One Tribe Creative mktg tips from BALLE Conference

Insight March 09, 2010

I am in Denver, Colorado for the 7th Annual (yet my first) BALLE Conference. BALLE is the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE’s Mission is to build Local Living Economies in North America that foster vibrant communities, a healthy natural environment, and prosperity for all. This is done through:

Catalyzing, strengthening, and connecting networks of locally owned independent businesses

Providing education and community economic development tools; and

Developing and promoting public policies that enable Local Living Economies to thrive

Paul Jensen from One Tribe Creative of Ft. Collins, CO offered a breakout session full of helpful tips for marketing local (and other) socially and environmentally responsible organizations and businesses. Of these, I found the following most helpful: (1) A brand really is others’ perception of your organization — it’s the relationship that your community has with you; and (2) branding is the way in which you tell your story, which you must do continually to thrive.

Paul used the Be Local Northern Colorado campaign that One Tribe worked on to demonstrate several ways in which an organization can brand themselves locally in order to showcase and increase the value they offer to their community. Gailmarie Kimmel, the Co-E.D. of Be Local Northern CO also shared her experiences with the branding of her BALLE network.

What a refreshing way to conclude a great conference!

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Is the Cold War Really Over . . .  Cold War Museum Inc. v. Cold War Air Museum Inc.

Insight March 02, 2010

Who would have thought that two museums would be battling out for the right to use THE COLD WAR MUSEUM? Although the Cold War ended in 1991, two museums currently are warring over who gets to use the term COLD WAR MUSEUM as their service mark.

The Cold War Museum endeavors to maintain a historically accurate record of the people, places and events of the Cold War.

Cold War Museum header

 

The Cold War Air Museum is a non-profit flying museum dedicated to the preservation of Cold War era aircraft.

Cold War Air Museum banner

 

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Tenants Beware!

Insight February 23, 2010

Investors and analysts complain that it is difficult to compare the financial positions of two entities with similar leases because financial statements often do not clearly show the effects of operating leases.  They claim that tenants under operating leases get a source of unrecognized financing.

A 2005 Security and Exchange Commission report criticized the accounting treatment of operating leases that permits over a trillion dollars of liabilities to remain “off-balance sheet” and called for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) to work with the International Accounting Standards Board to revise accounting standards to “transparently and consistently” reflect the underlying economics of leases.  As a result, the FASB has proposed sweeping new real estate accounting standards.  If these changes take place, they will affect current operating leases, not just future transactions, and affect each tenant’s bottom line.

 

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An LLC Can be Treated as an S-Corporation for Tax Purposes

Insight Michael Moradzadeh Michael Moradzadeh · February 02, 2010

An LLC can be treated as an S-Corporation for tax purposes if it makes an S-Corporation election as long as the entity meets the IRS criteria to be taxed as an S-Corp, files an S-Corp election and gets approved by the IRS to be taxed as an S-Corporation. Without an S-Corporation election, single member LLCs default to be taxed as sole proprietors and a multi-member LLCs defaults to be taxes as partnership since they are considered “disregarded entities”. However, if a single or multiple member LLC agreement meets the IRS criteria to be classified as a small business corporation, the S-corporation election is filed and gets approved by the IRS, then for tax purposes, not legal purposes the entity is an S Corp not a LLC.

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The Criteria for Being Classified as an S-Corporation

Insight Michael Moradzadeh Michael Moradzadeh · February 01, 2010

In order to be classified as an S-Corporation, a company must: be domestic, have no more than 100 shareholders, have one class of stock, all shareholders must be individuals, decedents’ estates, bankruptcy estates, trusts or tax-exempt charitable organizations, or wholly owned by another S corporation, and all shareholders must be residents of the United States (as defined by the tax code not immigration laws). Shareholders of an S-Corporation can not be financial institutions that use a reserve method of accounting for bad debts, companies taxable as insurance companies, taxable mortgage pools, or domestic international sales corporations. So, if a business entity meets these criteria it can be considered an S corporation by the IRS and taxed as an S corporation as long as the S corporation election forms are properly filled-out and approved by the IRS. Many states including California automatically give business entities an S-corporations tax status if it was approved by the IRS.

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The tax benefits of making an S-Corporation Election?

Insight Michael Moradzadeh Michael Moradzadeh · January 31, 2010

Many small business owners incorporate their businesses not only for legal protection, but also to reduce owners’ payroll taxes through S-Corp tax election with the IRS. One advantage of an S-Corp is that it gives business owners the ability to reduce their self-employment taxes. Any small business owner who has not made an S-Corp election and uses Schedule C for their personal tax return for 2010 is subject to both employer and employee FICA and Medicare payroll taxes at 15.3% up to $106,800, 2.9% Medicare for Schedule C net income greater than $106,800, and California SDI for 1.1% up to 93,316. If a business owner pays himself/herself a “reasonable salary”, the rest of the net income is not subject to these payroll taxes.

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The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: The new FTC guidance on endorsements

Insight November 17, 2009

Posted on The Internet Law Advisor Blog November 16, 2009 – By William Galkin, Esq.

Summary: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising(Guides) which will take effect on December 1, 2009. The main purposes of the revisions are (1) to update the application of the Guides to new media and (2) to rescind a safe harbor that previously allowed ads stating positive results experienced by consumers, even though such results could not necessarily be expected by the average consumer, provided the statement “Results not typical” was included in the ad. Now the actual typical results need to be stated in the ad.

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Venture Capital Survey of the Silicon Valley in 2009 Third Quarter

Insight Michael Moradzadeh Michael Moradzadeh · November 16, 2009

Dow Jones VentureSource is one of the most popular nationwide venture capital date reports in the United States. VentureSources published its latest data on the development of venture capital investments in the third quarter of 2009. Below are some overviews observed by VentureSource.

  • With 616 venture deals and $5.1 billion invested, Q3 is a 6% drop over Q2;
  • IT investment barely outpaces health care;
  • Web2.0 investments surpassed the software sector for first time on record;
  • Medical device investments nearly match biopharmaceuticals;
  • Corporations investing instead of acquiring, commitments to VC-backed firms surpasses 2008 total;
  • $5 million median deal size on par with Q1&Q2, but still lowest since 1999.

It is undeniable that the investments and fundraising by venture capitalists remained at low levels in 3Q’2009, but there is room for optimism as the economy is picking up slowly and Nasdaq continued to improve. In addition, with regard to the largest U.S. deals overall in 3Q’2009, eight deals are conducted in California, such as Facebook, Tesla Motors, and Pacific Biosciences of California, etc.

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UK Reporting of Undiscosed Foreign Accounts

Insight Yaacov P. Silberman Yaacov P. Silberman · October 28, 2009

On September 1, 2009, the Government of the United Kingdom implemented the New Offshore Disclosure Opportunity (“NDO”).

The NDO allows those individuals with unpaid UK taxes relating to previously undisclosed income and/or capital gains linked to offshore accounts and/or assets to settle related tax liabilities at a favorable 10% penalty rate.  Ordinarily, penalties are charged at up to 100% of the tax due.

The NDO provisions apply to all UK residents and certain non-UK domiciled individuals (who themselves may be or once were subject to tax in the UK) who have an interest in any Offshore Accounts, Trusts or Corporate entities that would otherwise be subject to UK tax. 

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New Legal Trap for Employers in Hiring Independent Contractors

Insight Michael Moradzadeh Michael Moradzadeh · October 21, 2009

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a September 10, 2009 ruling, held that an employer can be held liable for discriminatory hiring decisions made by its independent contractors. The case involved an independent contractor acting on behalf of the employer, telling the plaintiff that “they were looking for someone younger”.

The Second Circuit ruled that, even if the hiring decision is made by the authorized independent contractor, the employer was still responsible for the discriminatory hiring decision by the independent contractors. In a worse scenario, even if the independent contractor does not have the actual authority but the applicant thought that it did (“apparent authority” in legal terms), the employer is still liable.

Considering the harsh economy and fewer job opportunities these days, employers should be more cautious since the job applicant is more inclined to sue if he/she cannot get the job. Employers should avoid asking job applicant questions such as race, religion, national origin, gender and age, etc during the interview process; when entering into the independent contractor contract, it is a good idea to add an indemnification clause asking the independent contractor to indemnify the employer for any liability arising from the hiring process conducted by the independent contractor.

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