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Entrepreneurs launching growth companies need an understanding of the financial basics to work with professionals and spot problems early, says a serial entrepreneur and investor. Tips for acquiring literacy are provided.
As the credit crisis has made it tougher for small businesses to get funding, some would-be entrepreneurs have exploited a loophole that lets them finance a startup with 401(k) retirement funds without facing any taxes or penalties. Now the technique is catching the attention of the IRS, which plans to step up audits of such transactions.
Approximately 80% of all U.S. firms with employees have less than $1 million in sales, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
In the first three years of running her printing solutions company, Wendy Fergerson borrowed roughly $60,000 per month on credit cards without paying any interest. Out of that experience, she recommends credit cards as a way to bootstrap a company as long as you pay attention to the details on each card for which you apply.
Under the Immigration Act of 1990, the U.S. Congress set aside 10,000 annual visas for foreign investors looking for opportunities in America. Those carrots are coming in handy during what remains a debilitating credit crunch for U.S. entrepreneurs. Rather than wait a year or longer for other immigrant visas, foreign investors--through the so-called EB-5 program--can snag a slice of equity and a quick-and-dirty U.S. visa in just three-to-six months; plus, unlike other immigrant visas that might expire in a few years, the EB-5 flavor offers permanent residency. EB-5 minimum requirements: a $1 million investment from a lawful source in a new or existing commercial enterprise that directly creates at least 10 U.S. jobs. Investors can put up as little as $500,000 if the company is in a rural area or in a county sporting 150% of the average national unemployment rate. (Canada has a similar program, called the Canadian Business Immigrant Investment Program, though it doesn't impose any job-creation requirements.)
Companies that turn to contractors must structure both the business and the specific nature of the work accordingly, according to a software-company entrepreneur. On the business side, founders need to retain a competent attorney and match the right worker to the job; on the tech side, they must require that contractors produce their work within a framework that can be replicated for other projects, the author advises.
SHANGHAI -- Books these days regularly cheer innovation. You rarely go to a conference without hearing how important it is. Copying others has a bit of a stigma.
It sounds like a privacy breach waiting to happen: Take some of your company's most classified information — employee records containing Social Security numbers, salaries — and put it on a bunch of remote servers that let you access the data via the public Internet.
This entrepreneur thought he had built in adequate legal protections to ensure his partner in a new venture would not get full control of the business. When the partner was ready to sell the company, however, the entrepreneur discovered he didn't have the leverage he needed to stop the company's sale.
Getting the best out of temporary workers requires that entrepreneurs treat them as neither employees nor pariahs but rather take a middle ground, says the founder of a staffing service.
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