Life Partnerships and Money


Self Employed

Family Meetings

Divorce Mediation and Financial Services



Start-up Self Employment:

Limited Liability Corporations (LLC) are a great way to organize a start up.  LLC’s provide just enough structure to validate a new business without bogging it down in unnecessary detail. They are easy and inexpensive to establish and tax reporting is uncomplicated. 

When choosing a name for your LLC be sure that a complimentary domain name for a website is available.  You can lock in both names efficiently using online access.
Concentrate your business planning on:

(1) Clearly stating the products and services you will provide,

(2) Listing all sources of prospective business,

(3) An initial fee structure for products and services.  

All of these things are subject to change but nothing establishes a business faster than clarity in these three areas.
The single biggest pitfall in self employment is believing that spending money on marketing campaigns replaces personal networking. 

The next mistake in startup is over loading administrative set-up. Fine tune your business structure as need arises.

Two great resources for self employment are:  Nolo Press’ business publications and the wealth of information provided by SCORE:



Emphasis on Local Business: Local Business - Higher Value!

If local business owners live and work in the same communities as their customers and clients they more clearly understand and respect the culture and values. A local business owner will reinvest in the community and there is nothing wrong with making that clear in promotional dialog and materials. Value to clients is first meeting their needs and responding to their concerns. Providing clients with the gift of added value (fortifying local interests and economies) is the key to survival in times of change. 



  Make a Plan - Make it Work!


What Can Small Business Learn From Starbucks?


Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, announced they will close 600 stores in response to the economy and some poorly conceived business strategies. Starbucks lost sight of the original vision; the aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee and other corporate strategies for increasing profits at the cost of limiting individual experience.  


These are very competitive times for business.  Customers do not have as much ready cash or free flowing access to credit and that will not change in our foreseeable future. How does a small business survive in these times?  Here are some ideas gleaned from the Starbucks example:


1. Acknowledge current economic realities (from both your business and the client perspective) and adjust for sustainability. Consumers are looking for value and durability. Answer these questions from a client’s perspective:

  • Are these goods or services something I need or want?  
  • How am I going to pay for it?
  • In order to do this will I have to give something up?
  • How long will the benefits of this purchase last?

2. Schultz stated that it was a mistake removing the coffee aroma from the stores.  Too much focus on the efficiency, cutting costs, and increasing profit margins ended up stripping out the perceived value to the clients. Drive through windows made it easy for fast food competitors to mimic the experience at lower cost to the customer. Think about:

  • What is the added value in doing business with me or my company?
  • How can the experience be enriched?
  • If my goods and services cost more than some competitors am I communicating the added value to the client?

3. Starbucks has made clear they intend to survive and thrive, essentially:

  • Take one step back for survival
  • Learn from experience
  • Position for future prosperity

4. Affordable luxury (double shot frappachino) or back to basics (cup of coffee), it’s important to understand the impact of current economic times in order to survive and prosper.  

  • Look closely at business expenses, use the tool Cash Flow Plan By Priorities And Categories to itemize your business expenses and figure out what to cut  without compromising opportunities and service.
  • Cash for affordable luxuries like $5 coffees consumed on the run may not be available.  But, a morning event at a coffee house may continue to be good use of $5.  Purchasing a new car every two years has already become history.  But, repairs and maintenance to keep our cars running has become more important. 

Ask yourself, how does my business help clients in efforts for a more sustainable long term plan? The economy continues; sometimes businesses need to hold on for survival and sometimes businesses need to adjust their business plans.