Ask Entrepreneur

Finance

Can I avoid tax consequences by using IRA money to invest in a startup business?

I'm 62 and retired, as is my wife. I am talking about $100,000. This money is coming from a rollover IRA.
Pam Newman
Finance

Can you write your own loan agreement for a personal loan to your company?

If you personally loan your C Corporation money, can you write up your own loan agreement and, if so, where is the best place to get one?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

As a teen attempting to start a company online, will I have to file a tax return?

How do I file, and do I need to file if I only make a certain amount of money in New Jersey?
Nina Kaufman
Starting a Business

How do I pay my consultants if my customers drag their feet on paying my company?

I want to transition my 12 years of information services/information technology experience into a consulting business to assist companies with things such as networking, software development, implementation, training, etc. My biggest concern is paying my consultants. Let's say I land a customer who needs a network administrator, and I find and place an independent consultant. It's almost impossible for a new business to get a line of credit to cover operating expenses. How can I avoid going into my own pocket to make payroll if my customer is 30 days late with a payment?
Brad Sugars
Growth Strategies

Should I keep struggling with a slow business that was once successful or move on?

The business is retail and has been in business for more than 21 years. It has slowly been declining for the past seven years. I have $30,000 in open invoices that I cannot pay right now and I've been struggling for the past year.
Brad Sugars
Marketing

What kind of discount should you give a distributor who buys your line of apparel?

We have a line of accessories, and a distributor wants to buy a medium-volume order. Should we give him a better discount than we give our retailers and, if so, how much?
Brad Sugars
Marketing

Should we raise our prices or maintain our existing prices in this economy?

My wife and I have been running a food business (crepes) for seven months. We started with a penetration pricing strategy, setting the crepes' price below that of other competitors to gain market share. It worked because we were still profitable. But with the economy worsening, the price of ingredients is also soaring. We raised the price while still keeping it below our competitors' prices, but we are in survival mode because the profit is very thin. If we raise the price again then our price will be the same as our competitors, but our market share is still far from what we expected. What should we do? Raise it again or hold on ?
Brad Sugars
Starting a Business

Where can I find information to help me calculate estimated sales growth for an e-commerce store?

I'm working on my financial spreadsheets from startup through three years for a retail web store. I'm having trouble estimating sales growth for the company. Where can I find some general information on sales growth for e-commerce retail stores?
Brad Sugars
Finance

What stockholder rights should a minority shareholder have in a startup?

I have teamed up with a third party to raise the initial $1 million in startup capital and provide infrastructure (HR, accounting, etc.) to start a business. In return, the third party is going to receive 70 percent of the ownership and I will have 30 percent. Should my 30 percent shares be common shares, with identical rights as the 70 percent partner, or should I be willing to accept fewer rights (nonvoting shares, transfer restrictions, etc.)?
Nina Kaufman
Growth Strategies

What are the options for paying part-time employees when there is no set schedule/hours week to week?

I've been compensating a part-time person using a "spot pay" system. Now that I'm getting busier, I find I'm using her on a more consistent basis for repeat jobs. Is there a limit as to how much can be paid using the spot-pay method?
Penny Morey
Marketing

How do we find the right person to manage the content, design and feel of our startup website?

I have the business and financial aspects covered but I really need to find a person with the creative spark to develop and maintain the content on the site. I've tried networking and job sites, but it is such a shot in the dark!
Lena West
Starting a Business

How do I get paid for an online consulting business?

I would like to start an online consulting business, and I'm not sure where to begin. I have contacts who work for popular websites and local popular radio stations, and I plan to sit down with them and discuss ideas. But I'm stumped on ways I can receive compensation for providing consulting services online.
Lena West
Technology

What is an easy-to-use accounting program for small, home based cleaning business?

I have just started a home based cleaning service, only residential at this time, and I have one contractor working with me. As business grows, I will hire more. What is the best/easy-to-use small business accounting software to keep track of income and expenses that will also be helpful at tax time?
Lena West