Christmas Gifts Worth Getting: 8 Ideas for your Small Business Wish List

It’s that time of year when people start dropping hints about what they’d like to see under the Christmas tree. It’s also time to think about what to give valued clients, bosses, and employees.

Following are some ideas for business-related gifts that won’t just get re-gifted or end up in a closet. Some of them can even boost productivity. If you’ve been VERY good this year, you could even get one for yourself.

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Are Arbitration Clauses Evil? Part 3

In part 1 and part 2 of this three-part blog we talked about how arbitration clauses work and why they’re controversial.

In this part, we’ll talk about some advantages and disadvantages of putting an arbitration clause in your own contracts.

Using Arbitration Clauses in Your Own Contracts

If you’re the one likely to get sued, then you may think arbitration sounds like a good idea. Before deciding, however, you should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of including an arbitration clause in your own business contracts.

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What if an Airbnb Guest Dies on Your Sofa?

Two Must-Do’s To Protect Yourself from the Risks of Running a Home-Based Business

The New York Times recently reported on the death of a guest at an Airbnb rental. When the man swung on a rope swing on a Thanksgiving morning, the tree trunk it was tied to broke and came down on his head — “immediately ending most of his brain activity.”

It’s not so shocking that someone would die at an Airbnb rental. As the Times notes, “Airbnb hosts are putting up so many people each night that fatal accidents are almost inevitable.”

But who assumes the risk of such accidents?

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Are Arbitration Clauses Evil?  Part 2

In part 1 of this three-part blog we talked about what arbitration clauses look like and how they work. In this part, we’ll talk about why they’re controversial.

So what’s wrong with arbitration?

On their face, arbitration clauses don’t seem so bad. What’s not to like about staying out of court?

One problem – at least from the consumer perspective – is that arbitration clauses discourage consumers from bringing class actions.

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Are Arbitration Clauses Evil? Part 1

The New York Times recently ran a three-part series on how arbitration clauses in many contracts “stack the decks” against consumers.

These clauses include language like the following from a contract used by American Express:

You or we may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.

That doesn’t sound so awful – but those dozen words give rise to a host of legal issues.

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How Not to Get Scammed by Service Agreements

A services agreement is just what it sounds like: an agreement to provide services. The type of services involved could be anything that a freelancer, startup, or small business might need or provide. For example:

  • Software/app development
  • Marketing/SEO services
  • Janitorial services
  • Catering for a launch party
  • Computer and/or office equipment maintenance
  • Development of a website
  • Content creation services

Two problem areas where people often get into trouble are:

  • Technical services people don’t understand
  • Long-term agreements they can’t get out of

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7 Ways Your Startup Can Save Money on Legal Services

Legal fees can burn through a startup’s resources fast when firms bill at $500+ per hour. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Your startup can save money on legal services.

Some lawyers are willing to defer their fees until a startup is more solidly established, and others may be willing to work for equity in the company.

We’re going to explore some of these money-saving options:

  • Go to a startup legal clinic
  • Find a law firm you can pay in equity
  • Defer fees
  • Pay-as-you go
  • Use free contract templates
  • Hire a lawyer online
  • Review contracts at

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14 Types of Contracts Your Startup Needs

No startup is an island. To succeed you’re going to have to form relationships with lots of other people and businesses:  co-founders, investors, employees, vendors, customers, etc. To reduce risk and uncertainty, many of those relationships should be formalized with contracts. Here’s a short guide to the types of contracts your startup needs during the different business stages.

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Can a Pretzel Sandwich be a Trade Secret? – Part 2

In the previous installment, we talked about how Sweet Street Desserts and Better Bakery worked together to create a pretzel sandwich, sharing information under an NDA.

Unfortunately, the parties had a falling-out. Sweet Street claimed Better Bakery had a secret scheme to steal the design and product development qualities of Sweet Street’s pretzel sandwich. Better Bakery denied the “secret scheme,” but it did start selling pretzel sandwiches to third parties.

Sweet Street sued for breach of the NDA.

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Can a Pretzel Sandwich be a Trade Secret? – Part 1

Entrepreneurs often ask their lawyers for “bullet-proof” non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that will prevent their business associates from stealing their great ideas.

The problem is, no such thing exists.

We discussed in this previous blog how an NDA won’t necessarily protect your ideas. The best way to protect an idea is to jump through the legal hoops that turn an idea into intellectual property– as we discuss in this blog.

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