year’s survey: 66 percent of women think that by 2037, female-owned businesses will outnumber men-owned businesses. A recent survey found 40 percent of new entrepreneurs are women, so it seems likely that female business owners could easily outnumber male business owners in the next 20 years. Similar to a lower representation of women in the business field are women in…

Is Your Business Losing Money? These May Be the Reasons.

MD Business Law LawyerWhen your business is losing money, sometimes the reasons are obvious. For example, extreme weather may dissuade shoppers from visiting your brick-and-mortar store. But some underlying problems may not be as easy to identify. Following are some common reasons businesses lose money: Failure to promote. A roadside sign and word-of-mouth referrals used to be enough to sustain and grow a customer base. Not anymore. Today, businesses must invest money in marketing and promotion. With few exceptions, businesses need a social media presence. And social media offers a big return for very little – if any – investment. Creating a simple Facebook page and sharing updates regularly can help businesses reach a wide audience. One caveat: If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have someone to monitor it and keep it updated, because if customers are trying to interact with you on Facebook, slow replies or a lack of…

It’s Never Too Late to Start Your Own Business

MD Business Law AttorneyRetirement isn't for everyone. Some people have a hard time with the concept of "doing nothing," and as they reach their late 50s, they wonder how they will fill their time in the future. Increasingly, many people who are approaching retirement age or are already retired are deciding to start their own businesses. According to a Kaufman Foundation report, in 2016, 25 percent of entrepreneurs were age 55 to 64. In 1996, only 15 percent of entrepreneurs were in that age group. The nonprofit business assistance organization SCORE calls these first-time, over-50 business owners "encore entrepreneurs." This group of ambitious people launch businesses for a variety of reasons, including: Economic security - Owning a small business, even if only working part-time, can generate income to bolster savings accounts Control of their schedule - Some late-life entrepreneurs simply grow tired of the demands of their profession and decide to work for…

Poll Shows Consumers More Confident About Personal Finances

Maryland Business LawyerFor four decades, Gallup has conducted annual polls, asking people to rate their own personal finances. In January 2017, 49 percent of people Gallup surveyed said they were financially better off than a year ago. Americans haven't felt this confident about their finances since 2007, when 50 percent said they were better off than the previous year. At no point in the poll's history have more than 58 percent of people said they were better off than the year before. So this year's results are among the highest. And 66 percent said they expected their finances to be even better a year from now. These poll results are good news for businesses. When consumers feel more confident, they spend more money. In 1999, the year in which the highest number of Gallup respondents felt they were better off than the year before, consumer spending rose in all categories, according to…

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26

Maryland Small Business LawyerAmerican Express rolled out Small Business Saturday in November 2010, in an effort to get more people to shop at small, locally owned businesses. With each passing year, the event has drawn more shoppers to local businesses, and in 2015, 95 million people patronized small businesses on Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26. If you own a small business and haven’t started gearing up for this event, now’s the time to do so. Promote Your Business You don’t have to register to participate in Small Business Saturday, but if you do register through the American Express website, shoppers may be able to more easily find your business. When you register, you also get access to online templates for designing promotional materials, so you can create your own signage for free and download the files to print. Give customers a reason to shop at your business…